In Search Of Mountain Laurel | Green Monster Trails

We as people often have many things we want to do or accomplish in our lives. And just as often we have many things we simply never get around to doing. There are an infinite number of reasons and excuses why we may not get something done that we have always wanted to do. Often the most obvious reason we don’t get something done is that we haven’t prioritized it.

As a photographer there are a lot of things I would like to photograph. Many of those things are pretty firmly within my control. Even if it often doesn’t feel like it is within my control at the time or over the course of years when I realize I still never did the thing.

Life is finite. Our time on earth is finite. We probably can’t actually do everything. But if there is something you truly want to do, you can do it. The key to getting it done is making it a priority. That way you are committed to carving out a chunk of time to make sure it happens.

Nature and wildlife

Nature and wildlife make up a large part of my photography subjects. The challenge with that is many things I would want to photograph are seasonal. So it is very easy to get busy doing other things and before I know it the time of year necessary to create the photograph I want has passed me by and I have to wait until next year before I will even have the opportunity to create that photo again.

One pat of nature I enjoy photographing are wildflowers. Wildflowers often bloom in a specific time of year. And to make it more of a challenge some wildflowers do not stay in bloom for a very long period of time and/or may be more uncommon and harder to find.

Photographing mountain laurel

One wildflower I have enjoyed photographing over the years are the Mountain Laurel. I am fortunate that I do have a few of these plants readily available and accessible for me to at least take some photographs. But what I can do is limited because there are only a few of these plants in the most accessible area for me. But, what has shaped my desire to photograph Mountain Laurel more is what I have seen in my other experiences.

All aspects of my life have played a roll in shaping my photography. My running has been one of the biggest influences in recent years. One of the ways that my running has influenced my photography is by exposing me to new places.

One such place that I was introduced to through my running is the Green Monster Trail System near Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. I was introduced to this area as I began to train to run the Green Monster Trail Challenge hosted by the Tyoga Running Club and then running that event and continuing to train on those trails over subsequent years.

Discovering mountain laurel locations

What captivated my attention on these trails was my fondness for photographing Mountain Laurel flowers and through running on these trails eventually recognizing just how many Mountain Laurel plants grow here. This makes sense considering that the Mountain Laurel is the state flower of Pennsylvania.

There is a section of the trail that I remember running through that over time I realized was an entire section of forest whose understory is full of Mountain Laurel. Like Mountain Laurel as far as the eye can see. And since that realization I have been envisioning finding this section of the trail and creating wide angle scenic photographs of this section of the forest full of Mountain Laurel flowers in full bloom.

Make it happen

But for several years, despite wanting to make this photograph, I have not done it yet. However, this year I decided to commit to trying to make it happen. I set aside a day to specifically go to the forests of Pennsylvania and see if I could find this patch of Mountain Laurel along the Green Monster Trail System.

The biggest challenge was, I knew I had seen this section of trail here, but not specifically where this part of the trail was. The trail system where I have seen these specific Mountain Laurel that I want to photograph is 16 miles long. And when I am out there running I am no looking at a map or GPS. So, I do not actually know where on those 16 miles of trail sI am when I see them.

To make matters, when my wife and I headed out to drive around and hike the trails I forgot to take my map that would at least help navigate and rule out certain areas.

Creating images

Long story a little shorter. We had a lot of fun exploring the woods and trails looking for Mountain Laurel. We did see a lot of Mountain Laurel. And We did hike around in the woods. I did successfully photograph some of the beautiful Mountain Laurel that can be found out on this trail system.

I was able to create some beautiful images and most of all I had a fun time exploring with my wife. However, I did not successfully find the section of the trail I wanted. And I did not create the image I had been envisioning. But it was good practice for the time that I do find that spot in the woods to create the image I have been dreaming of.

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