Hawk Mountain sits in Northern Berks County in Pennsylvania - along the Blue Mountains and the Appalachian Trail. It's a world renowned sanctuary for the protection and study of raptors - hawks, eagles, and other birds of prey. It also happens to be fifteen minutes from where I grew up. So I come here often to photograph - at different seasons and under different conditions.
Hawk Mountain is not a wilderness area. A fifteen minute drive in all directions will reveal farmlands and small towns. And on weekends in the fall it can be crowded on the lookouts. But if you get here early in the morning, you can have the mountain to yourself. Walk a few steps on the trails and it feels like you are in nature as it was hundreds of years ago.
That feeling is amplified on a misty, foggy morning - when the height of the ridges is just enough to rise into the low layer of clouds. All you hear is the constant dripping of water from the soggy trees and branches overhead and an occasional brush of breeze. Today is not a day for looking out over the many rock outcroppings that make the mountain famous - unless you enjoy staring at a blank, white, slightly disorienting view. Today is a day for moving slow, listening, and for appreciating the mystery of the trees and rocks and trails as they are enveloped by constantly shifting fog. Hours of quiet hiking and mesmerizing scenes are there for anyone willing to get up early on a foggy winter day.
A Photo Essay from December 2015, by Brian Reitenauer.