We’re bringing you a great guest post today from Holly Davis of SunshineAndHolly.com. Holly lives in the Atlanta area and is sharing her tips, advice and recommendations for taking great photos at the top of Stone Mountain. If you have a kid-friendly outdoor adventure, outing, trip or activity that you’d like to share on our site, click that CONTRIBUTE button at the top of the page for more details.
If you’ve been to Atlanta, chances are you’ve heard of Stone Mountain, the largest exposed mass of granite in the world. Stone Mountain is a quartz dome with an elevation of 1,686 feet. The top of the mountain is a landscape of bare rock and rock pools, and it provides stunning views of the surrounding area. Stone Mountain is more than 5 miles in circumference at its base and the summit can be reached by a walk-up trail on the west side of the mountain or by the Skyride aerial tram.
We live pretty close to Stone Mountain and visit often to enjoy the park attractions and climb the mountain. One thing we love to do while visiting is to take a ton of pictures on top of the mountain. The blue sky and white clouds make a beautiful backdrop, and on clear days you can even see the downtown Atlanta skyline! Over the years I’ve taken lots of photos of my kids and family members on top of the mountain, and have learned a few tips and techniques that I’d like to share with you today for getting the best possible photos.
Take the Skyride
There are two ways to get to the top of Stone Mountain. The first is hiking up the 1 mile trail to the top. But be warned – it’s a good workout! The trail isn’t stroller friendly, so if you’ve got little ones, I suggest riding the Summit Skyride instead. It’s a high speed Swiss cable car that will zip you up to the top of the mountain (825 feet up) in minutes. It’s fast and really fun for little kids, too. So if you’ve got littles that are too small to hike or if you don’t want to be dripping sweat in your pictures, the Skyride is the way to go!
On sunny days, it’s super bright up at the top of the mountain. We forgot to bring sunglasses for the kiddos once, and they were squinting or closing their eyes in every picture. Do yourself and your eyes a favor, bring some sunglasses.
Watch for Fences in the Background
We’ve taken some pictures that would be beautiful if it weren’t for the darn fences and powerlines in the background. Yes – it’s a good thing the fences are there so people don’t get too close to the edge, but they can ruin an otherwise beautiful picture. If you don’t want fences and poles in the background, make sure you position your subjects high up on the mountain and away from them. Sometimes a small pole or fence can be Photoshopped out, but there are plenty of places to take photos where the background is nice and clear.
Wear Sturdy Shoes
Even if you’re taking the tram up and not hiking, the top of Stone Mountain is not the place for heels, flip flops or wedges. It’s a huge mass of granite – there are craters, boulders, loose gravel, and giant pools of water. Don’t risk anyone falling and getting hurt – make sure you wear good solid sturdy shoes.
Get off the Trail
Since most of the people are either hiking up the mountain on the trail or riding the Skyride, the middle of the top of the mountain can get crowded. To avoid getting photos with people resting, snacking, and taking their own pictures, get off the trail. Walk slightly to the left or the right of the hiking trail and you can find great spots with beautiful views that aren’t overrun with hikers and selfie-takers.
Consider Wearing Your Hair Up
It can be very windy at the top of the mountain, so unless you want to be constantly pushing your hair back out of your face, consider a ponytail or braid. I learned this lesson the hard way!
If you find yourself in the Atlanta area on a beautiful day, consider checking out Stone Mountain. Pack a picnic lunch and your camera, hop on the Skyride, and go take some amazing photos on the top of Stone Mountain!
Holly Davis is an Atlanta-based blogger, wife, and mother of two wild children. As a self-proclaimed “on the go mom,” she’s happiest when she’s outside soaking up the sun and exploring new places with her family. You might say adventure and entertainment are in her blood, because before becoming a mother, she spent 15 years working for a company that owns and operates theme parks. These days, when she’s not traveling and exploring, you can find her trying out a new recipe in the kitchen, listening to Dolly Parton, blogging about motherhood, or planning her family’s next big adventure! Follow along at SunshineAndHolly.com.