Tag Archives: Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains in the Spring

The usual Great Smoky Mountains suspects – Cades Cove and Tremont – photographed in late April with the Hasselblad X1D and an IR-converted Sony A6500. The weather and atmospheric conditions were ideal, with early morning fog and great clouds. While the dogwoods were just past peak, I was able to capture a few remaining blooms. This park is one of the gems of the US National Park system and a photographer’s dream destination.

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Photographing the Great Smoky Mountains with the Hasselblad X1D

One of my favorite southeastern US travel destinations is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I try to time my trips to the park to coincide with either the peak of dogwood blossoms in the spring or with the peak of fall color. Sometimes I hit a home run and sometimes I strike out. I just missed (by one week or one storm) the dogwood peak and there were only a few blooms left on the Tennessee side of the mountains. Not to worry. Photo ops abound around Townsend, Tennessee in Cades Cove, along the Little River Road (from the Sugarlands Visitor Center in Gatlinburg to the Townsend “wye”), and in the Tremont area. I spent four days at the end of April and had great weather for photography – morning ground fog, a thunderstorm, an afternoon with no wind, periods of muted sunshine and periods of full sun. Late April is also a good time to visit the park ahead of the crowds that descend after Memorial Day when schools are in summer recess.

Hasselblad X1D | Lens: Hasselblad XCD 45mm f/3.5 | Focal length: 45 mm | Shutter speed: 40.0 sec | Aperture: ƒ / 16 | ISO: 100 | Exposure bias: N/A

This was my first road trip with the Hasselblad X1D medium format camera and XCD lenses. I had used the camera and the three XCD lenses enough close to home to be confident in the system as my primary kit for this trip. The last item on my “wish list” for the trip was a spare battery and I managed to get three spares just prior to hitting the road. I anticipated using the camera from a tripod and shooting at ISO 100 as much as possible. Being familiar with the territory helped in this regard, as did understanding the likely weather conditions. For water cascades and river shots, I needed both 6-stop and 10-stop ND filters in a couple of filter sizes. I also wanted to try the Xume (now Manfrotto) magnetic filter adapters to evaluate their ease of use in the field. And I’ve been conditioned to always carry circular polarizers and a rain cover.

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Crowds at Popular Photo Destinations

As a landscape photographer primarily, I’ve been a keen observer of the increased popularity of digital photography and its effects on popular photo venues. Iconic locations like Mesa Arch, Antelope Canyon and Schwabacher Landing have become so crowded with photographers, that squeezing into a row of tripods has become a struggle (or an impossibility depending upon how early you arrive). That’s good news and bad news. The good news is that photography as a hobby or profession is vibrant and growing in popularity. Everyone with a smartphone is a potential photographer. The bad news is that the crowds have discouraged some visitors and, in some cases, ruined the experience for others who follow. Some have blamed the crowds on tour bus operators who bring bus loads of eager tourists to popular spots. Others have blamed the ubiquity of the smartphone – a camera in everyone’s pocket.

After reading a few blog posts by well-known photographers and workshop leaders addressing this subject, I came across an invitation to join The Great Smoky Mountains Photography Summit, which invited 200 photographers and 15 workshop leaders to the very small town (one traffic light) of Townsend, Tennessee during the peak week of fall color. While the surrounding area is extremely popular (the adjacent Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most heavily visited National Park in the US) for recreation (hiking, biking, kayaking, sightseeing…) and photography, it seemed ironic that the same people who had expressed concern about crowded destinations were inviting 200 people to descend upon a tiny area of the GSMNP during peak season.
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Fotomoto Artist of the Day – May 15, 2010

I was again featured as Artist of the Day on the Fotomoto website, for my photo “First Sunlight on Sparks Lane”. On April 26, my image “Looking Up – Currituck Beach Lighthouse” was featured on the Fotomoto site.

I have converted all of my online image galleries to Fotomoto for print and card order fulfillment.

“Fotomoto is an e-commerce system that gives independent photographers and web publishers the power to sell their work on their own site, using a simple toolbar with a “click to buy” button.”

 
fotomotoartistoftheday_051510

The photograph was taken in October 2009 on Sparks Lane in Cades Cove, Tennessee, a very popular part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Fall 2008 – Mountains to Coast

I just returned from a photo trip to the Great Smoky Mountains and the NC Outer Banks. My old friend, Ron Basinger from Illinois, joined me for the trip. Fall colors were peaking or just past their peak in Tennessee when we arrived, and we had several good days of shooting in Cades Cove, Tremont, along the Little River and on the Roaring Fork Trail.

fallen_leaves

When we drove back to North Carolina, hoping to catch the colors along the Blue Ridge Parkway, colors were well beyond peak and many trees had lost their leaves. Not to be skunked, we drove to the Outer Banks and shot there for a couple of days, enjoying the late season solitude, with few tourists and little traffic.

looking_up

Images from the trip are included in the Smoky Mountains and Outer Banks galleries.

Ron has a gallery of photos from the trip on pBase.

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