Friday, December 30, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, Polarizer, ND8, ND400, ISO 100, f/20, 30 sec.
  Gotta credit Jim for this angle of the dock at the Springville Pump House. He posted a shot slightly angled to the right of this in his blog post: Line Dispenser.
  This angle looking down the dock as it is centered in the frame really adds to the reflection. The house boat out in the cove ties everything together as it is almost the exact shade of blue as the sky. Jim also shows this well in his latest post Pump House Blues.
  This is the last of my shots from our shoot at the pump house last Monday. Can't wait til Jim and I can get out and do some more. It sure is a lot of fun.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, Polarizer, ND8, ND400, ISO 100, f/20, 25 sec.
  When Jim Denham and I were photographing down at the Springville Pump House in Springville, TN the day after Christmas, I walked over to this dock and perused around at the bottom looking for an angle to shoot it. Nothing really jumped out at me.
  Then Jim went up on the hill above it and started shooting. I followed him there and the reflection from that vantage point was fantastic. Jim started framing by centering the dock in the shot. I, however, more excited about leading the dock into the frame from the lower left corner. I think this works well with the direction the clouds were traveling.
  I continued here with stacking my filters and shooting with long shutters. You can see how slow these clouds were moving by the fact that they are not blurred that much with a 25 second shutter speed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ND8, ND400, Polarizer, ISO 100, f/20, 60 sec
  I hope that everyone had a safe & wonderful Christmas. Mine was a wonderful time with both my family and my wife's family in West Tennessee. It was very short lived, however, due to my wife's work schedule.
  The day after Christmas my brother Jim and I took the small window of opportunity to go photog'ing.  We spent the morning at the Springville Pump House in Springville, TN. Even though I didn't get out of bed early enough to catch the early-early pre-dawn light, we still had a beautiful sunrise to catch some great reflections in the cove by the pump house.
  With a pretty still wind and partially overcast skies, I used the opportunity to get some long exposures by stacking my polarizer, ND8, and ND2-ND400 filters. This fixed buoy in the shallow area in front of boat ramp was begging to be the subject of our work that morning. This particular shot I visualized with the cloud movement converging directly behind the buoy and the three rocks in the foreground leading the eye to the buoy as well.
  My initial intent was to get some black and white images out of these long shutters but when I looked at this image in Elements, the blue sky and reflection on the water jumped out at me immediately especially with the long exposures flattening the water to enhance the reflection.
  One of the best things about the holidays is being with family. These occasions when Jim and I can get out together and take some photos are becoming highlights to those wonderful family times. Can't wait til we get together again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


  It's amazing what happens after you have given up on a sunrise and then all of the sudden nature thrusts something at you totally unexpected.
  After 2 days of rain and gloominess, which provided for my image in my last post, the clouds broke and made for beautiful blue skies on Wednesday. Even though there was going to be a sunrise, I wasn't very excited about the prospects of a photogenic one due to the fact that there weren't any clouds in the sky.
  All the sudden, after I had already entered work, there popped a few clouds to the north and the sunlight started striking them with a pink hue that just screamed for me to photograph them. The lifting fog on the lake made for some more interesting elements for the shot.
  I walked out on one of our docks at work and set up looking at those clouds and used the floating dock for a foreground image.  The still lake made for a wonderful reflection of the dock and pink hued clouds. 
  I had already given up on the morning but luck came my way and I got a beautiful image.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 400, f/14, 1/320 sec.
  Was going through some old raw images that were stored on my work laptop and ran across some shots from Hunting Island, SC that I took last spring.  I processed an HDR of this lighthouse that I really liked but all of this was before I purchased Photoshop Elements.
  With Elements and being able to utilize layering, burning, and brushing, which I didn't have the ability to do beforehand, I just had to give one of these shots another go. 
  Hunting Island was gorgeous and I want to go back there. The lighthouse, Live Oaks with Spanish Moss, Palm Trees, & white sandy beach were beautiful. I would love to venture all over the island and see more.
  My favorite part of this image is the neat tree on the right and how it wraps itself up and points directly at the lighthouse which has the late evening sunlight striking the left side of it as well as the trees below and to the right of it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @19mm, ISO 100, f/20, 60 sec., ND8, ND400, Polarizer
  With daylight savings time in effect, getting off work at 5:00 pm makes it very difficult to take any pictures afterwards.
  Thursday provided enough light & darkness for me to experiment with my new ND fader filter. This Neutral Density filter adjusts from ND2 - ND400. ND400 is equivalent to 9 stops so it makes for some great light blockage.
  The evening skies on Thursday were very overcast with a new front moving in. The clouds however, were moving at a rapid pace across the sky. If I could block the light enough, I might get some 1 minute to 4 minute exposures and create some neat blurring effects.
  I stacked my ND8 filter along with my polarizing filter to add some extra blockage and walked right out of my work to the lake front. During the winter the TVA lowers the lake levels on Tellico Lake. Don't know why, they just do. These lower levels allow you to see old tree stumps and other objects that normally would be covered with water on this man-made lake.
  Right next to the shore is this old tree stump that I have photographed before. This time I climbed down next to it and was able to expose the old roots  on the dry ground. I framed the shot in the direction the clouds were traveling which also included the company's dock, which I have photographed several times. It did provide with some reflection in the shallow water though.
  I thought I would use a very long shutter of 3-4 minutes but started with a 1 minute exposure. Turned out to be a good idea because I liked the 1 minute shot so much I didn't even tried a longer shot.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon 85mm 1.8 USM lens, ISO 100, f/14, 1/16 sec.
  A couple of weeks ago, as I arrived at work, the fog from a cool night was lifting. My first impression of the fog that morning was that it was extremely thick and absolutely covered everything. Not much for photography, so I just went into work as usual.
  About a half hour later, I was walking down the front stairs in the offices and looked outside and noticed the fog was hanging just at the top of the treeline.  This caught my attention and I immediately grabbed the gear and took off to get a few pics. I didn't even switch lenses from my 85mm prime due to time constraints.
  I actually shot 8 different shots for a panorama all across the lake.  When I stitched them together I thought it was too much.  I cropped the image to use only the mirrored trees on the right side of the image and their reflection with the fog lingering in the background.
  With the thick fog laying at the top of the treeline, the sky and it's reflection in the water was completely washed out. I really dug this effect and how it worked in the image.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 200, f/14, 0.8sec
  It's been a while since I've posted to my blog. My time is being taken up by basketball games, cheerleading tryouts, family visits, and general everyday family matters. It seems like the only photos I've taken over the last 2-3 weeks has been basketball and cheerleading. Don't get me wrong, that is not a bad thing. I just haven't been able to sit down at the computer and create a blog post from a nature photo.
  I did get out last Sunday with my good friend Tim Owens and take a hike to Falls Branch Falls off of the Cherohala Skyway in the Cherokee National Forest.  The hike down to the falls was very deceptive. It was a gradual downhill trek for about 1.3 of the 1.7 total miles. The last .4 miles or so was a very steep decline to a beautiful cliff waterfall that was just as impressive as any I've seen.
  I was very disappointed in myself, however. I didn't take nearly as many shots as I normally do and didn't climb down the cascades that were downstream from the falls. Don't have any reason why, just seemed like I was in a rut.
  The rut truly multiplied when we started our ascent back up the trail.  That .4 miles that were very steep down hill on the way to the falls were very much up hill leaving the falls. It was like walking up a half mile flight of stairs. I could hardly catch my breath. With the rest of the hike back to the parking area a gradual incline, I just had a terrible time making it. The last 1/4 mile or so my legs decided they didn't want to work anymore either. We did finally make it back, though.
  I will definitely try to make this trek again sometime. There were moss-covered logs, ferns, and just loads of greenery littering the trail all the way and I would love another chance to shoot the waterfall and stream and capture them better.
  Did capture a couple of nice images though. The one in this post is downstream of the main falls, which you can see in the background. I was standing in the stream with my tripod straddling the waterway. Rhododendrons were everywhere and trying to get in the way of my image. Fortunately, they bracketed the frame in the foreground and background with the stream winding around them. Tried to get as low as I could to make a foreground element out of the shelf right in front of me. All in all, I really liked the way this one turned out.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 200, f/13, 0.5 sec., 3 Image Panorama
  With winter coming on like gangbusters, last Sunday's jaunt into the Cherokee National Forest was a search for color.  I had originally started out with the attitude that I was going to shoot everything in black & white due to the lack of color, but after the sun started coming up, the same rules that apply with fall colors can apply when there are no leaves on the trees as well.  The only difference is using the leaf and pine needle covered mountainside as the reflector.
  When the sun was striking the opposite mountain side with sunlight, the water started reflecting the colors of the leaves and pine needles that covered it and was quite beautiful. I took 3 images in order to fit all of the background cascades in shot with the foreground rocks and stitched together in Photoshop Elements Photomerge Panorama.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


  I have claimed several times how professional photographer Ian Plant has been a huge inspiration and influence on how I see and do photography. Due to this I have a very amazing story to share.
  Back in April, Ian Plant posted "Vernal Impulse" on his blog. The image from this blog post really caught my attention. It was taken from angle behind a cascade and looking downstream. It was the first time that it occurred to me that I had never tried photographing waterfalls and cascades from this type of angle. All spring and summer I forced myself to turn and look the other way when approaching waterfalls and see what looking downstream gave me as far as composition.
  Even though I took this alternate approach, I had not had any image from this type of vantage point that suited my fancy.
  In September, Tim Owens and I were the Tremont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and stumbled upon a wonderful location with numerous possibilities of compositions. We scoped out the area without cameras in hand and I found a scene that absolutely gave me the layout I wanted inspired by "Vernal Impulse". By the time I retrieved my gear and started to set up my shot, Tim was already further downstream and shooting and would have been in my shot. This was alright, I would go upstream and photograph until he was done and then return for my shot.
  When Tim joined me upstream I started back to set up my shot. When I got there, there were 2 fishermen right in the middle of the river interrupting my shot. Ugghh! I thought I would never get to take my shot.  Well, the ever patient photog that I am, I got in place, set up my shot, and waited for the fishermen to get done.
  About 10 minutes later, one of the fishermen slipped and fell on the rocks. Thank goodness he wasn't injured at all, but it was scary enough for him to want to pull up shop and move upstream. With the fishermen finally out of the way, I pulled the trigger several times and was extremely excited about finally getting my shot.
  After processing my image, I was even more excited. Even though I had 6 or 7 keepers from that location, that shot was my favorite. I finally captured an image that filled the inspiration of Ian Plant's Vernal Impulse. Awesome.
  The story does not end there. In October, I was looking through Ian Plant's archived Great Smoky Mountain blog posts and saw "Vernal Impulse". I clicked on it and opened it up and when the image came up, I was absolutely floored by what I saw. Ian's shot and my shot were from not only the same area in Tremont, but they were on the very same rock about 4-5 feet from each other. In his post he stated he would have set up exactly like I did except the water flow was too heavy to get that composition. Unbelievable! My shot, that was inspired by his, was taken in the exact same spot.
  My shot is posted above. Here is a link to "Vernal Impulse". What an amazing coincidence of inspiration.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 35mm, ISO 100, f/16, 0.4 sec.
  Getting off the beaten path is what this country was built on. The Pilgrims proved that by setting sail across the ocean without a clue as to what they were going to find. Lewis & Clark discovered the West Coast by blazing a new trail across the country. We have been to the moon and back because of our attitude towards going into places where no one else has.
  Sunday morning, Tim Owens and I stumbled upon a waterfall that if we weren't the first people to see it, there weren't many before us. This would not have happened had we stayed on the road.
  After photographing along the Tellico River all morning in the Cherokee National Forest, we were driving along River Rd back towards Tellico Plains, TN when we paused by a bridge that a small stream flowed under and into the main branch. We could barely see a couple of small cascades and decided to pull over and take a look.
  There were no paths created along the river so we had to "bush whack" our way along the river bank. There were some wonderful little rock formations and shelves along this small water way. Finding access to photograph them was difficult due to the downed trees that were laying everywhere along and across the creek.
  As we moved further up river, the cascades started getting larger and more picturesque. It was fantastic.
  As I was shooting a flat rock that made a beautiful shelf cascade, which I will post shots of in a later post, Tim had hiked up further and came back and got my attention. He said, "Jerry, you gotta see this". I climbed over a few fallen trees behind him and about 75-100 yards up the river, blocked by huge rocks on both sides of the river was a 20-25 foot waterfall that was just spectacular.  We tried every angle we could to move around the huge rocks that blocked access to this waterfall but just couldn't figure a way to get any closer.
  Had we been on the other side of the river, we would have had an easier time and possibly gotten better access to it, but neither of us had our waders and it was too cold to wade through without them and we would have had to walk all the way back to the road and cross to get to the other river bank. We were stuck to photograph our discovery right from where we were at.
  It was quite heartbreaking. We may have been the first people to witness this gorgeous cascade, but couldn't get any closer to get the kind of photographs that this wonderful waterfall deserved.
  So we took what shots we could get of the waterfall and hiked back to the car knowing that we would be back sometime to try and get closer. This morning, I checked out every web site I could find to see if this waterfall had been named and marked but could find anything on it. If we didn't discover it, there were probably less than a handful of people who have been there before us.
  We were very proud of our discovery and even more satisfied that we took the time to venture off the beaten path and were rewarded in doing so. Can't wait to go back and explore this great find some more.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 49mm, ISO 100, f/8, 0.8 sec.
  While going back through my archives, I ran across this shot from a family hike to Conosauga Falls in the Cherokee National Forest near Tellico Plains, TN.  I had taken several shots of everyone in and around the falls but my daughter, Jocy, stood still for this shot and it turned out perfect for a sepia treated portrait.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


  I missed posting something on Veteran's Day and while at a friend's house for a birthday party today I reminded myself of the opportunity I had back in September to photograph a reunion dinner of the Lima 3/9 Marine Corp Platoon that served in Vietnam. I really appreciate Ronnie & Brenda Shaffer for inviting me to attend and photograph this event. Even though this was a festive occasion, the MIA display set to one side of the room and the history behind what created this reunion definitely carried part of the mood throughout the evening.
  I don't really know much about this group of guys and didn't ask anyone about their time served. Just from hearing general conversations between them and from talking to Ronnie I found out that several of their platoon was killed in action, several injured in action (including several who were at the dinner), and still 1 man unaccounted for and missing in action.
  It was very rewarding to witness this reunion of brave men. It was even more touching knowing that my son, Shea, is now a Marine and carries on the honor and bravery these men displayed in serving their country. I am so very proud of him and for making the choice to serve his country. Since the reunion, one of Shea's good friends and fellow Marine, Frankie Watson, was killed in action in Afghanistan driving home the sacrifice that every man and woman make that sign up and become part of our Armed Forces. May God bless them all!
  I want to say happy Veteran's Day to my wife's brother Don who served in the Army in Vietnam and is a great man and his family is very proud of. I also would like to say happy Veteran's Day to my brother Brad. He retired from the Navy after 20 years served and we are extremely proud of him and love him very much as well.
  Happy Veteran's Day to all who have and are serving right now. We would not be the country we are without the contribution and sacrifices made by all who have served. Thank you.
Lima 3/9 Platoon


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 200, f/11, 0.5 sec.
  One of our stops along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains was by a small bridge where there were several homesteads along the creek. This little grouping of rocks along the river was right next to the homesteads and was right on the opposite side of the large rocks on the right from the scene in my previous post, SEEING RED.
  Really loved the "violent" way the water crashed through this cascade. Even though the Roaring Fork is a creek, the name is quite accurate and scenes like this are littered through it.  Wish we could have been in this area before mid-day. The sun was shining bright and created a harsh contrast on the water. I did however have my 4-stop ND filter and it allowed me to have some appropriate shutter speeds. I adjusted some balancing light in Photoshop Elements to help even out the scene.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon 85mm 1.8 USM lens, ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/160 sec.
  One thing was apparently obvious on our hike up to Grotto Falls last weekend. Fall is gone and winter is taking over.  If we had made this hike two weeks earlier, we would have seen the height of fall color in the Smokies. The color, however, had all but gone from the mountains.
  On the way back down from the falls, I pulled out the 85mm 1.8 and decided to capture what little colors there were. I was pulled initially to the ferns and the small yellow maple leaves that seemed to hover around them. The pair in today's post were displayed how close winter is. Even though they were hanging on and still attached, they were burnt red in color and showed signs of decay already.
  The 85mm lens was great for these intimate shots by being crystal clear at f/2.8 and blurring the background.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 200, f/13, 0.6 sec
  One of the greatest things about Grotto Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains is the step ladder of cascades downstream from the main falls.  Today's post is down one tier from the main area of the falls and was the most picturesque spot we came upon.
  Tim found a couple of rocks over to the left of center facing the falls and I had to work this large, colorful rock that sat straight out in front of the v-shaped falls. The two large rocks that formed the falls were just awesome as well.  I normally would try to move closer and get a low point of view but even with my hip waders on, was afraid it was too deep just under the falls and with it being about 45 degrees out, it would have been extremely cold. So I stuck with the large foreground element.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 400, f/14, 0.6 sec.
  The first stop for Tim Owens and myself on Sunday morning along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a 1.7mile hike up to Grotto Falls.  It was a relatively easy hike for someone with two good knees. For someone like me, with Arthritis plaguing my left knee for the previous 2 weeks, it was work. More coming back down the trail than going up, but strenuous on my knee for sure. But for the images and view of the falls, it was worth a little bit of pain.
  Grotto Falls is a very well traveled trail and one of the most visited spots in the Smokies. We got to the trail head around 6:30am and only saw one person on the way up. Coming back down around 10:30, however, we ran into at least 25 hikers going up so getting there early paid off.
  The main falls at "The Grotto" is a fan waterfall that falls approximately 25 feet into a pool and then falls through cascade after cascade in a steep descent down through the gorge.
  When we arrived at the falls, I noticed this huge log laying parallel to the water flow on the first tier cascade below the main waterfall. Right next to the log the cascade zig-zagged  around a huge bolder and barreled down on a group of cobblestone rocks before flowing off to the next cascade. I new that I had to somehow fit all of these elements into my shot with the main waterfall in the background. I became completely obsessed with it.
  It took me close to a half hour before I found a vantage point that fit all of my desired elements in the frame and also allowed me to set all 3 legs of my tripod on a sturdy surface. I was becoming completely frustrated until I finally found it. I then set up and shot 3 angles to form a panorama so I could get everything in the shot I wanted. It's very exciting when you successfully get what you want and exposed like you want as well.
  Unfortunately, by spending all my time working on this arrangement, when I started up to photograph the main waterfall, there were 4 or 5 newcomers up on the path shooting it. Tim had already started his descent down to the next lower cascade as well, so I passed on getting shots of the main waterfall and joined Tim in the steep descent down the river. I know that someday I will return and photograph Grotto Falls again so I didn't mind sacrificing it for the image in today's post.
  More to come from the Roaring Fork so stay tuned.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 200, f/14, 1.0sec.
  On Sunday, my buddy Tim Owens, his daughter Alesha, and I took a photog drive down the Roaring Fork Motor Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What a great little drive.
  The Motor Trail starts just outside of Gatlinburg and winds 6 miles through the Smokies and then returns back to Gatlinburg. It follows the Roaring Fork and has several gorgeous cascades with green, moss covered rocks, old homesteads, and several hiking trails that spur off to other parts of the park. If we had driven along the motor trail a couple of weeks ago it would have been just bursting with fall color. Unfortunately, most of the fall color has fallen off of the trees and onto the ground. There were still some yellows, oranges, and reds though and that made for a beautiful day.
  The first part of our adventure started with a 1.7mile hike to Grotto Falls. This took up the biggest part of the morning and I will have some shots from there in future posts.
  After returning from Grotto Falls, we just stopped along the Motor Trail photographing the Roaring Fork. With the morning spent at "the Grotto", the sunlight made it difficult to catch some of the larger cascades along the creek, but we did find a few spots where the shade allowed us photo ops.
   The spot in today's post was just along the road side next to a bridge and the red leaves that were covering the ground were incredible. I took the liberty of placing some of these leaves on this log to tie the log in with the rest of the red leaves laying around this small cascade. My 4-Stop ND filter made it possible for me get some longer shutter speeds in the middle of the day, thank goodness. One of the best purchases I have ever made.
  More shots coming from our trip down the Roaring Fork and once again I will visit this area of the Smokies several more times in the future.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon 85mm 1.8 USM lens, ISO 1600, f/2.5, 1/200 sec.
  Sports photography was my first love of photography 25 years ago when I bought my first camera. Back then I really didn't understand the way a camera really worked and I just shot on "Auto" all the time. I also wasn't very in tune with good composition in an image either.
  One of the main reasons for me buying my first DSLR last year was to record my son's basketball and my daughter's cheerleading. Even though I managed getting some good shots last year, I was shooting with Canon's 50mm 1.8II lens. This lens did a fantastic job considering it was built more for portraits and not really considered a sports lens.
  Two weeks ago Christmas came early in the Denham household. I bought Canon's 85mm 1.8 USM lens with the sole intention of it improving my sports photography as well as using it as a portrait lens. My initial impression of the lens is very impressive. It was much heavier than any of my other lenses but the ultrasonic motor is fast and super quiet. The bokeh at wide open apertures is amazing as well.
Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon 85mm 1.8 USM lens, ISO 1600, f/2.5, 1/200 sec.
  Thursday was the first test for my new weapon. My son's high school basketball team was playing their Red/White game. This is a scrimmage where the team is divided up and they play against each other. The perfect opportunity for trial and error with my new lens.
  At first it was very hit and miss but then I got out my Bower ETTL Flash and used it to bounce the light off of the ceiling and everything started to click. The sync with the camera & lens only allowed me to shoot at 1/200 sec. shutter speed but the flash stopped the action and the images started looking really good.
Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon 85mm 1.8 USM lens, ISO 1600, f/2.5, 1/200 sec.
  Something else I wasn't able to do during last year's basketball season was get quality shots out near half court from under the basket. The only drawback to this is that the 85mm vs. 50mm is quite tight underneath the goal and shots of a player's entire body from there were impossible. Will have to figure out how to solve that.
  Tonight I was asked to shoot Sequoyah High School's first home football playoff game for the local newspaper.  I was more than happy to do so but was skeptical about the length of the 85mm lens reaching and creating quality images on the football field. I was pleasantly surprised when at least on plays close to my side of the field were very sharp depending on my steady hand. When I moved behind the end zone for goal line plays the images were more impressive. I was using my flash with these as well and it made a huge difference.
Canon EOS Rebel XS, Canon 85mm 1.8 USM lens, ISO 1600, f/2.5, 1/200 sec.
   I will give a much better evaluation of my new lens as the basketball season progresses along. It will get a great test tomorrow as Casey's basketball team plays 5 games at a play day. I am very excited about what this lens can do for my sports photography as well as cheerleading and portrait work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


  As I have stated in previous posts, the fall color in the Smokies was unbelievable a couple of weeks ago. Here are a few of my favorite shots from a day well spent in the park.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/16, 3.2 sec.
  One of the biggest lessons I have learned from great Nature Photographers like Ian Plant & Richard Bernabe is that when shooting fall color reflections, look for the reflection to take place when the sun is striking the trees and foliage on the opposite side of the river or lake but not on the water. This enhances the reflection of the foliage and also allows the blue sky to reflect on the rocks because the sun hasn't shined on them yet.
  While photographing along the Lynn Camp Prong Sunday morning in Tremont area of the Great Smoky Mountains, my friend Tim Owens and myself were determined to catch some of these type of reflections. The color was definitely there, we were just waiting for the sun to climb high enough to strike the trees just right to cast the reflections. We had been at it for about 3 hours and even though the sun was intruding in places where we wanted to get longer exposures of waterfalls, but we hadn't found that calm pool of water where the light struck it right.
  At about 11:00am we came across the spot you see in today's post.  The tree tops on the opposite side of the river were being illuminated by the sun and the reflections were reaching out to us through this small pool right by the banks. The reflections were being cast onto the water pouring over the single cascade shelf just up stream as well.
  Beings that the sun was hitting the tops of the trees there was still enough shade to allow for a long shutter speed on the cascade and some smooth water effects. The yellow and orange leaves scattered around the green, moss-covered rocks tie in with the yellow tree reflections in the water all the way back through the shot.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 400, f/11, 3.2 seconds, 3 image panorama
  As I stated in previous posts, the colors in the Tremont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this past weekend were stellar.
  Yellow and green were definitely the primary colors though. Green being existing color of the Rhododendrons and moss on the rocks with the yellow of the autumn leaves both on the ground and in the trees. There were splashes of orange, pink, and red but the green and yellow were dominant.
  The image in this post is actually just upstream from the waterfall photographed in my last post MY GIRL. I loved all of the moss-covered rocks scattered throughout the stream. Wasn't aware of it until I got the photo merged together, but the rocks and Rhododendrons form an X in the center of the frame with the yellow trees and the water in the stream holding the shape at the top and bottom and all of them converging where the stream disappears in the background.  The yellow leaves dotting the green rocks kinda tie the whole thing together.
  I even got a small Eddy swirl at the bottom left of the image with only a 3 second exposure. Bonus!


Jocy posing next to the first waterfall we came to on Sunday morning. What a trooper!
  To a 10 year old, 5:00am is tremendously early on a Sunday morning. On Saturday, when I was talking to Tim Owens about meeting up and going into the Smoky Mountains, however, my daughter Jocelyn asked if she could go with us knowing it would be an early start. When I told her we would be up at 5:00am, she knew it and was still willing to come along.
  Now, there have been times when I started to get her up early and she refused to go along, Sunday was not that way. I woke her up and told her to dress warm and she was up and ready in no time. After stopping to grab breakfast and meeting Tim, we were off to the mountains.
  We came up to Middle Prong Trail just after daylight was breaking and headed up the trail. It was an easy trail. Very wide and no rocks or tree roots to climb over.
  When we came to our first cascade and had to climb down the bank to the river, Jocy didn't hesitate and climbed down with us. She didn't have an issue with sliding down on her backside in spots that were steep and was very patient with our photography. I asked her to jump up on a rock to pose for me and she wasted no time getting in position and stood very still for a 2 second exposure.
  Where ever we stopped I tried to get a shot of her to both include her and record it for her to see when she grows up and I show it to her and she can remember the day. I even got in a shot with her that was borderline over exposed  but I still love it because it was us.
  Jocy never complained the entire 4 hours we were on the trail until I mentioned being hungry. She then said she was hungry as well and wanted to go back to the car. Fortunately, even though we had no idea what time it was, it was around 11:00am and the midday sun was washing out everything with harsh light so we headed back to the car.
  I really enjoy the fact that Jocy is willing to come with me on these photo excursions. It means a lot to me. Someday, when she gets older, she will lose that interest and hanging out with Dad won't be "cool" anymore so I need to take advantage of it while I can.
 I love you Jocy. Thanks for making your old man feel important.
Jocy and me

Sunday, October 16, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1.3 sec.
  Enjoyed some incredible fall color in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Sunday morning. My good friend Tim Owens, Jocy, and I got out early and drove to Tremont and hiked the Middle Prong Trail. What a great, great trail. As far as I am concerned, this was an ideal place to experience the Smoky's fall color.
  I have to thank my friend John Deas for cluing us into this trail. He told me about it last week and after talking to Tim about it, we had to go and man were we glad. Cascade after cascade and green, moss covered rocks, and pink, orange, and yellow trees everywhere. Leaves littered the rocks and river beds. When the sun started hitting the tops of the trees the reflections were incredible.
  Today's post was taken just in front of Lower Lynn Camp Falls.  This shelf took a little bit of a chore to access through rocks and rhododendrons but once I got there it was well worth it. This shelf filters down through this small cascade and the pool above reflects the green rocks and colorful trees above fabulously.  I framed the shot so that the horizontal lines of the shelf along with the stream flowing to left worked through the shot back to the colorful trees in the background.
  One of many to come from this wonderful jaunt into the park. Keep your eyes open for further posts.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/16, 4 minutes
  Today's post is one that I have been swearing that I was going to do and have never had the opportunity until Friday morning.
  If you look at the image without knowing what went into making it, you probably won't be that excited about it. An old barn in a yellow field of Soy Bean leaves.  Well if you look at the lens flare at the top right of the image, that isn't the sun creating it. It's the moon. And the small streak just below that lens flare is a star trail formed from holding the shutter open for 4 minutes.
  I took this photo at about 6:45am and the sun's light was just starting to crest the horizon directly behind me.  The moon was just shy of being full but was incredibly bright so I wanted the moon's light to light up my image. 4 minutes allowed the moonlight to make it look like daylight in the shot.
  The lens flare that passes over the barn on the left hand side of the image is from passing cars that came by during the exposure. Wish I could've done without it, but it doesn't deter too much from the shot.
  Very little post processing here. Just some dust removal and filtered some noise out of it.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/20, 1/6 sec., 4 image panorama
  After about a 1 1/2 week I am finally able to post to my blog again. Sure has been raining a lot the last  3 days. I did brave the rain at lunch time on Wednesday to try to capture some fall color. I found this field with these 3 barns  in it surrounded by yellow and red trees. Wish I could have gotten inside the fence and looked closer to these gems but I was very content to shoot from the road.
  Took 4 images and stitched them together in Photoshop Elements Photomerge Panorama. Hopefully be chiming in a little more in the next few days.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/16, 13 sec.
  Reaching back in the archive from last October I found this shot from River Rd in the Cherokee National Forest.  I remember this morning very vividly. It was about 50°F at about 6:30am and very cold sitting on a very large rock  to get this vantage point.
 I processed in Sepia black and white and really love the way it displays the still water as almost black ice adding to the cold feel of the morning.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/14, 2.5 sec.
  I have been trying for 12 years to work this little stump into a photograph.  This spot is right in front of my workplace on Tellico Lake in Vonore, TN. It seems like there is an incredible sunrise 2-3 times a week and no matter how many times I photograph this stump I am just never happy with the outcome.
  Well Monday morning was a banner day. I was trying for some long exposures withe this stump in the foreground and actually was happy with one of my 45 second exposures that I will post later.
  About 10 minutes after starting to shoot, the clouds started to break and the sun was peaking through giving me this awesome view. I blended a shot that exposed the foreground and another that exposed the background together and viola.
  This stump has stumped me no more.

Sunday, September 25, 2011