Saturday, June 25, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 20mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/10 sec.
  As I clean off my SD cards in preparation for a much overdue vacation, I figured I can squeeze in one more blog post.
  With all the storms rolling through the southeast the last week, the mornings have been outstanding. Cloud formations are fantastic and the lower temperatures have created fog from the dew evaporation. It has been great.
  Thursday morning I took an alternate route to work in hopes of catching some of this low lying fog. Low and behold this field provided a clean view of it rolling through the mountains in background with a smaller amount hovering just in front of the farm house and barn in the middle ground.
  Was very tempted to crop the green grass out of the shot but really liked it the way it is. The lines of the rows of grass work together with the clouds to move the eye towards the farm and the sunrise.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/13 sec.
  Something I don't seem to get enough photos of when in the Cherokee National Forest is the Cherokee National Forest.  When exiting the forest last Saturday, I noticed this spot in the Tellico River that was smooth as glass.  This is not very common on the river and thought I would grab a reflection to go along with my waterfall shots on the day.
  I definitely would like to come back to this exact spot in late October-early November when the fall color at it's brightest.  In mid-June, however, the green glow of the forest with the sun beating down on it is still a beautiful sight to see. Especially against an incredible blue sky.
  If I get some time tomorrow, I will post another image. If I don't though, it will be over a week due to me going on vacation with my family. Hopefully will have some great stuff to post after though.


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 80mm, ISO 100, f/11, 2.5 sec
  This morning's image was taken back in October on the Tellico River in the Cherokee National Forest. The sun's golden rays were absolutely bathing the opposite side of the in light, but weren't yet shining on the water so a beautiful golden reflection was taken on by the swift moving river.
  Because the sun was not shining on the rocks yet, they were taking on a blueish hue from reflecting the blue sky above. A little trick I learned from Ian Plant.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 35mm, ISO 200, f/14, 0.5 sec
  After shooting a rather large cascade of water on River Road Saturday, I noticed this little guy hanging out with a fantastic view of the flowing water.  I look at the rocks these plants jut out of and wonder how they sprout up through them.
  No matter how they accomplish it, I'm glad they do.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 29mm, ISO 200, f/14, 0.3 sec.
 While exploring the rock wall waterfall I posted in ROCK WALL - VISUAL FLOW on Saturday, upon making my way through the North River to the opposite side of the wall I noticed this little jewel.
  The log laying across the bottom made it easy to use it as a leading line into the shot. It also creates a zig zag shape with the flow of the water through the entire image.
  Had to fight overhanging branches a slippery rocks to find this one and it was well worth the effort.


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/20, 10 sec.
  Some more strong thunderstorms blew through East Tennessee this evening and before the batteries went dead on my camera I fired off a few 10 second exposures in attempt to catch more lightning. Sitting safely in my garage floor with my Ford Explorer shielding me from the rain, I lucked out and caught this shot.  The lightning bolt snuck inside the rim for a solid two pointer.
  You can see how strong the wind was blowing by looking at the trees during the 10 second shutter.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Canon 50mm 1.8 II lens, ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec
  A little break from the norm in today's post. It does have water in it though.
  My daughter asked me yesterday if we could go down to the river and cool off.  On Father's Day, who was I to turn her down.
  My only stipulation was to be able to take some photos of her while she was swimming.  The budding young model that she is was not opposed to that at all.
  She started splashing water at me and it jogged a memory of a photo I saw somewhere of a girl flipping her hair back out of the water with the water trail following.  I asked Jocy to do this and she cooperated very well.  The fast 50 came in handy by being able to shoot at 1/1250 sec and stopping the action.
  Back to the river and waterfall action in the next post.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

TOP SHELF - N River Road Panorama

Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 20mm, ISO 100, f/11, 0.6 sec, 5 image panorama
  Right above the rock wall I posted yesterday is this cascade shelf that is just absolutely beautiful. I waded out right in front of the shelf and got as low as I could to catch a vertical panorama in 5 separate shots.
  It wasn't until I was processing these images that I noticed the green reflection on the very front edge of the shelf. The water was reflecting the sunlit tree tops in the very back of the image. These type of reflections are my favorite and really show out in the fall when there is a tremendous amount of color in the trees. The green reflection in this reflection just ties everything together with all the green foliage and moss on the rocks.


My Dad's Horshoes

  I was set to type up a long blog post commenting on how much I miss my dad and how I fall short of being anything like him as a father. Unfortunately, the tears that come to my eyes prevent me from typing up the long post so I will just say this:
 Dad I miss you tremendously. I hope you are looking down on me and are proud of the man, husband, and father that I have become. I rely on everything I learned from being your son every day.  I love you.
  To all the great dads out there, Happy Father's Day.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 400, f/14, 1 sec.
 Back in January I posted some shots from a wonderful little spot on N. River Rd in the Cherokee National Forest (HIDDEN TREASURE).  The attraction to this place is the large rock wall blocking the river's path.  The river is forced around the wall on the opposing side from the road or pour through a single, faucet-like waterfall through the center of the wall. This single waterfall faucet is unique and beautiful and along with the large wall, sets this place apart.
  As most photographers do, I made a return visit to this spot this morning. When I visited this place back in the fall, it was after the fall color had faded away. This morning, the setting was gorgeous with lush green foliage.
  Another difference to today's visit is that I now have my waders and could travel to the other side of the river to photograph it. After maneuvering my way across the river I discovered that the water route around the rock wall was just as gorgeous as the faucet waterfall.  There was a beautiful stepladder cascade before the water wrapped around the wall. I will have a shot of that cascade in a separate post.
  Something that I don't necessarily do a very good job of in my images is creating visual flow. Accomplished nature photographers like Ian Plant talk and apply visual flow in their images all the time. This morning, visual flow was the first thing that popped into my mind.
  I framed this shot attempting to use the flowing water as it wraps around the rock wall to carry the viewer's eye from the foreground to the background, where the faucet waterfall is. I tried to accomplish the same effect with the top and bottom edges of the rock wall as they carry the eye to the waterfall as well.
  I merged two separate images in Photoshop Elements Photomerge Panorama to fit everything in one single image.  I had actually captured a great deal of the green foliage in the background before realizing that my white Ford Explorer was in the background as well and it forced me to crop the shot.
  More posts are coming from this spot and a few others from my jaunt into the forest this morning so be on the lookout.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/20, 10 sec.
  Storms rolled through East Tennessee yesterday evening and lightning was everywhere. Unfortunately, I was inside typing up my blog.
  I received a text from my wife, who was at work, and she asked me if I was out taking pictures of the lightning.  I said no, but what a great idea.
  I proceeded outside with my gear and as usual when I try to photograph lightning, it stopped. I was completely frustrated. 
  My persistence paid off, however, and after about a 1/2 hour this strike happened with the shutter open. At the same time this one hit, there was a huge branch to my right that was out of the frame. I'll be happy with this one, though.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 400, f/14, 0.6 sec.
  The anchor to Conasauga Falls is the bottom bottom tier.  The rocks separate the flow of the falls into two different cascades that empty into a large pool in front of the falls.
  The flow to the left takes a sideways route over a a couple of small rungs before clinging to the rocks to the very bottom.  This small cascade really intrigued me and I tried to capture it alone but failed to do so. I really liked the way the water doesn't splash away from the rocks but more or less stays glued to them all the way down. Very neat!
  The brunt of the flow of water flows to the opposite side where a single triangular shaped rock below the falls receives a heavy dose of water on top of it. Just to the right of this cascade you can see a cave entrance under the green foliage.
  Didn't get up to the top tier of the waterfall on this trip, but will be determined to photograph it the next time I visit.


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 22mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1.6 sec. (2 image panorama)
  Something I seem to fail to do every time I go to Conasauga Falls is to photograph the falls up close.  Saturday I made it a point to get closer and catch some of the finer details of the falls.
  Conasauga Falls is a 3-tier waterfall with the middle tier standing roughly 15-20 feet tall.  The entire waterfall measures 35 feet so the middle section takes up the biggest part of the falls.  It also happens to be the most beautiful part of the falls when you climb up and separate it from the rest of the waterfall.
  The rocks at the bottom of the falls are covered less with moss than the middle and in turn don't have as much green color to them.
  I really like the way this section of the falls separates itself into 3 sections of it's own. It could stand alone as a beautiful waterfall without the other 2 tiers of the falls.
  I will post some more from Conasauga Falls more detailed features in the future.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 400, f/14, 0.4 sec
  As I said in my last post, I have been to Conasauga Falls on 4 different occasions.  Trying to get a unique shot of the falls becomes difficult. Especially a wide angle complete shot of the falls. You can only look at them from so many angles before you say "Yep, there it is" and your bored with it.
  I think that this image is an exception.
  Every canyon or gorge has been cut from water erosion.  You can see that by the smooth rocks in the rivers and streams and by the shapes of the canyon walls sculpted by the water. When I took this photo, I noticed that the water rushing down the 3-tiered Conasauga Falls pour into a large pool. If you look at the rocks that make up the tiers of the falls you can see what the water has done them.  I then noticed that this pool seems to empty directly on to this small rock before flowing over several more cascades down stream.
  This rock takes a tremendous beating  from the splashing water.  So much in fact that I took several close ups of this rock and you still can't get a good solid shot of rock in any shot. Just a dark spot under the water.  Almost like nature's own version of water boarding torture.  In a few years the rock may shape into a "V" from the water erosion, who knows. Would love to see old photos of this area and see what it looked like 50-100 years ago.
  400 ISO really helps catch the violent splash of water on the rock while still giving a silky flow of water over the falls themselves in the background.


Canon EOS REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/16, 0.8sec (5 image panorama)
  Although Conasauga Falls is a place I have visited and photographed on 3 different occasions, I was more than happy to take a 4th trip on Saturday morning with my good friend Tim Owens.
  One of the reasons I love this particular waterfall is that it takes some effort to get there. Well, to back from there even more. It is a 1 mile hike down a mountain side to the falls but the hike back up the mountain side can get pretty taxing because it is an up hill battle. Totally worth it, though.
  It was Tim's first trip to the falls.  Not only had Tim not been there before, but it was also my first trip with my new 19-35 lens.
  It was also the first time I had been to a waterfall of any kind since reading Ten Suggestions For better Waterfall Photography by Richard Bernabe on his blog. One of Richard's suggestions was to keep your shutter speeds below 2 seconds because if you expose longer, it renders the water featureless.  This particular suggestion hits home with me because I have noticed that a lot of my water shots have this problem.  I have always worried about my aperture and composition and just stayed content with whatever shutter speed I had as long as it was 0.3" or longer. Saturday morning I really concentrated on the length of my exposure and adjusted the ISO settings to try and keep exposures between 0.3-2.0 seconds and most cases under 1 second.  I think it made a huge difference in the quality of my images.
  The advantage of new wide angle lens paid off on today's image not just by fitting the entire landscape into one shot, but by being able to get a lot closer to the waterfall and fit a wider range in. I thought with a wide angle lens I wouldn't do as many panorama's but found myself able to get fantastic angle to create even better pano's. This shot spanned over 5 vertical images from left to right and blended together in Photoshop Elements Photomerge Panorama.
  Tim absolutely enjoyed his first trip to Conasauga Falls and will probably be there several times more as will I.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/60 sec.
  Not much to describe about this shot other than I had been eyeing this spot for a while because of the cat tails standing tall around this pond.  When I finally set up here I realized that my angle at the sunrise was not conducive to catching the cat tails in front of it.  So I framed the shot with the tall weeds on the right and the pond wrapping around a lone rock close to shore.
  The clouds in the background and the treeline intersected right where the sun peaked over them both. The sun's reflection was distorted by the algae on the pond but the overall reflection of the clouds and sun came through pretty nice I thought.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Tamron 28-80 lens @ 28mm, ISO 100, f/14, 2.5 sec.
  Reached back into the archives from April and found this shot.  This rock in the Tellico River really stood out to me as it forced the water to move around it.
  Also liked the way the river winds through the shot from the tier in the background to the foreground.


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/14, 1/30 sec.
 It was an interesting morning on Wednesday last week. Stopped to take sunrise pics on a bridge on highway 360 and was very unimpressed with the results.  As I was leaving to go to work I noticed this sloping curve of the shoreline directly under the bridge reaching out all the way across the lake.
  The water was smooth as glass and made for a beautiful reflection all the way down the shoreline finishing at a similar bridge crossing in the very top right of the image.
  May not be the most dramatic or eye-popping shot, but I really liked the simple beauty of it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @24mm, ISO 100, f/22, 2 sec.
  The only good thing about the very hot temperatures we are seeing in the south right now is the morning fog created by the dew evaporation.  Every morning I have been seeing this low lying fog and not until Friday morning did I find the right setting to photograph it.
  A few years ago this used to be a golf driving range just off of highway 411 between Vonore and Madisonville, TN.  Without the driving range there anymore it is a perfect hay field and there are several rolls spread out over it.
  I pulled into the field at about 6:00am and the fog was hovering just over the tops of these hay rolls.  As the sun started coming up higher the fog started lifting but not very fast so I was able to move and try different angles to shoot from.
  The cloud formations were very interesting opposite the sunrise as well. The further away from the horizon, they were spreading out into pok-a-dot formations which was very neat.
  With a longer shutter speed I was able to smooth out the moving fog very much like moving water.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 21mm, ISO 100, f/16, 1/40 sec.
  My brother has created a monster.
  After learning Jim's layering technique in Photoshop Elements, I have gone crazy with it. Processed 3 images using this process last night and was blown away by the results.
  When I left the house early Thursday morning I noticed that there were some clouds in the sky at sunrise. There hadn't been any clouds the last few days and sunrises have been boring. I knew I had to take advantage of this and found myself at the same spot were I caught April Sunrise Reflection.
  I spent several minutes photographing the T-shaped dock  and happened to notice the sun was a solid red ball on the horizon. I immediately changed my vantage point to achieve a clearer view of it.  Then I found this single bare tree just off the shore that screamed "Take my picture".
  I tried to get an angle where the sun was oriented in the fork of the branches of this tree but it was just impossible from the shore and I didn't have my waders with me. I was very happy with this angle, however, especially when the sun started hitting the layers of clouds.  A bird even joined in the shot as I was snapping away.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35 lens @ 29mm, ISO 100, f/11, 1/30 sec.
  When Jim and I arrived in downtown Paris last Sunday on our photo walk we parked right in front of this wonderful brick building. Most of these older brick building have names like the "Thompson" building or something like that. Don't have a clue as to the name of this one but it does house the Henry County Clerk's office so if someone out there knows of it's name please feel free to chime in with it.
  Jim and I took positions on opposite corners of the street while we were shooting.  The sun climbed up right over Jim's left shoulder and absolutely bathed the bricks in golden light and created reflections of the blue morning sky in the windows.  I was just lucky enough to be at the angle to catch it.
  This image is kind of an ode to brother Jim for it is the first image I successfully applied the layering technique he demonstrates in his screen cast The Eyes Have It - Screencast - Layers in Elements.  I successfully layered the darker blue sky from a -2 exposed image to the brighter original image. Really liked the way it turned out too. Also brought through the darker shadows on the front and side of the building. Thanks for tips Jimbo, I think I have it figured out now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, Promaster 19-35mm lens @ 19mm, ISO 100, f/20, 1/640 sec.
  While in Big Sandy, TN this weekend my brother Jim and I took off on a photo excursion into downtown Paris, TN on Sunday morning.  I must admit, it has been so long since I have done any photography on city streets that I felt completely out of my element. No moving water, no forest. What was I going to shoot?
  Well, after starting in on the streets around the town square and courthouse we headed to a park where Paris has their own Eiffel Tower that I was very excited about shooting.
  The tower hasn't always been in Paris and is very small compared to the original in Paris, France but is now a staple in the Paris landscape.
  I originally wanted  a vertical wide angle shot starting at one of the feet of the tower and stretching upward to the top but the iron railing around the tower plus being 3 feet or so elevated off the ground made that impossible.
  I then decided to move to the opposite of the tower and shoot back at the already risen morning sun. I carefully positioned the higher of the two "landings" centered over the sun to create a silhouette with the sun making a white halo behind the tower.
  I was auto-bracketing exposures and this particular shot happened to be a -2 shot that I fell in love with because of the really dark blue color the sky took on. A couple of small clouds break up the solid blue background and add to the shot as well.