Tuesday, October 30, 2012


ISO 100, f/14, 1/5 second, 70mm
  This is probably the most photographed tree in Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains. Just past Hyatt Lane on the back end of the Scenic Loop this large Oak tree stands tall and proud in a large field with a spectacular mountainous background.

Monday, October 29, 2012


ISO 400, f/20, 6 seconds, -0.7 EV, 19mm
  This is by far one of my favorite waterfall images that I have taken. The fog and fallen leaves along the Roaring Fork Motor & Nature Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains on Sunday was just breathtaking to photograph.
  The fog and rainy conditions made for some longer than normal exposures than I normally like, but in this case it works well with the dreamy atmosphere.
  The leaves almost make for a complete border around the frame by only keeping the low lying leaves from the overhanging tree visible at the top of the shot.  The rest of the fallen leaves frame up the sides.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


ISO 200, f/18, 0.6 seconds, -0.7EV, 19mm
  Halloween is just a couple of days away and when Tim Owens and I were shooting pics along the Roaring Fork Motor and Nature Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park yesterday the fog hanging over the mountainside created this ominous scene that is perfect for this time of year.
  Fog creates such a mysterious feel and look to any landscape, The way it hovered in and around the tops of these leafless trees was both scary and beautiful at the same time. The few trees in  the background with yellow leafs on them provide a touch of color to break up the almost monochrome look.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 1/3 second, 29mm
Delving back into my Abalone Cove shots while shooting with +Mark Esguerra  & +Rob Lopes I found this shot and really fell in love with it. Had to do some cropping out of some foreground but really liked the way it works with the vertical spray from behind the rocks and perfectly still water in front of them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


ISO 100, f/16, 1/5 second, 29mm
  Not much as far as clouds go in Cades Cove on Sunday morning. The fog, however, was the star of the day.
  This was taken just past Sparks Lane at the beginning of Scenic Loop Rd. This lone tree didn't have any foliage left on it but it still stood well against the fog-laden background with the sun striking the top of the mountains.

Monday, October 22, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 1/3 second, 24mm
   There are a ton of icons in and around Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains. Carter Shields Cabin is no exception.
  One of the last stops along the Scenic Loop Rd, this little cabin is tucked back away from the road in a quaint hollow and at this time of year is surrounded by wonderful fall color from the surrounding trees.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 1/10 second, 29mm
  Boy what a great morning of photography in Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains.
  First of all, it was my first nature photography excursion since getting my new Canon T3i camera on Friday. What a great little camera. Light years better than that of my XS, not that I didn't like my XS and will probably use it when I get it repaired. I shot all day long at a cheerleading competition the day before and just using the T3i syncing with my flash was amazing. Love the flip-out, rotating LCD screen as well. Just a handy little all-around camera.
  There wasn't a great deal of fall color left in Cades Cove when I arrived this morning. There was, however, a lot of ground fog, which was awesome and created great atmosphere. I did find this grouping of colorful trees as I just turned onto Hyatt Lane and with the fog hovering in the background just had to stop and shoot here.
  I always love using the cross-roads in the cove as leading lines. Especially when they have these awesome fence posts along the roadway.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


ISO 100, f/14, 1/30 second, 70mm
  One of the great things about using a telephoto lens, like my Canon 70-300 IS USM lens, is that by zooming you can compress the whole image and make it look like everything is closer together.
  Today's post is a perfect example. By using my zoom lens, I compressed the landscape to make all of the layers of mountains look like they lie on top of each other. The low-lying clouds break up the landscape but still allow it the compressed look.
  The colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway were ridiculous on Monday morning and looked like a Crayola Crayons box. The compressed look created by using the zoom lens help show off all of these colors by laying them on top of each other and closer together.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


ISO 400, f/20, 1/2 second, 19mm
  The first stop on our Blue Ridge Parkway tour, well the first stop we got to shoot photos, was at the Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields.
  There are a couple of neat things about shooting these falls that make it terribly unique to any other waterfall that I have shot. First, the .20 mile hike to the falls from the parking area is through a Mountain Laurel & Rhododendron Forest. The path is canopied by Mountain Laurel and it is absolutely beautiful. When we were here in the spring with Richard Bernabe's NC Waterfall Workshop everything was covered in green and Trillium were blooming on the forest floor next to the path. It is quite a gorgeous little hike.
  The second thing about Lower Falls is that the rocks are granite and the moss that grows on them isn't green, it's gold. It makes the waterfall special and unique and incredibly beautiful even though the falls themselves are quite stunning without the golden surroundings.
  The photo above is a composition that I didn't shoot back in the spring. This large rock in the foreground is neatly shaped and actually points to the waterfall in the background. The rocks to the right of it point to the waterfall as well drawing the eye to the waterfall. As if it needed something to draw more attention to it.
  Although fall color was almost gone at the falls, there were still some reds and greens hanging around to add to the right side of the mountain wall next to the falls.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


ISO 400,  f/20, 1/2 second, 19mm
  One of the areas we visited along the Blue Ridge Parkway on Sunday was Skinny Dip Falls. To get there you stop at the Looking Glass Rock Overlook. Across the road from the parking area you will find a path that leads 1/2 miles over rocks and roots through the forest to a 3-tier waterfall.
  The last tier of Skinny Dip Falls runs under a foot bridge before tumbling down a few cascades into the brightly colored forest.
  Today's post is one of those downstream cascades that I photographed looking downstream instead of back upstream at the falls. This waterfall created a wonderful flow to the image from the cascade rocks in the foreground to the autumn tree reflection in the background.
  This was probably my favorite shot of the day for more than just the visual flow reasoning. While stepping across rocks to get to this vantage point, I accidentally stepped mid-shin into the stream after falling off balance. It was well worth getting a soaker, though, for this shot.

Monday, October 15, 2012


ISO 100, f/14, 1/125, 120mm
  What a difference a day makes.
  Tim Owens and I met up with Curt Fleenor Sunday morning on the Blue Ridge Parkway to photograph sunrise and then fall color along the Parkway all day.
  Although we did get to photograph some beautiful waterfalls, Mother Nature did not allow us to capture any sunrise or brilliant fall color due to complete cloud cover all day long. This is perfect for shooting moving water, but for colorful mountain vistas we would have much rather had some blue skies mixed in with the clouds.
  We did have a great time and took a lot of photos though and I was extremely happy to meet and shoot with G+ friend Curt Fleenor for the first time. Fantastic guy and a great photographic eye.
  This morning, Tim and I thought we would run into more of the same. We started out on the Parkway working our way toward Interstate 26 thinking the fog would push us west and into the Smokies to shoot at the Roaring Fork Motor Trail on our journey home.
  At roughly 9:00am however, the clouds broke over the Parkway and gave us a stunning view of Looking Glass Rock from Pounding Mill Overlook. Low clouds were hovering all around the valley with the sun striking through. It was exactly what we had hoped for on Sunday.
  Usually, I shoot wide angle and try to capture grand vistas. This morning, though, I was more inclined to mount the 70-300 Canon lens on and compress the landscape some. I am so glad I did. It allowed me to draw more attention to Looking Glass Rock than the entire valley and still catch some of that wonderful fall color in the process.

Friday, October 12, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 0.8 seconds, -1.0EV, 19mm
  Sometimes it's easier for me to see the big picture than to focus in on the subtle details of a scene. With today's post, I didn't see the subtle details until I was trying to process the original image of the big picture.
  This colorful red leaf was sitting on this rock just above the water line of the Tellico River. I was trying to photograph several of these leaves in the foreground with the river and trees in the background when it struck me. This leaf against the pewter colored rocks provided a great contrast to each other and cropped down to it's simplest detail was a way better composition than the big picture I was shooting.
  Wish I would have noticed this when I was taking the photograph I would have used a large aperture and created a small depth of field.
  Maybe next time I will see the subtle details before I snap the shutter.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 1 second, -1 EV, 22mm
  Tried something new with one of my shots from Sunday's venture into the Cherokee National Forest. I first processed this shot as I normally do and then applied the Dreamland Effect in OnOne's Perfect Effects 3 Free software. Really love that filter.
  Then I converted the shot to an infrared black and white. I absolutely loved what it did for the image. The normal person may not like it, but I really do. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 8 seconds, 19mm
  It's another #waterfallwednesday curated by +Eric Leslie and an autumn image of Baby Falls in the Cherokee National Forest is my submission. Variable ND filter allowed me an 8 second exposure to capture a pair of eddy's to the bottom right of the falls. Beautiful fall color everywhere in the forest and mountains of East Tennessee right now.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 0.6 seconds, 21mm, -0.7 EV
  Another shot from my Sunday afternoon jaunt into the Cherokee National Forest. 
  The Tellico River had just crossed under River Rd to run along the left of the road on the way to Bald River Falls approximately a 1/2 miles further down. These scattering of rocks that were littered with fallen leaves drew us immediately after we descended to the river bank.

Monday, October 8, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 1/3 second, 24mm
  It's amazing how revisiting spots you've photographed before change with the change of seasons. I had photographed this same spot a couple of years ago in the winter time when the temperature was in the 30's and there wasn't  a leaf one on any tree in view. I ended up processing it as a black and white and sepia due to the fact that there wasn't any color in the shot.
  Yesterday was a different story, however, with fall color spreading throughout the Cherokee National Forest.
  As was the story with the first time I visited here, the large rocks in the foreground are what drew me to this spot and composition. What I didn't notice until I processed this shot is how the large rock wall in the background helps create flow to the shot as the forest wraps around it.
  Processed this as an HDR in order to grab detail all throughout the shot and I am really happy with the way it turned out.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 0.8 seconds, 28mm
  Fall color is in full swing in the Cherokee National Forest.
  Overcast skies provided us with some prime light for photographing mid-day waterfalls and cascades today. After noticing some prime spots for combining those cascades with fall color reflections yesterday, Tim Owens and I met up on River Rd and took advantage of the situation.
  My first stop was very close to the entrance of River Rd from the Cherohala Skyway. My recon from yesterday drew me to this place because it is one of the 2 or 3 spots along the river where there is a long, smooth stretch of water without rocks or trees to break up the smooth reflection of the colorful trees in the background.
  When I arrived there today I noticed this awesome little cascades with a few yellow leaves that were visible under the surface of the water. I donned my waders and took the plunge to get a vantage point right in front of the cascade so that the yellow leaves created a great foreground interest.
  To my delight, the reflection of the trees carried right up to the cascade and actually curved the treetops around the rocks.
  What a great afternoon along the Tellico River today with a lot more posts from here to come.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 2.5 seconds, 19mm
  Most fall mornings are quite brisk and cold, especially in the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains.
  But when the sun clears the horizon, the cold is cut down by it's golden rays. When shining on the bright fall foliage, the sunlight can not only warm the temperatures, but also make those fall colors explode!


ISO 100, f/20, 3.2 seconds, 19mm, -0,3 EV
  When we find a waterfall to photograph, the first thing we do is search for foreground interest for composition. One of the coolest things that we can use is an eddy. An eddy is where the flow of water turns back against the main flow and causes a swirling effect. Some are very large and take an extremely long shutter speed of 8 seconds or more to capture. Others, like the one in the foreground of today's image, are much smaller and in this case spin more rapidly and are able to be captured in a couple of seconds.
  Today's image even has a bonus in that there were several yellow leaves trapped in the eddy and adding color to the swirl.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


ISO 100, f/16, 2.5 seconds, 19mm
  The colors they are a changing. Found these lovely twin cascades along Newfound Gap Rd in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Sunday morning. The yellow leaves on the trees in the background make the statement that fall is definitely in season in the Smokies.

Monday, October 1, 2012


ISO 100, f/20, 1/2 seconds, 19mm
  No place I'd rather be in the fall than the Smoky Mountains. The upper elevations are popping with color right now and +Tim Owens and I were lucky enough to catch some of that fall color along Newfound Gap Rd (Hwy 441) yesterday.