Fall color at Abrams Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I took this one on a trip a couple years ago. I hope to get back there in the next couple of years.
For the final part of my Great Smoky Mountains 2015 Trip Report, we’ll visit my favorite place in the park – Cades Cove.
Cades Cove is home to several homesites, churches, and lots of wildlife, making it a great place for photography. Here’s a few of my favorites from last fall:
Cades Cove Methodist Church
Hyatt Lane Sunrise
Becky Cable Home
Primitive Baptist Church Road
Sparks Lane Sunrise
Momma Bear and her three cubs enjoy a breakfast of walnuts in Cades Cove. If I would have arrived a couple of minutes earlier I would have seen one of the cubs up in the tree shaking the branches to knock more walnuts off.
I knew black bears ate acorns, but had no idea about walnuts. Apparently that’s their go to food when the acorns aren’t plentiful.
Apologies for the unplanned hiatus. Stop by Tuesday for Part 3 of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park trip report.
The clear skies that made waterfall photography difficult did create opportunities for great sunset and night photography on Clingman’s Dome and along the Newfound Gap road.
Sunsets on Clingman’s Dome are fun to watch. On a clear day just before sunset a line of photographers appear along the edge of the parking lot to get the classic shot of the sun dropping behind the distant mountains. Stick around after the sun disappears and the colors turn from oranges and purples to pastel pinks and blues.
For a little different perspective, a climb to the top of the observation platform gets you above the tree tops. If you decide to make the climb, allow plenty of time. The path is steep and at high elevation.
Once it’s dark enough for the Milky Way to appear, the trees at Clingman’s Dome and the overlooks on Newfound Gap Road make interesting foregrounds.
Clingman’s Dome Trail:
That’s it for Part 2. If you missed it, please have a look at Part 1 of the trip report. Check back in two weeks for Part 3 – Cades Cove.
Following the Cass Fall Photography Workshop, I made the trip down to Pigeon Forge to see the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the first time. My two priorities for the trip were spending time in Cades Cove and shooting as many waterfalls as possible. While I was successful on the first goal, sunny weather all week made waterfall photography a challenge. But the sunny weather brought great sunsets and clear night skies on Clingman’s Dome so like all photography adventures, it was just a matter of chasing the light.
To keep the length reasonable, I’m going to split the trip report into three sections: Waterfalls & Cascades, Sunsets & Night Photography and Cades Cove.
First up is Waterfalls. As I mentioned earlier, many of the waterfalls are difficult to shoot on bright sunny days. Dappled light and harsh shadows make for a difficult exposure, so instead of hiking the waterfalls back to back as I planned, getting decent waterfall shots became a game of shooting in the shadows. After some quick research on the topography surrounding the waterfalls, I was able to guess when the surrounding hills would leave them in shadow, making for an easier exposure.
Big Creek Cascades
Midnight Hole Cascades
Mouse Creek Falls
Baskins Creek Falls
Lynn Camp Cascades
Spruce Flats Falls
All things considered, I’m happy with the waterfall shots I was able to get and since I didn’t get them all, I guess I’ll have to go back!
Check back in two weeks for Part 2 – Sunset & Night Photography.