Category Archives: Smoky Mountains Institute

Sunrise along the rivers in the Smoky Moutains

I will be going in a day or two early for the Smoky Mountain workshop to capture  morning images on the Gatlinburg side of the Smoky Mountains and I am anxious to spend a sunrise at this location.

Sunrise along the rivers in the Smoky Mountains

Sunrise along the rivers in the Smoky Mountains

On  August 25th topaz will be releasing an updated version of our masking software Topaz ReMask 5, , complete with new features. As always, the updates are free to anyone who already owns ReMask. And for those who don’t own it, ReMask 5 will be on sale ($20 off) from August 25th – September 18th take advantage of the discounted price of $49.99 (regularly $69.99)

Click here to get to my Links page for the discount code for ReMask 5.

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Sparks Lane – Smoky Mountains

From the 26th through the 29th of October I will be back teaching in the Smoky Mountains one of our great national parks. The image of Sparks Lane was captured this april when the dogwoods were in full bloom and I am anxious to see it in its fall color.

Sparks Lane Simplify 4 Spring 2014

Sparks Lane Simplify 4 Spring 2014

Throughout the smoky Mountains there are historical landmarks of the families that lived and raised their families in this area which help us make a connection with our past and sometimes our present. Last weekend I spent a few minutes with friend who’s last name is Sparks and asked if they had any connection to the Smoky Mountains. It was not surprising to find out that their family had moved to southern Indiana from Tennessee.

In October when I am capturing images on Sparks lane in the Smokies it will be fun thinking of the Sparks family members who I have spent time with capturing images of the masked characters at Carnival in Venice and at the top of St Peters Coppola in Rome.

Sparks Lane CR2 raw image Spring 2014

Sparks Lane CR2 raw image Spring 2014

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Smoky Mountain Fall Color Workshop, Gregg Cable House, Cades Cove

From October 26-29 2014 I will be conducting a Fall Color workshop tour in the Smoky Mountains. The Smokies are blanketed in their autumn tapestry at this time of year. One of the days we will be spending time in Cades Cove capturing the colors. During our time in Cades Cove we will spend time photographing the interiors of early american cabins taken care of by the parks service.

Cades Cove Cabin Processed with Nik software HDR Efex Pro 2

Cades Cove Cabin Processed with Nik software HDR Efex Pro 2

Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 is a great tool for bringing out the detail of these interior images.

Cades Cove Cabin Processed with Nik software HDR Efex Pro 2

Cades Cove Cabin Processed with Nik software HDR Efex Pro 2

I bracketed the time for this interior cabin image at F/13 with a focal length of 24mm at ISO 400

One of two CR2 Raw files used to process this HDR image.

One of two CR2 Raw files used to process this HDR image.

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National Parks location workshop tours

The 4th of July is a great day to have fun with family and friends and plan trips to our great National Parks. My images below capture the beauty of Grand Canyon and remind me of the visual treasures the parks hold for us to photograph. I have scheduled two workshops this fall in our National Parks, hope you can join us.

The Great Smoky Mountains Workshop tour October 26-29 2014

Southwest Slot Canyon Workshop tour Nov. 8-14 2014.

Hope you can join me in one of our national parks!

Shadow Lands, South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Shadow Lands, South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Both Topaz and Nix software can work magic on your image. Today Ihave spent a little time today working on images of the Grand Canyon that are in my Panoramic Gallery. The Topaz software that I used to finish these images makes a huge improvement over the original processing in Photoshop CS3 used just a few years ago.

Tapestry of Light, South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Tapestry of Light, South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Raw image with a few adjustments

Raw image with a few adjustments

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Sunset at Clingmans Dome – Smoky Mountain Workshop

Teaching and getting to know everyone in the Smoky Mountains was a great time for me.  It has been busy since I have arrived home from the Smoky Mountain workshop getting ready for the spring midwest art fair circuit which starts on mothers day weekend in Birmingham. In-between the projects my thoughts drift back to the mountains and the fun that I had with everyone as a group and individually. Although I come home with many great memories and images there is always one that seems to stand out from each trip. From the Smokies it was being on top of Clingmans Dome with the cold wind whipping across the top of the mountain making tears swell up in everyone’s eyes as we waited for sunset. For the last 40 years I have enjoyed places like that and it is nice having company on those cold mountain tops. Thinking of it will always bring a warm smile and a thought; what a hardy group!

Sunset at Clingmans Dome

Sunset at Clingmans Dome

Sunset at Clingmans Dome - Unprocessed

Sunset at Clingmans Dome – Unprocessed

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Wildflowers in Cades Cove

While in Cades cove a couple of years ago I captured this wild pink Aster at F5.6 to keep the majority of the blooms in focus while fading out the background. The image was nice but I did not want to spend time cleaning it up so I let it sit until a couple of days ago when I decided to run it through Topaz Simplify 4. 1st I creating a layer and then in Effects I selected Painting in Presets then I selected Impressions Color. After Simplify made its changes to the layer I changed the opacity to 35% to soften the effect and this gave the image the a nice look and color boost without healing areas of the flower that I would normally.

Aster using Topaz Simplify

Aster processed using Topaz Simplify

This weekend I will be heading to the Smoky Mountains to arrive a day or two ahead of my workshop group which starts on the 21st of April. The wildflowers are in great bloom in the park and the shooting will be amazing. We will have partially cloudy skies with some chance of rain with temperatures will be from the low to high 70’s during the day and drop down to the 50’s at night.

Aster Raw image unprocessed

Aster Raw image unprocessed

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Where Do You Want To Photograph In 2014

This New Years day I sat down to work on past images  from the Smoky Mountains. With the Smoky Mountain Workshop only  a few months away it was enjoyable looking over images of mountain streams rushing with spring runoff, delicate blooms of the dogwoods and the soft greens of the young leaves on this cold winter day. 

Smoky Mountain spring runoff and dogwoods

Smoky Mountain spring runoff and dogwoods

On New Year’s Eve I ordered the Epson 9890 on New Year’s  Eve. It will be great having the new Epson for  my printing workflow for the art fairs and if everything goes smoothly with delivery and set up I will be printing with my new 9890 by this weekend.

The start of each new year brings a feeling of exhilaration and enthusiasm for the places that I will be visiting, the images that I will capture and everything that this year will hold for me.  I look forward to another full year of displaying my images at Art Fairs, teaching location workshops while spending time with old and new friends.

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