Category Archives: Smoky Mountains National Park

The Magic Lake at Clingmans Dome

According to the Cherokee tradition, hidden deep within the Smoky Mountains, there is an enchanted lake that humans cannot see. Known as Atagahi, this magical lake is an oasis for animals of every kind, with thousands of water birds, fish, reptiles, and bears enjoying its water.

Atagahi-The Enchanted Lake

Atagahi-The Enchanted Lake

In one story, the enchanted lake reveals itself to a young Cherokee man after days of fasting and continuous prayer. Having proven that he has no intention to hunt at Atagahi, the pure hearted man is permitted to see the lake’s stunning violet water and teeming wildlife. When his vision ends, the man marks the location of the secret lake with a pile of rocks.

A short time after this discovery, a terrible winter brings the Cherokee to the brink of starvation. Faced with no other choice, the young hunter returns to Atagahi to bring food back to his family. When he shoots a bear with his bow, however, the animal falls into the purple water and emerges unscathed. The bear tells the trespasser that he has betrayed them and the young man is attacked by a furry horde.

After the snowstorm passes, the Cherokee find the body of the young man, but there are no tracks from the bears who mauled him. Although Atagahi was forever sealed off from human intervention after the young hunter’s treachery, legend has it that you can still see morning mist rise from the magic lake when you stand at the top of Clingmans Dome.

Clingman’s Dome is a sacred mountain to the Cherokees, where the “magic lake” was once seen. The Great Spirit told the Cherokees that “If they love me, if they love all their brothers and sisters, and if they love all the animals of the earth, when they grow old and sick, they can come back to the ‘magic lake’ and be made well again.”

Tuscan Photographic Workshop Tour June 18 – June 23 2016

Florence is a terrific place to start an Italian adventure. It was built by the Romans and transformed by the Renaissance into one on the great art capitals of the world. There are still a couple of places left on the Tuscan workshop.

Duomo Florence

Duomo Florence

Florence, Italy

Florence, Italy

Our first stop in Tuscany will be San Gimignano, a small walled village an hour north and Siena, it is famous for its medieval architecture and towers that rise above of all the surrounding buildings offering an impressive view of the city from the surrounding valley.

After our morning shoot in San Gimignano, we will be heading to Siena to explore this wonderful medieval village where Leonardo da Vinci enjoyed spending time.

After Siena we will be staying in the Val d’Orcia which is the wheat belt of Tuscany. The Val d’Orcia is an hour south of Siena with the Bagno Vignoni on its west side and the ancient Roman village of Pienza on its east. In the Heart of the Tuscan region we’ll be capturing images, with time set aside to soak in the hot mineral waters of the Bagno, a little wine tasting, and a cooking class for anyone who is interested. We will spend some time processing images using Photoshop’s Lightroom and Topaz and Nik Software plug-ins to help improve your processing skills.

Click here to get to my Links page for the 15% off discount code for any of the Topaz products

Devil’s Fire – Southwest workshop

Getting in and out of the Devil’s Fire was quite an experience. You have to travel on 30 miles of bad road before going off-road for another 20. There were a couple of spots when, although I did not say it, I was thinking “Oh Shit this could be a long walk back!”. My friend W. Steve Johnson and I made it in and out twice and we captured some spectacular images. I look forward to sharing this unique place with clients on our upcoming southwest trips.

Beggars Banquet - Nevada

Beggars Banquet – Nevada

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Val d’Orcia, Tuscany – June 18 – June 23 2016

Early morning mist and cypress trees in the Val d’Orcia create breathtaking images that have keep bringing me back over the years. This region is has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site which will help ensure that this area will stay natural and not be overdeveloped.

Morning Mist Val d'Orcia

Morning Mist Val d’Orcia

This June I will be staying with the group in a small village that has ancient mineral springs used by the Romans and the Etruscans before them. There are a couple of spot left and I hope you can join me.

Tuscan Photographic Workshop Tour
June 18 – June 23 2016
$950.00/ Limited to 8 Students

Click here to get to my Links page for the 15% off discount code for any of the Topaz products.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy and safe holiday.

Wishing you and your loved ones a very happy and safe holiday. Hope that your New Year is filled with prosperity, excellent images and new adventures.

Cades Cove - Smoky Mountains

Cades Cove – Smoky Mountains



‪#‎challengeonnaturephotography‬‬ Val d’Orcia (day 3)

I was nominated by Theresa Antes to participate in a 7-day  ‪#‎challengeonnaturephotography‬  Val d’Orcia  (day 3) this valley is where we will be staying during the June 2016 workshop If you’re enjoying these photos, click on the challenge hashtag and see other amazing images from photographers around the world. I’d like to invite Robert Parry  to join the fun — post a photo each day for seven days, include the hashtag #‎challengeonnaturephotography‬ in your post, tag me, and invite someone else to post as well

Morning Mist Val d'Orcia

Morning Mist Val d’Orcia

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Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving full of Family and Friends

It has been a good year filled with travel and Family and friends and I wanted to wish everyone.

               “Happy Thanksgiving”

A couple of days ago I received a few images from my friend Steve Johnson that symbolizes to me where I want my mind and heart to be during the holidays and through the year.

Simple places with family and friends.

Smoky Mt Cabin - Steve Johnson

Smoky Mt Cabin – Steve Johnson


Smoky Mt Church - Steve Johnson

Smoky Mt Church – Steve Johnson


Smoky Mountain Fall

I arrived home late last night from teaching the Fall Smoky Mountain workshop. It is hard for me to return home when i’m capturing great images and  having a great time and I Probably would have stayed a couple of extra days but my niece is getting married tomorrow to a great guy and it is time for family and friends.

Fall Colors - Smoky Mountains

Fall Colors – Smoky Mountains


Fall colors in the Smokies

I received an update on the colors in the Smoky Mountains from my friend and fellow photographer George Hamzik that the colors along the rivers are looking great.

I am excited to drive down tomorrow and start shooting along the streams and valleys.

Fall in the Smoky Mountains

Fall in the Smoky Mountains

Mount LeConte-Great Smoky Mountains

This Friday I will be heading to the  Great Smoky Mountains for a couple of shooting days before the fall color workshop begins. It will be great visiting some of my favorite locations and checking out a few new shooting spots.

Mount LeConte-Great Smoky Mountains

Mount LeConte-Great Smoky Mountains

I captured this image on a wet overcast day which helped to give me great saturated color. I enjoy a shooting on a beautiful sunny day and can capture great images but when it is raining I think ‘Let it Rain’ and Eric Clapton’s melodies start playing in my head. These are usually my best shooting days!

Click here to get to my Links page for the 15% off discount code for any of the Topaz products.

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