Category Archives: Greenbrier

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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Chasing White Rainbows in the Smoky Mountains

When out photographing we should always look for the elements in a composition that will make our images stand out from the ordinary. It is these subtle differences that make our images special to us and others. On one of the morning shoots during the Smokey Mountain workshop the group was composing images at Cades Cove in the early morning fog. The area we were focused on started to brighten and we realized that a fog bow was forming. 

Fog Bow - Cades Cove

Fog Bow – Cades Cove

When out capturing images I look for the best composition of the location and then for a difference that will make it stand out from other images that have been taken at that location. After walking around looking at every angle at every height and taking test image I find that it is often the soft morning light that makes an image special.  Soft early morning light has always been the most important element in my images. The soft light only a few photographers are out enjoying and on this morning it was the combination of the way the light interacted with the fog to create the seldom seen fog bow also known as a white rainbow.

fog bow is a similar phenomenon to a rainbow but it appears as a bow in fog rather than in rain. Because of the very small size of water droplets that cause fog—smaller than 0.05 millimeters (0.0020 in)—a fog bow has very weak colors, with a red outer edge and bluish inner edge. When the droplets are very small the fog bows appear white, and are called white rainbows.


Smoky Mountain Dogwoods

I arrived in the Smoky Mountains for sunset along the mountain rivers tonight and captured this image of dogwoods with a 4 second time exposure giving the river its fluid motion.

When I am on the road I use my laptop to process images which has a nice screen but is hard to calibrate and should be recalibrated periodically. The two images below are an example of what an image will look like on a properly calibrated monitor and what one looks like if the screen density shifts. The density shift on the laptop was probably U. E. User Error.

Smoky Mountain - Dogwoods

Smoky Mountain – Dogwoods

Smoky Mountain - Dogwoods

Smoky Mountain – Dogwoods

The Dogwoods are in great bloom and the weather predictions are good. It is going to be a great week!!


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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Greenbrier – Smokey Mountain National Park

 Just north and east of Gatlinburg there is an amazing area in the great smoky national park called Greenbrier. The rock formations in Greenbrier look like the formations you would find on the Moon.  It is an amazing place to photograph especially after a fresh rain.  The crevices fill with water and create wonderful reflection pools of the surrounding trees. I like to visit this area in the late afternoon when the light is being blocked by the surrounding hills and trees.  You can get some amazing reflections on the water lying in small pools between the rocks

Greenbrier Moonscape - Great Smokey Mountain Park, Tennessee
Greenbrier Moonscape – Great Smokey Mountain Park, Tennessee

I came in at a low angle and Captured my images at F16 through F32 so my depth of field would not only keep the rocks and small reflection pools in the foreground in focus but also keep the waterfalls and trees in the background in focus.

Greenbrier - Great Smokey Mountain Park, Tennessee
Greenbrier – Great Smokey Mountain Park, Tennessee

Image number 16, 17 and 18 in the Smokey Mountain gallery were photographed in the Greenbrier area.

Greenbrier - Great Smokey Mountain Park, Tennessee
Greenbrier – Great Smokey Mountain Park, Tennessee

I selected my camera White Balance for Auto and selected my Camera Profile for Neutral in Adobe Camera Raw and then opened the images into Photoshop CS 5 so I could do my adjustments using Nik software. With these single images I found that running them through the Nik HDR program game me amazing contrast that I couldn’t achieve with any other tools I had used.


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