Category Archives: Smokies

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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Moon rising over lone tree in the mist – Smoky Mountain Fall Workshop

The morning mist that the Smoky Mountains famous also makes it a great photographic venue. This lone tree silhouetted in the mist with the moon rising behind it in Cades Cove is a wonderful example of how the Smokies gives us unique photographic opportunities.

Moon over tree silhouetted by the morning fog

Moon over tree silhouetted by the morning fog

Using Topaz B&W Effects 2 in the Platinum Collection I used Platinum VI to turn this lone tree into a great B&W.

Moon over tree in Cades Cove silhouetted by morning fog Topaz B&W Effects

Moon over tree in Cades Cove silhouetted by morning fog Topaz B&W Effects

I used Topaz Clarity to process and pop the color which I also like but I think that the Black and White gives this image more impact.

Cades Cove tree in the morning fog processed using Topaz Clarity

Cades Cove tree in the morning fog

Morning fog Cades Cove

Morning fog Cades Cove processed using Topaz Clarity

 

Cades Cove tree - Raw CR2

Cades Cove tree – Raw CR2

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Barns of Michigan

During the Lighthouse working along the West Coast of Michigan we spent some time photographing some of Michigan’s wonderful barns.

Northern Michigan Barn Processed with Topaz Software

Northern Michigan Barn Processed with Topaz Software

Barns are normally red and to have a white barn in perfect condition was fun to capture. This barn in the northern Lower Peninsula is one of the best I have ever seen and I will be visiting it with clients for every workshop I give in Northern Michigan.

Unprocessed barn image

Unprocessed barn image

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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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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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