Category Archives: Smoky Mountain spring photo workshop

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.”


Gilmore car museum – Lake Michigan Lighthouse workshop Aug 9-12

The hood ornaments of cars has have fascinated me since I was a kid and going to car museums is a fun way to bring back a little nostalgia while I photograph these works of art.

The Gilmore car museum on the west side of Michigan has one of the country’s best collection of antique cars and I am looking fwd to visiting the Gilmore which will be one of the stops on my Lake Michigan lighthouse workshop this August.

Gilmore Car Museum

Gilmore Car Museum

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Castle of Angels and Bridge of Angels Spring 2015 Italian Photo Workshop

The Castel Sant’Angelo is the fortress near St. Peters where Popes took refuge when Rome was under siege.  Now, as in ancient times, you cross over the impressive Bridge of Angels which spans the Tiber River to enter to the Castel Sant’Angelo.  When I am out photographing early in the mornings with my groups, when most of Rome is still sleeping, it is easy to envision being in ancient Rome.  It is always a treat capturing images in these ancient places before the tourists and locals appear on the streets and remind us that is not 350 AD.

The hotel accommodations I have made for the 2015 group traveling with me to Rome is near the Vatican and a brief stole from the Bridge of Angels.

Castle of Angles and Bridge of Angels

Castle of Angles and Bridge of Angels

I captured this image of the Castel Sant’Angelo at an aperture of F11 and shutter speed of 3 seconds. The color image was processed in Lightroom and Topaz Clarity. The B&W images I processed in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2

Castle of Angles and Bridge of Angels

Castle of Angles and Bridge of Angels

Anyone visiting Rome and interested in getting to know the city intimately I would recommend taking a personalized tour with Steve and Grazia Andre http://enchantingrome.com/ . Their knowledge and love of the city has always amazed me and delighted my clients.

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Dogwoods in the springtime bring the Smokies back to life

In the spring when the dogwoods are in bloom along the fast flowing rivers and stream the compositions are the best the Smokies have to offer. I used Topaz BW Effects 2 and then blended the image with the original image to give it the look of a hand painted B&W image.

Topaz BW Effects 2 blended with the original image

Topaz BW Effects 2 blended with the original image

Which processed image do you like best. The Color image or the B&W with touches of color?

Image processed with Topaz Clarity

Image processed with Topaz Clarity

Which processed image do you like best. The

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Clingman’s Dome, Wait for the magic!!

Often when I am out shooting I talk to other photographers as I wait for the light and on a rainy overcast day I am often the last person to leave the location. On a shooting trip 25 years ago to the Dolomites in Northern Italy the mountains were socked in and I decides to call it a night and went back to the lodge where I was staying. As I was eating my meal and looking out the window at the mountains the clouds parted and the most wonderful light hit the top of the mountains. That is when I made myself a promise never to leave until 15 min after the sun has set. I always wait for the magic to happen and I am seldom disappointed.

Clingman's Dome - Gods rays

Clingman’s Dome – Gods rays

Some of my favorite shots are on overcast days when a break in the clouds can give you dramatic effects.

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