Fall In The Smokies 1998

These pictures were taken on October 22 and 24. The 16-25th is supposed to be the ideal time to capture the changing colors here in the Smoky Mountains. This year there was not enough rain to produce the really breathtaking colors that we have been blessed with in the past, but I got a few nice shots none the less.

On October 22, I got up at 3:00am and by 4:15 was on the road to Clingman's Dome. I arrived by 6:25 (after getting myself lost in the dark! So much for that shortcut.) and parked at what I anticipated would be a good vantage point to view the sunrise. As the first few rays of light began to caress the mountainside I found that I was not alone. There must have been 20 to 30 more cars in there! And as I climbed out to set up my gear, hands shaking in the frigid air and breath crystallizing in front of my eyes, I was surprised to find that every single car began to open up and belch out camera gear. I guess I wasn't the only photographer that got up early that morning. Birds of a feather, that we all were.

After we had all set up our various gear and taken a few shots, we didn't have much to do except wait for the sun to make it's grand entrance. One of the other photographers in the group, an older man, walked over to me and asked, "What is it about owning a camera that makes a man want to get out of bed at such an ungodly hour on a freezing morning?" I replied, "Either it's a kind of madness born of an artistic fever that boils away at the pit of the human soul demanding satisfaction - or we're just plain stupid!" He laughed and went on his way.

After the sun had risen a bit, and we had gotten our fill of sunrise pictures, the group broke up and we all went our different ways. I continued south from Clingman's Dome toward Cherokee, stopping along the way to take a few more mountain shots while the warm morning light was still at it's peak. From the vantage point available from the kind of altitude that Clingman's Dome offers, (it's the second highest point in the Smokies) you can see the fog rolling through the valleys below. And with the early morning light illuminating it, it was really quite breathtaking. I just can't seem to capture the essence on film.

On the following Monday, October 24, I again got up early and went to Cades Cove. Only this time not nearly so early as on the 22nd. Cades Cove is only about one hours' drive from where I live. I did arrive early enough to make use of the early morning light. The number of people there was astounding. The most difficult thing to do was take pictures without people walking through the shot. And once back in your car, you'd have to wait 30 or 40 cars before you'd get a chance to pull out. Driving around the loop is supposed to be a two hour ordeal. I looped twice and went home after spending 12 hours there. In retrospect, I wish that I had taken one more shot with the sun setting through a set of trees before I left.

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This is an old cabin located along the Cades Cove loop. Unfortunately it doesn't do justice to the powerful color saturation that the slides posses. This picture has a very warm feeling to it. The picture was taken at early morning when the light was still at it's peak from the sunrise. One of the problems I had this day was in taking the picture without any of the other tourists in the way. There were actually people all over the place, including in the house and in the back yard. But I patiently bided my time until I found a split second when no one was visible in the viewfinder.

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Outstanding In My Field

Here, I set up the camera on a tripod and focused on the tree. Then I composed the shot, pressed the timer, and ran like heck. I was rather surprised that the shot came out the way I wanted it to. I am even pleased that I am not in complete focus here, it gives the impression that the person could be any old schmuck. (And not just schmucky ol' me. :) Of course, the entire time, passers by were giving me a funny look. Can I help it if I'm outstanding in my field?

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This image struck me as I was driving around the Cades Cove loop. I didn't grow up on a farm, but I spent plenty of time there. I was constantly catching images of a rusting piece of ancient and discarded farm equipment amid a bed of wildflowers, and it would strike a chord somewhere deep inside. I though that this image would either be really cool, or it'll look really stupid to be taking pictures of somebody else's mailbox... I'll let you decide.

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Fenced-In Field

This is the obligatory fence-stretching-off-into-infinity picture. Again, this is at Cades Cove. One of the problems I faced in taking field pictures was framing a shot that I liked that didn't have people picnicking in the background. Darned tourists were everywhere. There ought to be a leash law...

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Leaf In Moss

Yes, I staged this picture. I did not just happen on it. Most of the leaves that I had found were already dried and crumpled on the ground. As I approached a creek, I passed a large moss-covered rock that was just screaming to me to take it's picture, and later as I walked down the edge of the stream I happened upon this one leaf that stood out among all the crunchy brown's. It seemed to me that the two were destined to meet.

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Smokies In The Fall

Once I was done with Clingman's Dome, I drove south toward Cherokee and found several good shots along the highway. On the way back, I drove toward Cosby and through the parkway on the way to the interstate. This shot was taken along one of the scenic stops along the side of the road.

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Autumn Time

Along HWY. 321 North, just outside Cades Cove, many of the tourist stops had decorated their lawns for the season. I thought that this was one of the better ones. The shot was taken just before sunset, so again the slide shows a nice warm-yellow light that just isn't captured right here. In fact, the scan is a little dark.

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Cades Cove

this is another field shot from cades cove. this one is early on in the loop. off to the left there stood a white horse, which i thought would make a good subject if only it would have stood up. eventually i grew impatient and snapped a shot without the horse instead.

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Leaf On A Rock

Yeah, it's another staged shot starring everyone's favorite leaf. It's not quite as colorful as the moss shot, and the leaf doesn't stand out as much. But I like it anyway. In fact, I still have the leaf. I brought it home and pressed it.

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Old Church Window

I liked this shot, and I was mostly pleased that it turned out the way I had planned. I like the composition I achieved by capturing the fall scenery reflected on the glass. I was afraid that it wouldn't come out at all. I really love the old buildings in Cades Cove, but I am not pleased with the way any of my pictures came out for the buildings themselves. I am planning to go back sometime and take some black-and-white shots.

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Sunrise At Clingman's Dome

I went out of my way to pull myself out of bed at 3 am just so I could capture the sunrise. I don't like most of the pictures that I got. In fact, I don't like this one very much because the plant off to the side is blurry. I wished that I had taken some more time to make sure that I had my shot composed better. But I've included it here because I like the colors.

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Smokies In The Fall II

Unfortunately, when you live in the mountains, mountain pictures are a dime a dozen. So why did I take yet another one? This one was shot within the first hour of sunrise, so it has that nice warm effect. I also liked the fog rolling through the valley off in the distance.

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Barbed Wire

This is another one of those shots that I'm not too sure about. I purposely focused on the post and snapped the shot with the background out of focus.

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