Author Archives: Bill

End of Summer

End of Summer

Two buck deer in Cades Cove
Two buck deer in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only

It seems like every year as we move from August to September, all the signs suddenly point to the end of summer.  In these Smoky Mountains photos of buck deer in Cades Cove, you can almost feel what they feel.  The easy days are slipping away … the days of fattening up on lush grass as they graze in the moonlight of a warm night. Soon the grass will be brown, the leaves gone, the wind cold. The two young ones above may not remember what’s to come, but the old guy below does.

But then again … soon it will be mating season! There is that silver lining at least.

Smoky Mountains photos of buck deer in Cades Cove
Smoky Mountains photos of buck deer in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only

No matter what the time of year, please consider a visit to the William Britten Gallery to see my complete display of Smoky Mountains photos. I’m located along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg, TN.

Spiritual Sunday: Mountain Meditation

Spiritual Sunday: Mountain Meditation

Morning Meditation © William Britten use with permission only

Smoky Mountains meditation on a Spiritual Sunday.

My wife Sarah likes to meditate. She can be miles away while sitting quietly in our little cabin. Getting away without going away.  Getting away to get in touch. Paradoxically removing oneself from everything in order to be totally present.

I’ve tried meditating over the years, but have never been able to establish a habit or practice. For me the time I am totally present, “in the zone,” is when capturing images with my camera.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Road in Gatlinburg, TN.

Cades Cove: the Tipton Place

Cades Cove: the Tipton Place

Tipton Place © William Britten use with permission only
Tipton Place © William Britten use with permission only

William “Fighting Billy” Tipton was Revolutionary War veteran and the first of the Tipton clan to acquire land in the Smoky Mountains. This was in the 1820s under Tennessee’s Land Grant program.

Colonel Hamp Tipton, a veteran of the Civil War, built the two story cabin above in the early 1870s. Miss Lucy and Miss Lizzy were Hamp’s daughters and worked as schoolteachers in the Cove.

The Tipton Place is one of the best examples of the settlers homesteads along the Cades Cove loop road in the Smokies. There’s a stand of old-fashioned bee gums in the back yard, and across the road is a double-pen corn crib and a fine example of a cantilever barn.

Tipton Place © William Britten use with permission only
Tipton Place © William Britten use with permission only
Bee gums © William Britten use with permission only
Bee gums © William Britten use with permission only

The barn pictured below is actually a replica of the original.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mtns Photos at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Road in Gatlinburg, TN.

Cantilever barn © William Britten use with permission only
Cantilever barn © William Britten use with permission only
The Road to Serenity

The Road to Serenity

Smoky Mountains photography: miles away
Smoky Mountains photography: miles away © William Britten use with permission only

Welcome to Friday. A weekend! Gratitude for another day. The simple beauty of dawn drifting towards the fullness of the day, weather becoming whatever it will. The road beckons, cares and worries in the rearview mirror. Miles away.

Leave it all behind
Leave it all behind © William Britten use with permission only

There are many opportunities in the Smoky Mountains to let the road carry you away. Even some of the very popular driving areas like Cades Cove or the Roaring Fork can be deserted and ethereal in the very early morning mist. You can turn off the air conditioner, roll down the windows, and just be one with the softness of the moment. You’ll probably see some wildlife enjoying the quiet of their morning too.

Head east out of Gatlinburg on Route 321. After three or four miles, look for the right turn at the Greenbrier entrance of the National Park. Just follow the road, you can’t get lost. Get out whenever you want, sit by the creek a moment. Or keep on driving past Greenbrier, on over to Cosby. Turn right at the stop sign, toward Cosby campground. But go on by the campground and just wander for miles, way over to the Cataloochee Valley, watching the trees roll by. The road gets a little rough, but not for long. Keep on going for a real experience.

Serenity Road
Serenity Road © William Britten use with permission only

Perhaps your road of wandering will lead you to the Arts and Crafts Loop along Glades Road outside Gatlinburg. If so, please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Morning Mist Village.

Morning Mist Village

Morning Mist Village

Morning Mist Village
Morning Mist Village

Along Glades Road, in the heart of Gatlinburg’s historic Arts and Crafts Loop, you will find Morning Mist Village.  Take a break from your Smoky Mountain exploring, and head out Rt. 321 at stoplight number 3 in Gatlinburg. Just past Food City, and then McDonalds, turn left onto Glades Rd.  Morning Mist Village is about a mile down the road on the left.

And best of all, Morning Mist Village is where you will find me.  Look for the Morning Mist Cafe, and I’ll be tucked in beside their outdoor courtyard. Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

William Britten GAllery
William Britten GAllery
Smoky Mountain Butterflies

Smoky Mountain Butterflies

Butterfly and Mountain Mint © William Britten use with permission only
Butterfly and Mountain Mint © William Britten use with permission only

If you drive into some of the less traveled areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, such as Greenbrier or Tremont, eventually the road turns to gravel, and in summer you will start to see large quantities of butterflies. So many that sometimes it’s hard to keep from running them over.

The swallowtail above is feasting on a Mountain Mint. And the butterfly below kept landing on my camera lens. I finally told him that he wouldn’t get his picture taken if he didn’t get in front of the camera, so he obligingly landed on a leaf and posed quietly.

Smoky Mountain Butterfly © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountain Butterfly © William Britten use with permission only

The photo below is another species feeding on Mountain Mint.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Butterfly and Mountain Mint © William Britten use with permission only
Butterfly and Mountain Mint © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bee Balm

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bee Balm

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) is a member of the mint family, and as the name implies, holds lots of attraction for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. There is also a purple bee-balm found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The examples above and below were found along the Clingman’s Dome Road, where this wildflower is plentiful.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only
Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) © William Britten use with permission only
Newfound Gap Loop

Newfound Gap Loop

Newfound Gap Loop © William Britten use with permission only
Newfound Gap Loop © William Britten use with permission only

Philosophical Friday again. This time it’s the classic situation that sometimes to go forward you’ve got to go backwards. The road up to Newfound Gap offers just such a case in point. The road climbs until it reaches a place on the mountain that is too steep for a road grade. What to do?  Loop around in the ultimate hairpin turn to gain enough rise to continue on.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Newfound Gap Loop © William Britten use with permission only
Newfound Gap Loop © William Britten use with permission only
Bear Essentials

Bear Essentials

Log cabin lighting © William Britten use with permission only

I take a lot of photographs log cabins for resort rental companies. And I’ve seen every cute little thing related to bears in these cabins. Many of them are a tacky dis on the proud and mighty black bear. But I like the one pictured above.  The cheerful bear holding out the acorn lamp to guide the way into the cabin at night. Not bad.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

best sellers – smoky mountains photos

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Turks Cap Lily

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Turks Cap Lily

Turk's Cap Lily © William Britten use with permission only
Turk's Cap Lily © William Britten use with permission only

Turk’s Cap Lily (Lilium superbum) is  a large wildflower that grows to 3 to 8 feet tall. It blooms July to September, and loves the roadside at higher elevations. Look for it along the Clingman’s Dome Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep

The Woods are Lovely, Dark and Deep

Dark Woods in the Smoky Mountains
Dark Woods in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only

Celebrating a fine Smoky Mountain day with a few thoughts gleaned from poet Wendell Berry:

I come into the peace of wild things … for a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. We pray, not for new earth or heaven, but to be quiet in heart, and in eye, clear. What we need is here.

Deep in the Smoky Mountains Woods
Deep in the Smoky Mountains Woods © William Britten use with permission only

I part the out-thrusting branches and come in beneath the blessed and the blessing trees. Though I am silent, there is singing around me. Though I am dark, there is vision around me.

Planting trees early in spring, we make a place for birds to sing in time to come. How do we know? They are singing here now. There is no other guarantee that singing will ever be.

Light at the end of the trail
Light at the end of the trail © William Britten use with permission only
Miles Away on Monday: Clouds Floating By

Miles Away on Monday: Clouds Floating By

Rockers with a View © William Britten use with permission only

It’s  a blue-sky morning, clouds floating by. The Smoky Mountains are shimmering in the distance. Two cheerful rockers wait for you on the deck. Take a few moments, sit down, take it all in.

It’s a good day for a hike or a good day to wander the shops on Glades Rd. Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN

great smoky mountains prints

Artfair Time: Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair!

Artfair Time: Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair!

Set-up today for the July 2017 version of the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Running from July 14th through the 23rd, look for me at the bottom of the escalator just as you enter.

We start setting up for the fair with a blank slate … just a bunch of boxes and empty display panels.  By the end of the set-up we’re waiting for customers in a temporary art gallery.

The William Britten Gallery will be open during the fair, so please stop in and see us at either or both locations.  The Convention Center is located at stoplight number 8 on the parkway in Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair Setup
Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair Setup
Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair Booth
Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair Booth
Mysterious Mountain Memories

Mysterious Mountain Memories

Smoky Mountains Midnight Dawn
Smoky Mountains Midnight Dawn © William Britten use with permission only

In the middle of a hot summer, I can get restless, and feeling a bit confined within the boundaries of “normal” images. I start to think “outside the camera.”  For example, a few weeks ago I wrote a post about camera movement during long exposures to create photographic Impressionism.

Today’s Smoky Mountains photos have a bit of the surreal, a dash of a midnight memory or dream with a dollop of daylight’s bright colors. It’s like filling in the blanks of your memory along the border between the dream and the wakeful daytime. Of course the Light and the Dark are the two realms we know, and to mix them together can stir up feelings.

What do the images suggest to you or make you feel?

Sunlight chases the night
Sunlight chases the night © William Britten use with permission only

The photos on this page were taken in the area of the Smoky Mountains known as the Roaring Fork. This is a beautiful area, and somewhat mysterious under any conditions, especially with those green boulders strewn down the stream bed. These pictures are more experiments with long exposures. It’s early in the morning along the dark creeks, and the day is not nearly as bright as the photos make it seem.  The exposure times are in the area of 30 seconds, which adds another dash of the surreal with the extreme flow of the whitewater.

When your dreams finally clear, please consider a stop at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg.  My complete display of Smoky Mountains Photos might tempt you with a special memory to take home with you.

Roaring Fork Memories
Roaring Fork Memories © William Britten use with permission only
Along the Roaring Fork: Bud Ogle Farm

Along the Roaring Fork: Bud Ogle Farm

Smoky Mountains Landmark
Smoky Mountains Landmark © William Britten use with permission only

The Ogle family goes way back in the Gatlinburg area. In fact, Noah Ogle’s great-grandparents, William  (1756–1803) and his wife Martha Huskey (1756–1826), made a life here in the early 1800s. Noah (aka Bud) and Cindy Ogle settled on this 400 acre homestead in 1879 and lived here until Noah’s death in 1913.

Bud Ogle Cabin © William Britten use with permission only
Bud Ogle Cabin © William Britten use with permission only

The Smoky Mountains forest has reclaimed most of the cleared land now, so it’s hard to imagine a family making a subsistence living here. All that is left now is the log cabin and barn. The cabin is “saddle-bag” style, with two cabins joined by a common chimney. The barn is the last remaining four-pen barn in the Smokies, consisting of four 11-square-foot livestock pens, covered by a split-shingled roof.

Just behind the cabin is a nature trail that meanders through a hemlock forest beside LeConte Creek to an old tub mill with wooden flume.

Bud Ogle Barn © William Britten use with permission only
Bud Ogle Barn © William Britten use with permission only

To visit the Ogle Farm, turn at stoplight number 8 in Gatlinburg and go up the hill, entering the Smoky Mountain National Park via the Cherokee Orchard Road entrance. The old farmstead is an attractive location for photos anytime of year. I love to come up here after a snowfall, as compositions with the old log cabin and barnwood in a snowy setting make for especially attractive photos.

The Ogle cabin is one of my Featured Photos. Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Bud Ogle Cabin © William Britten use with permission only
Bud Ogle Cabin © William Britten use with permission only
Miles Away on Monday: Bicycling in Cades Cove

Miles Away on Monday: Bicycling in Cades Cove

Bicycling-Cades-Cove

I can’t think of a more idyllic way to get your exercise than to bike the Cades Cove Loop in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

From May through September on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 the Loop Road is closed to motorized vehicles, so the entire glorious 11-mile scenic road is open for biking and hiking. Wow!  This is one of the greatest experiences anywhere.

If you can’t schedule your ride for Wednesday or Saturday, bicycles and walking are allowed any day, but you should start early to avoid the traffic that builds up later in the day.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Cades Cove: Methodist Church

Cades Cove: Methodist Church

Cades Cove Church © William Britten use with permission only
Cades Cove Church © William Britten use with permission only

The story goes that the Methodist Church in Cades Cove was constructed in 115 days at a cost of $115 by a man who served for many years as the minister.

The current frame building was built in 1902, replacing the log structure that had served from the 1820s.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Inside the Methodist Church © William Britten use with permission only
Inside the Methodist Church © William Britten use with permission only
Cades Cove: Primitive Baptist Church

Cades Cove: Primitive Baptist Church

Cades Cove Baptist Church © William Britten use with permission only
Cades Cove Baptist Church © William Britten use with permission only

The Primitive Baptist Church in the Cades Cove section of the Great Smoky Mountains was established in 1827 in a log structure that served the congregation until the current church was built in 1887. The graveyard behind the church has some very old tombstones with familiar Cades Cove names, such as Sparks, Oliver, and Shields.

Smoky Mountain Church © William Britten use with permission only
Primitive Baptist Church © William Britten use with permission only

During the Civil War, worship at the church was suspended because the congregation was sympathetic to the Union, while much of Cades Cove was not. The interior of the church is in fact primitive, with sturdy and stern pews facing a basic pulpit.

Primitive Church interior © William Britten use with permission only
Primitive Church interior © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Cataloochee: Palmer House Continued

Cataloochee: Palmer House Continued

Palmer House creepy interior © William Britten use with permission only
Palmer House creepy interior © William Britten use with permission only

It’s Philosophical Friday again, and we’re continuing on with yesterday’s post into the creepy interior of the Palmer House. The image above might be crying out “What happened? Where did the time go? It seems like just yesterday that Jarvis and his wife were rising at dawn, rushing out into the Cataloochee sunshine.” If walls could talk.

Beauty of Decay © William Britten use with permission only
Beauty of Decay © William Britten use with permission only

I got lost for hours in the Palmer House a few weeks ago. The ravages of time can create beauty in the human detritus, similar to the erosion of a canyon in the natural world. The images above and below show layers of decay in the wallcoverings of the house.

Beauty of Decay © William Britten use with permission only
Beauty of Decay © William Britten use with permission only

And here is a close-up of a door with exquisitely cracked and peeling paint.  Wow!

Beauty of Decay © William Britten use with permission only
Beauty of Decay © William Britten use with permission only

Finally, some old newspapers either before or after the wallpaper … who knows? But the furniture advertised sure was cheap. And the last one below … I love that report about the “gang of professional safeblowers.” Gotta be the 1920s or 1930s.

Old newspaper wallcovering © William Britten use with permission only
Old newspaper wallcovering © William Britten use with permission only
Old newspaper wallcovering © William Britten use with permission only
Old newspaper wallcovering © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Cataloochee: Beech Grove School

Cataloochee: Beech Grove School

Beech Grove School © William Britten use with permission only
Beech Grove School © William Britten use with permission only

Beech Grove School was built in 1901 and was one of three schools in the Cataloochee area of the Smoky Mountains. The school term, oriented to the agrarian society, ran from November through January or sometimes through March.

Beech Grove had two rooms and is the only one of the three schools remaining in the valley.

Beech Grove School in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Beech Grove School in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg
Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg

If you are in Gatlinburg on a Smoky Mountain vacation, don’t forget about one of the most fun and unique activities … a leisurely shopping trip along the loop of arts and crafts shops that make up the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community.

Head out of Gatlinburg on Route 321 and watch for the big green sign at the Glades Road traffic light just past McDonalds. Or alternatively you can begin the 8 mile loop farther out at Buckhorn Road. Either way, there are dozens of interesting shops to catch your fancy along the route that has been in existence since 1937!

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg
Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg

And of course, please stop in at Morning Mist Village, which is where you will find the complete display of my Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery.

The Arts and Crafts Community website has an online map and a list of all member artists.

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg
Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg
Cataloochee: Palmer House

Cataloochee: Palmer House

Palmer House in Cataloochee © William Britten use with permission only
Palmer House in Cataloochee © William Britten use with permission only

The Palmer House in Big Cataloochee Valley was originally built around 1860 by George Lafayette Palmer. It was a “dog-trot” house, with two log cabins joined by a common roof. By 1900 the Palmers were prospering, and the house was fancied up with siding on the outside and paneling inside. The homestead included a barn, springhouse and other outbuildings.

When the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created, the Palmers moved out, and a Park Ranger moved in.

Palmer House and barn © William Britten use with permission only
Palmer House and barn © William Britten use with permission only
Palmer Springhouse © William Britten use with permission only
Palmer Springhouse © William Britten use with permission only

From the outside, the Palmer House looks ordinary enough, even quite attractive. But on the inside things get a little creepy. This is the kind of stuff I could spend hours photographing … to be continued.

Palmer House creepy interior © William Britten use with permission only
Palmer House creepy interior © William Britten use with permission only
Palmer House creepy interior © William Britten use with permission only
Palmer House creepy interior © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Cataloochee: Palmer Chapel

Cataloochee: Palmer Chapel

Palmer Chapel in Cataloochee Valley
Palmer Chapel in Cataloochee Valley © William Britten use with permission only

Cataloochee Valley is one of the hidden wonders of the Smoky Mountains. The best way from Gatlinburg is to schedule an entire day for the journey to Cataloochee. Either take the back road from Cosby, or exit 20 off I40 in North Carolina, then meander into Catalochee on NC284.

Palmer Chapel dates from 1898, and is still in great condition in a very picturesque setting. The photo above was actually created from three vertical panels. I use this technique when there is not enough room to step back from a structure and level the camera to make the walls perpendicular.

Church Interior
Church Interior © William Britten use with permission only
View from the pulpit
View from the pulpit © William Britten use with permission only

The image above shows the interior of Palmer Chapel from the preacher’s perspective! Services in the chapel were conducted by circuit riders from the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Palmer Chapel
Palmer Chapel © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bluets

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Bluets

Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia)
Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia) © William Britten use with permission only

Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia) are identified by the four blue petals surrounding a yellow spot. Common names for this wildflower include Thyme-leaved Bluet, Prostrate Bluet, Mountain Bluet, and Creeping Bluet. The plant is tiny, only 3 to 5 inches tall, but growing in a large group they can make a beautiful statement.

The photo above was found along the Thomas Divide Trail in late-April.  The photos below were found near Clingmans Dome in Mid-May.

Smoky Mtns wildflowers
Smoky Mtns wildflowers © William Britten use with permission only

Bluets enjoy moist conditions, along streams especially. Look for them along Clingman’s Dome Road later than in the lower elevations.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Bluets along the trail
Bluets along the trail © William Britten use with permission only
Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia)
Bluets (Houstonia serpyllifolia) © William Britten use with permission only

 

How to Photograph Flowing Water

How to Photograph Flowing Water

From the Chimneys Picnic area
From the Chimneys Picnic area © William Britten use with permission only

Photographing one of the many creek scenes in the Smoky Mountains presents a few challenges. First is the desire to capture the sense of flowing water, rather than water that is frozen. To do this you will need your camera on a tripod with an exposure time of one-half to three-quarters of a second. If you go much longer than this, the water will appear foamy and surreal — which may be what you want in some cases. Take a look at the two photos below of a rock in a torrent of water.  The only difference between the two is exposure time. The one on the left was taken with a slightly longer exposure time that blurred the water a little bit more. There’s really no correct way to do it … try experimenting and pick the result that most appeals to you.

Photo Tip: longer exposure
Photo Tip: longer exposure © William Britten use with permission only
Photo Tip: less exposure
Photo Tip: less exposure © William Britten use with permission only

 

Beautiful Flowing Water
Beautiful Flowing Water © William Britten use with permission only

Another challenge with water is the glare of harsh lighting and the danger of over-exposing the whites. The simplest solution to this problem is to photograph on cloudy or rainy days or at least find a scene that is shaded from direct sunlight. In the example to the left, a close-in composition of a small cascade avoided severe lighting conditions.

A more complicated solution to harsh lighting is to take multiple exposures (bracketing). The idea is to take one or more exposures to get your shadow areas developed, then reduce the exposure time to bring the highlights (whites) down into an acceptable range. However, you will need to know how to blend your images with software such as Photoshop.

Finally, flowing water looks very dramatic if you get down low and close to the flow. Normally, the drama is increased if the stream is coming at you as in the photo below, and the one at the top of this posting. The final image below shows a creek scene with the flow going away. To me this perspective conveys peace and tranquility. You can decide when either perspective might be more appealing.

That’s my photo tip to achieve perfect flowing water for your Smoky Mountains creek pictures.

Wild Smoky Mountains Creek
Wild Smoky Mountains Creek © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains Flowing Water
Smoky Mountains Flowing Water © William Britten use with permission only

Click on the images above for a slide-show of larger versions. Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Mountain Laurel Time in the Smokies

Mountain Laurel Time in the Smokies

Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains  © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel bloom in the Smoky Mountains  © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel bloom in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only

It’s that beautiful time of year again when the Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) bloom along the trails and in the woods of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Mountain Laurel are similar to, and often mistaken for, Rhododendron. In the Smokies the Laurel bloom primarily during May, while the Rhododendron come along in June and July.

One of the Featured Photographs at the William Britten Gallery is Path to Serenity, which shows a hillside of Mountain Laurel blooming along the trail to Spruce Flat Falls.

Mountain Laurel bloom in the Smoky Mountains  © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel bloom in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only

One of the best displays of Mountain Laurel can be found along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. At the top of the hill there is a parking area to the left. In early to mid-May you can see the thickets of laurel from your car, but to get the full effect, get out and walk in among all the blooms.

I was in that spot photographing, deep in my private reverie with my eyes in the camera viewfinder. Suddenly I heard some snorting and clomping, and looked up to see that a doe had joined me in the laurel thicket. She was unafraid, and stayed close by for 30 minutes or so, even when I moved my tripod from spot to spot.

Deer in  the Mountain Laurel © William Britten use with permission only
Deer in the Mountain Laurel © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
Mountain Laurel in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only

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