Under Construction

This is the web site for William Britten Photography and Gallery in Galtinburg TN on the edge of the glorious Smoky Mountains.

I am currently rebuilding the site on a new platform, so I apologize for any occasional instability.  As of 2/13/2016 the site seems to be ok, with accessibility from mobile devices working nicely.  Please email me if you encounter any specific problems, or leave a comment on this post.

William Britten

Featured Photo: Smoky Mountain Christmas

Featured Photo: Smoky Mountain Christmas

Christmas in the Smokies
Christmas in the Smoky Mountains

Emerts Cove Bridge is one of only two covered bridges near the Smoky Mountains in Sevier County (the other being Harrisburg Bridge off Rt. 339).  Emerts Cove bridge is just north of Rt 321, just off Rt. 416 north of Pittman Center. The simplist way to see it is to follow the road directly across from the Greenbrier entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The bridge spans the Little Pigeon River, just a mile or so out of the Park.

The picture is available in all sizes up to 16×24″.  Details of sizes and prices can be found on the How to Buy page. You can also purchase framed or unframed versions of this image from my online store

If you’re traveling or vacationing in the Gatlinburg area, please stop in to see the complete display of Smoky Mtns photos at the William Britten Gallery.  The Gallery is located on the historic Arts and Crafts trail, in the Morning Mist Village shopping area along Glades Rd.  In addition to framed and matted prints, there are magnets, mugs and notecards for you to find a special Smokies memory to take home.

 

Featured Photo: Song Without Words

Featured Photo: Song Without Words

Smoky Mountain Dogwoods
A Song Without Words

A Song Without Words was taken along the Cades Cove loop road in the Smoky Mountains.  It’s springtime, and the dogwoods are showing off all of their glory, with the mountains as the backdrop.  As with all digital files, this image started out as a color photo, but I had a feeling that a black and white treatment might better express the mood of the day.  The file was converted to black and white, with a sepia tone added. Finally, the colorful sunlight was painted back in to give a splash of extra warmth.

A Song Without Words carries a warm emotional message during the springtime season of rebirth.   The picture is available in all sizes up to 16×24″.  Details of sizes and prices can be found on the How to Buy page. You can also purchase framed or unframed versions of this image from my online store

If you’re traveling in the Gatlinburg area, please stop in to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains photos at the William Britten Gallery.  The Gallery is located in the historic Arts and Crafts area along Glades Rd.  In addition to framed and matted prints, there are magnets, mugs and notecards for you to find a special Smokies memory to take home.

 

Featured Photo: Glory in the Greenbrier

Featured Photo: Glory in the Greenbrier

Glory in Greenbrier
Autumn glory in the Greenbrier section of the Smoky Mountains

Glory in the Greenbrier captures the feeling of autumn in the Smoky Mountains. I like shooting into the sun, and in fact it has become something of a trademark for my Smoky Mountain photos. In this photo, the colors are also quite intense. The picture was taken along the gravel part of the road into the Greenbrier, one of my favorite areas of the Smokies, several miles east of Gatlinburg on Route 321. If you search out this area, you will find some relief from the traffic snarls that are common during October in the Smokies.

The intense colors of this image were created in part by taking multiple exposures of the scene. Three separate images were blended to enhance tonalities.  Glory in the Greenbrier looks fabulous printed on metal. Take a look at the How to Buy page for more information on sizes, prices, and other options. You can also purchase framed or unframed versions of this image from my online store

Please consider a stop at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Loop on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg, TN. The Gallery features all of my photos of the Smoky Mountains.  There just might be a picture waiting to go home with you!

 

Smoky Mountain Inspirations

Smoky Mountain Inspirations

A Life of Quiet Inspiration

 I have been thinking of creating some Smoky Mountains photos with words of inspiration for some time. These four are my first offerings.  All four are currently hanging in the Gatlinburg Gallery, mounted on frameless 8×12 floats. However, they could be printed and framed in any of my standard sizes.

The photo above is a sunset at Morton Overlook with my variation on Thoreau’s comment about “lives of quiet desperation.”  I like my quote better!

Smoky Mountain Inspiration

The image above is Cades Cove on a beautiful summer afternoon with a quote paraphrased from John Muir.

The photo below is one of my favorite “deep woods” pictures, with a quote from the poet, Lord Byron.

Pleasure of the Pathless Woods

 Finally, the picture below is my best seller, with one of my own thoughts added.

If you’re traveling or vacationing in the Gatlinburg area, please stop in to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains photos at the William Britten Gallery.  The Gallery is located on the historic Arts and Crafts trail, in the Morning Mist Village shopping area along Glades Rd.  In addition to framed and matted prints, there are magnets, mugs and notecards for you to find a special Smokies memory to take home.

Listen to the Silence of Nature

Featured Photo: John Oliver Homestead

Featured Photo: John Oliver Homestead

John Oliver Dogwoods
Dogwood Spring at John Oliver cabin in Cades Cove

The John Oliver Homestead in Cades Cove is one of the Featured Smoky Mtns photos at the William Britten Gallery. This is a stunning spring scene with dogwood blooms as the backdrop. I backed my tripod up under some dogwood trees to frame the photo with branches and blooms along the top. The iconic split rail fence adds another layer of dimension. John Oliver’s homestead is the first stop along the Cades Cove loop.

The picture is available in all sizes up to 16×24″.  Details of sizes and prices can be found on the How to Buy page. You can also purchase framed or unframed versions of this image from my online store

I have another blog post with more historical information on John Oliver.

If you’re traveling or vacationing in the Gatlinburg area, please stop in to see the complete display of Smoky Mtns photos at the William Britten Gallery.  The Gallery is located on the historic Arts and Crafts trail, in the Morning Mist Village shopping area along Glades Rd.  In addition to framed and matted prints, there are magnets, mugs and notecards for you to find a special Smokies memory to take home.

Little Bit of Thoreau

Little Bit of Thoreau

A Little Bit of Thoreau in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Rustic Blue Ridge cabin near Asheville, NC

This blog has been inactive for several months. Where has the time gone? Well, most of it was taken up during construction of this wonderful little cabin in the Blue Ridge foothills of North Carolina. No, we are not leaving Gatlinburg, and the William Britten Gallery is still open along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. The cabin is a quiet getaway near children and grandchildren. Read on, if you’re interested in a Thoreau-style cabin and the lifestyle within.

Blue Ridge Cabin
Little Bit of Thoreau in the Blue Ridge Mtns

The foothills directly behind the cabin are within the Pisgah National Forest, and if you were to set out walking, you would find yourself exploring miles and miles of uninhabited wilderness, much like in the Great Smoky Mountains. You could keep on walking all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. So, right from the start, we don’t have Thoreau’s Walden Pond, but we do have Pisgah.

Rustic Cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Warm Wood Interior of Reclaimed Barn Wood
Rustic Cabin Kitchen
Custom made kitchen cabinets from barnwood, with a Black Walnut counter made from sawmill planks.

A well was sunk 325 feet down into bedrock, and it greatly pleases me to think of this pure water flowing out of the undeveloped, pristine watershed. The cabin is less than 400 square feet of living space, plus a small loft area, and a generous porch overlooking the valley below. The cabin exterior is board-and-batten rough-sawn Hemlock, and the interior is all wood–some North Carolina harvested Hemlock, Oak, and Cypress, and some reclaimed from local barns. The exterior doors were made by a local craftsman, who also made the kitchen countertop from 2-inch thick Walnut found at a local sawmill.

Our little cabin is a riff on the Appalachian culture and its architecture. We tried hard to make it be as if it rose from the local woods. We were happy to find local craftsmen with the tradition of seat-of-the-pants resourcefulness. Hopefully it echoes the Appalachian traditions of small is beautiful, and richness in simplicity.

Rustic Cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina
Nestled in the arms of Pisgah National Forest

The cabin is very spartan … nothing more than a bed, a few chairs, and a table barely large enough for two dinner plates. It does have electricity and running water, but Internet access requires a walk down the hill to get within range of my daughter’s farmhouse. This is where Mr. Thoreau comes into the picture: at first I thought this would be a temporary situation, that we would finish off the cabin with furniture, a fully outfitted kitchen, some more decor, etc. But after three months of weekly getaways, I have no desire to move beyond the sense of raw simplicity that the cabin exudes. I stoke the wood stove with a few sticks to take the edge off the morning chill, sit in a straight-back chair and watch the light change, follow the moon setting through the branches of a Hickory tree. Later in the day, I’ll look forward to grandchildren’s knock at the door (chocolate milk in the fridge!). I read books. And of course, tromp around outside with a little hatchet in my hand.

Rustic Cabin Interior
Small spaces are happy spaces.

No, I don’t need a microwave oven or a TV set. I don’t really need anything. Contentment comes in the form of observation, contemplation, appreciation.

A final observation: just above the front door, the grain in the wood appears to bless those who enter (photo below). It’s curious enough that the wood-grain carries this message, but to think of how it came to rest just above the door is miraculous. I asked the carpenters about it. Yes, they did take notice, but not until after the siding was nailed up.

I think of a large stack of hemlock drying in the wind. Hundreds of feet of lumber used over several months … cut this way and that … nailed up in various positions. And this special board came to rest in the perfect spot.

Message in the Wood
Message in the Wood

Click on any of the photos to bring up larger versions.

 

Autumn Snow in the Smokies

Autumn Snow in the Smokies

Smoky Mountains with Snow above Gatlinburg
Smoky Mountains with Snow above Gatlinburg © William Britten use with permission only

The last week of October 2012, the long arms of Hurricane Sandy produced a Smoky Mountains wonderland of snow in autumn. The Smokies offered stunning photos from all the overlooks. The photo above was taken from the Gatlinburg by-pass, with the Park Vista hotel in the lower left corner, and the Roaring Fork Motor Trail heading up the valley in the center of the picture. This was the same location that produced some fabulous photos last April of a spring snowfall.

The photo below was taken from Campbell Overlook, showing the western shoulder of Mt. LeConte. Total snowfall in the highest elevations was nearly 3 feet!

Mt. LeConte from Campbell Overlook
Mt. LeConte from Campbell Overlook © William Britten use with permission only

The trail to the Chimneys is a favorite Smoky Mountains hike.  In the photos below the Chimneys are the two bumps on the left side. This is a rugged climb under the best of conditions, but snow and ice make it a special challenge.

If you are visiting the Smokies, please consider a stop at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg. The gallery features Smoky Mountains landscape photos, as well as magnets, mugs, and notecards.

Chimneys after autumn snow
Chimneys after autumn snow © William Britten use with permission only
Greenbrier Panoramas

Greenbrier Panoramas

Smoky Mountains photos Autumn Panorama

These two Smoky Mountains photos were created as special editions for this fall. The photos were both taken in the Greenbrier area of the Smokies.  Both are processed with more extreme contrast and color saturation than I normally do.  This effect is something I do as a change of pace for occasional pictures. These two are both 12×24″ panoramas and are one-of-a-kinds hanging in my Gatlinburg Gallery.

The Greenbrier area of the Smokies is a wonderful place to wander in during the autumn leaf season, or any time.  The crowds are much less here, and the two main trails offer everything from fabulous spring wildflowers to the best Smoky Mountains waterfall. The picture above was taken from the footbridge at the Ramsay Cascades trailhead after a heavy rain. This location is featured in my photo, Winter Footbridge.

The picture below is a typical scene in the Greenbrier with peak autumn color. The gravel road is an invitation to slow down and soak in the moment. This part of the Smokies is also rich in pioneer history, which offers another context to ramble along some autumn trails.

Smoky Mountains photos: autumn panorama

If you are travelling in the Smokies any time of year, please consider a visit to the William Britten Gallery, located along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd.  in Gatlinburg. The Gallery features all of my Smoky Mountains photos, as well as magnets, mugs, and notecards. Stop in and pick out a mountain memory to take home with you.

Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair!

Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair!

Loading up the ArtMobile with Smoky Mtns photos
Loading up the ArtMobile with Smoky Mtns photos

It’s that time of year again. Time to pack up the van with framed Smoky Mtns photos, display panels and all the rest of our gear.

The Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair begins this Thursday at the Convention Center in downtown Gatlinburg. The Fair will run from October 11th through Sunday October 28th, from 10 to 6:00 each day except 10-5:00 on Sundays.

Look for William Britten Photography in our usual spot at the bottom of the escalator as you enter the main exhibit hall. We will have a full display of Smoky Mtns photos, in frames as well as prints, magnets and notecards.

And during the fair please stop out at the William Britten Gallery in the Arts and Crafts Community along Glades Rd. The Gallery will remain open as well during the downtown fair.

Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair
Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair
Featured Photo: After the Storm

Featured Photo: After the Storm

After the Storm
After the Storm © William Britten use with permission only

After the Storm is a Smoky Mtns photo taken from one of the most popular overlooks in the Smokies. This picture was captured from Mortons Overlook on Newfound Gap Rd.  This is often a good spot for Summer sunsets, and especially after a stormy day there might be dramatic conditions when the sun sets below the storm clouds.

After the Storm carries a warm emotional message, with the bright sun reasserting hope and beauty after the dark storm clouds have passed. The picture is available in all sizes up to 16×24″.  Details of sizes and prices can be found on the How to Buy page. You can also purchase framed or unframed versions of this image from my online store

If you’re traveling in the Gatlinburg area, please stop in to see the complete display of Smoky Mtns photos at the William Britten Gallery.  The Gallery is located in the historic Arts and Crafts area along Glades Rd.  In addition to framed and matted prints, there are magnets, mugs and notecards for you to find a special Smokies memory to take home.

Miles Away on Monday: Hot Tub Coffee Break

Miles Away on Monday: Hot Tub Coffee Break

Hot Tub Autumn © William Britten use with permission only
Hot Tub Autumn © William Britten use with permission only

Not too many days like this are left for us this year. Mid-autumn Indian Summer. The hectic days of October are done for another year. A hot tub and a couple cups of coffee beckon you to relax the morning away.

When you’re all softened up, please come on over and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Ready for Fall at the Gallery!

Ready for Fall at the Gallery!

Morning Mist Village Autumn Decor
Morning Mist Village Autumn Decor © William Britten use with permission only

It’s mid-September. The days are getting shorter and the air is getting crisper. Apples are ripe and pumpkins are everywhere. Out at Morning Mist Village along Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg, the autumn decorations are looking festive.  And at the William Britten Gallery in Morning Mist, I’ve got some new banner images in the windows and a new banner sign. The image on the sign is the Gallery’s best seller … Morning Majesty.

New Banner Sign!
New Banner Sign!

Even the sign on Glades Rd. at the entrance to the historic Arts and Crafts Trail has gotten its fall decor, thanks to Ted Osborn of Beech Branch Gifts.

If you’re traveling to the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg this fall, please stop in for a visit at the William Britten Gallery. All my Smoky Mountains photos are on display, along with magnets, mugs, and notecards. There’s bound to be a special Smokies memory for you to take home.

Arts and Crafts Community on Glades Rd.
Arts and Crafts Community on Glades Rd.
Wildflower Photography: Coneflower Dreamscape

Wildflower Photography: Coneflower Dreamscape


Coneflower Dreamscape © William Britten use with permission only

The photograph above is the Green Headed, or Cutleaf Coneflower.  It blooms all along the roadside in the middle of summer up near Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park .

Here’s a fun photo tip for taking a picture like the one above. One of my favorite techniques is to take the photo twice: once in a normal mode with your subject in focus, and a second time with the picture out of focus. You will need to have a camera or lens that allows you to turn the auto-focus off.  Then you will need some basic Photoshop skills to blend the two images together.  With this fairly simple technique you can create images with added depth.

The photo below is the blurred version that was blended into the image above to help create the dreamy effect.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN. The Gallery is located along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail along Glades Rd.  In addition to framed and matted prints, there are magnets, mugs, and notecards to help you take a Smokies memory home.

Blurred version of the Coneflowers
Blurred version of the Coneflowers © William Britten use with permission only

impressionism prints

Variations on a Theme

Variations on a Theme

High-elevation trail in the Smokies
High-elevation trail in the Smokies © William Britten use with permission only

These three Smoky Mtns photos illustrate something about how the process of photography happens for me. All were taken on a high-elevation trail near Clingmans Dome in the Smokies. Walking along the trail, the scene above caused me to stop. Something about the elements brought on an emotional response, which is what I am usually looking for in order to create a good photograph. The well-worn path leads off into the distance of a foggy morning. The ferns are soft and welcoming – a nice contrast with the mystery of the trail. Then there’s that big old stump on the right, which will be a very nice frame for that side of the image. Finally, there are some spindly pine trees to the left, offering a frame for that side. I set up the tripod and composed the photograph above. It’s nice, but not tight enough. Too many loose distractions, which will dilute the emotional response.

So, I maneuver around, trying to get the elements into an alignment that works. How do I know if it works?  Well, you never know for sure, but a good photo will feel like it has snapped into place when you see it through the viewfinder. Sometimes it can be frustrating to find it. The image below is what “snapped” for me on this morning. This image was given the title Peace in Wild Places, and it has become a very good seller in my Gatlinburg Gallery. But there’s more to the story!  Keep reading below …

Peace in Wild Places
Peace in Wild Places © William Britten use with permission only

The image below is another interpretation of the foggy trail scene. Obviously it is very different from the one above. It stretches the emotions of the scene to an almost surreal degree. The fog-shrouded trail is very mysterious, the path is very bright, and the stump on the right has become a bit sinister. The whole scene is Hobbit-like. These two images show how a finished photograph is an interpretation, and just as a musical score can be interpreted in different ways, so can a photographic image. Perhaps the most frequent question that I am asked is “was this really the way it looked, or have you enhanced it?” The answer to both parts of that question is yes … it really did look this way, but a good photograph will take it much further than simply recording a time and place.

Please stop and see my complete collection of Smoky Mtns photos at the William Britten Gallery. I’m located along the historical Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg, TN.

Click on any of these pictures to see a larger version.

Smoky Mtns photos: impressionism
Smoky Mtns photos: impressionism © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains History: the Sugarlands

Smoky Mountains History: the Sugarlands

Sugarlands Panorama
Sugarlands Panorama © Knox County Public Library

This Smoky Mountains valley was named by early settlers for the large number of Sugar Maple trees growing in the valley. As can be seen in the historical photo above, this was a vast area of fairly level ground. Settlers arrived in the area around 1800 … the Reagans, Ogles and Trenthams who formed the foundation of the homesteading community.  The photo below shows how the forest has reclaimed virtually all of the former farming landscape.

This wonderful section of the Smokies can be explored today via several trails. The Old Sugarlands Trail starts from Newfound Gap Rd 200 yards before the Visitor Center. The trail follows the course of the old TN Route 71 through the farming bottomlands, past stone walls and homestead foundations. Eventually the trail turns away from the Left Prong of the Little Pigeon River and heads over to meet up with Cherokee Orchard Rd near the Rainbow Falls trailhead.  This is a good hike to do with two cars, leaving one at either end of the trail.

Farmland to Forest
Farmland to Forest © William Britten use with permission only

If you are traveling in the Smokies, please consider a visit to the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg. You’ll find my complete display of Smoky Mountains photos, along with mugs, magnets and notecards.

The historical photo on the top of this page taken by Jim Thompson. Used with permission of C.M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library.

Cades Cove: Elijah Oliver Homestead

Cades Cove: Elijah Oliver Homestead

Elijah Oliver Cabin
Elijah Oliver Cabin © William Britten photos use with permission only

All of the Smoky Mtns photos on this page are of the Elijah Oliver cabin. Elijah was John Oliver’s son, and he was born in Cades Cove in 1824. After a time away from the Smoky Mountains, he returned to Cades Cove after the Civil War. Notice the “strangers room” enclosed on the front porch. Smoky Mountains hospitality was so well known that hunters and fishermen travelled, knowing that the mountaineers would give them lodging at no charge.

This homestead is one of the stops along the Cades Cove Loop Road in the Smoky Mountains. Park your car and take the short hike to the cabin and outbuildings–it is very much worth the time and effort to see this fine example of an Early American log cabin and barn.

A Homestead Barn © William Britten use with permission only
A Homestead Barn © William Britten use with permission only

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of my Smoky Mtns photos at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN. I’m located in Morning Mist Village, along the historic Arts and Crafts loop on Glades Rd.

Smoky Mtns photos © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mtns photos © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains History: Rainbow Falls

Smoky Mountains History: Rainbow Falls

Smoky Mtns photos: Rainbow Falls (colorized)
Smoky Mtns photos: Rainbow Falls (colorized) © Knox County Public Library

Rainbow Falls has been a popular Smokies hiking destination since long before the formation of the National Park. LeConte Creek plunges near 80 feet over a massive cliff face that Harvey Broome called an “ethereal diorama,” creating the highest single-drop waterfall in the Smokies. The photos on this page were taken by Knoxville photographer Jim Thompson at various times in the 1920s and 1930s.

The trailhead to the waterfall is located on Cherokee Orchard Road, at the start of the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, just outside Gatlinburg. For most of the 2.6 mile route to Rainbow Falls, you will have LeConte Creek as your companion. It’s a steady climb as you begin the ascent of Mt. LeConte. If you follow the trail all the way to the LeConte summit, you will have gained almost 4000 feet in elevation over a 6.7 mile hike.

During the time of homesteaders, before the advent of the National Park, LeConte Creek was known as Mill Creek … so named because of nearly a dozen grist mills that supported the surrounding farming community.

Rainbow Falls, Winter 1925
Rainbow Falls, Winter 1925 © Knox County Public Library

Thompson’s notes on the winter scene above: “A Wintery phenomenon at Rainbow Falls, a stalactite 24 feet long and a stalagmite 36 feet high formed on Le Conte Creek during below zero weather. A misty stream is all that is left unfrozen to fall through the cylinder opening of the formation.”

Photos used with permission of C.M. McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library.

If you’re vacationing in the Smokies, please consider a visit to the William Britten Gallery, located along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg. You’ll find my complete display of Smoky Mtns photos, plus magnets, notecards and mugs.

Smoky Mtns Photos
Smoky Mtns Photos © Knox County Public Library
Cades Cove: Henry Whitehead Cabin

Cades Cove: Henry Whitehead Cabin

Henry Whitehead cabin in Cades Cove
Henry Whitehead cabin in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only

Matilda “Aunt Tildy” Shields married Henry Whitehead after her first husband ran off. Henry built the house pictured above in the Chestnut Flats area of Cades Cove in 1895. Notice the brick chimney! This structure might be called the ultimate log cabin, or sometime called a “transition house” due to its near-perfect construction from logs sawed straight and flat at a nearby mill. Soon the mill-sawed lumber would replace log cabins with frame construction.

Look more closely, and you will see that behind the grand transition cabin sits a much more crude and smaller cabin of logs with a stone rubble chimney. Matilda’s brothers quickly built this cabin when her husband deserted her, and before Henry Whitehead courted and married her, and built her Smoky Mountains dream home.

Henry Whitehead Cabin © William Britten use with permission only
Henry Whitehead Cabin © William Britten use with permission only

Matilda’s son from her first marriage, Josiah “Joe Banty” Gregory, became a prominent producer of moonshine in Cades Cove during Prohibition.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photos at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN. I’m located in Morning Mist Village, along the historic Arts and Crafts loop on Glades Rd.

Textures in Wood

Textures in Wood

Log Cabin Close-up
Log Cabin Close-up © William Britten use with permission only

The textures in these photos of aged wood are a thing of beauty. The cracks and weathering only add character. All three of these photos are in the Smoky Mtns.  The top and bottom pictures were found in Cades Cove, and the one below is from a door in one of the old cabins along “Millionaire’s Row” in Elkmont.

There are many old structures in the Smokies that bear witness to the passage of time. Cades Cove has perhaps the largest collection, but there are also many along the Roaring Fork, and over in Cataloochee, as well as other areas. It’s fun to stop and look closely at the old wood.

If you’re vacationing in the Smokies, please consider a stop at the William Britten Gallery, where you’ll find the complete display of Smoky Mtns photos, plus magnets, mugs and notecards of Smokies scenes. The Gallery is located in Morning Mist Village, along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg.

Cracked paint on a Door
Cracked paint on a Door © William Britten use with permission only

 

Photos of Wood Textures
Photos of Wood Textures © William Britten use with permission only
Look Up!

Look Up!

In the Treetops
In the Treetops © William Britten use with permission only

It’s a Spiritual Sunday again. Time to ponder whatever comes to mind. Like walking in the Smokies with your head pointed upwards. Watch the squirrels jump from treetop to treetop. Appreciate the soft sunlight filtering down through the canopy. Maybe spot a woodpecker at work.

These two Smoky Mtns photos illustrate a simple philosophy: look up!  Studies show that a positive outlook and reaction to life’s unexpected detours are a key to happiness and longevity. It’s not always easy, and it takes some faith to know that the even the dark areas in your life’s picture add to the overall beauty.  Just as in these pictures, it’s the contrasts between light and dark that give the scene some “pop.”

The treetops pictured above are some of the big trees along the trail above Laurel Falls. The photo below is a stand of Poplars along the Roaring Fork. They probably took over the cleared forest after the logging operations of the 1920s, or after the homesteaders moved out. They’re all competing for a small piece of the sunshine pie. No time to relax and stretch your limbs. No time to be an individual. You need to grow fast and straight to establish yourself, just like those around you.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mtns Photos at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN. I’m located in Morning Mist Village, along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd.

Smoky Mtns Photos: Tall Trees
Smoky Mtns Photos: Tall Trees © William Britten use with permission only
Featured Photo: Dogwood Rain

Featured Photo: Dogwood Rain

Smoky Mtns photos: Dogwood Rain
Smoky Mtns photos: Dogwood Rain © William Britten use with permission only

Dogwood Rain is one of my most enduring Smoky Mtns photos. This shot was taken along the Middle Prong in the Tremont area of the Smokies, which is one of my favorite locations. The photograph was taken in a light drizzle, umbrella in hand. With the rainy mist hanging over the creek, and the focus on the dogwood blooms on the overhanging branch, the photo has a three-dimensional look.

I recently gave Dogwood Rain a bit of a make-over, enhancing the contrast and the green color of the leaves.

The road to Tremont is a left turn just past the Townsend entrance to the Smokies, going west towards Cades Cove. After the road turns to gravel, this view presents itself on a sharp curve, with an unobstructed view of the Middle Prong of the Little River. If the dogwoods blooms are at their peak, (second and third weeks of April), and the light is good, it’s a simple matter to set up a tripod and take the shot.

Dogwood Rain is offered in all sizes. Details of sizes and pricing can be found on at the bottom of the How to Buy page. You can also purchase framed or unframed versions of this image from my online store

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mtns Photos at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.  The Gallery is located in Morning Mist Village, along the historic Arts and Crafts loop on Glades Rd.

Free Smoky Mountains Wallpaper: Cades Cove Summer

Free Smoky Mountains Wallpaper: Cades Cove Summer

Cades Cove Summer
Cades Cove Summer © William Britten

Another free Smoky Mountains computer wallpaper or screensaver.  Also would be a good background for the iPad.  The photo above was taken on Hyatt Lane in Cades Cove on a beautiful summer morning.

This photo, and all other Smoky Mountains wallpaper, can be downloaded from http://williambritten.com/wallpaper/ Just click on the file name “Cades-Cove-Fence-Wall.jpg” and then once the large image has come up in your browser, right-click on it to save it to your hard drive. Then follow instructions below. All wallpaper images are  © William Britten and are for your personal use only.

For Windows users, save the file to any location, then Open Desktop Background by clicking the Start button , clicking Control Panel, clicking Appearance and Personalization, clicking Personalization, and then clicking Desktop Background. Then click the Picture location down arrow and click Browse to search for the picture on your computer. When you find the picture you want, double-click it. It will become your desktop background and appear in the list of desktop backgrounds. Finally, under How should the picture be positioned, choose to have the picture fit the screen, and then click OK.

On the Mac, save the image to your Pictures folder, or any other location. Open System Preferences icon on your dock, and select Desktop & Screensaver. Select the picture, and then select Fill Screen, or Stretch to Fill Screen.

Watch for more free wallpaper images in the weeks to come!  And please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN, along the Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd.

Smoky Mountains History: Mountain View Hotel

Smoky Mountains History: Mountain View Hotel

Mountain View Hotel in Gatlinburg 1926 © University of Tennessee Libraries
Mountain View Hotel in Gatlinburg 1926 © University of Tennessee Libraries

These pictures were taken by Dutch Roth. The text from his journal below describes the fascinating history in the early days of Smoky Mountains tourism, when Gatlinburg was barely a destination on the edge of the mountains.

“So many of our hikes used to begin and end at Gatlinburg. Back in 1929 the only thing there was here, was a few buildings and a dusty road, that forded Bearskin Creek that ran through the middle of town. The old Mountain View Hotel had a wooden picket fence around it and down in front of it at the junction of the Parkway and Roaring Forks Road, was an old general store. Here you could get most anything that you wanted. It was made out of wood and had a front porch across the front of it. We used to leave our cars at the Hotel and hike from there to whereever we wanted to. Then when we would return from our trip, hot and tired or in the winter, cold and hungry, we would find a hot supper waiting for us there at the hotel. Most of the time we would have country ham and hot biscuits and honey.”

“I took a picture of Gatlinburg at this time showing the old dusty road and the creek and an old house. The only hotels were the Mountain View and the Riverside on the river. Gatlinburg has changed since those days. Now it is a good size city and is incorporated now. It only takes about an hour or so to get to Gatlinburg now from Knoxville, where it use to take all day long. On December 8, 1934, we had our annual Hiking Club banquet at the Mountain View Hotel at Gatlinburg. After a nice meal we had the elections of officers, then we square danced till midnight. Then we gathered around a log fire in the lobby of the Hotel and saw some movies and sang till 2 in the morning. After which we started on a mystery hike. We got back to the hotel about 4 A.M.”

 

Gatlinburg 1925 © University of Tennessee Libraries
Gatlinburg 1925 © University of Tennessee Libraries

Used with permission of The Great Smoky Mountains Regional Collection, University of Tennessee Libraries

Cades Cove: John Oliver Homestead

Cades Cove: John Oliver Homestead

John Oliver Homestead
John Oliver Homestead © William Britten use with permission only

John Oliver was a pioneer who built his log cabin around 1826 in the Cades Cove area of the Great Smoky Mountains. The homestead is typical of the time with logs trimmed with a broad ax, fit together with dovetail corner joints, and the cracks filled in with a mortar that is little more than dried clay. Today, nearly 200 years after the Olivers took up residence in the Cove, this  homestead is the first stop along the Cades Cove Loop Road. It’s a short walk from the parking area, up through a hay meadow where you may often see deer grazing. The cabin is framed nicely with a split rail fence, and offers many opportunities for iconic Smoky  Mountains photos.

John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only
John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only

The image at the top of the page is a conversion to black and white with a sepia tone. This works especially well with pictures of old wood, such as fences and log cabins. I discuss this technique in a previous blog post with several other black and white conversions of Smoky Mountains photos in Cades Cove.

If you are vacationing in the Gatlinburg area, please stop in for a visit to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photos at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Loop on Glades Rd. There are framed and matted prints, as well as mugs, magnets, posters and notecards.

John Oliver Cabin and Split Rail Fence © William Britten use with permission only
John Oliver Cabin and Split Rail Fence © William Britten use with permission only

 

The Roaring Fork in Black and White

The Roaring Fork in Black and White

Sunrise on the Roaring Fork
Sunrise on the Roaring Fork © William Britten use with permission only

Lately I’ve become hooked on black and white conversions. A couple of weeks ago I posted some black and white Smoky Mountains photos from Cades Cove. Today’s offerings are from along the Roaring Fork.

In the digital era the camera’s sensor records everything in color. Unlike the monochromatic film of yore, you must start with a color image and then do a conversion. But the basics of black and white photography have not changed. Not every scene lends itself to a monochrome presentation. All you have to work with are shades of gray and dark and light. It’s all about contrasts in the areas of light. I think that photos of creeks are good candidates, especially the boulder-strewn Roaring Fork. The natural colors here are mostly whites of the water and grays of the rocks, so you have a lot of neutral shades to work with. Add some dramatic lighting, and you might just have a great black and white photo. The photos on this page were converted using Lightroom, including the addition of a sepia tone that gives each image a warm coloring.

Recently I’ve added some black and white panoramas to my gallery of Smoky Mountains photos. These, and all of my Smokies landscapes are on display at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg.

Smoky Mountains photos: Roaring Fork Morning
Smoky Mountains photos: Roaring Fork Morning © William Britten use with permission only
New Black and White Panoramas in the Gatlinburg Gallery

New Black and White Panoramas in the Gatlinburg Gallery

Smoky Mountains photos in Black and White
Smoky Mountains photos in Black and White © William Britten use with permission only

Last month I wrote a blog post about converting some of my Smoky Mountains photos to black and white. I’ve been having fun with this technique lately, and will be showing more of these photos in the future. I liked the look so much that I’ve created three panoramas featuring scenes from Cades Cove. These are one-of-a-kind images measuring 12″ x 24 ” and framed in rustic barnwood. They can be seen at my Gatlinburg Gallery on Glades Rd. or ordered by phone.

I’ve also created several small 5×7″ photos, framed in barnwood.

John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove
John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only

If you are in the Gatlinburg area on vacation, please stop in at the William Britten Gallery in Morning Mist Village along the historic Arts and Crafts Loop. All of my Smoky Mountains photos are on display, mostly in stunning color. The gallery also features mugs, magnets and notecards and is open every day but Sunday 10-5.

And if you are a facebook person, please consider becoming a fan of the William Britten Photography page on facebook. I post news updates and photos from the Smokies, plus occasional special offers only on facebook.

Smoky Mountains Photos: Hyatt Lane in Cades Cove
Smoky Mountains Photos: Hyatt Lane in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only
Spiritual Sunday: Special Gifts

Spiritual Sunday: Special Gifts

Morning Majesty
Morning Majesty © William Britten use with permission only

I’ve been working on a small project, and I’m ready to share it. The basic idea is to use Smoky Mountains photos as the context for a short philosophical statement. The statements are about the capacity of nature to lift the spirit. These photos and words can be sent to a loved one or friend as a little “happy.” Something like a notecard … a small “Spiritual Gift.”

I’ve created three of these pages so far. First I’ll share links to the pages … if you care to read them … and then I’ll let you know how to share them with someone.  Here are the pages:

    Morning Majesty – features a sunrise over the endless Smoky Mountains … the timeless beauty of another morning.

    Dogwood Homestead – features the photo below and some thoughts on the idyllic tranquility of another era.

   Finding Deep Peace in Wild Places – features the photo at the bottom of this page, with thoughts about how time in the mountains can serve as an antidote to a stressful world.

Smoky Mountains photos: Dogwood Home
Smoky Mountains photos: Dogwood Home © William Britten use with permission only

There are a couple of ways to share these “Spiritual Gift” pages. First, you can click on one of the links above and then click on the “Share” button on the top of the page. From there you can email to someone, post it to facebook or twitter, or other possibilities.

The second way, is only for facebook users, but it’s pretty cool.  Click on this link below, and follow the instructions to send one of the gifts to a facebook friend.

     Spiritual Gifts on facebook  

If you’re visiting the Smoky Mountains, please consider a visit to the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN. My Smoky Mountains photos are on display as framed or matted prints, as well as magnets, mugs, and notecards.

Finding Deep Peace in Nature
Finding Deep Peace in Nature © William Britten use with permission only

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