Tag Archives: Cades Cove

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.

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
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.

Smoky Mountain Cantilever barns

Smoky Mountain Cantilever barns

Smoky Mountains cantilever barn © William Britten use with permission only
Smoky Mountains cantilever barn © William Britten use with permission only

The picture above is from the Tipton Homeplace in Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a great example of the vernacular architecture known as the cantilever barn. The style of hanging a large upper loft area over two cribs below is unique to the area in and around the Smoky Mountains during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Of just over 300 of these barns known to have existed, about 290 were in the two Tennessee counties bordering the Great Smoky Mountains.

To me, this style of barn architecture reflects the Appalachian mountain peoples’ clever and practical solutions to everyday problems. In this case, the climate around the mountains was very humid, which presented a challenge to keep the hayloft dry and mold-free.  Solution: air circulation between the loft and the moist ground.

The example below is a modified cantilever, with supports on both ends. This is the John Messer barn along the Porters Creek Trail in the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It stands near the historic Smoky Mountains Hiking Club cabin.

On your next trip to the Smokies please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photos at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

 

Cantilever barn in the Smoky Mountains
Cantilever barn in the Smoky Mountains © William Britten use with permission only
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: 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.

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
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
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

 

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
Cades Cove: Carter Shields Cabin

Cades Cove: Carter Shields Cabin

Carter Shields cabin in Cades Cove
Carter Shields cabin in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only

George Washington “Carter” Shields lived on this homestead from around 1910 to 1920, although the cabin dates from the 1830s.  Carter Shields place is one of the stops along the Cades Cove loop road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Carter Shields was a Civil War veteran, crippled at the Battle of Shiloh on April 1862 in Southwestern Tennessee.

In the springtime, the dogwood trees and split rail fence create many opportunities for memorable Smoky Mountains photos here.  The Shields cabin is also very attractive to deer … perhaps a salt lick under the porch … and you often find an extra bonus for your photos.

This scene, along with the dogwoods and fence, are in one of my Featured Photos, called Dogwood Home.

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photos at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN. All of my landscape images offered both matted and framed, as well as a selection of magnets, mugs, and notecards. The Gallery is located along the historic Arts and Crafts Loop on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg.

Shields Cabin © William Britten use with permission only
Shields Cabin © William Britten use with permission only
Cades Cove in Black and White

Cades Cove in Black and White

Cades Cove panorama in toned monochrome
Cades Cove panorama in toned monochrome © William Britten use with permission only

Lately I’ve been inspired to convert some of my Smoky Mountains photos to black and white. There are many ways to do this, including software such as Silver Efex or Photoshop. I am a big fan of Lightroom for many reasons, and it has built in conversion that works fine. I like to add a tone to simulate the old wet toners that used to be added in the darkroom.  The photos on this page were all given a sepia tone. Dodging and burning is also very useful when working in monochrome, since it’s only the shades of grey that you have to work with.  All of these photos had some areas lightened and some areas darkened by using a Photoshop layers technique.

I also tend to do a lot of local contrast adjustment. Again, there are a lot of software programs that will do this, which is basically creating more separation along the borders of darks and lights. I do this to some degree for virtually every photo, but for black and white it seems even more important.

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

These photos were all taken in Cades Cove and were converted from the original raw image file. The panoramic on the top of the page was stitched from several files. The shot from Hyatt Lane below was taken at the same time as one of my Featured Photos, Cades Cove Morning. You can compare the two to see the difference color makes.

If you’re in Gatlinburg, come on out to Morning Mist Village along the historic Arts and Crafts loop on Glades Rd. My complete display of Smoky Mountains photos is on display at the William Britten Gallery, along with some nifty magnets, mugs, and notecards. Maybe a special something to take home.

Smoky Mountains photos in black and white
Smoky Mountains photos in black and white © William Britten use with permission only
Favorite Trails: Abrams Falls

Favorite Trails: Abrams Falls

Trail to Abrams Falls
Trail to Abrams Falls © William Britten use with permission only

The trail to Abrams Falls is one of the most popular Smoky Mountains hikes. Get to the parking area at the western edge of Cades Cove early, and enjoy this easy-going hike before the crowds arrive! Abrams Creek and the waterfall are named after Chief Abram, leader of the Cherokees who lived at Chilhowee Village, near the mouth of Abrams Creek.

The trail follows Abrams Creek over a fairly easy course for about two and a half miles, starting at the footbridge pictured above. Midway, the trail climbs Arbutus Ridge, and from this point 200 feet above the creek, you can see how the stream makes an extreme loop through a gorge known as Big Horseshoe. The loop continues for nearly a mile, finally curving back on itself nearly to where it began, separated only by the lower end of Arbutus Ridge.

During the spring wildflower season, you will find Trailing Arbutus along this section of the trail, as well as Bleeding Hearts and Gay Wings.

At the waterfall there is a sign warning of the dangers risked by those who jump off the falls or swim near its strong currents. Apparently this didn’t stop Dutch Roth and his friends from diving off the cliffs back in the 1940s.

Smoky Mountains photos: Abrams Falls
Smoky Mountains photos: Abrams Falls © William Britten use with permission only

As always please stop in and say hello at the William Britten Gallery along the Historic Arts and Crafts Loop on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg. My complete selection of Smoky Mountains photos, as well as mugs, notecards and magnets are all on display most days throughout the year.

Smoky Mountains photos: Abrams Falls
Smoky Mountains photos: Abrams Falls © William Britten use with permission only
Spiritual Sunday: Cades Cove Meditation

Spiritual Sunday: Cades Cove Meditation

Spiritual Light in Cades Cove
Spiritual Light in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only

It’s a Spiritual Sunday in late April, and today we’re just out for a walk and stopping for a meditation on the beauty of a spring day in Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains. Most people who come to the Smokies pay a visit to Cades Cove, and for good reason … it may be one of the most majestic and spiritual places on earth. I’ve probably written more blog posts about Cades Cove than any other area of the Smoky Mountains.

My strategy is to go early. I’m parked at the gate before sunrise when the Park Ranger drives up to open the loop road for the day. Then, rather than drive the 11 mile loop, I pick a spot, park the car and take a walk. There are many places to do this, and getting out of the congested traffic gives you the opportunity for photos that aren’t the standard scenes that everyone else gets. But best of all, it gets you connected to the spiritual side of the Smoky Mountains, off in a field with just you and the mountains, and maybe a deer or two.

On this morning the weather was looking dramatic, with shafts of sunlight scanning the central meadows. I decided to park along Hyatt Lane, one of the gravel lanes that cuts across the paved loop road. The early spring grass is still short and easy to walk through, so it’s off into the fields we go, just wandering out to the point where it feels like nothing but you and nature and the mountains all around.

Walking near Hyatt Lane
Walking near Hyatt Lane © William Britten use with permission only

As always please stop in and say hello at the William Britten Gallery along the Historic Arts and Crafts Loop on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg. My complete selection of  photos of the Smoky Mountains, as well as mugs, notecards and magnets are all on display most days throughout the year.

Spiritual Light on Dogwoods
Spiritual Light on Dogwoods © William Britten use with permission only
Featured Photo: Dogwood Home

Featured Photo: Dogwood Home

Dogwood Home
Dogwood Home © William Britten use with permission only

Dogwood Home is a featured photo at the William Britten Gallery. It is offered in all sizes up to 20×30. 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

The dogwood blooms were especially pretty in the Cades Cove area of the Smoky Mountains during the spring of 2012 when this picture of Carter Shields cabin was taken. This is one of the older cabins along the loop road, dating from the mid-1800s. George Washington “Carter” Shields fought in the Civil War, and returned to live in Cades Cove during the early 1900s.

For me, this picture evokes the idyllic tranquility of another era, and the dogwoods add a symbolic touch of love and peace, and the promise of rebirth that comes with every spring. Even though life in this rustic cabin would have been harsh in the 1800s, it’s fun to imagine living here as an antidote to our hectic modern lifestyles.

A side-note on this picture: when I set up for the shot another photographer was working up by the cabin. I waited a while for him to finish, but finally I gave up and positioned him behind the tree to the right. He stayed there for about 30 minutes while I worked on this shot.

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 landscapes of the Smoky Mountains.  There just might be a picture waiting to go home with you!

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Gay Wings

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Gay Wings

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Gay Wings
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers: Gay Wings © William Britten use with permission only

Gay Wings (Polygala paucifolia) is a perennial herb in the Milkwort family. The Greek name “Polygala” means much milk, and refers to the belief that eating these plants would increase the production of milk in nursing mothers and livestock. The two petals of the flower give the appearance of a bird in flight. Other common names include Bird on the Wing and Flowering Wintergreen.

These are tiny wildflowers, but if you hike the trail to Abrams Falls in early April, you can’t miss seeing many clumps of these tiny blooms on the hillside above the trail.

If you are a fan of Smoky Mountains wildflowers, please consider joining my wildflower page on facebook.  We feature photography and information on bloom sightings. And if you’re travelling to the Smokies on vacation, please stop in at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Loop on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg. All of my Smoky Mountains landscape photography is on display, and there may be a special mountain memory for you to take home.

Smoky Mountains Wildflowers Photography
Smoky Mountains Wildflowers Photography © William Britten use with permission only
Springtime on Sparks Lane

Springtime on Sparks Lane

Springtime in Cades Cove
Springtime in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only

It’s a glorious springtime in Cades Cove. The dogwood blooms have come early, and the Smoky Mountains are dressed in their spring finery. There are opportunities for Smoky Mountains photos everywhere you look. The pictures on this page were taken along Sparks Lane, the first cut-through in Cades Cove. Early in the morning, soon after the Park Rangers opened the gate for the day.

The other cut-through road along the loop road is Hyatt Lane. Both of these roads are gravel and are bordered by old fenceposts and wire, which will give your photos that old-time country lane look.  With the Smoky Mountains rising in the distance, these two country lanes offer some exceptional vistas.

Whenever you’re in Gatlinburg, please consider a stop at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Loop on Glades Rd. My display of  Smoky Mountains photos might just contain a special memory for you to take home.

Smoky Mountains Photos: Dogwood Time in Cades Cove
Smoky Mountains Photos: Dogwood Time in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only
Tracking a Bear is Not Easy

Tracking a Bear is Not Easy

Smoky Mtns Black Bear
Smoky Mtns Black Bear © William Britten use with permission only

Brian Shults and I met up in Cades Cove again this week.  We found this rather large male Smoky Mtns Black Bear feeding on acorns in the woods. The two of us circled round and round this guy while he ate his lunch, but it was nearly impossible to get him to strike a photogenic pose.  At least he didn’t chase us!

The video below is not terribly captivating, but it’s the best I could get.  After 15 or 20 minutes we finally gave up on getting any good photos and moved on.

 

If you’re on vacation in the Gatlinburg area, please consider a visit to the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. My complete display of Smoky Mtns photos may offer a special memory to take home with you!

Early Morning Walk in Cades Cove

Early Morning Walk in Cades Cove

Sunrise from Sparks Lane
Sunrise from Sparks Lane © William Britten use with permission only

Today is my wife, Sarah’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Sarah!

Last week we got up very early … before 5am … and drove over to Cades Cove to walk along the Loop Rd as the sun came up. It was one of the days when the loop is closed to car traffic until 10am, which makes for a delightful walk in a special place. These Smoky Mountains photos were some of the sights we saw along our walk.

The photo above shows the sun peaking into the eastern end of the Cove, seen from along Sparks Lane.  Below are a few of the horses from Cades Cove Riding Stables relaxing in the morning mist before their day gets started.

Riding Horses Relaxing
Riding Horses Relaxing © William Britten use with permission only

As we walked along before the sun came up, a group of deer crossed the road in front of us, headed for the woods after a night of grazing. The sounds around us were so quiet, and the smells of earth so welcoming. We talked about how these are moments like no others, and ones to be savored.

Below is a shot from the backside of the loop road, showing how wonderful it can be early in the morning without bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The walk we did was a 4-mile loop taking the Sparks Lane cut-through. Walking on out to Hyatt Lane would make for a longer 7 or 8 miles, and of course you could walk the entire loop road for an 11 mile excursion.

If you are visiting the Smokies on vacation, please consider a stop at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg. My complete collection of Smoky Mountains photos is on display and may contain a special memory for you to take  home. Most days either Sarah or I will be there to greet you.

Quiet morning along the loop road
Quiet morning along the loop road © William Britten use with permission only
The Deer Whisperer

The Deer Whisperer

Old buck in Cades Cove
Old buck in Cades Cove © William Britten use with permission only

Some of the best Smoky Mountains photos of deer and bear that I have seen are those of photographer Brian Shults. I’d been wanting to meet up with Brian to get some tips on wildlife photography, which is a specialty requiring a whole different strategy than what I’m used to. But even though we both spend a fair amount of time in Cades Cove, we couldn’t seem to find a time for a joint photo shoot.

Last Saturday I decided to head over to Cades Cove before sunrise and walk around in the central meadow to see what I could find. Saturday morning is one of the days the loop road is closed to cars, so I had to park at the entrance and walk in. With bicycles zipping by me in the gloom of early dawn,  the riding horses and a few deer appeared off in the misty fields. It was a moment to celebrate just being alive.

Soon enough I head down Sparks Lane, and then from there over the fence and into the big wide meadow. There are deer around, but as I approach close enough to get a good pose, mostly I get the white tails as they skitter away. Walking on, I can see another photographer in the distance.  He’s crouched in the grass, surrounded by bucks that seem to be posing for him like hired models. I’m thinking that this must be Brian.

Brian -- the Deer Whisperer
Brian -- the Deer Whisperer

Brian has been among these deer for years, and he knows them well enough to recognize each one and tell you something about their history. Obviously, they know and trust him as well. And then a funny thing happened … it was like the deer said “Oh, you’re with Brian … you must be ok.” And they posed for me, letting me get within 10 feet of them. Nice!

Eventually they jumped the fence, headed for their spot in the woods to bed down for the day. Of course Brian knew where that would be, and we followed the bucks over there for another photo session.

Thanks for a fun morning, Brian!

Cades cove deer bedded down for the day
Cades cove deer bedded down for the day © William Britten use with permission only

As always, the welcome mat is out for you to visit me at the William Britten Gallery on Glades Road in Gatlinburg.  Hopefully my complete display of Smoky Mountains photos will offer a special memory for you to take home.

Sunflowers of Cades Cove

Sunflowers of Cades Cove

Narrow-Leaved Sunflower © William Britten use with permission only
Narrow-Leaved Sunflower © William Britten use with permission only

The sunflowers family is a big one, with 20 species known to inhabit Tennessee, and 7 of those found within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. On a tour of the Cades Cove Loop Road, you will see many of these.

Early one morning recently, I made the loop, stopping constantly to investigate yet another yellow cluster of yellow wildflowers. However, even with a couple of guidebooks, identification is not simple. So the labels on these images are my best guess.  Please feel free to offer corrections.

In any case, these yellow sunflowers are beautiful … adding even more sunshine to a bright summer day.

If you take a break from touring the Smokies, please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountains Photos at the William Britten Gallery along the historic Arts and Crafts Trail on Glades Rd. in Gatlinburg, TN.

Whorled Rosinweed © William Britten use with permission only
Whorled Rosinweed © William Britten use with permission only
Wide-leaved sunflower © William Britten use with permission only
Wide-leaved sunflower © William Britten use with permission only
Black-eyed Susan © William Britten use with permission only
Black-eyed Susan © William Britten use with permission only
A Wedding in the Cove

A Wedding in the Cove

Robert and Julia
Robert and Julia

I don’t normally do weddings, or even portraits. But a few weeks ago Julia contacted me, saying that her fiance Robert was returning from duty in Afghanistan and they would be married in Cades Cove.  She liked my Smoky Mountain landscapes and asked if I could take some photos like the ones on my web site, with them in the picture. How could I refuse? I was honored to be a small part of their wedding day and the start of their life together.

What Julia didn’t realize was that she and Robert would end up in my blog, like everyone else who I meet in the Smokies!

Starting a Journey
Starting a Journey

The wedding took place this past week, and Cades Cove responded with glorious, golden summer evening light. We all enjoyed spending some time together, and I hope the pictures were just what she wanted.

Congratulations and all the best wishes, Robert and Julia!

Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace

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