Category Archives: philosophy



Smoky Mountain Haystack
Smoky Mountain Haystack

Philosophical Friday here again.  Always something to think about. For example, once upon a time  the problem was finding a needle in a haystack.  Now you can’t find the haystack. When was the last time you saw one?  Do you know what a haystack is?

These haystack pictures were taken at the Mountain Farm Museum near the Cherokee entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So, haystacks are now found in museums.

Back in the 1970s I owned 100 acres in West Virginia, and the local farmers still put up the hay in stacks. I even made some, gathering up the cut hay and piling it up around the pole, then finally combing the outside with a rake so the stack would shed rain. It was labor-intensive, but worked well in preserving the hay for winter feeding. You’d see haystacks all over place in the fields. But, I never once found a needle in one of the haystacks.

Smoky Mountain Haystack
Smoky Mountain Haystack

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

This Old Truck

This Old Truck

Good as Old © William Britten use with permission only

Philosophical Friday here again, and Friday the 13th no less. These pictures of the marvelous old pickup truck resting in glorious decay illustrate the idea that beauty and ugliness do not lie at opposite ends of a spectrum. Rather, there seems to be a circular relationship, where if you start out at beautiful and head over towards ugly, you will eventually find yourself back at beautiful. It’s like Wow! That’s so bad it’s good!

We ran into this idea before, over at the Palmer House in Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains.

When you’re done pondering these heavy concepts please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

Beauty of Decay © William Britten use with permission only

This old Truck © William Britten use with permission only

Driven to Abstraction

Driven to Abstraction

Abstract snow image
Winter abstract in the Smoky Mountains

Another light snowstorm through most of the day yesterday, but not enough to close the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I drove up into the Greenbrier section and found a winter fairyland. So beautiful and dreamlike … I’ll have some more images soon from my roamings, but first a few abstract treatments. The mood of these tall trees along the Ramsay Cascades Trail was like a ghostly cathedral. I was trying to capture the peace and silence, and the white glow around the whole scene. With all those upright tree trunks, I couldn’t resist the temptation to set the up for a long exposure and wave the camera vertically as the picture was taken. It takes a bunch of attempts to get something good, but the idea is with about a one second exposure to hesitate for about half that time and let the scene be captured with some amount of detail, then quickly move the camera up or down to create the dreamy, blurry, ghostly effect. Not a Photoshop trick, all done in the camera!

Here are some more from this series. Click any one to bring up a slide show, then hover your mouse over the image to go forward or back in the series.

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

Winter fairyland
Smoky Mountains fairyland
Ghostly trees in winter
Ghostly winter trees

Winter abstract
Winter trees abstract

Time and place … and memories

I’ve always been fascinated with the concepts of time and place. For example,  the Smoky Mountains have been unchanging for centuries, but in my photography gallery here in Gatlinburg, I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard about families returning to the Smokies every year for decades! Families have grown through many generations while they returned to their favorite vacation spot.

Here’s a photo of a resort cabin that I took a couple of years ago:

This cabin was newly constructed, awaiting all of the tourists who would enjoy a vacation in the cabin, and hopefully take home pleasant memories. There are hundreds of modern cabins like this near the Smokies.

And inside the Park boundaries are the cabins of Elkmont, the old resort area that was displaced when the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was opened in the 1930s.

Cabin owners were given lifetime leases, but those are now completed. For a while the Park was going to demolish the old cabins, but the plan now is to keep at least some as a historical area.

You can almost  hear the echoes of the vacationers enjoying their time in this place.

And going even further back in time is Bud Ogle’s cabin–a sturdy pioneer settlers abode, now a stop along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail in the park.

Finally, our tour of Smoky Mountain cabins and memories wouldn’t be complete without this surreal cabin interior of Alfred Reagan’s place. Apparently Alfred chose his paint colors from Sears like this vibrant blue.


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