Day 2 in the Smokies – Greenbrier Slow Exposures

Shooting at Greenbrier was the highlight of my day, which started out with a trip to Clingmans Dome for a sunrise that didn’t happen because of dense fog.  I got a couple of shots on the way down from the Dome, but the views weren’t very good because of limited sight lines. After a late breakfast at Elvira’s Café, I got some decent images along Roaring Forks – in areas that were hidden from the bright sun, though.  After Roaring Forks, we drove north on Hwy 321 to Greenbrier.

The major thing about Greenbrier is the Little Pigeon River.  Photographers usually aim for late afternoon when the river itself is in shadow from the trees on the west bank, and the sky above is a brilliant blue.  This causes the trees on the east bank to be reflected in the water, creating some great abstract patterns.  We arrived at Greenbrier about an hour earlier than I have in the past, but at this time of year, my early arrival was perfect timing.  Today, the atmospheric and lighting conditions were right, but unlike the fast moving and voluminous spring melt waters, this autumn there was very little water moving.  Be that as it may, I was alone on the river bank, the low water made rock climbing a lot easier, and the Little Pigeon River still offered up some satisfactory shooting.  This first shot is a two minute exposure, using my Singh-Ray VariND at its maximum setting, which added about 8 stops to the baseline exposure measured off the white water highlights.  The long exposure smoothed out the moving water, while retaining the colors from the blue sky and reflections.

The next image was taken about 20 minutes later, after the optimum light had past, although you can still see the trees on the opposite being illuminated by the retreating sun.  This time I used my B+W 10 stop ND filter, giving me a three minute exposure based on my spot meter reading of the highlights in the water.

Both these images should print pretty well – I am looking forward to seeing them on paper, matted and framed.

Tomorrow I will head into Cades Cove.  Thanks for stopping by.

Back at it again …

It has been a while and I apologize for not posting more frequently.  I have several things working at the present moment and have not been able to give this blog the attention it deserves.  But now … today … I am away from the daily grind and have a couple of days in front of me that will be nothing but shooting. Barb and I are on a two week trip to attend our niece’s wedding on the 8th.  Right now, we are in the Smokies for a couple of days.  We arrived midafternoon, and after getting checked in at the Tally Ho! Inn, we made a run to the Tremont area to take advantage of the late afternoon light.  We drove down to the end of the road, and I ventured down the upstream bank of the Little River where it passes under the footbridge.  Using my new waders, I was able to get right into the river for this shot.

Shooting during the late afternoon at Tremont is a real treat because the sun has pretty gone over the hillside on the south and west, leaving open sky above, and a nice even light below without any hot spots.  I spot metered this scene using my Sekonic 758DR, determining that the water at the convergence of the two flows was the brightest part of the scene.  I then added 2 stops of exposure to place the measured value back toward the high end of my dynamic range, but without blowing out the whites, and I added an additional 1.5 stops to account for the polarizing filter I had on my 16-35mm lens. During a very simple post-process of this image, I did a conversion to black and white to check my tonal range in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, where I was able to confirm that the brightest part of the scene was a Zone IX or below – meaning this will print very well once I get home.  When I was done checking the dynamic range, I simply deleted the black and white conversion layer in Photoshop and the saved the file.

I have another shot from this location, which I will work on later this evening and will hope to post tomorrow sometime.

Thanks for stopping by.