Flowering Dogwood at the Carter Shields Cabin

The main weather event of our first full day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was rain.  The day started out cloudy, but rapidly deteriorated, so it seemed like a good idea to head into Cades Cove, figuring traffic would be at a minimum.  We did a recon lap of the 11 mile loop road, stopping only at the Carter Shields Cabin.  This is one of my favorite stops in the cove, especially in the spring when the dogwoods are flowering.

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It was pouring pretty heavily when we got to the small parking area in front of the cabin, just the thing I needed to try out my new rain cover for the camera.  The rain cover worked very well, keeping the camera and lens much drier than I was in my rain gear.  After a short while, the rain let up and I was able to seriously pursue the photography I was after.  I have photographed these trees in flower several times, but this time the light was absolutely right. If I didn’t get another shot all day, I would have been satisfied because this image is one that I have had in mind for a couple of years.  I hope you enjoy it.

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Folly Beach Pier

I have been to Folly Beach a couple of times for the obligatory sunrise and sunset shots, but none of my images – at least the ones I have processed  – included the pier.   ( See Channeling John Singer Sargent)  But … I wanted to give it one more try, and, besides, a sunrise over the ocean is always something worth experiencing, whether any photographs get made or not.

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Barb came with me and waited patiently as I went through my prolonged process.  I made some initial clicks of the pier as the sky took on its morning colors; made some more clicks of the sunrise with the pier’s supports in silhouette; moved past the pier and made some more clicks of the sunrise, itself, and the ocean.  Then, I found it – a piece of conglomerate had been cast up by the surf and caught my eye.  I moved my tripod close to it and lowered the angle of view to capture both it and the pier. I was enthusiastic about the image the moment I saw it through the viewfinder, and even more enthusiastic when I viewed it on the preview screen.  Finally, it came together pretty well in post processing.  I think I finally have my photograph of the Folly Beach Pier.  To make the morning complete, we immediately headed to the Lost Dog Café for an excellent breakfast!

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A Different Take on the Ravenel Bridge

Barb and I just got back from a week of traveling in which we spent some time in both Charleston, SC and on the TN side of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. As opposed to other trips, photography was not the main objective, for at least in Charleston we were to be tourists – although … I did have my camera with me the whole time. The first morning we were there, I took off solo well before dawn to photograph the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge spanning the Cooper River between Mt. Pleasant, SC and Charleston.  Being a cable-stayed bridge, it is architecturally striking.  I have photographed this bridge several times before when I was in Charleston with various photo buddies, but always at dusk and always from down river on the mud flats above Patriot’s Point.  But, I was never satisfied with the results from those shoots – there were always many, many other photographers there taking exactly the same shot.  I wanted to do something a little different._DSC1842 Gallery

Being on my own, I decided to try for a different perspective; sunrise instead of sunset, and from just up river of the bridge at the Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park instead of down river on the mudflats.  My thinking was that at sunrise, the twin towers and their cables should momentarily “pop” with color, creating a dramatic image.  Well, I was wrong; the bridge towers and cables didn’t “pop” dramatically, but slowly illuminated with a pinkish glow.  On top of that, sky was an absolutely featureless blue.  The color capture at best was pretty mediocre, but the black and white conversion worked very well.  The structure of the bridge showed to much better effect in black and white, and the flat, blank sky rendered a very satisfactory middle gray,  This photograph should print very well.  And in keeping with my promise to be a tourist, I made it back to the hotel in time for breakfast!

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