At the Ends of the Day

Landscape photography has a habit of filling up your days, especially either end of the day, starting before sunrise and ending after sunset.  On my first full day in the Smokies, sunrise and sunset found me on the Foothills Parkway on the far southwestern boundary of the park. Along with Clingman’s Dome, Oconoluftee Overlook, and Newfound Gap in the park, there is a large parking area/pullover near the northeast end of the parkway that is a favorite for sunrise photographers. This photograph is from that location.

_DSC2119 Gallery

This particular sunrise occurred between bands of rain that had started overnight and continued well into the day.  Consequently, the dense cloud cover over the major peaks of the Smokies hid the sunrise: without color, the day merely got brighter.  There was, however, a lot of fog in the valleys to the east and southeast, giving me some hope of one or two decent images.  Not being able to capture a grand mountain vista, I concentrated on smaller images as they emerged from the fog.  There was no color to speak of and the scene had a very Zen-like appearance, hence the black and white rendering.

The storms blew off in late morning, and in anticipation of a decent sunset, Barb and I had an early supper at Elvira’s.  Not having enough time to make it Morton’s Overlook for the sunset, we headed back to Foothills Parkway.

_DSC2323 Gallery

This photograph came about several miles down the parkway from my morning location, another parking area/pull-out, but this time looking west across the rolling foothills.  As the setting sun sank below a layer of thick clouds, the mist in the valleys below was backlit and came alive with a glow that lasted only a few minutes. As the sun sank lower, the mist soon receded into the shadows of the valleys.

The next morning I went back to the Foothills Parkway for the sunrise, but the area was totally engulfed in fog.  I heard from Tony Sweet later that Clingmans Dome was also socked in but he got a very decent image of the early light playing on the fog and the nearby slopes lower down at Morton’s Overlook.

You win some, you lose some ….

Thanks for stopping by.


An Overlooked Place

Today’s photograph was made in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the Little River Gorge Road between Metcalf Bottoms and the Townsend turnoff.  It is an area that most photographers who go to the Smokies will miss if they travel in workshop groupings or with friends and multiple vehicles. The Little River Road is just not conducive to group photography:  the road runs high above the river (which is now mostly channeled by man-made rock walls), turn-offs are small, and there are very few places where you can descend to river level safely. And, the section below Metcalf Bottoms really gets missed by photo groups because they will use the turnoff to the Wear Valley Road at the Bottoms as a speedy bypass on their way between Tremont and Cades Cove in the south of the park to Clingman’s Dome, Roaring Forks and Tremont in the north.  The Little River Road is not made for rapid travel or photographing in groups.  It is much better for solo photography.

_DSC2431 Gallery

I discovered this photo opportunity on my first trip to the park several years ago.  I arrived early for a workshop with Tony Sweet and had a full, albeit rainy, day of solo photography before the workshop began.  (See a 2013 post about this spot here.) This time, Barb and  I stopped by in the late morning just after a rain storm; the water was running well and although I was fighting periodic bright sun that was blowing out my highlights, it gave me an opportunity to photograph **into** one of the feeder creeks as the spring green on its banks was illuminated.

Thanks for stopping by.