12 years and I still love it!


I believe this was my 12th trip to the Smoky Mountains. Some ask, “why go back so many times?”  My response is, I love the Smokies. It is one of my favorite east coast locations. The conditions are different each time I go. I bring photographic maturity each time I visit. I bring my evolving vision which allows me to see things I had not seen before. 

I believe the two images in this post provide a good example. Most of you have seen the tree in fog (below) from my last trip two years ago. What a magical gift that was. This year we did not see fog in the cove. A few lessons here. I could have had an expectation for fog and been disappointed. Students could have had the same expectation based on countless stunning fog images of Cades Cove on the internet. And they could have gone home disappointed, but no, we found another right answer of the same tree! We waited patiently for the sun to light up the tree while leaving the background hills in shade. If there was full sun on the whole scene it would not have been nearly as successful. The dark background helps to give dimension and separate the tree from it.  A big shout out to my tour partner Dan Sniffin who helped me to see this type of scene many years ago. 


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  1. Jazz Jaeschke April 29, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    You so nicely sum up why I return to various places time and again – “redundant” is never the case – always a new experience, new images, new perspectives. And for me, new poems. This post is a keeper. Thank you!

    • JB April 29, 2016 at 8:51 am #

      Redundant only happens if you let it! 🙂 Thanks Jazz. Oh and what a great name! Jazz!!!

  2. Mrs W Mc Alistercell April 29, 2016 at 8:48 am #

    I love your photographs. I love nature

    • JB April 29, 2016 at 8:52 am #

      Thank you Willie!

  3. Howard Grill April 29, 2016 at 9:51 am #

    Both beautiful. Just goes to show that one can find beautiful images anywhere and under any conditions if the mindset is right. Clearly you had an awesome mindset for both!

    • JB April 29, 2016 at 11:03 am #

      Thanks Howard.

  4. Carla Francis April 29, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

    I love that tree no matter what the conditions are! And i really appreciated how Dan can pick out things most of us don’t see!!

  5. Marty April 30, 2016 at 8:08 am #

    These are beautiful images John…i can see why you keep going back. I love your work and i always watch your participation on the Topaz webinars. Looking forward to your next one.

    • JB April 30, 2016 at 9:31 am #

      Thank you Marty. I appreciate your following the webinars. I used my beloved Clarity on this one! 🙂

  6. Steve L May 7, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    I really think everyone in our country should experience this beautiful area at some point.
    (So interesting to see the scene represented both ways…I particularly admire the b&w.)

    • JB May 7, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

      I agree!

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