Category Archives: Smoky Mountains

12 years and I still love it!

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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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Smoke in the Smokies

One of my favorite places in The Great Smoky Mountains is the Foothills Parkway for sunrise. When our group arrived early at “the” spot we were greeted by 65 others who love this spot too! Unfortunately the fog was too thick this day. After a long wait, folks were itchy for breakfast, so most left without getting much. After breakfast, a few of us wandered back to see what might be there and were given a gift. I love the subtle crepuscular rays, the strong white fog near the hill tops and light on the land.

 

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Barclay Photography – Encouraging you to make images that make your heart sing.

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Time for the Smoky Tour

One of my favorite places to photograph on the east coast is The Great Smoky Mountains!  I adore the lush greens of early spring, the blossoms on the dogwood, the redbud trees blooming and the foggy mist in the morning. Dan and I have another great group joining us next week and we can’t wait to get started!

The Smokies is a place that makes my heart sing!

 

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Stop and get it while you can

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This is a a grab shot with a lesson. We were doing our pre-tour scouting when we spotted this scene. Rather than get out a tripod and shoot it properly, I fired off a couple of handheld shots and we moved on.  At the moment my head was filled with things like, we need to move on and get the scouting done, eh, its not that great anyway, how do I expose for this type of scene anyway?   Seriously my F.U.D. (fears uncertainties and doubts) were creeping in. Then when I got back to the room and took a look, I immediately realized I had made a mistake. I should have stopped pulled out the tripod and taken a few minutes to think through my composition and exposure.    

The lesson?  STOP and get it while you can.

 

Also posted in B&W Tagged , , |

Color Versus B&W

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I love this picture in color, AND, I love it in B&W.

 

 

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I asked my wife which she liked best, she said, “I like them both, however, they each evoke a different emotion. They create two very different moods. The color is full of life and happiness making me want to go there. The B&W is full of mystery, drama  and wonder.  What lies beyond the fog?” I am frequently suggesting that B&W is a choice, and should be used with purpose. I believe the two versions here illustrate my point well.  Neither is better than the other, however, each creates a very different response from the viewer.  That is of course unless you’re Cole Thompson to which color is noise or Chuck Kimmerle who sees color as the anti-christ.  Which do you respond to?

A note for the Fuji fans out there.  I shot the entire trip to the Smokies with the X-E2. To say I am happy is an understatement.  I wanted to shoot the new X-T1, however, the Really Right Stuff “L” bracket did not arrive in time. The good news is they started shipping this week. This was shot with the 10-24mm zoom at 10mm which is effectively 15mm in the full frame world.  Very happy with this wide angle zoom from Fuji.

Also posted in B&W, Color, Creative Tagged , , |

Dogwood B&W #2

DSCF4813-EditBWmatted Here is another black & white image from Sparks Lane.  As I continue to explore the Smokies in black and white, I am pleased with what I’m seeing. Remember to click on the image to make it much bigger. A fun side note. We ate lunch one day at the wonderful Lily’s in Townsend. As we engaged our server in conversation, we learned that she is from the Sparks family after which this lane is named.

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Cades Cove Dogwood

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This image was a bit of a surprise.  I liked what I saw through the viewfinder as a color image, however, when I opened the file in Lightroom, I began to play with it as a monochromatic version.  The surprise was how much I liked it as a b&w conversion.  My initial thinking was, I’m in the Smokies, an awesome place to photograph early spring color.  Why on earth would I want to try b&w?  The lesson learned once again is, b&w is simply a choice and one that should be made with purpose, regardless of subject matter.  

A note on the processing.  Ninety percent of this image was processed in Lightroom 5 with just a few minor tweaks in Photoshop to finish it off.  

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The Smokies Being the Smokies

 

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As we finished our first full day of shooting with the group, a gloomy, overcast, rainy, and great day got even better.  Near the end of the day, we began to see blue sky and the sun came out, basking the iconic scene on Sparks Lane with its golden glow.  Then, on the way out, we rounded the corner and found the ground fog rising around this wonderful lone tree.  The Smokies deliver yet again. 

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The Smoky Tour Begins

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Tomorrow we start shooting with the group.  Looks like we will have a week of mixed weather which should be good for varied opportunities.  Looking forward to some great shooting with a great group.

The blog image is from the iconic Sparks Lane in Cades Cove.

 

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Foggy Morning

I love going back through images to find hidden gems.  I’ve spoken about this before, but feel it worth another reminder.  Give yourself time from the shoot so you will be able to evaluate the images for what they are, and not what you had hoped they would be.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  It would be best to craft your image in the viewfinder and feel confident you have THE shot.  That said, I still feel we are drawn to certain images when we do our review and these pop out because of our emotional and visceral reaction to them.  What then happens is, we tend to move on leaving behind other images that are also great!  With today’s image, I have already processed three others from this particular morning shoot.  As I went back to review images, now almost two months old, I had new knowledge.  I have learned more about processing this type of image and was able to review the RAW files with a new perspective.  This new knowledge helped me to see the potential in other similar images.  And then I decided to play with a crop and came up with the image below.  Another right answer!

Also posted in B&W, Inspiration, Landscape, Nik Silver Efex