Day 4 was a better photography day. I grabbed a bite and headed out with the goal of finding a good stream or waterfall. The colors have been great in these areas. As luck would have it, I found a good stream with a nice background. I pulled out my gear and began playing for a while. Tinkering with the exposure, I was experimenting with several different things trying to shoot, “The Shot”. I still don’t know if I got “it” after all of this work but I had fun trying. After about 40 minutes or so, a gentleman stopped by to shoot the same area. It was quite obvious he’d been shooting for some time. I asked him how long he’d been shooting. He replied, “Since I was 14. I’m 73 now.” He was also shooting a Nikon D3X, which is Nikon’s flagship camera. The D3X a 24.5 Megapixel camera that cost around $8000-9000. This guy, as you might imagine, is a professional photographer on vacation with his wife. As such, I’m sure he’s writing this whole trip off as a business expense (note to self). It turns out this guy is from southern Louisiana, a town called Franklin. We chatted it up for a bit and he gave me the idea to shoot a panoramic shot of this stream. (DING!) We traded cards then he and his VERY patient wife, continued on down the road. After he left, I ended up spending even more time in this little spot, trying more things. I hope I like the results. Either way, I learned a thing or two playing here.
That complete, I began to work my way towards the Laurel Falls trail. Across from which, I found some amazing color at a trailhead that led to the Appalachian Trail. After a few shots with my D300 and P7000, I began to work my way across the road and begin the hike to Laurel Falls. I spoke to some people who were returning from the falls and looked at their pictures. The falls were running slow and it wasn’t that dramatic of a shot. I decided to pass on shooting it on this trip. I was very happy they let me see their pictures because it would have been a waste of 2 hours if I hadn’t seen them.
I got back into the car and drove toward Clingmans Dome. There were pockets of good color on the ascent to the dome but they quickly faded into past peak as I got closer. On the ascent, I stumbled across a large cluster or rocks/boulders in a growth of old growth forest. Believe it or not, it was richly green. Once again, I pulled out my gear to shoot this area. I climbed around the boulders and took a few self portraits to boot. (I doubt you’ll see any of these.) These pictures will be published to Flickr and linked to this blog sometime early next week.
After shooting the old growth forest boulders, I ventured into Gatlinburg. Personally, I don’t see the attraction of Gatlinburg. I look at it and see what it could be versus what it is and I just despise it. However, they do have a few decent restaurants. I meandered around and made some calls. I spoke to my friend Emily. She’s headed out on another big trip in early November. If you want to live vicariously, http://emilytraveling.blogspot.com . Emily works half the year so she can travel and shoot the rest of the year. This year, she returns to India and plans to work her way towards Tibet and China. Her travels change with her desires along the way. It’s fun to read along as she describes her trip. Enjoy.
After dinner, I worked my way back to camp. I got the urge to pack it all up and head to Knoxville. I enjoyed the first bed that I’ve seen on this trip. The hot shower was amazing and now am beginning to reorganize my gear for the drive back to Memphis. I’ll drop my gear, wash my clothes and pack for Denver. I’m headed to see Emily before she heads out on her trip and I’ll take in the Broncos game as they play the Raiders this Sunday.
It’s been a fun trip to the Smoky Mountains. I once saw the peak back in 1996. I was hoping to see some similar colors this year but it wasn’t to be. I’m sure I’ll return again because this is an amazing area. It is actually our most visited national park and I can see why. You don’t have to even get out of your car to see some amazing beauty. All in all, I prefer the vistas of the mountain west. However, for fall colors, it’s hard to beat New England and the Mid-Atlantic region. . I’ll be taking a closer look at the hydrology reports before I plan a leaf peeping trip next year. I’m feeling more like New England next year, perhaps Acadia National Park?
It’s been a fun trip and it’s time to work my way back to points west. All my best. Thanks for reading along.