I have been visiting the Smoky Mountains twice a year for the past 6 years, and yet it continues to impress me with the sheer beauty of its streams and mountains. I keep thinking I will tire of the "same old thing," but I still enjoy seeing the same locations, perhaps with new eyes, and it keeps me coming back again and again.
This Spring was one of the best trips ever! Was it perhaps because it felt like an emergence from the lockdown days of Covid? I think that had as much to do with it as anything, but it was also a gorgeous verdant spring with perfect water flow in the streams. And I was lucky to enjoy my visit with some very special friends, so all in all, it was a great trip!
Going back to the same area to photograph the same streams and mountains and skies can be very rewarding, especially if you compare recent work with images you took years ago. I realized while I was photographing the overlook area in Cades Cove that I had made my first stop here on my first visit to the Smokies all those years ago. I honesty didn't remember the photo I had taken back then, but the conditions were amazing when I visited this year and I so enjoyed setting up a composition and trying to do justice to the gorgeous light and little wisps of fog. Here is the image from this year:
I loved the clouds and fog, the interplay of golden light in the midground and the lush green of the foreground. A little pink in the sky played nicely off the colors in the rest of the image.
Hmmm, I've been here before!! This was the exact overlook where I took one of my first photographs in the Smokies, more than 6 years ago!
As a new photographer still learning about my camera, I paid so little attention to composition. I never noticed those dark shadows in the foreground that be a distraction for the viewer. There was color in the trees and some beautiful fog, but I failed to make an impactful photograph because I included too much. There is very little sense of depth here, compared to the above image that has a strong foreground, middle and background. It is quite interesting to go back and look at photographs from years ago and compare to current work. I highly recommend you do this with your own work, to see how far you've come and perhaps develop a plan for what you want to learn next!
Below are some of my favorite images from the visit this April. The water levels were perfect and we were blessed with some beautiful light, especially the sunset on the last evening on the Foothills Parkway! It just kept getting more and more beautiful and it was a lovely way to look over the town of Townsend and say farewell--until next time.