Little River – Townsend, TN

With all the rain we’ve been getting here lately, I was reminded of our recent trip to the Smoky Mountatins and photographing the Little River in Townsend, Tennessee.

This is a beautiful area just outside the Cades Cove portion of the National Park.  Townsend is known as the “Quiet side of the Smokies” as compared to Gatlinburg which has much more of the tourist attractions and traffic.  I think it can still get busy in Townsend but it is not as built up in comparison.

Little River
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Townsend, Tennessee, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
w/Polarizing filter
16mm @ f/18 – 1.3 sec – ISO 400


Indigo Bunting singing

For those of you who do not know David Akoubian one thing I can tell you for sure about him is that he’s a bird nut!  When we went on his Spring in the Smoky Mountains workshop, I was sure that we would be chasing birds and I was not disappointed.

David has an uncanny ability to spot birds and to identify them by their calls.  There were two species that we came across in Cades Cove that David showed a lot of interest in.  One was the Orchard Oriole that I posted an image of earlier.  The other was the Indigo Bunting that you see here.  The male bunting would fly up to a high branch and sing for the females who were gathering nesting material in the fields below.

They are not very big birds and since the day was quite overcast and they were perched up high, it was hard to get a good shot.  I got a few when he came down to look for something to eat but I like the featured shot above where he is in full song best.

Smoky Mountains-3572Smoky Mountains-3601

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/8 – 1/500 sec – ISO 800

Townsend Spring Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day

I don’t know if the Nature in Focus Workshops group planned this or not but, the same weekend of our workshop was Bluegrass Festival time in the Smokies.  We made a stop at the festival and were treated to some great music with lots of people dancing, clapping and having a good-old time.

Smoky Mountains-3280
Musicians getting ready to go on-stage


Nature in Focus Workshop members Lou Ramondi and David Akoubian talking with the locals
Smoky Mountains-3263
Everything’s better when fried – Even Twinkies!

Townsend Spring Heritage Festival and Old Timers Day
May 5th, 2017
Townsend, Tennessee

Foggy Day in Cades Cove

Our last morning of the Spring in the Smoky Mountains Workshop was a return to Cades Cove.  We were hoping that the sun might peek out after the rain showers had finally stopped but no such luck.  We did however get treated to a wonderful foggy morning which shrouded the mountains and gave the landscape a beautiful white backdrop.

I got this image on one of the many roads that are lined with split-rail barbed wire fencing.  The light was beautiful as the early morning sun broke through to warm things up but the fog was still covering everything in the distance.

We were a bit sad to leave the area as Sunday was turning out to be beautiful.  Wish I could have stayed longer and we had the chance to go up to Clingman’s Dome but the elevated roads were still iced over and there was snow at the top of the mountains the night before.

Have to get back up here more often!

Cades Cove
Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
26mm @ f/10 – 1/30 sec – ISO 100

Open the Windows

OK, so yesterday I showed the Parade of Elephants and said how much less attention it got as compared to The Windows.  To be fair, I should show you what the windows look like and you can judge for yourself.  The image above shows the two main arches which make up the windows formation.  Jointly, these are refered to as “The Spectacles” because they look like a pair of glasses resting on a nose.

RMNP_May 09 2016_0508
Turret Arch on a Rainy Day

Just to the east of the spectacles stands Turret Arch, the third of the trio that are considered part of the windows.  These arches are magnificent each on their own and as a group, it is pretty impressive to see three so close together.  There is a nice trail which goes right up to the arches themselves and connects turret arch to the spectacles.

I still think the Parade of Elephants are more impressive because of the mass and size but it could be that since the windows stand out as individual arches more, that is why they get all the glory.  Also, the way the windows are positioned, it is much easier to see sunrise and sunset over them.

My friend, David Akoubian got some great shots here the week after we visited.  You should check out his blog to see what this looks like at night.

Turret Arch Milky Way