Besides waterfalls…

The scenery at Cloudland Canyon State Park is amazing.  Most people remember the fantastic mountain views through the gorge and out into the distance.  The waterfalls are beautiful and peaceful but what else is there?  Well, for one thing, there is a beautiful variety of mountain streams and glades of tress that make you feel like you’re somewhere far away from civilization.

This spot is just a little downstream from Cherokee Falls but the moss-covered boulders and the contrast between the dark shadows and bright light made me feel like I was lost in a primeval forest.  It’s nice to lose yourself in a quiet little pocket of nature even if it really is only a few steps away from the busy world we fight through each day.

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Rising Fawn, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
31mm @ f/18 – 1/4 sec – ISO 200

Hemlock Falls

One of Cloudland Canyon State Park’s biggest attractions is the Waterfalls Trail, a 1 mile hike that includes a 600 step, 400 foot descent to get to the two main falls.  The further one down the trail is Hemlock Falls, shown here.  You can hear the falling water from the top of the trail and it echoes off the mountainsides as you walk down.  Rushing water flows through the gorge making beautiful scenery all the way down.

Hemlock Falls is a 90 foot drop of  Sitton’s Gulch stream into a boulder-filled pool.  There is a nice observation deck where you get a good view of the falls but to get down to the spot where I took my image, you have to scramble over slippery rocks and boulders.  It’s not all that bad a climb but certainly not a well-groomed path.

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Rising Fawn, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/18 – 1 sec – ISO 100

Cloudland Canyon Overlook

Joyce and I finally got our Canyon Climbers Club cards filled in!  We drove up to Cloudland Canyon State Park and hiked the stairs down to see the two waterfalls that are major attractions for the park.  We had visited this park once before last Spring but at that time, we were not aware of the Canyon Climbers program and failed to get our cards punched.  After having done some of the parks more than once over the last 2 years, we finally got it finished.  Now we can send in for our official t-shirts – Woo hoo!

This view is from the Main Overlook located behind the Interpretive Center.  It was a bit hazy when we arrived but the view from Lookout Mountain was great.  It is really amazing to experience the beauty of the North Georgia mountains.  I’m going to have to start working on 4-seasons views of these areas to see the changes that happen.  Hopefully, we will get a chance to return in the Autumn and see what it looks like in fall colors.

More pictures to come soon.

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Rising Fawn, Georgia, USA

4-frame panorama merged in Adobe Lightroom
Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/16 – 1/15 sec – ISO 125

Water of Gold

One of the many falls along the Tallulah River passing through the Gorge is this section called L’Eau d’Or – French for Water of Gold.  This is a view from Overlook #3 on the North Rim trail.

I assume that the name comes from the sun reflecting off the pool above the falls.  You can see a little bit of a golden ring in this image.  Not quite sure why it was named in French but, uncovering mysteries is one of the most interesting things about visiting beautiful places like this.  If anybody knows the history behind this name, let me know!

L’Eau d’Or Falls
Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Falls, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/11 – 1/40 sec – ISO 200

Blue Ridge Mountain Panorama

Although it wasn’t the most beautiful weather or the best time of day for a great landscape shot but the view from Black Rock Overlook (elevation 3446 ft) is spectacular.  I decided to do a multiple image panorama to capture how expansive the scene is from this spot.

Black Rock Mountain provides great views in many different directions, it is possible to see Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina from within the park.  The peaks run through the Blue Ridge, Appalachian, and Smoky Mountain ranges.  You get a lot of variety and great scenery in this park.

Black Rock Overlook
Black Rock Mountain State Park
Mountain City, Georgia, USA

4-frame panorama merged in Adobe Lightroom
Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/11 – 1/200 sec – ISO 200

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

Sunrise Spoiled?

Before I experienced this, I was sure that the best thing you can hope for when going out for a morning shoot is a beautiful sunrise and a clear sky.  Now, I’m thinking that a foggy morning is an awfully good alternative.

On our trip to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the group was out taking advantage of the misty beauty of a morning.  The original stop here was to grab a few shots of an iconic view of one of the roads that cuts through the park.

 

 

We got those shots but, as it often happens, the unexpected opportunity appeared.  Just a few steps from that iconic spot, was this road running off into the fog – even better!  And then, in the distance, the sun starts to burn through the fog.  Not a bright sunrise but this hazy-bright spot in the sky.  Eerie and beautiful all at once.

Another lesson in being sure that you look around before you give up on a location.  It’s called working a site and it often gives you results that are not what you planned.  Planning is great and can give you excellent results but keeping your eyes open can give you even more.

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
31mm @ f/11 – 1/15 sec – ISO 100