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

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Aww, how cute

There is a balance of cute and ferocious when observing nature.  I was watching birds at Woody Pond in Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge when these young alligators climbed out on a tree branch in the water to sun themselves.  The first one came out and claimed a spot and the second just climbed on top to share the beautiful sunshine.

At the same time, we could hear adult alligators bellowing in the swampy area surrounding the lake.  It is a thrill to observe nature but, I was very aware of what was going on around me, just in case one of those adults appeared nearby.  We always need to remember that nature is not always a human-friendly habitat.  We could become an easy meal to the natives if we’re not careful!

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/9 – 1/200 sec – ISO 320

Blue Heron on the watch

On a more serious note, yesterday’s post was a juvenile tri-colored heron which was an awkward and humorous bird to see.  This blue heron is much more representative of the beautiful birds that adult herons are.  I also loved the patterns in the driftwood that provided a nice spot for this one to stand and enjoy the morning.

It is a great adventure to watch and capture images of the beauty and diversity that nature has to offer.  Time to get out and enjoy it!

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/9 – 1/100 sec – ISO 320

Pink Dragonfly

I think this is a Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly (Orthemis ferruginea) but I’m not sure about that.  Anybody out there an expert on dragonfly identification?

I was told by Mike Moats that the best time for Dragonfly images is early on a cold morning.  He said those conditions cause the insects to be very slow-moving which allows you to get in close and not spook them off.  It seems that hot and humid may not be too bad a combination either.

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While we were at Harris Neck NWR in Townsend, Georgia, the butterflies and dragonflies flitted about the rim of Woody Pond but when they landed, they stayed in place for quite a while.  This pink specimen was sitting at the end of a reed and didn’t seem to be bothered at all by my photography.  It probably helped that I was using my long lens and was not all that close but he didn’t move at all, even when the wind occaisionally picked up.

Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly
(Orthemis ferruginea)

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/9 – 1/125 sec – ISO 320

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.

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Musicians getting ready to go on-stage

 

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Nature in Focus Workshop members Lou Ramondi and David Akoubian talking with the locals
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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