Here’s the transcript of the journal that I keep for my photography trips. I usually write at the end of each day on these trips. They usually wind up being a mix of photography & travel advice to myself for future trips.
4/18/2018 – Wednesday
Headed to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park looking for wildflowers and waterfalls. Got to Townsend Wednesday afternoon and rode through Cades Cove. Then rode by Tremont and hiked up Middle Prong a bit. Saw Lynn Prong Falls and some others.
Climbed to the bottom of Lynn Prong Falls but still no good composition. I was planning on shooting the sunset from the Foothills Parkway, but no dice. Planned to try the overlook just north of Look Rock.
4/19/2018 – Thursday
I hit Cades Cove first thing in the morning. Gate opened at sunrise and I made it to the spot before the sun came up. Too cloudy for sunrise & too warm for fog. It looks like the fog shot is only for cold weather. I took a few shots of the sun coming through the clouds. Also had a few deer in the background.
Had a good breakfast at the Dancing Bear Lodge. Then back to Cades Cove and hiked Abram’s Falls. Nothing worth shooting here. Took a few shots of the falls, but there is no good composition. Found a good spot at Carter Shields Cabin for tomorrow.
Rode through Cades Cove campground and didn’t see anything to shoot. Found a great spot near the horse stable. Got a great composition of a dogwood near the water. Asked permission to shoot from the riding folks.
Headed to Elkmont and hiked up Little River about a mile up the trail There’s a bench near the cascades with a good composition. Blue-green water.W ad
Back to Gatlinburg – pretty short drive from Elkmont. Ate at Smoky Mountain Brewery of off the main road. Missed the sunset again – too much traffic in Pigeon Forge.
4/20/2018 – Friday
Cades Cove for sunrise. Still no fog at 38 degrees. The sun comes up and paints the valley. Shot B&W and Velvia. Got great shots at Shields Cabin. Sun lights up the cabin when it tops the trees. I really need a wide angle for the Hassy. Good composition from across the road.
Another breakfast (Great!) and headed for Bryson City. Went through Tremont again. The first bridge on the road past Treemont Institute has a good waterfall. Need better light to shoot it with film though.
The second bridge has a place to pull off and great shots of dogwoods and flowing stream across the road. Two good spots here. Mid day is probably the best time to have light in the valley here. Have to use ND filters to slow down the shutter speed.
Visitors Center, then Newfound Gap. Hiked a bit of the AT. There’s a place where the Trillium carpets the ridge below the trail. May be a good shot in the future – difficult composition though.
Checked the drive time from Clingman’s Dome to Cherokee for sunset. Also checked the compass for the sun angle & it won’t work in April. So glad I checked! Between Deep Creek Overlook and Cable Mill there was a traffic jam as a bunch of elk were crossing the highway.
Don’t eat in Cherokee!
I hit Waterrock Knob – 40 minutes from Bryson City. Ate dinner at the Fryemont and headed out at 7:15. Got good shots of color as the sun dropped. Met a guy named Yale Miller here – talked about photography after retirement and that I bought the Mamiya from a guy that was killing it in photography after an early retirement. Turns out that we are both friends with the same guy! – Robert Wilson from Florida!
Easy drive back to the Fryemont – hope to shoot the sunrise from here in the morning.
4/21/2018 – Saturday
Headed to Waterrock Knob at 6:10am. No good angle from the parking lot. Had to climb to the top – the hike is kind of a mix between Clingman’s Dome and Table Rock. I missed the sunrise but got shots looking north. I tried a time lapse with the phone, but it kept auto-correcting the exposure.
Back for breakfast and hiked Deep Creek. Tom’s Branch Falls needs afternoon light this time of year. Went through Oconaluftee and Cable Mill, but there were no dogwoods to be found.
Went to Waynesfville for a late lunch. The place from last time was not there. Still had a good lunch and chocolate.
Back to the Fryemont for dinner. Had to leave early dinner to make the sunset. Pretty cold at Waterrock Knob with a 15mph wind. More good shots of color. (Have a note from later that I needed to use a stronger ND filter). Headed back to the Fryemont and the bar to end the night. Met a guy named Crampton (it was his birthday) that was a cool character.
4/22/2018 – Sunday
Up and out before 6am. Hit Waterrock Knob and started climbing. Right into a cloud. Nothing to see here.
Back to the Fryemont. Breakfast & checked out headed home.