Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway National Parks

Scouting trips are the most exciting, these are the “image” finding journeys that I put together to evaluate a location before running a trip commercially. They are meant to find the right places and times to create great photos; they are indeed journeys of discovery. But trust me there are no “Google Searches” or reference books that will assist you, you got to get out there and through trial and error, countless driving hours (1100 miles in the case of this trip) and going back to the same locations, develop a sensible itinerary for seasons to come. In the case of Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Parkway National Parks, this was a challenge, the parks sit within 1000-6000 ft. in elevation; you have to follow the fall foliage basically by the day. A tree that might be green today, will be yellow tomorrow and with out leaves by the next day.

This ecosystem was changing in front of me by the minute, a glorious sight but a challenge to photograph. Each morning will start by following the fog and watching how the veils of white caressed the trees while the forest awakened. The problem is that that fog was there for minutes and then disappear. Then follow the rain, as with it everything shines and the rivers, which abound in every corner, swell and move faster. Again, another problem, rain takes the leaves down. During a rainstorm I wrote: “Teardrops of gold and ruby fall from the winter expecting trees”.  And then, the sun would come out and ruin everything, as it is impossible to shoot within the forest or in the waterfalls with the contrasts that sunlight imposes.

All in all it was a magnificent but hard experience. This realm doesn’t give its secrets or for that matter it images easily.  Everything looks glorious and breathtaking, a feast for the eyes and soul, but you need to search hard for the images that are going to convey what you feel and see.

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