Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Photographer's Paradise - The Smokies Part I - Sunrise

The Smoky Mountain National Park is a vast region of gorgeous scenery, incredible overlooks, varied wildlife and plants. I spent a week there recently and had some great photo opportunities.  First of all, you should know that I'm not a morning person by my husband's standards.  He's up at 4:00AM most days, and I sleep till 7:30 whenever I get a chance.  But when there are sunrise photos to be taken, I'll get up and be ready to go to be on sight for first light.  In the Smokies, it's about 45 minutes to the top of the mountain from the nearest lodging. But it was worth it! 

Sunrise from Clingman's Dome overlook tower.  We drove 45 minutes predawn, and then had to climb .5 mile uphill to reach this tower.  Unfortunately, I wasn't set up with my tripod when the sun poked through this cloud layer.  So I quickly snapped this, even though I had not yet mounted my camera on my tripod and finished the climb up to the top of the tower.  By the time I got there, the sun had ducked behind the cloud layer, not to be seen again.  Good thing I stopped for that 1/2 second to take a breath before finishing the hike up to the top!
 Cades Cover before the fog totally lifted.  What you can't see in this picture is the amazing quiet of this cove.  The occasional wild turkey call, the buzzing of bees and birds chirping was the only thing breaking the peacefulness of this scene.
 First light at the Oconaluftee Overlook.  The mountains layer one behind another, with the foggy "smoke" these mountains are named after.  Once again, the predawn peacefulness is amazing here.