Tuesday, April 30, 2013


ISO 400, f/20, 1 second, -0.7EV, 10mm
  My friend Alex Banakas has said a couple of times, and I paraphrase, "eventually, when photographing waterfalls, there comes a point when you just have to get in the water. Jerry's point is very quick."
  Alex is absolutely right. Normally, I am very quick to get my feet in the water to get the shot I want of a waterfall. I commit myself to try and get something unique and different from the guy who stands on the dry shore and shoots from there. If the shot I want requires me to get wet, I do. When my mother visited us a couple of years ago, I remember being chest deep in the North River trying to achieve the shot I wanted. I know this sounds idiotic with  $1000 worth of camera equipment standing in that water with me. To me it's worth it though. Otherwise I will take the same shots that everyone else does. Not to mention that in the warm summer months it feels really good.
  Saturday, when I was braving the rain in the Cherokee National Forest at Lowry Falls, I didn't feel as though I stuck with my commitment to go that extra mile to get that special shot. Sure, I got my feet wet once standing on the rocks in the middle of the stream, but there were so many other opportunities to improve on my composition by getting in the water and I just didn't take that step.
  The good part is, I live close enough to these wonderful set of waterfalls to go back this evening when the rain is long gone and sunshine lighting up the forest. One positive from it raining all day Saturday & Sunday, the water level in the creek was twice as large as it was Saturday. Spots where there was about an inch of water flowing over the rocks had at least 2 inches and flowing very fast. It was really nice. With the sunshine lighting up the forest backgrounds for me, it was an ideal waterfalling session.
  And today, I was committed. Using tree branches and moss-covered rocks to anchor myself, I waded into spots that I neglected Saturday and was rewarded for the effort.
  This shot was the last I took at the falls this evening and was by far the most fun to get. I used a fallen tree to anchor myself and wade out into a strong current to get in front of this little step in front of me. To be honest, it was 80 degrees today and after climbing up these rocky trails, the water felt fantastic as it splashed my ankles.
  The overhanging, curvy tree in the background kept me from trying to get a better angle Saturday thinking it would block the waterfall in the background. It actually did just the opposite and formed around the falls very nicely.

Sunday, April 28, 2013


ISO 400, f/20, 1/2 second, -0.3EV, 10mm
  I have left no doubt over the past few years that my favorite professional photographers and the source of inspiration for my photography are Ian Plant and Richard Bernabe. Their styles are very similar and incredible and both are great at sharing their vision and techniques.
  Richard Bernabe has claimed that he has a long-time love affair with the Great Smoky Mountains and conducts workshops there in both the spring and fall. One of his incredible images from the Smokies is Tremont Fall. I have passed by the spot where he took this shot 5 or 6 times over the past few years and even though I tried to capture a winter shot from that spot this winter, have never came up with anything that I've liked and didn't want to do a carbon copy of Richard's shot.
  Friday morning I found myself standing at this spot again, which is almost at the very end of Tremont Road before the Middle Prong Trail Head. Even though it is springtime instead of fall, the view from the road is still breathtaking. I snapped off a couple of shots from the same angle as Tremont Fall but knew I had to try and get a unique image.
  In the bottom of Richard's shot you can see a large rock that has scattered leaves all over it. I elected to climb down and stand on that rock and get a low, in your face angle at the gorgeous cascade right in front of it.
  The cascade sitting large in the foreground with the sunlit, spring green trees in the background worked out perfect. I now had my unique view of a great iconic shot by Richard and was extremely happy with it.
  Below is my springtime shot from Richard's vantage point.
ISO 200, f/16, 1/13, 14mm

Saturday, April 27, 2013


ISO 100, f/20, 0.8 seconds, 10mm
  I had the day off on Friday and after dropping my daughter off at school headed directly to Tremont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I stopped a couple of times along the road and took some shots and then when I reached the end of the road, took off down the Middle Prong Trail.
  The Middle Prong Trail is a converted railroad line from the last logging camp in the Smokies. The trail starts where the Middle Prong of the Little River begins and follows the Lynn Camp Prong with waterfall after waterfall along the way. It is one of the easiest trails in park and extremely beautiful.
  Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at the trail, the sun was already up and shining down creating hot spots on all of the waterfalls. I was lucky enough, however, to climb down to this small shelf waterfall just below Lynn Camp Falls just before the sun created too much havoc with the water. The sun did help the green of spring shine in the background and provide a nice sunburst for the scene.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


ISO 200, f/5, 1/200, 105mm
  One of the main staples of Spring in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are the Dogwoods blooming. Thousands of people flock to the Smokies in the spring just to capture these beautiful flowering trees.
  With the cool weather that we have been having in the past few months, the Dogwoods seemed to be a week late or so blooming but have now exploded all over and especially in Cades Cove, the primary location to view and photograph them.
  While I was taking this shot, another former Michigander and I were standing along the loop road in Cades Cove just marveling at the color of both the sun striking the flowers and the green and blue background from the trees and mountains in the distance.
 If you ever get the opportunity, I highly suggest getting to Cades Cove in the spring to witness the blooms of the Dogwoods and other flowers and trees. It is quite an incredible time in the Smokies.

Monday, April 22, 2013


ISO 400, F/10, 180 SECONDS, 10mm
  Well, it's been a while since I've posted on blog site. The reason has been because an anonymous person has been using it to post comments trying to draw attention to his/her site. They didn't have anything to do with the pictures I was posting or anything that I was writing about on the blog.
  Hopefully, to put a stop to this I have deleted all of his comments and then made any further comments moderated by me in an email notification to approve or disapprove. I hate the inconvenience of this for my friends that actually come on the site and comment on the blog itself, but it is the only way short of deleting this one and creating a new one to try and stop all the nonsense.
  My picture that I have posted on the blog is of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in the Outer Banks, NC. We (Curt Fleenor, John Deas, my brother Jim, and me) were there trying to capture star trails around the lighthouse. The full moon was really adding a new curve to the process by coming up over the Atlantic Ocean to the east. I wanted to see what kind of image could be created by going to the opposite side (west) of the lighthouse and eclipsing the moon behind it. It ended up being a very cool and unique shot. Especially with the clouds flying by and being lit up by the moon behind the lighthouse. It was so bright that the lighthouse was even somewhat lit up in it's own shadow.
  Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment if you like.