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Appalachian Autumn

Great Smoky National Park and The Blue Ridge Parkway

During the third week in October, 2000 my friend and fellow landscape photographer Steve Kossack and I spent three wonderful days photographing fall colour in Great Smoky and along the lower end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Though I'd been photographing the area for a couple of months prior due to an enforced stay in Atlanta, I wasn't prepared for the lushness of the colour. It's worth noting that most local observers consider 2000 to have been a poor to mediocre year for colour. This means I've got to come back in a good year!

Smoky Colour, October, 2000

Photographed with a Hasselblad XPan and 90mm lens on Provia 100F

In addition to the previous summer's weather, fall colour in the Smokies is very much a function of the altitude, side of the mountain and numerous other factors. A small turn-out on the north end of the road that traverses the park provided this late afternoon vista. It's been a very hazy season in the park, more so than usual, and in this image you can see how the central valley seems to recede into a blue haze.


Grotto Falls, Great Smoky. October, 2000

Photographed with a Hasselblad XPan and 30mm and 45mm lenses on Provia 100F

Grotto Falls is found up a mile-long hiking trail in the Roaring Fork area of Great Smoky. It was one of the more fascinating falls that I photographed during my two months of occasional shooting in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. Quite lovely, isn't it?

This was tough to photograph because there were so many tourists in the area. Looks peaceful. It wasn't.

You'll notice that the right hand image has been reversed. I did it because it simply "reads" better that way.

Blue Ridge Sunrise, October, 2000

Photographed with a Rollei 6008 Integral and 300mm Schneider Tele-Xenon lens on Provia 100F

It was an overcast mornings but something told me that we'd get lucky. Well before dawn we drove from Maggie Valley to an elevated overlook which our previous exploration had indicated was the best spot for shooting into the sunrise ‹ Water Rock Knob. Sure enough just as sunrise began there was a break in the clouds just above the horizon.

This is one of those cases where the on-screen image is actually better than a print! The colours are so saturated that they are out of gamut on every paper and printer I've tried. Enjoy the large version by clicking on the frame above. This is much like looking at the original transparency. You'll never see a print as good.

Waynesville Vista, October, 2000

Photographed with a Hasselblad XPan and 45mm lens on Provia 100F

After photographing the sunrise seen one frame above we continued  north on the Blue Ridge Parkway in search of a fresh perspective. About 15 minutes later we came across this view of a fog-filled valley bathed in a soft pink light.

We shot everything from panoramics to extreme telephoto shots and had a great time visually exploring this pleasing location.

Waynesville 2, October, 2000

Photographed with a Rollei 6008 Integral and 300mm Schneider Tele-Xenon lens on Provia 100F

This is one of those telephoto explorations. It's an area located center-right of the previous frame. Our high vantage point and the warm early morning light made for very exciting shooting conditions. I have at least a half dozen variations on this image taken at different focal lengths and with different framings.

Smoky River, October, 2000

Photographed with a Hasselblad ArcBody and 45mm Rodenstock lens on Provia 100F

The Little River runs through Great Smoky National Park near the Cades Cove area and is one of the great draws for photographers. Mile after mile it cascades through the park, offering endless vistas with foliage, rocks and fascinating detail.

Cades Cove Tree, October, 2000

Photographed with a Rollei 6008 Integral and 300mm Schneider APO Tele-Xenar on Provia 100F

Cades Cove in Great Smoky fascinates every time I've been there. Here a late sunrise due to heavy clouds provides a backdrop to this lovely old tree and dilapidated barn. 

We ran into a dew drenched field to capture this frame as a few minutes later the sun emerged from behind the cloud bank and the light became brighter and flatter.

Smoky Trees, October 2000

Photographed with a Rollei 6008 Integral and 300mm Schneider APO Tele-Xenar on Provia 100F

Everywhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway and the roads through Great Smoky are endless opportunities to photograph foliage. Brighter and more colourful isn't always better. I particularly like the pastel softness of this image.

Warm Turnout, October, 2000

Photographed with a Rollei 6008 Integral and 300mm Schneider APO Tele-Xenar on Provia 100F

At one of the numerous turnouts on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just before sunset, we came across this remarkable scene. I knew at the time that this had the makings of a strong image, but it has turned out to be one of my favourite images from the trip and now forms part of my permanent portfolio.

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Concepts: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Photography, Color, North Carolina, Great Smoky Mountains, Photograph, Telephoto lens, Focal length

Entities: Atlanta, Great Smoky National Park, Grotto Falls, Maggie Valley, central valley, Little River, vista, Smokies, Michael Reichmann, Steve Kossack, Brighter, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee

Tags: Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky, Schneider APO Tele-Xenar, images, Rollei, Integral, Schneider Tele-Xenon, Provia, 100F, sunrise, photographer steve kossack, Smoky National Park, mile-long hiking trail, late afternoon vista, right hand image, dew drenched field, Cades Cove area, soft pink light, different focal lengths, warm early morning, Water Rock Knob, lovely old tree, exciting shooting conditions, half dozen variations, high vantage point, photographing, enforced stay, telephoto explorations, local observers, blue haze, telephoto shots, previous summer, previous frame, on-screen image, elevated overlook, overcast mornings, lower end, great draws, late sunrise, original transparency