Cades Cove & Cataloochee
On the north side of the park lies Cades Cove, a lovely area of open pastures and preserved homes and churches, now filled with grazing deer, and choked most days with lines of cars touring its narrow tree-lined lanes.
Cades Cove, Great Smoky National Park. September,
Photographed with a Hasselblad XPan and 90 mm lens on Provia 100F
It's possible that the word bucolic was coined when settlers first saw Cades Cove. This photograph was taken about 40 minutes after sunrise just as a fog bank was clearing from the valley. If you look closely (particularly in the larger version) you can see a deer in the field at the left of the frame.
About half-way round the Cades Cove loop road is an unmarked and unpaved road on the right called Rich Mountain Road. It is a one-way shortcut out of the park toward Townsend. Otherwise, its claim to fame is a small break in the trees that offers this stunning view of the old Missionary Baptist Church.
Blue Church, Cades Cove, Great Smoky National Park.
Photographed with a Rollei 6008 and 300mm Schneider lens on Provia 100F
Of course the church isn't really blue. The colour cast is caused by it being totally in the shade, in contrast to the warm light of late afternoon. Also, as you can see in this mid-September shot the foliage has just started to turn. It'll probably be at its peak in about 3 weeks.
NB: The Cades Cove road doesn't open until after sunrise, so unfortunately you can't be on location there for best light. Also, note if you're planning a Fall 2000 visit that the road doesn't open until 10am on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Photographed with a Rollei 6008 Integral and 300mm Schneider APO Tele-Xenar on Provia 100F
I returned to Cades Cove for a third time in late October. 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.
Cataloochee Cabin, Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains
NP. September, 2000
Photographed with a Hasselblad Arcbody and 35mm Rodenstock lens on Provia 100F
Located on the southeastern side of the park well away from the madding crowds is the old settlement of Cataloochee. Situated in a valley very much like Cades Cove it contains several fascinating settlers cabins. This one is named the Palmer House. The walls must have been covered at one time with old newspapers. In an enlargement much of the text is legible and makes fascinating reading.
If you're planning a trip to Great Smoky here are two sites that may prove to be of interest. The first is a live web cam showing the view and the current weather from the top of Look Mountain. The second is the weather forecast for the region.