I just arrived in Townsend, Tennessee, to prepare for the photography workshop at the Tremont Institute. In case you’re not familiar with Townsend, it is located at the northwest boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Known as the “quiet side” of the Smokies, Townsend really gets busy this time of year as everyone descends on the Smokies to experience fall colors.
For photographers, autumn is definitely a highlight of the year in the Smokies. For several years now, I’ve been fortunate to help teach the autumn photography workshop at Tremont. It is such a special place and I consider the workshop and my time in the Smokies as a huge highlight on my annual calendar. More importantly, the people who participate in the workshop are special to me. Many have become lifelong friends and that list continues to grow with each year and each workshop. In fact, it has reached a point with me that the people are a more important part of my Tremont experience than the photography. It is interesting to have friends who I only see once or twice a year. Thinking back on it, I realize that the more my friendships have grown, the more my photography has improved. There is definitely a connection there!
Each year at this time, our most common questions revolve around the colors, the streams, and the weather. “How are the colors?” “How high is the water?” “Where are the colors?” “Is it going to be sunny or will it rain?” It has been a dry summer, so the water levels are low. For whatever reason this year, the fall colors seem to be late and there are questions if they will appear at all. And the weather is currently dominated by a high pressure system that has eliminated every cloud within miles of the common viewpoints. Big photography challenges to say the least!
Which got me thinking, no water, no colors, no clouds…what the heck are we going to take pictures of? Hmmm… Challenges like this make it is easy to get bummed and maybe even a little grouchy. Then I slowly realized that the situation is similar to this time last year. The drought conditions were even worse last year. There was no water, just some colors, and periods of time without clouds. But I don’t remember any of those challenges. All I remember from last year is the people and the fun. I even created some great images. It is easy to forget the challenges when they are behind you!
Here is an image from last fall. Enjoy! And wish me luck with this year’s challenges, they will soon be forgotten!!