Carol Wolfe Photography

Smoky Mountains

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Black Bear in Tree

New Found Gap Sunset

Sweet White Trillium

Roaring Fork Fall

Here are some landscapes and other scenic shots from in and around the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. For more information on spring wildflowers and fall color, please check Woodland Spring and Woodland fall, respectively. I have just begun work on this page and will expand it during 2008.
I will begin this page with some scenic shots that I got while visiting Clingmans Dome, the highest summit in Tennesse and third highest in North Carolina.I really enjoy seeing the how the quality of the light influences the color of the landscape. The photos below show this effect rather dramtically. It is interesting to note that the shots were taken within ten minutes of each other.

Moments before sunset on Clingmans Dome

Moments after sunset on Clingmans Dome

Here are two sunset shots from Clingmans Dome, which I got on Sept 30, 2007. I got the brownish-orange shot about 5 minutes before sunset, and the purplish-pink shot about 5 minutes after. The first shot appears brownish-orange because it reflects the warmth of the sun's light. But once the sun fell behind the mountains (toward my right), the light became cool and more blue. I enjoy comparing these shots with each other and with a similar shot I got back in April. The April shot appears in various shades of blue, and I got that one just after the sun went down.

April Sunset from Clingmans Dome

This is a south-facing view (toward NC) from the Clingmans Dome parking lot just as the sun was setting beside the mountains toward my right. My friend and I were attempting to photograph a colorful sunset, but one was not to be seen this night. Instead, we got to talking and I started to look around. I turned my attention toward the south and that's when I saw this shot. The the shade had just reached the foreground, which made this shot work rather well. I like the layering effect of the various shades of blue.

Late April Sunset from Clingmans Dome

This shot is similar to the two above it, which I photographed during the fall of 2008. I am standing at the same basic location along the edge of the parking lot at Clingmans Dome. The camera is pointing almost exactly west, and the focal length is nearly 300 mm. It got this shot during late April 2008, almost exactly one year after getting the more bluish colored shot to the left.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park has lots of streams. During 2008, I decided to photograph a variety ofl scenic landscapes with streams.

West Prong of Little Pigeon River

In June 200, I decided to hike the Chimney Tops Trail in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I got this shot looking upstream from a footbridge near the very beginning of the trail, and then kept walking all the way to the top. There were many flowers in bloom that day, including bright pink Catawba Rhododendrons at the highest elevations of the 2 mile trail.

Little Pigeon River

It was a cool March day in the Smokies as the Little Pigeon River raced beneath my feet. I was looking upstream from the footbridge near the Ramsey Cascades trailhead. It was mid morning and I had a long adventure ahead, 4 miles up to the cascades and then 4 miles back. Little did I know that later that day I would meet a black bear along the trail, the first I had ever met while all alone in the woods.

Roaring Fork (on Motor Nature Trail)

Standing near marker 13 on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, I got this shot looking upstream into the Roarking Fork. It was late April 2008, as a friend and I took turns photographing the stream and watching for cars approaching the narrow bridge where our tripods were set. It was an overcast day in the understory, too early in the season to be shaded by leaves, so the landscape was evenly and softly lit. To simplify the image, I isolated only a small portion of the stream.

Cades Cove Foggy Winter Day

It was a rather dreary day, January 2, 2008, when I drove the loop around Cades Cove. I got this shot looking more-or-less east across the field and toward the mountains beyond. It was somewhat foggy with just a thin layer of snow on the ground. And it was very cold. I'd hoped for a tiny bit of diffused sunlight, but the clouds were too thick that day. On the bright side, there was very little traffic.
Prior to getting this shot, I photographed some frozen streams and icicles along Little River Road.

Frosty Spruces on Clingmans Dome

It was late October 2006, my first ever trip to Clingmans Dome. In the past, I'd always seemed to arrive when the road was closed. Down in the Sugarland Valley, it was merely a cool and rainy gray day. But at the top of the mountain, it felt like a January blizard. Rocks seeped icicles instead of water. Evergreen needles were covered with an organized poweder of white: ice crystals or frost. This picture shows the mood. See below for a closer shot of frosty white spruce.

The Smoky Mountains are a great place to find fall color, from large landscapes to smaller closeups. The quality of fall color shots depends very much on the quality of the light. I expecially like soft side-lighting, which helps the bright fall colors glow. Don't be surprised to find frost at the higher elevations, as I did when I visited Clingmans Dome.

Frosty Spruce on Clingmans Dome

It was late October, 2006, and I went to the top of Clingmans Dome. I knew it would be cloudy, windy and cold, but I had no idea how cold! The white spruce branches were beautiful thans to the frost formations along each needle-shaped leaf. I used my Nikon D70 and 200 mm micro lens, set on a tripod of course. It was extremely windy, so I had to wait for a lull before snapping the shutter.

Fall Color Along River Road

It was late October 2005, my first fall trip to the Smokies. On this bright and sunny fall day, my photo opportunity was limited due to the large amount of contrast in the light. I found this shot in the woods along River Road, just a few miles west of the trail head to Laurel Falls. Having gotten a late start that morning, this was one of very few scenic shots I got that day.

Fall View from Foothills Parkway

It was late October 2005, and I was on my way home from my first fall trip to the Smokies. I drove along the Foothills Parkway and stopped to get this shot looking into the valley nearby and also glimpsing the Smokies in the distance. It was a beautiful day. I could have spent hours just sitting there.

The Smoky Mountains are famous for the great variety and number of springtime wildflowers. Here are some of the many I have found, followed by some scenic shots and some more wildflowers too. Check my page called Woodland Spring to find more shots like these. You can also find some of my photos in the Photo Gallery of the Great Smoky Mountain Association.

Large White Trillium

I found these flowers along the Cove Hardwood nature trail near the Chimney Picnic ground. It was a rather sunny day, except for a few passing clouds. So I waited for a thin cloud to diffuse the sunlight before snapping the shutter. I needed a wider angle than my typical wildlflower lens, so I mounted my 24-85 zoom lens on to my Nikon D200 body.

Wild Ginger Flower

I found this wild ginger plant while walking along the Cove Hardwood nature trail near the Chimney Picnic area. About 1/3 of the way into the trail, I saw a whole bunch of these plants on a hillside. From the downhill side of the patch, I was able to capture this shot using my D200 and 200 mm micro lens.

Little Brown Jugs

Little Brown Jugs is a close relative of Wild GInger (to the left) but I had never before seen it until April 2007 when a friend pointed it out along the road to Greenbriar Trail. I returned to get this photograph the next morning when just a small hint of sun was peeking through the clouds. I used my Nikon D200 and 200 mm micro lens.

Stream Along Newfound Gap Road

It was late October, 2006, and I went to the top of Clingmans Dome. I knew it would be cloudy, windy and cold, but I had no idea how cold! The white spruce branches were beautiful thans to the frost formations along each needle-shaped leaf. I used my Nikon D70 and 200 mm micro lens, set on a tripod of course. It was extremely windy, so I had to wait for a lull before snapping the shutter.

Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman's Breeches is one of many wildflowers that bloom in the Smoky Mountains each spring. I found this beautiful plant on the Cove Forest nature trail near the Chimney Picnic area on New Found Gap Road. I got this shot using my D200 and 200 mm micro lens, mounted on a Gitzo tripod using a "Really Right Stuff" ball head.

Roaring Fork

It was March 2007. I happend to arrive the day that the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail was opened for the season. It was an exciting surprise, because I expected the road to be closed. I stopped about 3/4 of the way into the drive so that I could get this shot off of one of the many narrow bridges that cross the stream. I had to work quickly since there was some traffic and there was not enough room on the bridge for me and the cars.

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