Great Smokey Mountains National Park Part 2

October 3, 2013 PhotographyWildlife Photography  No comments

I know I’ve been a little lax in posting to my blog but I wanted to share with you some of the photos from my trip to the Smokey Mountains.  With the recent government shutdowns, it is one of the many National Parks that have closed temporarily (see info HERE).  I had hopes of visiting the Smokies during fall this year as well, but due to our personal scheduling and funds I’m not going to go…although, it would be nice to know if it was actually OPEN to visit!  I can’t imagine all of the people who plan out their trips a year in advance, booking flights, rental cars, hotel rooms…only to find out that they can’t visit the park.

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This was a beautiful buck we saw in Cades Cove.  Cades Cove is usually pretty packed with tourists….sometimes it can even get bumper to bumper in there.  It wasn’t too crowded when we visited at the end of August but there were still too many people for my liking.  In Cades Cove (and pretty much in any park) when you see  cars pulled over, it’s usually because people have spotted wildlife.  We came to an area where there was parking and it was full, we looked off to the side of the road and saw at least 15 people walking in the woods, holding up cell phones and point and shoot cameras FOLLOWING this buck.  Now, the wildlife there is pretty used to people…but when I saw all of those people in the woods I almost didn’t want to go in there and be a part of it.  But I did anyway.  I noticed which way the buck was walking and went in and walked past him.  Found a spot and squatted down with my 7D and 100-400mm lens.  He almost walked right up to me (instead of walking away like he was doing with the other people who were following him),  I was able to get some nice photos of him.  He walked past me, into a deeper part of the woods and laid down.  I took that as my cue to leave…he was tired or just didn’t want to be bothered any longer.

 

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After that, we continued on through Cades Cove and we were able to spot this little cutie before anyone else did.  I did what I always do when I photograph deer, I STAYED IN THE CAR and shot from the window.  She was able to stay relaxed and even turned to look at me.  Of course, after we had stopped…so did everyone else.  I moved on, I got my photo and didn’t disturb the deer.

 

We did miss a bear (which I was hoping to see) because there was a traffic jam of parked cars and people walking around…they of course, scared it away.

 

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One of the coolest stops we made was the Cataloochee Valley in North Carolina.  Now, I’ve been to the Smokies many times in my youth but had never been to Cataloochee.  I had heard about the elk there and really wanted to see them.  The road was easy to drive (even though some websites and posts make it sound hair raising) and we were rewarded with a gorgeous valley.  The photo above is the Caldwell Place, one of the historic buildings in Cataloochee.

 

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The photo above is the barn that sits across the road from the Caldwell Place, I was excited to try HDR with this and was pleasantly surprised with my results since I am still very new to HDR.

 

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This is #17, one of the many bull elk that call Cataloochee Valley home.  It was amazing to see them!

 

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Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail has been and will always be one of my favorite drives in the park.  The stream that runs through there is beautiful and I could literally spend DAYS photographing it.

 

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Another place we went inside the park was Upper Tremont.  This is another area we had never explored before.  It was beautiful, not crowded and the stream running through there was (to me) different than roaring fork and in a good way.

 

This was a family trip…I went with my husband and our Great Dane and we met my parents and their dog up there because they were on their way back home from a trip up north.  We wanted to make sure we got some photos of us and the dogs at the park so here’s a few…

I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to have dogs in the park like this…but we kept them on their leashes and were very watchful for bears as well.  We were also careful of the water we let them go in and made sure the current wasn’t strong where we stopped.  They were only out of the car for the photos at the sign and two stops in the stream then we took them back to the cabin.

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My parents with their dog, Tucker.

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My husband and I with Earl.

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Earl and I in the stream (I saw a lot of salamanders in there on the rocks!)

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Earl exploring the water.

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Finally, one photo of me doing what I LOVE!

It was a fabulous trip and I can’t wait to go back again…just not sure how long that will be! ;-)

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