Springtime In The Smoky Mountains

Spring is a wonderful time for landscape photography in the Smoky Mountains. The temperatures are perfect for rambling around, the flowers and Dogwood trees are in bloom and it’s not at all crowded.

In previous years, I spent a fair amount of time on the main road that crosses the mountains (US 441) photographing overlooks such as Newfound Gap or Clingman’s Dome. I had not spent much time in the west end of the park.

This time, I based myself in Wears Valley, a small rural community that provided the best and fastest access to the west end of the park. This gave me convenient access to the west end of the Little River, the Tremont area with the Middle Prong of the Little River and, of course, Cades Cove.

I felt there was much that I had not accomplished in this area, and although it would take much more effort than going to overlooks, I would be rewarded with a variety of quality images. That’s exactly what happened.

Spring brings bright green colors in the trees overhanging the Little River. I searched around for the best locations to show the beauty of the river and came up with the following images.

Tennessee, River, Little River, Smoky Mountains, Bridge, Stone Bridge
Stone Bridge : Prints Available

Smoky Mountains, Spring, River, Trees
Spring Flow : Prints Available

Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Footbridge, River
Mystery Bridge : Prints Available

Smoky Mountains, River, Cascades, Spring
Spring Cascades : Prints Available

Smoky Mountains, Litte River, Spring
Spring Arrival : Prints Available

Smoky Mountains, River, Tremont, Dogwood, Tree
Tremont Spring : Prints Available

A trip to the Smoky Mountains just wouldn’t be complete without going to Cades Cove. This valley was inhabited by over 600 settlers from the early 1800’s to early 1900’s before being taken over by the government to be part of the National Park. There are a handful of the old houses and barns still standing today, which make great photographic subjects.
Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove, John Oliver, Cabin
John Oliver Cabin : Prints Available

Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove, Barn, Spring
Spring Barn : Prints Available

Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove, Sparks Lane, Spring
Morning At Sparks : Prints Available

Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Tree, Cades Cove
Cove Tree : Prints Available

The Spring bloom of the flowers and Dogwood trees were a challenge to capture and convey their beauty. To the eye, the Dogwoods would look great, but turn out thin and unimpressive on images. It was frustrating, but I managed to capture a few good examples.
Smoky Mountains, Spring, Blue, Phlox, Flowers
Color In The Smokies : Prints Available

Smoky Mountains, Flowers, White, Spring
White Spring : Prints Available

Smoky Mountains, Little River, Dogwood Tree, Spring
Spring Dogwoods : Prints Available

Smoky Mountains, Litte River, Dogwood, Tree
River Dogwoods : Prints Available

Tennessee, Smoky Mountains, Dogwood, Trees, Forest
Forest Dogwoods : Prints Available

It was a surprisingly successful trip adding some very nice images to the portfolio. I’ll be meeting up again with my good friend Jess Lee, www.jessleephotos.com, soon for an expedition to the Big Sur Coast of California and Yosemite National Park.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook or Instagram for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. We appreciate all those that follow us. https://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography and https://www.instagram.com/josephfiler

Mount Rainier and Olympic National Park

I finally got back out to do some landscape photography in August after staying home since February due to the Coronavirus. I used the time at home re-processing images and making big improvements to the website, which are still ongoing.

For this trip, I teamed up with my good friend Jess Lee, www.jessleephotos.com. We work really well together and it’s infinitely better than being out there alone talking to yourself. I’ve always appreciated how he gives me the push to be a better photographer.

I have tried twice before to be at Mount Rainer when the flowers were blooming. The first time they bloomed early before I got there. The second time they bloomed late and I missed them. That’s one of the disadvantages of having to fly somewhere and make advance reservations. You have to make your best guess on the timing of things based on past history and it’s not always right.

The third time’s the charm, they say. I was there this time during the peak of the bloom and was rewarded with several very nice photographs. First up was some images of Mount Rainer from the Paradise area. From here there are some stunning views of the mountain and of the Tatoosh Range to the South.

Washington, Mount Rainier, flower, bloom, Paradise
Mountain Bloom : Prints Available

Washington, Rainier, Mount Rainier, Stream, Skyline Trail, Flowers
Mountain Stream : Prints Available

Washington, Mount Rainier, National Park, Mountain, Flowers, Christmas, Fine Art, Landscape, Photograph
Rainier Christmas : Prints Available

Washington, Rainier, Mount Rainier, flowers, Tatoosh, Range, Mountains, National Park
Another Direction : Prints Available

Another area with a great view of the mountain is from Little Tipsoo Lake. The purple lupines were in full bloom.

Washington, Mount Rainier, National Park, Flowers, Summer, Tipsoo, Lake, Lupines, Fine Art, Landscape, Photograph
Tipsoo Summer : Prints Available

After some successful days at Mount Rainier, we headed to Forks, Washington to photograph in the Hoh Rain Forest and on the Washington coast. I have limited success in the Rain Forest before, but I approached it this time with some different goals in mind. Sometimes you have to fail before you can succeed.

I came across this small scene of water with the sun lighting up the two large trees in the back. It was odd, as I know I had been down that path in previous trips, but just never saw it. I loved the scene and it may be my favorite forest photograph of those I have taken.

Washington, Hoh, Rain, Forest, Olympic, National Park, Forest, Tree, Stream, Fine Art, Landscape, Photograph
The Rain Forest : Prints Available

As I walked further through the forest, I noticed this extremely odd root formation at the bottom of a large tree. The roots went out to one side and the whole thing just looked like a big foot. So, I named it “Bigfoot”. A little silly, but I couldn’t resist.

Washington, Hoh, Rain Forest, Olympic, National Park, Tree, Fine Art, Landscape, Photograph
Bigfoot : Prints Available

I had also attempted to photograph Sol Duc Falls on previous trips, but without the results I wanted. This time I managed to get it right. This image truly captures the feeling of being there. The lush greenery that surrounds you in the Pacific Northwest is just amazing. It is a different feeling being in the rainforest than it is in other forests.

Washington, waterfall, Sol Duc, Falls, Rainforest, Olympic, National Park, Quileute
Sparkling Waters : Prints Available

Before we wrapped up this expedition, we spent an evening on the coast at Ruby Beach to shoot the sunset. I was particularly taken by this one sea stack that reminded me of a large Shark’s Tooth, so that’s what I named it. It was a pretty cool sunset and the sun setting off to the right lit up the sea stack nicely.

Washington, Coast, Ruby Beach, Olympic, National Park, Pacific, Shark, sunset, Fine Art, Landscape, Photograph, Northwest
Shark's Tooth : Prints Available

I will be teaming up with Jess again for shooting the Colorado Fall Color in Southwest Colorado in the coming weeks. I’ve been there before and I do love it there. You never know what to expect from the weather and the hope is always for an early snowfall.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook or Instagram for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. We appreciate all those that follow us. https://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography and https://www.instagram.com/josephfiler

Oregon Coast and California Redwoods

Our main target of this expedition was the northern California redwoods. We were hoping to capture some of the Rhododendrons in bloom among the redwoods, but they were apparently on a different schedule than usual this year. This just meant that we had to search a little harder for some quality images.

On the way south, we stopped for a couple of nights in Bandon, Oregon. The beach there has these wonderful sea stacks that make for great subject in the sunset. I had been there on a previous trip, but did not have any luck. We struck out again with heavy clouds on the first night, but it came together on the second night. We could see the small hole in the clouds as the sun was setting and were hoping it would give us a nice sunburst and light up the scene. It did, if only for a few seconds, but that was enough.

Oregon, Bandon, Beach, Sunset, Pacific, Coast
Sunset At The Stacks : Prints Available

We headed south to Brookings, Oregon for a couple of days there hoping to get something good on the coast at Samuel Boardman State Pak, where there are these wonderful, large sea stacks with trees growing out of them. It was Fog City all day so we headed inland to some trails and captured two very nice images

Oregon, forest, trail, footbridge, Brookoings
Footbridge : Prints Available
Oregon, Brookings, forest, trees, woods
Full Of Life : Prints Available

Next, it was on to California and the redwoods. Here, the fog was what we were looking for and there was plenty of it. Just outside Redwood National Park, there is an area known as the Bald Hills, where the Lupine bloom. I couldn’t resist but to capture an image one morning here.

California, Redwoods, Fog, Del Norte
Into The Fog : Prints Available
California, Redwood National Park, redwoods, fog, trees
Morning Warmth : Prints Available
California, Del Norte, redwoods, fog
Standing Proud : Prints Available
California, Redwood National Park, Bald Hills, Lupines, Spring, Summer
Springtime : Prints Available

I return to Oregon in July and will be accompanied on this trip by my sister, who has always wanted to hang out with me on one of my trips. I look forward to it for many reasons. We’ll be working more of the inland areas and are sure to come away with some good images.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. https://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography

Spring In Oregon

When you think of Spring, you usually think of April. Flowers are blooming, the trees are lush and green, snow is still on the mountains and the water is flowing in the waterfalls. After some considerable thought as to where to go, Oregon was the choice to capture all of this.

We started with a couple of days on the coast hoping for some cool Pacific sunsets. It just wasn’t happening, so we headed inland for the Spring time targets.

First, we stopped at Silver Falls State Park, as I wanted to photograph Middle North Falls, which we had not done before. To get close the ferns for the foreground, I had to setup where water from an overhead outcropping was dripping heavily on my back. I was warm so I didn’t pack the waterproof jacket for the hike. Live and learn, I suppose.

Next, we headed out to the Columbia River Gorge. In spite of previous trips there, we had not photographed Latourell Falls, a thin, but very tall waterfall. As I stood there, I couldn’t help wondering why we had not taken the time to work this beautiful waterfall before.

The creeks in the Gorge are surrounded by such lush greenery, and to me, are much more attractive than those in the east that I grew up with. Along Gorton Creek, there is this wonderful footbridge that crosses it. The light was great and it made a captivating image.

Mount Hood was magnificently still covered in snow from the winter. We drove what seemed like every backroad there was on the north side looking for an open view where it would not be hidden by trees. On the last dirt road we tried, there was a clean pasture with a view. Persistence does pay off.

In the hills a few miles east of the Gorge, the flowers were in full bloom. It only lasts for a couple of weeks and we were fortunate to be there at the peak of color. We managed to find a couple of nice compositions, one with the yellow Balsam Root flowers under a really neat tree in the morning and another with them facing us in the sunset. This may be my favorite of the trip!

Next up in May are the Canadian Rockies. It should be early enough to still have snow on the mountains, but late enough for side roads to be open. At least that’s the plan.

Thanks for looking and please feel free to share. If you haven’t already, please “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions.

Oregon, North Falls, Silver Falls, Waterfall
Water Drapes : Prints Available
Oregon, Latourell Falls, Waterfall
Spring Drama : Prints Available
Oregon, Columbia, River, Gorge, Gorton Creek
The Crossing : Prints Available
Oregon, Mount Hood,
Morning At Mount Hood : Prints Available
Oregon, Rowena Crest, Columbia River,  Gorge, flower, sunset
Rowena Sunset : Prints Available
Oregon, Rowena Crest, Columbia Gorge, flower
Flower Tree : Prints Available

Firefall and Flowers

In February, I headed to Yosemite National Park to photograph the phenomenon known as “Firefall”. For about a week in February, the setting sun lights up Horsetail Falls on El Capitan, resulting in a look of the falls being “on fire”.

Due to the California drought, it’s been about 6 years since there has been enough snow on top of the mountain to create enough snowmelt water for this to happen. Needless to say, there were some pretty big crowds to navigate. The result was well worth it!

In March, Jason and I headed up to the Carolina coast. Our first target was the trees in Lake Matamuskeet, North Carolina. Unfortunately, three days of skies that were either clear of any clouds or covered with solid heavy clouds. Either way, there was no sunrise photograph to be had, so we had to move on.

We headed down to Charleston to check to status of the spring lower bloom at Magnolia Plantation. The main targets were the long white bridge and the flowers under the oak trees. We were there last year, but it just wasn’t happening so we came away empty handed. This year, we were pleasantly surprised to see a rather healthy bloom and, over several days, captured exactly the images we were hoping for.

So, two very different locations and two goals accomplished. Next up, I’ll be leaving mid-April to Oregon with Kelly. It will be my fourth trip to Oregon, but we’ll be working some areas we have not gone to before. Oregon is, obviously, a target rich environment.

Thanks for looking and please feel free to share. If you haven’t already, please “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions.

California, Yosemite, El Capitan, Firefall
Firefall : Prints Available
California, Yosemite, Half-dome, Winter, Moonrise
Yosemite Moonrise : Prints Available
South Carolina, Charleston, Magnolia, Plantation, flower
Magnolia Flowers : Prints Available
South Carolina, Magnolia Plantation, flowers, spring, reflection
Spring Reflections : Prints Available
Magnolia Splendor : Prints Available
Spring Oak : Prints Available
South Carolina, Charleston, Magnolia, Plantation, Bridge
Serenity At The Bridge : Prints Available