Hello & Welcome

This is where snippets of how I see the world lives.
These are things that captivate me, inspire me, challenge me.
It is poetry in this world interpreted by my eye.
Let the images be whatever you want them to be.

The Smokies Trip | Day 6

Day 6, Halloween. We were up early and came across the Sinks. This awesome little waterfall is completely man made. When they were blasting the rock to make a path for the railroad, they blasted a bit too big of a hole. The result was the sinks. In fact it has a GIANT hole beneath the waterfall that makes it very hazardous. Sure looks pretty though!

A look behind the scenes ūüôā Yes its relatively light out and yes that is a 20 second shutter at f8! (Huzzah for ND 64/6 stop filters!)

We followed the river (I love love love running water!) then headed back to base camp.

Jen took a rest as her back was in the “murdering” mood, so Natasha and I adventured up the river. This is the spot where I met “Thad” the weird moth thing (turns out Thad is a skipper butterfly – a clouded skipper butterfly in fact! Not a true¬†butterfly but related to them). He chilled on my sleeve until I tried to move him, then hung on to my finger for a free ride closer to shore. This also tested my dexterity with a tripod in hand and balancing on rocks!

A hidden waterfall. And a battery that decided to poop out on me. Luckily there was a spare in the car, though I didn’t recross the stream to get back to this waterfall.

I kind of was hoping Natasha might fall in… could have been some hilarious pictures!

We continued to follow the path of the river.

A quick jaunt through Cades Cove in search of bears. None to be seen and the lighting was meh at best.

Natasha wanted some down time, so Jen and I went out in a quest to find the perfect place for a sunset.

Not quite the pizzazz we were hoping for, though we found a veggie stand with a ton of pumpkins.

We noticed that the light was beginning to change and raced up Foothills Parkway looking for a break in the trees…

And with the night came costumes! I rocked my Beetlejuice (I used real moss from the yard of the cabin…), Natasha was a flight attendant and Jen was a masquerade ¬†of mystery. Gatlinburg was a poor sport for Halloween (super quiet by 10 pm?!) but we had a grand time. There was a hilarious video of me catching sight of a picture on Natasha’s phone… you’ll have to ask Jen to see it!!


The Smokies Trip | Day 5

October 30th marked the 5th day in Tennessee and it started with a morning full of brilliant color on Foothills Parkway.

After we had gotten our fill of the sunset, we went exploring. Found an abandoned house nestled into a grove of bamboo, next to a trickling creek.

No duck face Natasha!

Continued down the road to a little private lake, a unique A frame church, and a weird waterspout/dam thing that sprayed water out.


The water droplets coated most of the plants on the left side of the mouth of the dam thing.


We meandered onward.

We found a pair of donkeys. One of which thought I told the best joke ever…

A bit more meandering to a little antique type shop that a couple of super creepy dolls. And the Million Dollar Man who was missing an eye…

Then we arrived back at base camp where Poe & I wandered along the river behind the cabin.

Natasha and I headed up to Clingman’s Dome for sunset. It was very pretty and freezing cold!!!!


The Smokies Trip | Day 4

Day 4 was a day of treasure hunting in the Gatlinburg area with Poe as a tag along. From a giant flea market where I found a quaint red ring, a thrift store where I found a leaf necklace and all the other places between full of treasures.



We made a stop at Tennessee XXX Moonshine. Mmmm some of the smoothest moonshine I’ve delighted in. Its distilled differently so the bite is lesser, but the alcohol content is the same as traditional moonshine. Plus with flavors like the Panty Dropper & Honey Dew Me, how can you resist?


The Smokies Trip | Tennessee Day 3

The morning arrived, an eerie fog making the neighboring suspension bridge a staple from Jurassic Park.

The fog cleared, the sun revealing the brilliant fall colors as we traveled up towards Foothills Parkway.

We meandered back towards Townsend and visited a couple of antique and thrift stores. I bought a pair of old bottles with some sort of something in them (one yellow and dense, the other a dark brown color) at Parkway Antique Mall.

Headed back up Foothills Parkway in search of a good spot to photograph the upcoming sunset. Something caught my eye on the side of the road, so I had Jen pull over. Hopped out of the Element and headed to where I had seen… something. The something ended up being a scraggly brownish grey dog with a wiry coat noshing on the mushy apples. He moved slightly away from me, but when he got closer I was able to scoop him up. Jen & Natasha were smitten. Being that he was found close to Halloween, he was dubbed Poe (for Edgar Allen Poe). He was dirty and covered with fleas, but in alright shape. We loaded him into the Element and continued moving towards a spot for the sunset.

We found a spot to pull over for the sunset across from US 129 Dragon Harley Davidson on the Little Tennessee River and waited for the sunset. The clouds were a bust, but the color was pretty.



Poe made a very nice kitty in the window of the Element. And I snagged a couple images of Jen and Natasha (yellow plaid).

Paused on the way back to Townsend on one of the many pulloffs on Foothills Parkway. Overlooked the city and snagged a couple of star images.

We headed back to “home” to the cabin for some rest before the next day’s adventure.


The Smokies Trip | Tennessee Day 2

Day two. The morning had us up early and traipsing into Cades Cove in search for more bears.  We arrived before the gates were open, amidst a throng of fellow photographers and early birds alike.

No bears at the rustic cabin (Natasha swears she saw one in the meadow behind) so we continued to meander.

Revisited the spot we had stopped the morning before. Nice moody clouds. I made it nearly to the large tree before the clouds decided they wanted to drop some spits of rain on me. Turned tail to get back to the car before getting drenched.

Then the light changed, reflecting brilliant sunlight off of hundreds of raindrops. (They are a little hard to see, but they’re there.)

We continued down one of the other roads, hoping for another touch of sunshine to give us a show with the gloomy clouds (also with hopes that it would keep the rain at bay). Just the right amount of gloomy clouds and light.

From there, we traveled upwards on a trail that was a one way, less maintained path while the rain forged down on us.

A quick stop to the Artistic Bean for some much needed caffeine (that’s the difference between a latte & cappuccino!)

Onwards to Gatlinburg for some short shopping (a shop of just socks!?!) and a trip to a little coffee roastary Jen adores.

From there, a pause along the river where a quaint walking bridge spanned from edge to edge. I meandered along the trickling river catching the light.

Continuing to follow the river led us to Elkmont. Built in the late 1800’s, this town was built first as a logging town, then when the railroad left, the town became a country club of sorts with cabins and homes for the well to do. This town¬†remained into the 1930s when it was bought to be part of the Smoky Mountain National Forest. Residents filtered out, the last in the 1990s, the buildings were left abandoned.




Then the evening came.

The Smokies Trip | Good morning Tennessee!

We arrived in the evening, a lovely Natasha of Rocking A Ranch Photography¬†brimming with alcohol and energy, greeting the road worn pair that was Jen & I. My first time meeting Natasha. She’s a rockstar! And can talk an ear off like the best of them!

Awake in the morning, a wee later than sunrise, but early enough that the light was still pretty.
But first coffee.
A stop to The Artistic Bean for brain fuel. Believe the first day’s drink was Artistic Autumn (though if you were tired and read it right it said Autistic Autumn…)

Onward to Cades Cove!

A loop, a direction away from the main caravan to a little spot where the road is overrun by a creek. Some touches of fog from the early early morning played in the light.


A small jaunt, to a collection of cars pulled to the side of the road. In most national parks this is an indicator that there is a critter in the near area. Cades Cove has whitetail deer, turkeys and black bear as its bigger critters. And what luck! It was a young black bear foraging in the brush. It climbed the barbed wire fence, the strolled past everyone across the road, shimmied up a tree, then disappeared into a thick stand of pines.

My first time photographing a bear! Our excitement stayed with us as we meandered around the rest of Cades Cove.

One of the primitive Baptists churches in the woods.

The main visitor’s center with a working mill and a lovely lazy river.


Our loop through Cades Cove completed we headed back towards our cabin. A few houses down I discovered a wicked bridge akin to something from Jurassic Park.

A quick paced walk back to the cabin to tell Jen & Natasha about the bridge. Jen adventured out to see it, though passed on standing on it. Natasha decided walking in the river, drink in one hand, camera in the other, was a more interesting route to go.

Something free and a half mark.

The Smokies Trip 2016 | The Road Again

We paused for sleep in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Morning brought us out to an adorably small cafe Little Grill Collective.¬†A tiny hole in the wall, full of¬†locally sourced food, character and personality and completely employee owned. Plus one very strangely written story by a 25 year old (at the time) Christopher Garland Howdyshell…

On the road once again with a pretty landscape (I have no idea where we stopped for it..)

And the best coffee on the interstate….. not really sure if it was a tanker full of coffee (how epic and yet challenging to get a cup of joe at that rate!)
but it seemed more to be an advertisement for a Pilot or other truck style stop.

We paused somewhere in Virginia for assorted finding of things in some antique stores. Most of the things did not get to join us on the travels, or at least didn’t get to come with me (already was rocking an overly heavy piece of luggage). Though that mouse could have squeaked in… but the hutch, the hutch wasn’t going to fit, despite how stunning it was.


The Smokies Trip 2016 | The beginning

October 22 to November 6, 2016

A flight from MN to the eastern land of Maryland for a grand adventure from Maryland to Townsend, Tennessee. The adventure starred myself and the wonderful Jen (of JL Gould Photography) as we meandered south from Maryland.

Ren Fest – Maryland style. I’m rocking the red hat, while Jen looks fabulous in her purple hair. We saw costumes that did not fit the realm of Renaissance… Santa Claus (x2) and various random others all gathered in a medieval esq setting akin to the cantina in Star Wars. The weather was brisk (late October will do that)¬†and Maryland’s Ren Fest is a different experience than the Minnesota Ren Fest. Felt more like I was in the woods at the Maryland one.

Townsend (the dog) – spunky as a new pup. We met 3 years ago (visit About A Dog Photography to see her from then), now she is the queen of the yard. Glad she’s been working on the¬†some posing…

The rulers of the roost inside the house are a quad set of cats.¬†Denarius,¬†Lasciel, Tavi and¬†Grimalkin. Two black cats, two orange cats. The differences slim…. esp in the case of Denarius & Lasciel. Lasciel is a food lover, and it shows on that robust body of his. He also has a bigger patch of white on his chest. ¬†His brother Denarius is sleek and trim. Of the oranges, Tavi stayed hidden, but his brother Grimalkin (Grim for short) made an appearance and pretended to be a scary cat because I was a new person in his space.

The next morning Jen & I were off and adventuring towards the land of Tennessee. Over the Bay Bridge to a town called The Plains in Virginia. We popped into Front Porch after spotting some very sassy coffee mugs in the window. From there we explored The Plains, found a backroad to an old mill that was only open on weekends then continued on the interstate.

A pause at Cobbler Mountain Cellars where we met the shop dog, sampled some wines and delighted in some wonderful ciders (if you didn’t know, I am a cider lover!).¬†A lovely day for a pause in a quaint, hidden away vineyard/orchard.

Onward to the Blue Ridge Parkway that spans from Virginia into North Carolina ending just before the border of Tennessee. It boasted wonderful views of the mountains, a casual drive and the fleeting glimpse of a bobcat in the minutes just before darkness.