- Raw Data
- Explorers - 9
- Total cameras – 26, including mobile phones
- Cameras people said they should have left at home – 3
- Shutter count – 7,940
- Lenses on location – 38
- Lenses people said they should have left at home –3
- Gear people wish they brought –instant camera
- Memory Cards Used – 28
- Miles traveled – 12,352 total: 8,724 by air, 3,628 by car
- Instagram/Twitter/Facebook posts made – 76
- Hashtags - #nxnw #nxnw2018 #gsmnp #imwiththemayor #tenessee #daisytown #smokymountains #smokymountainnationalpark #greatsmokymountains #greatsmokymountainsnationalpark #cadescove #knoxville #waterfall
Smoky Mountain Base of Operations - Talley Ho Inn
Wish that I was on ole rocky top, Down in the Tennessee hills.
Day 0 - Knoxville, TN: The first official day of the trip was Wednesday November 7, but several of the gang -- not including me -- arrived on Tuesday, and spent the night in Knoxville. Thanks to Jimmy for these shots of the guys shooting around town that afternoon and evening. If you want to see what they were shooting, well, check out their sites linked above.
I had partly disassembled my tripod for travel, and forgot to re-attach the ballhead before heading out. Fortunately, a "long-exposure" for water shots can be as short as 1/8 to 1/2 of a second, and you can manage those with image stabilization or a leaf shutter, and I had both. Then, I was even luckier because Jerry for let me borrow his tripod for a bit and John lent me a ballhead.
That school teacher is a bitch. Mike Criswell
No worries. It's just water mixed with electronics. John Deas
Wednesday Dinner Spot: Smokin' Joe's Bar-B-Que
"You have to learn how to park that, son." - unknown guest at Tally Ho Inn
Another notable feature of the farms we visit this day is how small they are, and how uneven and rock-strewn the ground is. It creates an impression of a rather difficult life, even more-so than one would already expect from 19th century frontier living.
There’s somebody who wants to pretend to be John Deas? - Jerry Denham
We were a bit late for prime fall color by a week or two by most accounts, but were by no means completely shut out, as shown by this view.
On the flip side, we benefited by visiting during a time of heavy water running. This made photographing the streams and rivers more enjoyable.
I'm a much more productive photographer when I’m not hungover. Bob Lussier
Out last stop in the morning was a confluence of multiple streams known as Greenbrier Cove. We spent a long time there, as it offered a wealth of subjects, including multiple watercourses, a bridge, a trail, and more.
Oh you got music [in this truck]. All we had was John and Bob bitching about everyone. - Name Withheld for his protection.
We closed the afternoon with a hike up roughly half of the Middle Prong Trail. By this time the skies were overcast, with intermittent and sometimes moderately heavy rain. One virtue of Great Smoky Mountain National park is that it offers a range of subjects, many of which photograph very well in poor light and cloudy skies.
Smokey Mountain memories, About my home in Tennessee, Yesterday keeps calling me, Calling me home, Mountains rising in my soul, Higher than the dreams I've known, Misty eyed, they cling to me, my Smokey Mountain memories - Earl Thomas Conley
Gatlinburg - This is an odd town, to be sure. I wish I had more images. The one on the left is courtesy of Bob Lussier, and captures something of the town's essence, but nowhere near the entirety of it. Nestled among the mountains in the middle of the park, it is a resort town, filled with hotels, high end retail, low end cheesy souvenir shops, restaurants, oddball attractions, and an unusual affectation of faux-alpine architecture.
It was exactly what I did not expect from the town featured in Johnny Cash's semi-novely country hit A Boy Named Sue, where as the town where the afore-named Sue meets his Dad, years later.
"Well, it was Gatlinburg in mid-July/ And I just hit town and my throat was dry/ I thought I'd stop and have myself a brew. At an old saloon on a street of mud/ There at a table, dealing stud/ Sat the dirty, mangy dog that named me 'Sue.'"
The song was a hit in 1969, and written roughly a decade earlier. Gatlinburg today is unrecognizable from the picture painted by the lyrics.
Smoky Mountain rain keeps on falling, I'll keep on calling her name, Smoky Mountain rain, I'll keep on searching, I can't go on hurting this way, She's somewhere in this Smoky Mountain rain. - Ronnie Milsap
About half of the expedition team took the afternoon off, to review and work on images taken so far, or just to nap. The remainder went out for a short drive to shoot in the afternoon rain. I was not among them, and I recommend you again to visit their sites for more images.
After the sunrise, the balance of our morning was spent at the remnants of Daisytown resort in the former town of Elkmont.
I tend not to study up on our nXnw locations before our visit. I prefer to discover it as freshly as possible, and rely upon those who plan the trip. It also leads to memorable experiences like this. So Daisytown was a surprise to me, and completely unexpected. it ties into the history of the park itself.
Unlike the best known National Parks out west, this park was not created out of a large chunk of federally-owned land. The bulk of it was already privately owned. Some was used by logging companies, and other industrial concerns, but much of it also was owned by small, private landowners, including many of the farmsteads we visited. The land was purchased via eminent domain. They were, in effect, paid, but forced to sell against their will. The US government contributed a bit of seed money, and much of it was raised by local residents in Tennessee and North Carolina, together with a substantial donation from John D. Rockefeller. It is an inspiring story, yet not without its dark side. Mountain homesteaders, miners, and loggers were evicted.
Daisytown was a private resort developed by a logging company for use both by its employees and weekend and summer visitors from Knoxville, who arrived via a dedicated train. After the park was officially dedicated in 1940, the owners of the small vacation homes in Daisytown were granted a series of leases to continue enjoying their getaway. In 1992, however, the Park Service refused to enter into any additional lease extensions and everyone was evicted. It is a lovely place to visit and photograph, and I understand the decision of the Park Service, yet also find it rather cruel.
In the afternoon we took advantage of a true bit of good fortune. While we were on our trip, a completely new section of the Foothills Parkway opened to the public. We were treated to views at various overlooks that were unseen by anyone without privileged access just a few days earlier.
In my Tennessee mountain home, Life is as peaceful as a baby's sigh, In my Tennessee mountain home, Crickets sing in the fields near by - Dolly Parton
Brunch: The Misty Morning Cafe
Only 4 of us were left for brunch that morning. Departure day on any vacation is bittersweet. The added factor in these trips is that it is generally the last time we will see each other for at least a year, and sometimes more, as participants vary year-to-year. For many of us, this trip is an annual highlight, surpassing all but time with family.
I need to give special mention and thanks to John Deas, who acted as our guide this trip. John offers photography workshops in the Smokies and on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. We were fortunate to have him gift us his knowledge and effort on this trip. Thanks also to Jerry Denham, who is local to the area, well known by almost everyone as "Mayor D," who consulted with John on many decisions. Finally, as previously mentioned, thanks to John again, and Michael McLean, who did all the local driving for the entire trip.
John's hotel room also acted as our late-afternoon, early evening shared space, where we spent time after shooting and before dinner. One highlight which must be mentioned though it cannot be adequately explained was a dramatic/comedic reading of an Amazon product review by Jimmy Denham that we will all remember forever.