Cherokee Countryside

With the Thanksgiving Holiday, I hope to catch up on posts from my October trips to the North Carolina mountains.  I also look forward to catching up on posts from the bloggers I follow.  This post features several landscapes and vignettes from areas near the Oconaluftee River, just north of Cherokee.

Oconaluftee River Landscape 1
Oconaluftee River Landscape 1
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 3
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 3
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 2
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 2
Oconaluftee Elk Bull
Oconaluftee Elk Bull
Oconaluftee Elk Cow
Oconaluftee Elk Cow
Gourd Birdhouse Composition 1
Gourd Birdhouse Composition 1
Mingo Falls Composition 3
Mingo Falls Composition 3
Mingo Falls Composition 2
Mingo Falls Composition 2

I’m thankful for my followers and those who take time to visit my photo blog. And especially for this community of photo bloggers, I enjoy your work, insights and friendship.

Happy Thanksgiving!

C. S.

Monochrome Monday: Mingus Mill

Located near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cherokee, North Carolina, Mingus Mill is an operational grist mill built in 1886. It uses a water-powered turbine instead of a water wheel to power all of the milling machinery.

Mingus Mill Composition 1
Mingus Mill Composition 1
Mingus Mill Composition 3
Mingus Mill Composition 3
Mingus Mill Aqueduct 1
Mingus Mill Aqueduct 1

Thank you for stopping by. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version.

Cheers,

C. S.

Monochrome Monday: Mingo Falls

At 120 ft (37 m), Mingo Falls is one of the tallest in the southern Appalachian Mountains.  As such, it was part of my October fall foliage expedition itinerary.  It located near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the town of Cherokee.  It is part of the Qualla Boundary, a land trust of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. My Tamron 15mm – 30mm wide-angle view doesn’t accurately represent the height of this spectacular water fall.

Mingo Falls Composition 1
Mingo Falls Composition 1

A long wooden stairway makes the falls fairly assessable, and a wooden bridge near it’s base offers an excellent view.  Shooting long exposures (15 – 20 sec) with a tripod and neutral density filter, it was quite challenging to a get sharp exposure with other spectators bouncing along the bridge.  While this composition was captured from the bridge, I also got some good shots setting up down in the creek.  For the best viewing experience, click on the image to view a high-resolution version.  Stay safe!

Cheers,

C. S.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail, pt 1

The Great Craggy Mountains are a subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains between Asheville and Mount Mitchell in North Carolina.  Craggy Gardens is an area of 16 km where the Blue Ridge Parkway follows the crest featuring a visitor center, picnic area, and several excellent hiking trails.  Craggy Gardens best known for its spectacular display of pink/purple blooms of the Catawba rhododendron creating a tunnel of foliage along much of it’s hiking trails. 

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Landscape 1
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Landscape 1

My afternoon hike along the Craggy Pinnacle Trail, in mid-October, featured equally impressive fall foliage color, gnarled mountain ash, rhododendron and beech, and small grassy rock balds.  The diverse opportunities for photo compositions were quite numerous. I crossed not one, but two separate wedding photo sessions.

Craggy Dome from Craggy Pinnacle
Craggy Dome from Craggy Pinnacle

This was one of my favorite locations during my two, Wednesday night through Saturday afternoon fall foliage expeditions into the Blue Ridge Mountains. I returned the following morning Craggy Knob, more on that in a future post.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Vignette 1
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Catawba Rhododendron Vignette 1
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Vignette 2
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Vignette 2

This unique tree is a popular photo stop on the Craggy Pinnacle Trail.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Vignette 3
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Vignette 3

The view below is from Craggy Pinnacle looking towards Craggy Knob and the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center. The small grey square near the center of the image, is the large trail shelter near the Craggy Knob grassy bald.

Craggy Pinnacle Landscape 1
Craggy Pinnacle Landscape 1

For the best viewing experience, click on a photo to view a high resolution version. Or, view more scenes in my Blue Ridge Parkway gallery. Stay safe!

Cheers!

C. S.

Oh, here’s one of the wedding portrait sessions I came across:

Craggy Gardens Wedding Portraiture
Craggy Gardens Wedding Portraiture

North Carolina High Country

My family spent a long weekend back in July in the North Carolina High Country, specifically Avery and Watauga Counties. We visited Boone, Blowing Rock, Valle Crucis, Banner Elk and many points in between. These are my favorite vignettes and landscapes.

Mast General Store Vignette 2
Mast General Store Vignette 2
Mast General Store Vignette 1
Mast General Store Vignette 1
Grandfather's Morning Cloak
Grandfather’s Morning Cloak
Blue Ridge Parkway Sunrise
Blue Ridge Parkway Sunrise
Open Out of Business
Open Out of Business
South Depot Street Composition
South Depot Street Composition
Doc Watson "Just one of the People"
Doc Watson “Just one of the People”

Thank you for stopping by today. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version.

Cheers,

C. S.

Monochrome Monday: Pine Nursery Park, Bend, Oregon

Oregon High Desert Monochrome Vignette
Oregon High Desert Monochrome Vignette

Bend Oregon’s Pine Pine Nursery Park is a large community park and located in northeast Bend between Purcell, Deschutes Market, and Yeoman Roads and consists of 159 acres. The park includes a sports complex for field sports, natural areas, fishing pond, fitness trails, disc golf course, paved trails, a 14-acre off-leash area, all-abilities playground, pickleball courts and room for future expansion.

Artie Retrieves
Artie Retrieves

While visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Bend, Oregon last August, we took their dogs Elsinore and Artie to the Pine Nursery Park early one morning.  In addition to a large sports complex, playgrounds, natural areas, fishing pond, fitness trails, and disc golf course, the park includes a 14-acre off-leash dog park.

Western Fence Lizard
Western Fence Lizard

Half of the dog park features trails through a natural area well representing the volcanic high desert of central Oregon.  While the representative color of the big sagebrush, rabbitbrush, bunchgrass and junipers are lovely, I instead focused on the rich textures, organic patterns and inspiring monochrome tonality.

High Desert Bunchgrass
High Desert Bunchgrass
Pine Nursery Dog Park Silhouette
Pine Nursery Dog Park Silhouette
Oregon Rabbitbrush Composition
Oregon Rabbitbrush Composition

For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version. Or, see more of my Bend, Oregon Gallery.

Cheers,

C. S.

First in Flight: Wright Brothers Memorial

Either by school field trip, family vacation, or in this case Boy Scout trip, many residents of North Carolina have visited the historic Wright Brother Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, just south of Kitty Hawk, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Here, on December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully conducted the first sustained controlled flight of a motorized aircraft.

Wright Brothers National Memorial, Landscape Composition 2
Wright Brothers National Memorial, Landscape Composition 2

Their breakthrough engineering development of a three axis control system (pitch, roll and yaw) allowed the pilot to steer and maintain equilibrium. It remains today as the standard method of control for all fixed wing aircraft. Though I’ve visited multiple times in my life, each time I’m quite inspired by the brother’s ingenuity over years of slow but steady progress, hard work, and perseverance.

Wright Brothers National Memorial, Wilbur Composition
Wright Brothers National Memorial, Wilbur Composition
Wright Brothers National Memorial, Orville Composition
Wright Brothers National Memorial, Orville Composition
Wright Brothers National Memorial, Landscape Composition
Wright Brothers National Memorial, Landscape Composition
Wright Brothers National Memorial, Front Composition
Wright Brothers National Memorial, Front Composition

Equally inspiring is the natural beauty found along the wind swept barrier islands of the North Carolina Outer Banks. It quite a long drive for me, but once you get there, you’re so thankful for having the opportunity to visit. For the best viewing experience, click an image to view a high resolution version. For more photos of this amazing destination, also see my Outer Banks Gallery.

Cheers,

C. S.