The Great Smoky Mountains is a popular destination for travelers as well as photographers. It is the most visited national park in United States. In the age of flickr and 500px though, it lacks eye catching vista to attract viewer’s attention. But its beauty has occupied my heart for many years that I finally had a chance to pay her a visit.
My wife and I camped in the Smoky for five nights. Among all the areas in Smoky, Cades Cave is probably the most popular place. Each morning before the gate open at 7:00, cars line up outside with every driver praying God to wake up the park rangers a little earlier. Sometime they do, sometime they don’t, sometime they over sleep. Just like everything else in the Smoky, it has its own pace. Smoky is not for people who are in a hurry.
One needs great patience to appreciate the beauty in the Smoky. I quickly drove around the Cades Cove in the early afternoon when we arrived, the thought of an over sized suburban forest preserve came to my mind. Under the bright sun, I can’t see anything interesting to take my camera out. Still, I came back to it. The fog was so dense next morning that I can hardly see anything in front of me. It was still dark an hour after sunrise. The following morning was rainy, and the next morning had no fog at all. Most of us would give up by now. But I decided to keep going at it, partly because of my stubbornness.
Patience was finally rewarded. It was a perfect morning. Plenty of fog but just the right amount to let light through. The light was so soft that I felt like I was in the fairyland. I drove to the spot I picked before and quickly framed this shot with road and fence converge with the arch formed by the trees. The composition was already in my heart.
After taking the shot, I drove to another spot I had in mind as fast as I could. Now the sun is much higher up in the sky. Fog started to fade while heavy clouds moved in. I decided on my composition and patiently waited for the light. The sun only peeked out of clouds for a few seconds. But that was enough to make the whole cove to glow!
The Smoky’s beauty is subtle, one needs patience to appreciate.