This past weekend I got a chance to run up to the Smoky Mountains for a short time. The time spent there is always too short, but I'm always happy to take what I can get.
I started the day with sunrise at Clingman's Dome. I love shooting sunrise here probably more so than anywhere else in the park. The panoramic views, especially at sunrise, with the clouds in the valleys is always something to behold.
The shot below was taken with my Canon 5D Mk II and Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8Di VC USM Lens. Both of those sitting atop my Vanguard Alta Pro 283 CT Tripod. I got there later than expected and almost missed the sunrise all together. I do a lot of previsualization, if that's a word. I have in my mind exactly what I want to do before I ever arrive at a location. Of course, a lot of times, dealing with nature, those ideas have to be altered upon arriving at a location and seeing the conditions. With that said, I knew I would want to get a sun star, so I knew I would be shooting with a narrow aperture. I decided to go with F/16. I almost always shoot landscapes at my lowest native ISO, and for the Canon, it's ISO 100. Since I was shooting in aperture priority mode, like I do 99% of the time, the camera selected the shutter speed of 1/10th sec. I then processed the image in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.
After sunrise I spent the next few hours riding around trying to capture images along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail before the light got too harsh to photograph the water and get that smooth, silky look that everyone loves.
The image below was made with the same camera/lens/tripod combo. This time I did attach my circular polarizing filter. I never leave home without it and it is a must have for water! I used the same ISO, but it was still fairly dark in the shadows of the mountains and trees, so I went with an aperture of F/11. This still gave me plenty of depth of field using my wide angle lens and allowed me to go with a bit of a "quicker" shutter speed of 13 seconds. I normally shoot these water scenes at around F/16, but doing that here would've given me a shutter speed that would've smoothed the water too much for my liking.
After capturing a few images at this location, I moved on down the motor trail until I got to the infamous water mill that has probably been photographed a zillion and a half times. When I come up on scenes like that, I try to find an interesting take on them. Something you wouldn't normally see everyday. Sometimes that is very hard to do, other times I don't have a problem with it. On this morning, I tried a composition I haven't tried before and the sun just happened to play along.
This image was made with my Fuji X-E1 and XF 14mm F/2.8 lens. I'm still using the same tripod, the Vanguard Alta Pro 283CT. Knowing I wanted to get a nice sun star again, I went with an aperture of F/22. The lowest native ISO for the Fuji is ISO 200, so that's what I choose here. That yielded a shutter speed of 13 seconds. I had my circular polarizer attached, but I was very careful when dialing in the amount of polarization. You see, the water that is moving through the "trough" (man, I'll never get the English language) would look as if it weren't moving at all if I had dialed my polarizing filter down to where it had the strongest effect. And I want you to know it's moving, so I dialed back the polarizer so you can still see a little of the sheen, which helps to show movement. Then it was off to Lightroom and Photoshop to convert this to black & white.
I finished the trip around Roaring Fork with a stop off at The Log Cabin Pancake House for some Peach Crepes. You would've needed a pretty fast shutter speed to capture a photo of those as I quickly scarfed them down as soon as they hit the table. ;)
Later that day I ran across an antique tractor show. First time I've ever been to one. MI'll save those photos for another day.