Saturday, 03 March 2018 11:28

Where the Waters Meet

Some of the most photogaphically accessible waters in the entire confines of Great Smoky Mountains National Park are to be found in Greenbrier, the beautiful cove drained by Middle Prong of Little Pigeon River and its numerous tributaries, including Porter's Creek. William Whaley and his brother, Middleton, came here from South Carolina around 1800, about the same time that Col. Return J. Meigs was conducting his survey to establish the boundary between the United States and the Tsalagi Nation, a line that crossed the crest of the Smokies at Mt. Collins less than fifteen miles away to the southwest. William established his home here, where Middle Prong and Porter's Creek merge their waters; the Whaleys became one of Sevier County's most prominent families; and Greenbrier came to preserve the natural beauty and rich history of this amazing land.

A focal length of 44mm, just plain "normal," gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/18 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 0.8 second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure. I could have gained a bit faster shutter speed by opening up to say f/11, but I liked the visual flow of the water at the chosen aperture.

The confluence of these two streams is one of the most compelling water visuals in a flowing land that is filled with many of the same.

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  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 09 March 2018 13:05 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good morning Everyone. Thank you all very much for joining me for this conversation. How delightful to see all of your thoughtful comments and observations and such a gamut of reaction to one of my favorite places. All of you who've been in the Smokies with me certainly remember our time at the confluence in Greenbrier, regardless of the season.
    Hey Dianne, its good to hear from you. I hope all is well in Baton Rouge. I know you recall this place from our Arrowmont adventure. It's still as beautiful as it ever was, and I appreciate your kind comments of remembrance.
    Hi Mark. Thanks for being with us. I am honored that you would consider the Image a fitting accompaniment to Joanna's wonderful writings. The spirit with which she connects nature and art is the infusion of beauty itself. Thank you for your kind words.
    Hi Aileen. What a wonderful dichotomy to consider - water flow versus spring green. How could I disagree with your choice: the Smokies being one of the most amazing testimonials to spring green that I can imagine. Thanks for sharing your perspective.
    Hey Donald. It's always good to have you with us - and twice is even better. I'm going to address both of you comments here. Thanks for your link to the NASA image. There is such amazing imagery that comes to us from that source. We should all stare at them in wonder. The Astronomy Picture of the Day is also a great view, Glad you also enjoyed being at the confluence. It's such a magical place, I'm reasonably certain it would so something to stimulate your love for the abstract, right then and there. If you will accept a loose definition of abstraction as being the stripping away of identifying detail so as to achieve an essential state, then the test becomes the paucity of identifying detail; and I know you accomplish that quite well.
    Hello Horace. It's good to have you join us. I seem to recall having run into you at least once in Greenbrier. Your words ring so very true, "It never disappoints!" I can imagine the hours and days and years of joy and gratitude it must have given William Whaley and his descendants; and now the opportunities it gives to all of us in turn. Looking forward to seeing you and the GNPA folks soon.
    Hey Dorsey. I can so very readily appreciate your words of connection. I came to this spot about half a century ago as a young hiker, and I feel toward it today the same as I did then - awe at the beauty of nature's creations. It is my deepest wish that this spring I will run into you here, on this spot and we can share this awesome spectacle of water and life together. And I thank you for your kind comments about the descriptive words I share in describing my own photographic process when I am in these places. Walk in Beauty, my friend.
    Hey John. It's always good to hear from you. You will always share with us what you see and how you see it, and we will be enwisened by it. Bonnie and I think about you and Michele regularly, and the joy that Leo is bringing to you. Looks like it's still winter in the Adirondacks. Enjoy it while you can and thanks for your kind and thoughtful words.
    Hey Michael. It's great to hear from you. Hope all is well in the Ocean State. I really appreciate you take on the role of the tree as arbitrator. And I also appreciate your sharing of your view of the mechanical aspects of this Image: the visual of the water flow compared to other - sharper - elements. It's a contrast that many would overlook; thanks for leading us to it. Have a beautiful spring!
    Hey Nancy T. How could we get along without your stories to ground the visuals in metaphor and understanding. If this Image is about nothing else, it is a story of harmony, patience, and persistence: the elements of earth existing side by side; the elements of life always in harmony with the earth; and the elements of energy and change always bringing earth and life into the eternal dance. What a beautiful description you have shared.
    Thanks, again, Everyone, for your wonderful and thoughtful sharing. What a conversation to have with all of you!

  • Comment Link Donald Newsom Wednesday, 07 March 2018 11:22 posted by Donald Newsom

    P.S. For anyone interested in abstracts like last week's, did you see this one from NASA's flyover of Mars?

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Tuesday, 06 March 2018 12:44 posted by Nancy Tripp

    I too was drawn to the "Main tree" that Mike mentioned. It seems to be in charge of this special spot of the planet, making sure the water is going in the right direction and keeping the smaller trees where they belong. I always like the water scenes from the mountains. The images seem so grounded and seem to always be there day in and day out trying to teach us to be patient and persistent. The trees keep reaching for the sky, the water is always on it's way to the "Big pond", the rocks have found their resting place and the sky looks over them. They just all seem to be existing in harmony... What a good idea!

  • Comment Link Mike Di Stefano Monday, 05 March 2018 13:20 posted by Mike Di Stefano

    Howdy Don
    Love your take on the two little creeks, and the main tree acting like a sentinel or traffic cop monitoring the flow of the creeks. The shutter speed is just right in my opinion. Love the smooth feel of the water contrasted with the sharp rocks tree bark and leaves.

  • Comment Link Jlohn DiGiacomo Monday, 05 March 2018 05:22 posted by Jlohn DiGiacomo

    This is one of those locations you never tire of photographing. It contains all the elements of graphic design and none of them stay stagnant. this image captures them all as they existed that day,Well done my friend.

  • Comment Link Dorsey Davis Sunday, 04 March 2018 23:04 posted by Dorsey Davis

    The first time I visited the Greenbrier area twenty or more years ago this spot caught my attention. I don't think I have visited since that time that I haven't tried several compositions of this scene. Its proximity to the road makes access easy so I am hoping that my brain cancer will stay in abeyance long enough that I can shoot a few frames along the creeks in the Smokies this spring. As always Don, your evaluation of optimal shutter speed, composition and exposure of forest scenes brings the Appalachians to life for those of us veins run full of the mountain stream waters of these mountains.

  • Comment Link Horace Hamilton Sunday, 04 March 2018 12:23 posted by Horace Hamilton

    Beautiful image of one of my favorite spots. I have spent many hours on the banks and in this stream photographing in all seasons. It never disappoints!

  • Comment Link Donald Newsom Sunday, 04 March 2018 11:56 posted by Donald Newsom

    How very refreshing! If I zoom in to fill the entire screen, it's almost as if I were standing there, and I can almost hear the rush of the water. P.S. Sorry I missed commenting on last week's image. I've tried some "natural abstracts," usually closeups of interesting patterns in tree bark or cut wood, but never been very satisfied with the results. For me, abstracts seem to work better if I get even farther away from realism. But yours was intriguing.

  • Comment Link Aileen Fletcher Sunday, 04 March 2018 11:46 posted by Aileen Fletcher

    To me, what makes this photo is not the soft flowing water, however beautiful, but the pale green of the emerging leaves in the spring.

  • Comment Link MARK FRANKEL Sunday, 04 March 2018 11:04 posted by MARK FRANKEL

    The photo a tribute to Joanna Macy this week's quote.

  • Comment Link Dianne Joseph Madden Sunday, 04 March 2018 10:20 posted by Dianne Joseph Madden

    What a spectacular place, and the photo quite beautiful!
    Happy Spring!

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