Saturday, 21 April 2018 12:29


There are so many beautiful stretches of water in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that it is truly impossible to choose a favorite; but I can say for certain that Little River (or as it is more accurately described, East Fork of Little River) has to be right up at the top of the list for any number of reasons. It is a wildflower haven in spring; it has beautiful foliage in autumn; its winter wonderland is wonderful; and in summer (and throughout  the year) it is a paradise for reflections. Knowing the time of day to be there and the best direction in which to travel can be discovered accidentally, or it can be learned from years of observation.

A focal length of 200mm from the edge of a fairly high bank gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/11 from that distance provided depth-of-field, and this aperture at ISO 100 allowed for a shutter speed of 1/5th second to provide some detail in water that was moving fairly rapidly. The color came from reflected light on the opposite bank into a shaded area below where I stood.

Having this much fun being abstractly creative can encourage hours of joy in a place already more joyful than is hardly imaginable.


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  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 27 April 2018 10:54 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good morning Everyone. What a fun assortment of old (only relative) regulars and new friends with whom to consider this week's Image; and what an interesting collection of thoughts, feelings, and observations for our conversation.
    Hi John. Thank you for joining us, fresh on the heels of an excellent Road Scholar adventure. I'm glad you were with us then and now. I very much appreciate your observation of color harmony - gold and blue - and tonality. In nice, even light, water reflections have a charming way of presenting themselves as soft pastels with just the right contrast to be very interesting. Your pointing out these qualities for us reminds me that spring is the perfect time of year in which to pursue these images.
    Hey Jackie. What I observed with regard to John's comment carries over nicely to what you have added concerning the movement of the lines and the quality of abstraction that they help to generate. As we saw in Greenbrier, the streams of the Smokies just lend themselves so very well to the creation of these images. Every run of rapids has within it some wonderful swirling movements that can be isolated and thus abstracted; but truth be told, I know of no moving waters anywhere that do not offer such opportunities in their own way. Thanks for your kind and thoughtful words.
    Hey Donald, but isn't snow at Easter exactly why we love Chicago to begin with? I hope you are well, and I appreciate that you would favorably consider the pastels of spring even given your penchant for bolder - more autumnal - tones. The art of the abstract is exactly what you make of it. Enjoy that "lake effect" spring however it appears, and happily wear that dress shirt for old time's sake!
    Hi Nancy T. It's always good to hear from you and to receive your wonderful, descriptive stories.And thanks for your expression of confidence in my water abstraction abilities. I think it was Bond Falls that began my journey down that path. I appreciate your pointing out the transition taking place in this image between the upstream part of the flow and the downstream portion. It was exactly what caught my eye initially and drew me to this particular little section of the river. And all of the qualities that you and everyone else has mentioned were part of the attraction. Walk in Beauty.
    Hi Ray. As always, thank you for joining us and for your thoughtful observations. As Justice Holmes so keenly suggested, "Once the mind has been stretched by a new idea, it will never return again to its original size. And I would suggest that once we allow ourselves to "see" abstraction in any of nature's forms, we become part of a universal experience of seeking the essential that dwells beneath the level of detail and for which detail is only a more obvious expression. Beauty, in my thought, exists at all of these levels and we merely bring it forth from whichever level we happen to be working on. I delight in your "flag" metaphor: a banner with which to represent our personal connection with the natural world.
    Thank you, again, Everyone. What a thoughtful collection of observations from such a simple expression of nature. Thank you for sharing them with me. May we all walk in the beauty of spring.

  • Comment Link Ray Foote Sunday, 22 April 2018 22:30 posted by Ray Foote

    Don, that is a mesmerizing image. It almost reads as a flag divided by a diagonal with a silver field below, and a radiant yellow field above, with each color field sharing a bit with its opposite. It shimmers and undulates. Your comment about abstract fun rings true with me; I have spent happy hours over the past couple of summers seeking to capture interesting moving water in the creeks of the Bitterroot Mountains in southwestern Montana. Lots of trial and error, I'm afraid, but a delightful pursuit. And, abstraction raises so many thorny questions in considerations of beauty: are we essentially "creating" beauty (idiosyncratic beauty?) by pulling out a detail from nature and presenting it in an odd way? Is abstraction highly personal or more universal? Thanks for the image, and have a great week.

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 22 April 2018 11:33 posted by Nancy Tripp

    I believe you could fill a book with your water reflection abstracts. They are all beautifully unique; they each have a different story. This one seems to show how quickly the water can change from playful to quiet. It seems all the little water droplets know instinctively when to calm down and run smoothly in the "quiet zone". Nice diagonal lines, color, texture, and contrasts. Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment Link Donald Newsom Sunday, 22 April 2018 11:06 posted by Donald Newsom

    Beautiful! I appreciate the pastels in this image, that to me say, "Yes, Spring is here." I'm usually more drawn to the intense blues and golds such as you showed a couple of weeks ago. But these colors remind me of a favorite dress shirt that I used to wear every Easter (when it wasn't -- harrumph -- SNOWING!).

  • Comment Link Jackie Bedell Sunday, 22 April 2018 09:33 posted by Jackie Bedell

    Wonderful movement, lines and color. Love the abstract quality of the water.

  • Comment Link John D. Roach Sunday, 22 April 2018 08:36 posted by John D. Roach

    Splendid color harmony and tonality.

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