Saturday, 10 March 2018 11:04

Nestled in the Light

John and Lurena (Luraney) Oliver arrived in Cades Cove sometime in 1818, having walked there from Carter County, Tennessee, a hundred miles away, one child in tow and another on the way. By the early 1820s they had built a cabin, in which they raised a family and lived in until their deaths, John's in 1864. The structure you see here was actually built as a honeymoon cabin for one of their children, their original dwelling being located a short distance away deeper in the woods. It was owned by the Oliver family until it became part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1934. We know it as the John Oliver Cabin, in spite of the misnomer.

When the dawning sunlight of early April pours in through Crib Gap to the east, the tops of the forest above the blooming dogwoods at the base of Rich Mountain are bathed in the sidelit glow; and the old cabin beneath their crowns becomes a magical kingdom for Smokies pioneer history. From halfway across the field to the south, a focal length of 180mm, moderate telephoto, gave me the angle-of-view and magnification I wanted. An aperture of f/18 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 0.5 second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure.

Being at the cove's entrance gate when the ranger opens it at sunrise is essential to being in place to do this sort of work at the Oliver cabin. It's well-worth the effort.

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  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 16 March 2018 11:55 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good morning, Everyone. Thank you all for joining me for this conversation and for sharing such a wonderfully thoughtful array of comments and observations. For so many years, the sight of this old Oliver family cabin has shouted "Cades Cove" at me perhaps like no other location in this amazing valley of history and beauty. So your comments are all-the-more meaningful because of that connection.
    Hey Ray. It's always good to hear from you. I truly appreciate your description of the arrangement of the "layers" that constitute this Image. It can be so enticing to want to get just a little closer to the cabin, and without realizing it suddenly find that you have obliterated the sense of layers that for me seems so much a part of the cabin and its wonderful location. Giving up nearness and/or magnification for the sake of context can prove to be a worthwhile choice for the gaining of a different angle-of-view. Thanks for reminding us of that. Walk in Beauty.
    Hey Donald. It's great to hear from you! Hope the Lake Michigan winter is slowly turning to spring. Those streaks of light would have been gone in another 5-10 minutes as the sun got high enough to come in over the trees. You're so right, it's the little components of composition, often influenced by timing, that so often add the little things that make an image "more." Your eye is outstanding as usual.
    Hi Joani. It's always good to have you join us. Somehow I missed you in Hendersonville, but hope you are doing well. I can just see this image as you have described; and knowing you, it would be a perfect fit. You'll have to join us in the Smokies one spring to share an adventure to the Oliver's place.
    Hey Nancy T. You've been on my mind lately, and I'm about due to hear your voice telling me of your on-going adventures in West Tennessee. I agree completely that this image is ordinary without the light. That is exactly why it is so crucial to be in the Cove when the gate opens so that you can get to the Oliver cabin in time to get ready for this scene to open. Something tells me you have something similar to this in your folders of Smokies' images.
    Thank you, again, Everyone. It's so much fun to share these place that can so often seem so commonplace, but which become magical in the golden light. Walk in Beauty.

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Thursday, 15 March 2018 23:53 posted by Nancy Tripp

    This looks familiar. The light is what is making this image so special. It looks like the sun is shining just for the cabin. It is highlighting the surrounding trees and grass leaving everything else shaded. It is a very special place indeed! I think you captured the spirit of this cabin. Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment Link Joani Wednesday, 14 March 2018 10:29 posted by Joani

    I love this photo, Don, with its colors and composition. I have always loved this cabin and the setting. The family chose it well. It would make a grand statement as an enlargement on my living room wall!!

  • Comment Link Donald Newsom Sunday, 11 March 2018 13:56 posted by Donald Newsom

    Of all the beautiful elements in this image, what really caught my eye were the streaks of low-angle sunlight across the grass in the foreground. They're so inviting.

  • Comment Link Ray Foote Sunday, 11 March 2018 09:19 posted by Ray Foote

    Good morning, Don. Two things about this image appealed to me. First, the strong feeling of "nestling" the way the cabin is just perfectly fitted into its forest home. Second, a wonderful feeling of space; I don't mean openness necessarily, but the elevated perspective, the hint of the clearing, the stair-stepping away from the cabin -- oh, and did I mention the light?! -- all comes together to really place the viewer at the scene. My visit to Cades Cove a decade ago may or may not have included Oliver Cabin (I don't recall), but this morning I was there because of the masterful way you arranged this shot. Thank you, and I hope you have a great week. Ray

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