Tag Archives: Cades Cove

Moody Mountains


"Moody" Smoky Mountains - Click image to enlarge

Early morning fog, mist and low clouds combine to give the Smoky Mountains a very moody and mysterious look.  This view is from Sparks Lane in Cades Cove.  Even with the clouds and fog obscuring the sun, the sky was still fairly bright compared to the foreground meadow so if I exposed for the sky, the foreground would be too dark.  To properly expose the entire scene correctly “in the camera,” I used a 2-stop soft split graduated neutral density filter.  Positioning the dark half of the filter over the sky allowed me to maintain the moody look of the mountains and properly expose the foreground meadow.

When you enter Cades Cove, you’ll be on an 11 mile one way loop, and Sparks Lane is the first of two roads that cut directly across the loop.  The other road is Hyatt Lane.  Cades Cove was once known as “Kate’s Cove,” named after a Cherokee Indian chief’s wife.  The Cherokee Indians lived in the area because of its abundant wildlife and good hunting.  Later, frontiersmen of European descent coming mainly from Virginia, North Carolina, and upper east Tennessee made their home in the cove.  They cleared the fertile valley and built farms to sustain themselves and lived in the cove for many generations before it became part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Cades Cove has been preserved by the National Park Service to look much the way it did in the 1800’s, and has many original pioneer homesteads, barns, pastures and farmland.

You can see more of my Great Smoky Mountains National Park images in my gallery here. If you have any questions about this website or my photography, please click here to email me.

Posted in National Parks, Photographic Technique, Weekly Column Also tagged , |

Autumn In The Smoky’s

The Cable Mill - Click image to enlarge

Welcome to Jeff Sagar Photography, thanks for visiting. This is my very first post, and I’m excited to bring you a special image taken during a mid-October 2011 vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Asheville, NC. and the Blue Ridge Parkway were also part of the trip. Our timing was perfect as the fall color was at its peak!

As predicted by the weather service, the day (October 19, 2011) started out with a relatively hard rain so after several good days of photography and sightseeing in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park my wife and I decided to hit the outlet malls. After lunch the rain had lightened considerably so we decided to go back to the park and tour Cades Cove since we could drive the 11 mile loop and stop where we wanted to if it wasn’t raining too hard. We also thought it wouldn’t be too crowded since it was raining….WRONG! The loop road through the cove was bumper to bumper with traffic and very, very slow moving. By the time we made it to the Cades Cove Visitor’s Center and Cable Historic Area, which is only 5 miles from the start of the loop road it was late afternoon and definitely time to get out of the car and stretch our legs. Fortunately the rain was just a light drizzle so we headed to the historic area to check out the mill and other pioneer buildings. I wanted to photograph the mill and thought that the light rain and overcast late afternoon light would be the perfect conditions to photograph the mill. As all good photographers know, you have to be prepared to shoot in “any” type of weather and in this particular instance, I wasn’t. I left my hooded rain jacket in the car so I was getting a little damp. My wife however, was prepared so I give her all the credit for making the above image possible. She held an umbrella over me, the camera and tripod while I composed this shot. I used a polarizing filter to reduce reflections and saturate the colors.

The “Cable Mill” was originally built in 1867 by John P. Cable. The mill processed logs, wheat and corn, and was one of the most successful mills in the cove. The mill continued to function in some fashion until the 1920’s and was actually still informally in use when Great Smoky Mountain’s National Park was formed in September, 1940. Renovations about the middle of the last century and the replacement of the mill wheel several years ago have ensured that the mill will continue to operate much as it did almost 150 years ago. You can even buy a bag of cornmeal at the mill when you visit.

To see more of my images from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, please click here.  If you have any questions, please click here to email me.

Posted in National Parks, Weekly Column Also tagged , , |