Join Us as we journey through history with mountain vistas, waterfalls, and wildlife in the historic and amazing Great Smoky Mountains. Fall Foliage will provide the perfect backdrop for this adventure photography workshop.
Workshop Leaders: David Downs, DeLania Truly & Rhonda Hampton
The Great Smoky Mountains are surrounded by beauty and history. Within the wide-open National Park and the nearby forests, you will find a treasure of photography opportunities no matter what level of photographer you are (hobbyist to professional), or what you love to capture (landscapes, wildlife, macro, and more). You shouldn’t be disappointed with options to expand your horizons and talent while visiting this history-rich environment. This Adventure Workshop will crisscross the states of Tennessee and North Carolina, offering amazing views and hospitality.
Please read through the information below before signing up for the workshop.
Tuesday, October 22, 2024- Sunday, October 27, 2024
Great Smoky Mountains and Surrounding Forests throughout Tennessee and North Carolina (based out of Gatlinburg, TN). Fly in/out of Knoxville, TN (TYS Airport)
- Landscape Composition
- Exploring Wildlife with Your Camera
- Photographing Waterfalls
- Capturing Historic Cabins and Mills
- Storytelling through Photography
- Editing Techniques to Enhance Your Images
- Compositional Elements
- Using ND & Circular Polarizer Filters
Please read these additional workshop details carefully:
Click an arrow to expand a section and display (or print) its info.
This workshop rates a level 1-2 on a scale of five. We do not anticipate any lengthy hikes and there are opportunities to take photos from locations that do not require climbing or rough terrain. There will be locations that provide photography options that might require walking over rocks and water, but this will be at your discretion and physical abilities. Your physical level will determine your ability to capture the photos you desire. Once you register, you will receive a Medical Treatment Authorization Form, which will allow us to seek any treatment you may need, as well as contact info for anyone who should be notified should you need care.
Lodging (double occupancy) is included for all nights (check-in 10/22; check-out 10/27). We are working through the final details based on the number of participants, but we plan to base our workshop out of the Gatlinburg area and will stay in hotel rooms or special lodging based on availability & convenience. The workshop fee includes double occupancy ( separate bed, same-sex). A single supplement is available for an additional $450 if you prefer your own room. Please indicate your request at checkout. If you have a specific person you wish to room with, please indicate this preference on your registration form (first question).
Pre-Workshop Zoom Session On [10/06/24] from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM CST, we will host a group Zoom session to cover information to help you prepare for the trip. You will receive the registration link by e-mail a few days before the call. Approximately one week before the workshop, we will e-mail all registered participants an updated detailed agenda, map, etc.
So that you'll know what to expect, here's our tentative agenda (subject to change):
Day 1 - Tuesday, October 22, 2024
Make your travel arrangements to Knoxville, TN (TYS Airport) to arrive no later than noon. We will pick up all participants at the airport and provide transportation for the week. Note: If you drive to Tennesee, you can meet us in Gatlinburg by 2:30 pm (hotel information will be provided a few weeks before departure). We will check into the hotel in the afternoon. Then, we can connect in the lobby and depart for our first photo opportunity at a nearby mountain vista for sunset. We will have a group dinner to become more acquainted with everyone and answer your questions about the week.
Days 2-4 - Wednesday-Friday (October 23 -25, 2024)
Each day will be unique, designed around the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. We will capture mountain vistas, waterfalls, wildlife, fall colors and so much more; from iconic sites like Clingman's Dome and Cade's Cove, to historic locations like Mingus Mill. We will explore places to photograph elk, bears, turkeys, and more. Fall in the Great Smokies offers a variety of beautiful foliage, offering a perfect backdrop for every image.
Many days, we will leave early and return late in the day. On these days, it's best to dress in layers and bring all of your equipment along. Then, we can help you decide what you will need as we approach each location. We will also work to balance long days with free afternoons to download and edit your images or relax. A more detailed itinerary will be provided before we start our adventure together. Of course, Mother Nature can challenge the itinerary with weather conditions, but that can also provide opportunities for extraordinary images.
Day 5 - Saturday, October 26, 2024
On our final day together, our adventure continues by revisiting areas that are your favorites or some locations that we might have missed along the way.
Day 6 - Final Day on Sunday, October 27, 2024
Departure day! We will travel back toward Knoxville to arrive at the airport by 10:30 am (please make flights to depart after noon on that day). We will capture a few last images on our journey back if time allows.
Ground transportation will be provided during the workshop, starting on Tuesday, October 22, from McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) in Knoxville, TN. Please make your flight arrangements to arrive at TYS by noon. It will conclude at the same location on Sunday, October 27, 2024, around 10:30 a.m. Please schedule your flights home for after 12:00 noon. You are responsible for your transportation to/from TYS. Note: If you plan to drive to the workshop, we can meet you in Gatlinburg at the designated hotel by 2:30 p.m. Hotel information will be provided a few weeks prior to the workshop.
Meals & Snacks
Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided for participants during the workshop. We will start with a group dinner on Tuesday, October 22. The next five days will feature breakfast and lunch (sometimes combined if we leave early for sunrise shoots). Dinners will be provided through Saturday, October 26. Final day will feature breakfast options only. Snacks will be purchased and provided for the group for each day. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions.
Recommended photography gear
- DSLR Or Mirrorless Camera
- Wide angle, Medium telephoto and long telephoto zoom lens – There will be opportunities to use each of these lenses and we will discuss the benefits of each during the pre-workshop Zoom session. However, if you're a gear junkie, bring whatever lenses you might use when going on vacation.
- Tripod – Bring a good, sturdy tripod. We'll be doing some longer exposures during sunset & sunrise as well as other moments to capture motion (such as waterfalls), and a tripod will be necessary. This will also be discussed during our pre-workshop Zoom session.
- Remote shutter release – Bring one if you have it. Or, know how to set a 2-second shutter delay for your camera. If you use the timer on your camera instead of a shutter release, make sure you know how to turn off the front timer light or cover it with tape.
- Headlamp – You'll need a way to light your feet as you walk around prior to sunrise or after sunset. Learn how to use it. Especially, the night vision (red) feature if it has it.
- Filters – We highly recommend both Circular Polarizer (CPL) and Neutral Density (ND) filters for this workshop. We recommend staying away from the variable ND filters due to vignetting and color cast issues in the vast majority of them. Also consider a filter system that allows you to use a single set of filters, such as Kase Wolverine, that allow for magnetic attachment and adapter rings for different size lenses. I carry all I need in one small case that holds 4 adapter rings, a CPL, a 3 stop, 6 stop and 10 stop filter. We'll teach you how to use them!
- Camera Backpack – We'll be walking around quite a bit with our gear. We'll give you some guidance as to what to bring on each outing but, we'll be moving pretty quickly and the easier it is for you to move, the better.
- Batteries – Bring an extra battery. Also, make sure you have your charger.
- Storage – An extra SD or CF card (maybe 2 or 3…)
Lastly, bring a desire to learn and have fun! You’re going to walk away with a great experience and a much better understanding of how to photograph the fall foliage, wildlife and nature at its best!
Bring something to take notes for discussions and editing.
Bring hiking boots and/or waterproof socks if you have them. Consider rain gear for both you AND your camera.
Fall in the Smokies is typically cold in the mornings (for early sunrises) with warmer days. Layers work best for these workshop days. Historically, October in the Smokies can range from 40 degrees to mid-70s (sometimes on the same day!)
Location pro tips
Fall color intensity is out of our control, but we’ll make every effort to find locations that have some color
As much as we’d like to set the temperature and control wind and rain for the workshop we simply aren’t that good. We will do our best despite any weather obstacles to make sure you leave with a wealth of information and practical experience.
Some of the areas are slippery and can be difficult to get to a great photo spot. Occasionally, you will need to walk down and/or up rocky and, sometimes, slippery areas to get to good shooting locations. Good hiking boots/shoes are essential.
Reserve your spot now!
Important info! We encourage you to create an account when you register so future workshop forms will be prepopulated with your data. Shortly after registering you will receive a confirmation e-mail and a separate email with an invoice to pay your registration online. You are not fully registered until your payment is received.
Class size is limited, so sign up early.
You may reserve your spot with a non-refundable deposit of $750. The invoice sent after registration will be for the total amount. Near the top left is a link to change the payment amount, and you can enter $750. The balance will be paid in two portions, with an additional $1,750 by June 1, 2024, and the balance due on August 1, 2024. You will receive a balance-due invoice about a week in advance of each due date, and you can pay the entire balance at any time. Registrations after June 1, 2024, will require a $2,500 deposit, with the balance due August 1, 2024. After August 1, 2024, full payment is required.
Other than the deposit, all payments are subject to our standard cancellation policy.
Pricing: $3,995 per person (all-inclusive) Single Supplement: $450. The Single Supplement Checkbox is located just above the calendar. The link to register is just below the calendar, where the number of open spots is shown.