Spring in the Great Smoky Mountains Photography Workshop

Scenic and wildflower photography workshop, encompassing fieldwork and artistic development

Workshop dates: 16th to 18th, and 23rd to 25th April 2014.
Led by Robert Nunnington.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a national treasure. It was designated a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve, due to its biological diversity and unique natural resources. For photographers, the Smoky Mountains offer many opportunities in any season, but springtime provides a dazzling menu of spectacular and rare wildflowers, high peaks shrouded in mist, dramatic sunrises and many pristine waterfalls and mountain streams. Robert has photographed this region extensively and know the premier locations for a diverse range of imagery and learning experiences.

The spring workshops are an exciting opportunity for nature photographers to hone their skills in this unrivaled location. Robert will individually instruct and share his knowledge, experience and photographic vision, while demonstrating the key field techniques for photographing both grand vista and intimate landscapes. The timing of this late spring workshop is geared to the blooming of wildflowers and trees such as dogwoods and redbuds, and possibly the opportunity to photograph this year’s newly-born animals. Selected scenic locations will be used to demonstrate individual photographic concepts and techniques (both traditional and innovative) and to encourage and develop individual photographic vision. The teaching is not just limited to the subjects at hand, but will also encompass his many years of experience working as a professional natural history photographer in Southern Africa and North America.

View some images taken by Robert in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Who should attend?

  • This is a hands-on workshop for photographers who prefer to have their tuition in the field, rather than in the classroom. However, there will be critique and review sessions of the days shooting, together with specific references to PhotoshopTM or other post processing software and techniques for image optimization, where appropriate. This will take place in the evenings and at suitable times during the day.
  • Because of the small group size, individual attention can be given to attendees, irrespective of experience or expectations. Digital or film shooters are welcome.
  • The workshop is also valuable for those wishing to discover some of the region’s prime scenic and wildflower locations, for possible future visits to the region. Indeed, it is strongly recommended that attendees plan their schedule to spend an extra day or two in the region after completing the workshop. This will reinforce the learning process and the techniques introduced during the workshop.

What is the focus for the Workshop?

  • The primary focus is learning how to capture or distill the very essence of the scene – by recognizing and isolating the key elements, and successfully incorporating them. For instance, by using sweeping foregrounds, selective cropping or focusing techniques, getting closer or backing off.
  • Teaching and developing techniques for composing both the grand vista and intimate landscapes, using a wide array of lenses from wide angle to macro and telephotos (the landscape photography “tools”). Attendees not owning a macro lens (or at least close focusing lens) are encouraged to rent one of these for the workshop. Links to some lens rental companies are listed at the bottom of the page. (NAPP members may qualify for discounts with these retailers).
  • Special attention for control of perspective and depth of field using perspective control (tilt and shift) lenses will be given. This is specifically for attendees wishing to learn large format techniques and apply them to 35mm imagery. It is recommended that attendees not owning one of these lenses, also rent one for the duration of the workshop.
  • In order to be able to put the inner vision into practice, the tools of compositional development such as visual aids, the rules of thirds, the Golden Mean and achieving compositional balance and structure will be discussed and demonstrated.

What can the attendees expect from the Workshop?

  • Tuition on how to best photograph the many wildflower species; including trilliums, phacelia, violets, irises, orchids, showy orchis, and dogwood or redbud trees in flower. Demonstration on how to photograph sunrise from the higher peaks of the range, including Clingmans Dome and Newfound Gap. Other locations will include Roaring Fork, Tremont, the Little River area, Greenbrier and, of course, Cades Cove. Opportunities to photograph insects, mammals, reptiles and amphibians will be taken as they arise.
  • We make the most of the daytime opportunities, and are out well before dawn for the first light on the high peaks or Cades Cove. We will then concentrate on intimate scenics, plants and possibly some wildlife. A rest break will be taken during the day, depending on the weather, followed by an afternoon session and sunset locations. The day is paced to maximize the photo opportunities, and the schedule is flexible to maximize the best light.
  • Note that we will hike to some locations, including some steep uphill stretches, so a reasonable degree of physical fitness is required. This is particularly so as some of the trails lie at over 6000ft, and the cumulative effect of altitude on physical exertion should not be underestimated.
  • Prior to the workshop, a list of the topics which will be covered will be forwarded to attendees, together with a suggested packing list.
  • An introductory presentation on fine art natural history photography will be held on the afternoon/evening prior to the first day of shooting. 

Spring time in the Great Smoky Mountains Workshop details

Dates available: Two 3-day workshops: 16th to 18th, and 23rd to 25th April 2014.
Price: Full price $700 per workshop.

Special offer! Register by March 14, 2014 for only $625!
Payment: A 25% deposit must be received when registering for the workshop. The balance is due the first day of the workshop.
Cancellation policy: Deposit will be non-refundable within 30 days of workshop start date.
Maximum no. of people 6 per workshop
What is included: Afternoon/evening get-together (15th and 22nd April).
Three full days of workshop tuition.
What is NOT included: Travel including airfares, fees, taxes and trip insurance to Gatlinburg, TN.
Meals and beverages.
Park entrance fees.
Phone calls, laundry, or other items of a personal nature.
Guarantee of “good” weather!
Nearest Airport: Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge airport, or Knoxville TN.
Hotel Information: There are many hotels, motels and other accommodation types in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area, for attendees preferring to arrange their own accommodation.
Contact details: Robert Nunnington – email Robert
Tel: (937) 291-1733
Lens rental companies: Lens Rentals, Inc. – www.lensrentals.com
Borrow Lenses – www.borrowlenses.com
Lens Pro To Go – www.lensprotogo.com

Places fill up quickly so reserve your spot today!

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