After the stark, dark desolation of winter, those first spring blooms are like manna from heaven.
If you haven't read my book "Seasons" (which is still available - click the link to order) or followed my work, you must know that spring is my favorite time of year. I'm sure that's the case for a lot of folks out there. Just the spirit of warmth, of the emergence of color out of monochrome, of renewal in general - the promise of God to make all things new - spring lights my spirit like no other time of year.
It was in that spirit that I enthusiastically leapt into spring 2021; first to capture the spring blooms in the South Carolina Low Country; and then, if all went well, gradually back into the mountains.
But spring had a hard time showing up this year. In 2017, when I made my first visit to "azalea land" in the Low Country, it was the second week of March. I tried that again this year to find a whole lot of nothing.
So I waited until March 30 - an awfully late date to see azaleas in bloom along the Atlantic coast - but the rewards were well worth that wait, as Magnolia Plantation in Charleston delivered:
That latter image is one of my favorites of the year, a better composed version of a similar image I'd taken four years previous during my last visit. A lovely blend of azaleas, Spanish Moss, and wisteria - not to mention the reflection off the pond - all making for a wonderful view.
But winter wasn't done yet - at least, not in the Smokies.
So while the apple orchards in Waynesville, NC were in bloom:
Winter was busy reasserting itself in the higher elevations of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making for a stark contrast between the seasons. Was winter giving way to spring, or was it the other way around?
All I knew was that I witnessed a clash of seasons like I'd never seen before. Fall into winter? Been there, done that a few times. But winter into spring? Not until that late April day had I seen anything like it. And Chimney Tops was the epicenter of the action:
Of course, spring eventually took its rightful place, and the incredible Linville Gorge served as a wonderful canvas for spring blooms, as a two day trip with friends yielded much bountiful fruit:
That last image featured my friend Leslie, who posed for both myself and my friend and fellow photographer Tommy as we captured a scene with lots of mood.
The rhododendron began calling not too long after, but sadly there weren't many blooms to speak of. A few blooms along Carver's Gap:
And some flame azalea further up the Appalachian Trail near Grassy Ridge on Roan Mountain:
And scattered petals even further up trail:
All added up to a less-than-exciting spring along the Roan; but any trip, any hike in that area is always a treat, blooms or no blooms.
Summer tends to be less active for me, with the typical thunderstorms placing a damper on things. So the lack of compelling scenes often inspires me to venture out of my typical style, capturing images with a creative approach to editing.
Like this old truck I found along US 176 south of Rosman, NC:
And I also indulged in my love for capturing old train depots (I grew up at a house located only yards away from an old railroad in Georgia), as I found this old beauty (with permission) in Limestone, TN. I even created two different versions of the same image - one in a faded color, the other in old sepia tone:
And that brings us to today, with fall color fast approaching.
How will this season play out? Well, as always, I have a loose itinerary, and I hope to meet again with you in a couple months with a bumper crop of autumn color and magic.
Until then, I hope you've enjoyed what I have shot so far this year. God willing, more to come!