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  • Robert Stephens

So Far...(Part One)

Updated: Sep 20

Okay, I'll admit - I should be checking in a bit more than annually, or even semi-annually...


But here we are in September - when the leaves are already beginning their transformation from green to varying shades of amber, orange and red - and yet, this is my first blog of 2021. Better late than never, I guess!


So here's part one of what I've captured so far this year. Part two will follow shortly...


I honestly don't think I've ever had a better winter shooting season since I moved to the Smokies in 2014. Straight from the get go, I had lots of wintry glory to capture. First, a simple barn, located a stone's throw from home:

And the next day, January 9, just up the road at Purchase Knob, where temperatures hovered in the mid-20's, I found more magic - and I openly wondered if I was dressed enough for the occasion, as I wore a light coat and and even lighter skull cap.


But the strenuous hike warmed me up enough; and once I reached the open, desolate, frozen fields of the knob, I felt like I was in a frozen studio, with bright whites contrasting with icy blues. My old 2005 vintage Nikon D2Xs was used for these images:




From there, it was on to the Smokies, where I gave my "new" Nikon D4 camera a workout, with some nice, warm light on a snowy day near Newfound Gap:

I've often found my best and most productive trips have been the ones conjured up out of thin air. And so it was on the first of February, where I spontaneously ventured out over 300 miles into West Virginia, just to cross an image off my bucket list - a wintry scene at the famous mill inside Babcock State Park:

I'll have a much more detailed description of this particular journey (with more images!) towards the end of the year. Meanwhile...


The next snowstorm kept me close to home, and not long after my West Virginia excursion. I only needed to drive into the Jonathan Creek area to find a lovely composition at an events barn:

Aaaand an audience of cattle just to the right of me while I was shooting, wondering what this old graybeard with a camera was doing:

The Smokies beckoned again. I captured one of my more atmospheric images along the way to Chimney Tops, with the Little Pigeon River serving as a wonderful setting, with fog and rime ice:

And further up the trail, I found a more expansive view:

But spring was just around the corner; and I was game to capture those first colorful images after shaking off the frost of winter. The upstate of South Carolina - namely, the peach fields of Landrum - fit that bill perfectly:

And with that, I'll leave this spring image as a teaser for part two of this blog. Lots of spring flowers, sunrises, sunsets, summer images, and everything in between to come...

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