Friends together in the High Mountains

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This image is our daughter Amy (left), who lives in the mountains, and her very close friend Loree, currently visiting the high country of Western North Carolina above 6000 feet, from flat land Texas. They are seen resting well above 6000 feet after a strenuous climb up a rocky and steep path. Since this Blog is my “place” to share images I make, I typically do not use the work of other folks. But, in this case I’m making an exception because Amy made two spectacular photos of her own (iPhone 7) that I just have to share. It’s fitting they were taken with Loree along to enjoy the incredible views.

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A Favorite Mountain View … for me

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There is no doubt that, for me and my cameras, the 2016 Fall Season was the most scenic and spectacular I’ve ever experienced. For the first time, I was able to visit the mountains of Western North Carolina during a time when colors were at their peak. My experience over many years there and along the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Western Virginia proved that if one missed “peak” by just a few days, winds and rain could make most of the most vibrant colors fade, as leaves fell to the ground. This year I was just lucky, because my visit to Western North Carolina was timed not for the leaves, but for other reasons. Whatever, it worked out extremely well. Adding to this special time was the opportunity to share my experiences with two grandsons, recently moved to the mountains from the flat, drab and often dusty landscape of North Texas. So, as we now close in to the end of the year, with leaves mostly on the ground, and with colder weather at hand, I share this photo, which as the title says, is one of my favorites.

High Up in North Carolina

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So, this post will be the last of some very special Fall 2016 photos I made while moving about Western North Carolina. There are many others on my computer, waiting, but it’s time for me to move on to other subjects, reluctant as I am to do so. Being above 6000 feet elevation, on a clear day, with perfect colors is what made it. For once everything “photographic” came together for me this Fall. Thanks to the Good Lord for guiding me along.

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Riding the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

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The weather was cloudy and a bit foggy when we arrived in Bryson City, NC early in the AM to board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad for a five-hour round trip into the Nantahala National Forest. My wife Barb and I, her brother Jerry and wife Mary Ann, along with 300 other passengers, lined up by the waiting 12-car train idling nearby.

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We were greeted by a very friendly and extremely knowledgeable staff which made our trip most enjoyable, learning about the history of the region along our way. Once seated, I immediately noticed the historic atmosphere of the passenger car in which we were seated. It’s too bad we can’t routinely travel in such a manner today.

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Views out of the seat windows were spectacular, as was the included lunch meal we had pre-ordered. The next photo is my sister-in-law Mary Ann enjoying the views and the second is my wife Barb enjoying her BBQ lunch while we rolled along.

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Having been a passenger on trains several times in my life I knew that if I went to the open area in between cars where they connected, I could lean out the window (safely obviously) to make some interesting photos of the train and the surrounding beauty of the region.

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The day after we’d completed our train ride, we drove elsewhere in the region to explore, and on the way back to our motel, we happened upon the train on it’s twice-daily journey, but this time we were across a fast-flowing river we’d been so close to the day prior. We stopped the car, and I got out to capture the following images. The last photo of the caboose at the end of the train is a fitting end to this brief story. It was, in short, a wonderful time together!

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Smoky Mountain Train Past

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It’s simple. I love old trains. While we were in the Smoky Mountain region of Western North Carolina recently, we rode the Great Smoky Mountain RR into the Nantahala National Forest. I’ll have a photo story about that later, but after we rode the train I found some old railroad cars from time’s past, and I was very happy to capture with my camera what I saw. The “open” passenger cars shown below carried many thousands of sight-seeing visitors for many years. These old cars are obviously now fully retired, but remain vibrant in color.

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The images below show details of other train cars which, to me, were very interesting. I sought to compose each photo in the most interesting manner possible.

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Smoky Mountain Color

My wife and I just returned from a great visit to Western North Carolina’s Smoky Mountain region with its beautiful fall colors. One thing that many “learning” photographers focus on is the weather. They seek sunny, relative warm and totally clear (no clouds) conditions. Their frequent chant before departing on a photo trip is “No rain, no rain.” In fact, what’s most important is their ability to take advantage of what the good Lord puts before them. For example, cloudy and misty conditions mixed with peeps of blue sky and bright sun can create almost perfect photo conditions; that is, if you’ll only recognize that as such. This situation is what greeted us and I was thrilled with what resulted. Colors become more vibrant and contrasty when there is partial sunshine and wet leaves. So, don’t worry about the weather when you get out with your camera. Just take advantage of what you have.

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