Archive for the Wildflowers Category

Spring Wildflower Workshop – 2014

Posted in photography workshops, Uncategorized, Wildflowers with tags , , , on May 5, 2014 by tremontoutdoorresort

What a wonderful group we had for the 2014 Spring Wildflower Workshop!  A combination of new and familiar faces, we took to the trails of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the weekend of April 11-13 to hunt for early spring blooms for our annual photography workshop.  While the harsh, cold winter caused so many things to be late in their blooming schedule, we still found  a plethura of beautiful blooms.

We started off the weekend with a special macro presentation and lesson led by Brett Wells, who in addition to being our instructor for the weekend is also a tech rep and a sales rep for Sigma Photo.  Sigma also graciously sent us an entire case of loaner macro lenses for our workshop participants to use for the weekend.  Combine good glass, talented photographers, and the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and what do you get?  Well, take a look here and see…

Spring Beauties

 Spring Beauties were an appropriate beginning!

Sweet White Trillium

Sweet White Trillium

Sue’s shot of the Smokies’ signature flower.

Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman’s Breeches

Beautifully captured by Ellen

Elle - Bishop's Cap

Bishop’s Cap

These are so tiny you could easily pass them by without appreciating their delicate beauty.

Rue Anemone

Rue Anemone

Brett caught the spirit of this beauty perfectly!

A couple of Gail’s favorites:

Dwarf Ginseng


Squirrel Corn

Squirrel Corn

Nancy’s dramatic vision of the Squirrel Corn.

Sharon - Squirrel Corn

Squirrel Corn

Nancy caught a more light-hearted version.

Large Flowered White Trillium

Large Flowered White Trillium

Beth’s Beauty

Karen's Bleeding Hearts

Karen’s Bleeding Hearts

Need name

Beth’s Beaked Violet

Need name

Fiddlehead Fern unfolded

Wilson instructing

Wilson instructing

Wilson points out likely suspect places to workshop members, like the following:

Fringed Phacelia by Malia

Fringed Phacelia

Common Violet

Common Violet

Malia thinks this flower is anything but common, despite its name!

Jack in the Pulpit

Jack in the Pulpit

Yellow Trillium

Yellow Trillium

Ellen's Crested Dwarf Iris

Ellen’s Crested Dwarf Iris

April - need name


April 2 - need name


Diffuser Team

Diffuser Team

When necessary, diffusers were used to soften the light.

Bill & Ellen with diffuser

Carl & Ellen with diffuser

Wilson helping Malia on bridge

Brett contemplating Fire Pink composition

Looking high and low

Looking high and low

Beth, Ellen & Nancy covering all the vantage points.

Trout Lilly

Trout Lilly

Sue caught the happy yellow of the Trout Lilly.

As glorious as they are, wildflowers were not the only attractions captured by our team:

Bee on Fringed Phacelia

Bee on Fringed Phacelia

Sharon caught this bee on a lovely Fringed Phacelia.

Watchful Chipmunk

 Bill captured this little guy keeping watch over us.

Walker Sisters' Cabin

Walker Sisters’ Cabin

From the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, some of us hiked up the Little Brier Gap Trail to the Walker Sisters’ Cabin.

Cabin Interior

Cabin Interior

A study in light (and needed roof patches) by Ellen.

Silky water

Silky water

We also had the chance to work on water shots.  Malia had never been able to capture the silky effect, and after some instruction, was happy to get this shot of some of the class shooting upstream.

On the first night, there was an optional trip up to Clingman’s Dome for the sunset and shooting starlight.

Malia's Sunset

Malia’s Sunset

April's Stars at Clingman's Dome

April’s Stars at Clingman’s Dome

Wilson Review

Wilson Review

On the last day, we reviewed the class images and discussed editing.  Our workshop is suitable for beginner to advanced photographers and we have lens and equipment to loan for you to try out.  We provide shooting tips as we show you the incomparable beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains so you can bring home your own digital captures and great memories.

What a fantastic weekend – we hope to see you all next year!


Three Good Reasons to Visit Townsend, TN This Weekend!

Posted in Festivals, Wildflowers with tags , , on May 2, 2013 by tremontoutdoorresort

Not that you necessarily need special reasons or occasions to head to Townsend, Tennessee as it is beautiful and peaceful all of the time, but just in case you need a little extra incentive…

1.  This weekend is the Spring Festival and Old Timers Day at the Visitor Center in Townsend.

The 2013 Townsend Spring Festival and Old Timers Day is set for May 3-4.

Join us for our springtime celebration of bluegrass music (concerts and jam sessions), clogging, arts and crafts, BBQ, Appalachian skills demonstrations, storytelling, wildflower walks, and the beauty of the Smokies in the springtime.

2.  They started stocking trout in the Little River this morning!  They stock right from the bridge that leads into Tremont Outdoor Resort!  So grab your waders and your fishing tackle and head on down:)

3.  If you love wildflowers, you are not too late to see some gorgeous blooms in the Park.  I have it on good authority that there are pink and yellow ladyslippers in bloom among other things:)


Spring Wildflower Workshop 2012 – The Wrap Up

Posted in photography workshops, Wildflowers with tags , , , , , , , on May 3, 2012 by tremontoutdoorresort

Spring definitely came early to East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year!  We knew that things were going to bloom earlier than normal, so we moved the Spring workshop to the second weekend in April instead of waiting until the end of April as we normally do.  Even having done that, we still had some trepidation that we would miss the peak bloom of the flowers that we were hoping to get to show our class. As it turned out, the good Lord was watching out for us on this as well as so many other things!  This was probably our best class to date when it came to being able to find the blooms we were looking for, and in abundance!  Add a class full of fantastic students and it was quite a memorable weekend. We had a full class along with a few ride-a-longs and a total of 3 instructors.  Here is our group shot at the end of the weekend… ImageAren’t they a handsome group??? After our meet and greet on Friday night, we started bright and early with breakfast together at Tremont and then we headed out to Jake’s Creek Trail at Elkmont.  We made one stop on the way right outside of Elkmont to get a few shots of this beautiful flame azalea… ImageThis is part of the class setting up to photograph the flower.  Here is the more impressive photograph though… the following is a beautiful shot from one of our students, Ron Sentell.

One of our instructors, Brett Wells, took this opportunity to put his Sigma 120-300 2.8 lens to the test.  He decided he didn’t need to cross the road to get the shot!…

Flame Azalea by Ron Sentell

On to Elkmont…

Showy Orchis by Ron Sentell

Rare all white variety of Showy Orchis. Photo by Gail Patton


I can never find Jack-in-the-pulpits on my own.  I mean literally, someone has to directly point them out to me.  It’s a good thing we had Harold Patton with us because he is a master flower scouter!  Brett and I decided that these plants actually call out to him because he speaks their language:)  So glad he found the one pictured above! And one last picture from Elkmont before we move on… While the flowers are certainly the main attraction for this class, we find all kinds of treasures while we are out exploring.  This bridge going back to one of the old vacation homes on “Millionaire’s Row” in Elkmont  was one of my favorite discoveries.  It looks like it should be in a fairy tale…(activate imagination and insert story here) While we could have easily stayed at Elkmont all day, we had other territory to cover!  Pictured above is a good portion of our class making their way up one of our favorite trails that shall remain nameless here due to the rare blooms that can be found there.  Unfortunately, there are people who like to dig these plants up and try to take them home with them.  The plants end up dying and everyone else is deprived of enjoying their beauty and splendor, so we try to protect their locations.  Here is one of the treasures of this trail…

Yellow Ladyslipper by Ron Sentell

This particular flower is very rare and difficult to find.  So much so, that if you ask people, even if they know, they generally will not tell you because so many people steal them from the Park.  So, if you ever find one, be sure to try and cover your tracks when you leave:)  They really are beautiful though.  Here is a shot of several of our students working together to get the best pictures of this magnificent bloom. This trail is chock full of treasures.  Here is another one of our favorites… This is a Vasey Trillium.  Notice that the bloom on this plant is under the three leaves instead of on top of then.  The most interesting thing about this shot is that the trees overhead have already budded!  That is something that you normally don’t see when photographing Spring wildflowers because they have usually come and gone by the time the tree cover arrives.  However, due to our messed up weather this year, the two collided and we had brilliant spring green leaves on the trees, lots of undergrowth, AND wildflowers.  While it made some things a bit challenging, it was also absolutely gorgeous! Here is another shot of the Vasey Trillium…

Vasey Trillium taken by one of our instructors, Brett Wells.

So, after a long day out in the field, we went back to Tremont for a BBQ dinner from Little River BBQ which has become a tradition and a favorite.  After dinner, we went right into sharing and constructive criticism of images from everyone from the day.  It was great to get to see everyone’s different vision of the same subject matter!  We definitely had a group full of talented people and after our discussions about composition, metering, exposure, and being aware of your background (that blasted stick ruined a lot of really good images!), everyone started the next day off with new tools in their boxes:)

Brett leading a discussion about some images from the day in Tremont’s Rec Hall.

Wilson helping Gail pick out her best images from the day and giving some tips on how to edit them.

Sunday morning met us with an even earlier start than Saturday!  We split the class up into two groups on this day (only they had the option to choose which group they wanted to go with:)).  The Pattons, Brett, and I took one group into White Oak Sinks, which was an all day excursion and a little over a 5 mile hike round trip.  Wilson took the other group to Bud Ogle’s cabin and surrounding area and then they headed up top in search of trout lillies and wake robins.  It turned out that all of the group alumni went to White Oak Sinks and all of our newbies went with Wilson for the day.  It was a win-win either way you went because both groups had amazing days with spectacular finds!

If you have never hiked back into White Oak Sinks, it is definitely worth it!  The Sinks themselves are usually in peak bloom the second week of April, but with our wacky weather this year, we weren’t sure what we were going to find.  Turns out, they were a little past peak, but still beautiful, and you could still smell the sweet aroma of the phlox.  But the trail going into the Sinks, well, it was chock full of just about every wildflower that was in bloom in the Park!  And I’m not just talking about one or two of each species here and there.  You would see entire banks of Catesby Trillium, foamflower, bishops cap, mayapples, and the list goes on.  Here are a few favorites from the trail.  Ok, there are more than a few, but it was hard to narrow them down!

Fiddlehead fern

Star Chickweed by Ron Sentell

Pink Ladyslippers by Ron Sentell

Catesby Trillium by Gail Patton

Dwarf Crested Iris by Brett Wells

White Trillium by Brett Wells

Not really using my tripod to it’s fullest, but this is what you have to do sometimes to get the shot!

The sun coming up through some foamflower

Gail working with some Pink Ladyslippers

One of my favorite shots from the weekend…Harold, our flower whisperer, patiently waiting in the sun next to a Catesby trillium for all of us photographers to finish capturing our visions of God’s glory:)

Eric, getting low to get the shot!

“Don’t try this at home folks…” This is Brett caught in the act of trying to get the shot of this Catesby without actually bending his knees. While I don’t have the proof, I did actually see it on the back of his camera, and he did nail it! That takes some practice (and a little luck doesn’t hurt either!). While intriguing, not the method we recommend for students:)

Ron providing a little shade of his own for his shot of the Columbine!

Down in the Sinks…

Wild Geranium

While I don’t have as many pictures from the second group to share, they had a phenomenal day as well!  They spent a little more time in the car since they had to “go long” to get to the top of the mountain to find a few of the things they were looking for, but the payoff made it all worthwhile!  Here are a few shots from one of our first time students, Nancy Dill…

Wake Robin Trillium by Nancy Dill

Trout Lilly by Nancy Dill

Great job Nancy!  For those of you who are not familiar with trout lillies, they are tiny flowers (maybe 3-4 inches high) and the flowers point downward, so they are pretty hard to photograph!  Nancy’s picture makes it look like it was easy!  These two flowers in this particular spot usually don’t bloom until May, so the group was really excited to find them out so early!

Well, that just about wraps things up I guess.  If you would like to see more pictures from the wildflower class, please check out Tremont’s Facebook page here.  Our next photography workshop will be sometime in late October for the fall foliage.  So stay tuned to this blog and our Facebook page for the announcement if you think you might be interested in joining us for that workshop.  It fills up pretty quickly!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2012 Spring Wildflower Workshop.  We hope that you had as much fun as we did and that you learned something along the way!  We enjoyed seeing our old friends and meeting great new people that we hope will be back!  In the meantime, get outside, enjoy God’s wonderful creation, and take some pictures!

White Oak Sinks

Posted in Wildflowers with tags on May 5, 2011 by tremontoutdoorresort

One of my favorite things about helping Wilson with his photography workshops is the friends that we get to make.  Last year at our Spring Wildflower Workshop, I got to meet Gail and Harold.  They come to Tremont several times a year and spend quite a bit of time exploring the Smokies.  Oh, did I mention that they hike to LeConte once a year?  Gail is learning more about photography and  Harold is our best flower scouter.   They are amazing people and I love getting to spend time with them.

The fact that they hike all the time has inspired me to get out and explore more of my own backyard, since I’m fortunate enough for that to be the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  So, this year, after our Wildflower Workshop, Gail and Harold invited me to hike to White Oak Sinks with them.  They knew that I had never been and that it was in peak bloom.  What a wonderful day!  The weather was beautiful and the company was as well.  I learned quite a bit about wildflowers along the way as they showed me quite a few I had never seen.  For people who just started taking an interest in wildflowers four years ago, they know quite a bit.

I have to say, White Oak Sinks is my new favorite destination in the Smokies.  When I first learned that the Smokies were known for wildflowers, this was what I had envisioned.  Words can’t describe it adequately, so here are a few images…

The phlox stays in bloom for about two weeks in White Oak Sinks.  So, next April, if you are in our neck of the woods, this is definitely a trek worth making.

Thanks so much to Gail and Harold for showing me the way and spending part of their day with me.  I look forward to more hiking with you both!

Wilson’s Wildflower Workshop – The Recap

Posted in photography workshops, Uncategorized, Wildflowers with tags , , on May 3, 2011 by tremontoutdoorresort

Wow, what a weekend!  We had a full class with many old friends and familiar faces along with some new ones we were happy to get to know and look forward to working with in the future.  Our wildflower workshop was about a week earlier than it normally is due to Easter being later this year.  We figured this would mean that we would get to explore some of the blooms that have usually come and gone by the time we normally have our class.  Well, that didn’t exactly work out as planned because almost everything bloomed extremely early this year due to our weather patterns.  So, our plans to scope out the trout lillies near Elkmont and dutchman’s breeches at the Chimneys had to be ditched.  However, we found all kinds of jewels and had a great time, so all worked out well.

We started out on Friday night by getting to know everyone and making our plans for Saturday.  Saturday morning started with breakfast at Riverstone Family Restaurant and then we were off to our first stop at one of our favorite cascades on Little River Road.  Due to the abundant rains we had in the previous days, the water was roaring and there were abundant wildflowers growing on the rock walls hugging the road.  This was kind of our warm up spot, then on to one of our favorite pull offs on the way to Cades Cove where we found several varieties of blooms.  Take a peek..

Mike gets up close and personal with some confederate violets using a macro lens

Ron, Craig, and Brett work patiently to capture the wild bleeding hearts in between the bursts of wind

Stonecrop found growing on the rock wall of a bridge

Rob goes off the beaten path and found a wildflower we had to do a little research to name.

It turned out to be Mountain Phlox.

Next, on to Cades Cove to capture some Dogwoods whose blooms were extraordinarily large and beautiful this year.  They are gorgeous on their own, but framing the historic cabins in the Cove they are breathtaking.

The first cabin on the Cades Cove loop

Craig scales the muddy bank to get the shot of a beautiful Vasey Trillium

After lunch, we hit one of our favorite spots near the Sugarlands Visitors Center.  We found all kinds of treasures here!  The hard to find Vasey Trillium were in peak bloom.  There were some right next to the trail, but the most beautiful flower required scaling a mud bank to get to .  That didn’t seem to phase our class:)

The Vasey Trillium

Bonus! Someone found a salamander while we were looking for the Vasey trillium. He was kind enough to pose on a log for everyone.

Charles composing his salamander shot.

Not rare or hard to find, but my favorite wildflower, the dwarf crested iris

We met someone on the trail who told us the whereabouts of this lovely Morrel.

Gail and Don focus on the irises

Leaving the Sugarlands area and on our way to the top of the mountain to check on an earlier find, we got a tip on where we could find a rare flower.  Unfortunately, I can’t tell you where we found this because there are so many people who dig up these plants.  So, it’s a secret.  However, we were excited to find the yellow ladyslippers for our class!  Actually, it was a member of our class who actually spotted them!  Harold is our super scouter:)

Steve zooms in on the yellow ladyslipper.

Yep, that's Wilson taking pictures with his Iphone:) Don't worry, he shot some with the D3x as well:)

Don is reflecting and Eric is diffusing so Joy can get her shot of the pink ladyslippers that have just started to bloom.

And finally, we headed to the top of the mountain where we found a patch of Dutchman’s breeches.  Gail had never seen these particular flowers, so we were on a mission to find them just for her and we were so excited when we found them up high!

Dutchman's breeches

Rex, Ron, and Roy work on capturing the tiny blooms of the Dutchman's breeches while fighting the wind.

We packed as much as we possibly could into the weekend and were grateful for the cooperative weather.  Thanks to everyone who came for the workshop.  We had so much fun spending the weekend with you in the woods.  We are looking forward to our fall workshop!  Check out our facebook page for more  pictures:)

Dates for the Wildflower Workshop in April!

Posted in photography workshops, Wildflowers on February 18, 2011 by tremontoutdoorresort

Mark your calendars for Friday, April 15th through Sunday, April 17th.  Those are the dates for this year’s Wildflower Photography Workshop!  It is a little earlier than our usual dates due to when Easter falls this year.  However, we will get to capture many of the blooms that are gone by the time of our usual workshop at the end of April, so it will be a nice change of pace. 

We will be posting more details on the workshop here in the coming week, but we wanted to go ahead and release the dates.  The workshop is limited to 12 students and we already have 6 on the books, so if you know you want to come, don’t wait, go ahead and call Tremont Outdoor Resort to make your reservations (865)448-6363! 

One note that we would like to make is that this workshop will involve a little more hiking than ones in the past.  Nothing too strenuous, but we could be walking a mile or two, so please keep that in mind.

We are so excited and can’t wait to see you all!  Stay tuned for more details!

Wildflower Contest Part 2…

Posted in Contests, Wildflowers with tags , , on April 19, 2010 by tremontoutdoorresort

Ok, so the last challenge was a bit too easy it seems.  However, congratulations are certainly due to Lisa and Lou who both responded with the correct answers on the first day!  So, we decided to post something that might be more of a challenge.  We’ve gone world wide.

See if you can answer the following questions about the wildflowers pictured below:

1. Name

2. When they bloom

3.  Where they are typically found

4.  Your best guess as to where these particular photos were taken (this one just for fun).

Since they are not in our back yard, so to speak,  we can’t promise to take you to photograph these flowers if you answer the quiz correctly, we will hopefully be able to offer you the opportunity soon to join a class to scout them out.  So, this prize is going to be a framed print of the flowers themselves.

Good luck!  Can’t wait to read your responses!