Archive for photography workshops

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!


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:)

Fall Foliage Workshop 2010

Posted in Fall Foliage, photography workshops with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2010 by tremontoutdoorresort

What a perfect weekend spent looking through the lens!  This last weekend we wrapped up our Fall Foliage workshop lead by Wilson and April.  We had the added bonus of having a guest teacher from the University of TN, Steve Chastain, who lead a discussion on the benefits of Lightroom.

Due to the recent strange weather, the leaves weren’t as vibrant this year, mostly due to the rain coming too late and a large storm knocking the leaves off two days before our class.  However, that didn’t stop Wilson from putting together a fabulous workshop for everyone who attended.  The weather couldn’t have been more pleasant for our weekend; we had crisp mornings that lead into warm sunny afternoons.  Crystal blue skies accented the bright foliage and silky water of the rushing waterfalls as we explored the beautiful Smoky Mountains.   We had an exceptional group of photographers at all skill levels, and they all left our workshop with beautiful magazine worthy images!  Several traveled cross-country to attend and many returned from previous workshops.  The photography and outdoor community are blessed with a passion for life and a sense of comradery.  I believe there were many new friendships that have blossomed from this exceptional weekend.  We are already looking forward and planning the next workshop in the spring!  We can’t wait to see everyone again!

Make sure you check out Steve Chastain’s blog post recapping the weekend.  He took some great candid shots of the class!  Also, if you need a refresher course over what Steve discussed, don’t miss F/32 Photo’s blog discussing Lightroom tips, tricks, and presets and of course a few photos.

Have a great shot from the workshop or just a great shot of the fall foliage?  F/32 Photo is running a Fall Foliage Photo Contest and the winner receives 25 free 5×7 Template Cards perfect for the upcoming Christmas holiday.  Simply email us your photo with your name, phone number, email, and what camera it was taken with along with the settings (if possible).

“The Great Pumpkin” Photography Workshop details…

Posted in photography workshops, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on September 8, 2010 by tremontoutdoorresort

We have had a few beautiful, cooler days lately and I think it has given many people a desire for the onset of Fall.  We always look forward to Fall at Tremont because it is one of the most beautiful places to enjoy the season.  Of course, that means we head out with our cameras whenever possible.  Speaking of which, we have details for our Fall Foliage workshop!  Here they are:

October 29th-31st

Friday, October 29th  7pm-9pm – Registration and meet & greet in the Rec Hall at Tremont Outdoor Resort.  We will get to know everyone we will be spending the weekend with, discuss equipment, proficiency, and outline the events of the weekend.  Snacks will be provided of course!

Saturday, October 30th

8am – optional breakfast gathering at Riverstone Family Restaurant just down the street from Tremont.

9am-noon – focusing on the Autumn leaves, location to be determined by seasonal conditions.

noon-2pm – lunch on your own

2pm-dark – We have two plans for this time period and the weather conditions will determine the one we choose –

#1 – Going long to work our way to Morton’s Overlook for a sunset shot.  On our way we will shoot the water and foliage at the Chimney’s picnic area.

#2 – Shoot the waterfalls and foliage in the Tremont Institute area and Meigs Falls.  Possibly Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

6pm-?– BBQ dinner at the Tremont Rec Hall, review and critique of images taken that day.  Working mainly in Photoshop and Lightroom with demos of OnOne plug ins, Topaz, and Auto Effects.

Sunday, October 31st

7am-noon – meet at the entrance to Cades Cove.  Travel through the Cove concentrating on cabins and fall foliage (and hopefully some wildlife!)

noon-2pm – lunch at the Cades Cove picnic area – bring your own or buy it at the camp store.

2pm-5pm – more shooting in Cades Cove or Tremont Rd.

6pm – ?  – Session wrap up at Tremont Outdoor Resort Rec Hall.

*If you need to leave earlier on Sunday, we completely understand.  A good breaking time would be right before or after lunch.

Workshop Investment – If you are staying at Tremont Outdoor Resort on Friday, October 29th, and Saturday, October 30th, the cost for the workshop will be $75 per person.  If you are staying somewhere other than Tremont Outdoor Resort, the cost for the workshop is $275 per person.  Snacks for evaluations and the meet and greet are provided as well as dinner on Saturday evening.  All other meals are on your own.  Transportation into the National Park for the workshop sessions is also on your own, but we do recommend carpooling which can be arranged at the meet and greet.  It not only saves gas, but it’s much more fun!

Accommodations at Tremont Outdoor Resort

If you choose to stay at Tremont Outdoor Resort while attending the workshop, we have several different types of accommodations.  You may choose from an RV site, a tent site, or one of our 4 different types of cabins.  For descriptions of cabins, please visit our website  For this particular workshop, we are discounting our Standard and Premier cabins for participants.  Premier cabins will be $190 for two nights with an extra night at $95 if you would like to stay.  Standard cabins will be $160 for two nights with an extra night at $80.  Discounted rates for other types of accommodations will also be given to workshop participants, just ask for these when you call for reservations. For anyone participating in the workshop and staying Friday and Saturday nights checking out on Sunday, checkout time will be extended to 7pm (or until we finish!) on Sunday with our compliments due to the finishing time of the workshop.  To make your reservation, please call 865-448-6363 and be sure to tell them if you are participating in the workshop.

Equipment to Bring

Digital SLR cameras are recommended, but not required.  If you have any of the following equipment, please bring it with you – a tripod, a macro lens, a 24-70mm lens, a 70-200mm lens, a cable release,  and a monopod.  If you have waders and want to be a little adventurous, bring them with you as well 🙂  Again, this equipment is not required, but is recommended if you have it.  We will have some camera equipment and tripods available for loan as well, so you can try out some new things if you want.   Also bring your laptop along if you have one.  Be sure to wear comfortable, yet sturdy shoes (preferably hiking boots) as we have a tendency to wander off the beaten path from time to time :).  Since the weather is always unpredictable, please bring an umbrella as well!

How to Register

Simply call Tremont Outdoor Resort at 865-448-6363 with your Name, address, phone number, and email.  Let them know that you are calling to sign up for the Fall Foliage or “Great Pumpkin” Workshop with Wilson.  This would also be the time to make your reservation if you are staying at Tremont.  Payment for the workshop can be easily added to your reservation.   If you are not staying at Tremont, payment can be made at the meet and greet on Friday night.  If your spouse wants to ride along with us, but they are not photographing, they are more than welcome free of charge.

Don’t forget that the workshop is limited to 12 participants, so don’t wait to register!

Join us for the “Great Pumpkin” Photography Workshop!

Posted in photography workshops with tags , , , , on August 12, 2010 by tremontoutdoorresort

Ok, so we aren’t really photographing pumpkins, and Charlie Brown isn’t going to be there , but Wilson’s Fall Foliage Photography Workshop does fall on Halloween weekend this year, so we thought it was appropriate 🙂

The Fall Foliage Photography Workshop will be held the evening of Friday, October 29th,  all day Saturday, October 30th, and Sunday, October 31st.  The workshop will be based out of Tremont Outdoor Resort and if we have the same amount of participation as we did in the Spring Wildflower workshop, you will need to get your name on the class list soon!  We actually already have a few names on the list, so be sure to stay tuned to the blog here for more details coming soon!

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!

The Wildflower Search

Posted in photography workshops, Uncategorized, Wildflowers with tags , , , on April 17, 2010 by tremontoutdoorresort

In the last week, we have talked a lot about the wildflowers that are blooming right now.  Actually, as of this posting, some have already come and gone depending upon your elevation.

This time, we want to focus on the flowers that we expect to be blooming during the wildflower workshop and specifically, the ones we will be looking for.  Here’s a peek at what we hope to find…

The Painted Trillium

The Dwarf-Crested Iris

Showy Orchids

The Pink Ladyslipper

The Yellow Ladyslipper

These are some of our finds from last year.  We are excited about revisiting them and possibly making some new discoveries!