Back to the Appalachian Mountains

Six weeks of mountains photography

The Appalachian Mountains hold a special place in my heart. The lower portion of the range — specifically the Blue Ridge Mountains — was where I spent childhood vacations pretty much every summer. My parents were just in love with the Smokies, and they passed that passion to my.

And I'll soon be spending six weeks traveling around the region to help cover Bassmaster tournaments. That means I'll have days between each event during which I will roam the mountains with my Tiny Camper Company camper and shoot new work for my online gallery!

I start my trip on Sept. 22, when I drive to Lake Hartwell in South Carolina to cover a Bassmaster Eastern Open tournament. I'll have a couple of days after that event to do whatever I want — and that's when I start shooting new work for my gallery.

Choice, choices

The challenge is choosing where I want to headquarter my mini camper. Of course, I could always head toward Standing Indian and Albert mountains. I love that area, but I've shot it the last two years.

So perhaps I'll head into North Carolina to the Dupont State Recreational Area. I made a flyby to that section of the Cherokee National Forest last year, and it's just wonderful.

The beauty of my mini camper is that I can set up where I want. The temperatures will be cool enough that I don't need electricity, and I'm pretty much self sufficient otherwise.

One thing is for certain: I'll be shooting somewhere in the Blue Ridge Mountains before my next tournament.

Next stop: Guntersville Lake

Then it's off to Guntersville Lake for another Bassmaster Elite Series stop. That work will take me through Oct. 3, and then it's another two-day break before heading back to South Carolina for an Elite Series event on Santee Cooper.

I'm thinking I'll hit the northern Georgia region during that trip. But there's also wonderful Cloudland Canyon in Georgia to think about. Maybe even the extreme southern end of Tennessee.

Santee Cooper to Chickamauga Lake

Here's where things get really fun: I'll leave Santee Cooper on Oct. 12 (maybe even the evening of Oct. 11) and head deep into the mountains on my way to Tennessee's Chickamauga.

I'm thinking I might take some time to work the Tellico River hard. I've shot some amazing scenes, like the river's Baby Falls, but there are so many gorgeous scenes that I've never had time to really work. 

Some of the images will take some effort to capture, but I'm planning on putting in the time to scale down the riverbanks and get into position for some wonderful new prints.

Then I'll head straight to Alabama's Neely Henry Lake with just a two-day rest before that event begins. I'll probably get some work in, but I'll have to be ready to go when the Neely Henry Open begins. So my time is limited here.

Up to Cherokee Lake

Once I wrap up at Neely Henry on Oct. 24, I'll have a nice four-day break before working the Eastern Open on Tennessee's Cherokee Lake north of Knoxville.

This will be a great opportunity for me to work a few days out of my camper. I'm considering spending it in Tennessee's Savage Gulch State Natural Area, a place I've heard rave reviews about. But I also could drive straight to the Knoxville area to shoot that area of the Appalachians.

Again, the choices are mind blowing.

The big question: autumn colors

The big unknown is when autumn colors will begin to show up. I'll be in the right area at the right time, so I'll let that dictate much of my work. If I can hit things right for a couple of these trips, I'll add some amazing fall colors to my portfolio of work!

The great thing for me is that I'm not a natural planner. Sure, I'll have some general destinations in my head, but I never mind throwing a plan out the window and doing something else.

So I'm going to just get there and let my whims decide my destinations.

I can't wait to share my travels and my new work with you!

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see all the latest updates!