Yesterday was spent with my family. In the afternoon we went to a favorite destination: Black Mountain. A segment of the Cumberland Trail runs from there to highway 68 above Grassy Cove. We normally just spend a little time walking out to the overlook where the view extends from Grassy Cove to the Smoky Mountains when the air is clear. Knoxville was its usual hotbed of pollution so the distant views were lacking.
When I'm out with my camera, the natural limiting factors often cause me to approach photography from a different perspective. Anyone can walk to the edge of an overlook in awe and snap a few pictures. Few people take the time to look at the smaller scenes constantly playing out around them. With the air too hazy, I started to look more closely at my immediate surroundings. The first thing that jumped out at me was a wild blueberry bush growing along the cliff edge. As I was shooting, a fly unexpectedly entered the scene and added that little something extra.
Not far away, but back in the woods and shade, the Mountain Laurel was mostly done blooming. Here and there, a few bushes still had enough flowers left to be worth a quick picture.
The new spring growth was obvious all around. In particular, I was drawn to several trees and shrubs that had seemingly large quantities of red for this time of year. Expected in fall, it was nice to have something other than the shades of green so common in the spring.
Along the road by the parking lot, some vines were trailing along but again looking more like fall than spring. The contrast between the fresh spring green and bright red was much more vivid than anything in October.
Flowers were growing here and there, and right in front of our vehicles was a nice patch of daisies. Experimenting with different angles and exposures, I found myself wishing for my tripod. In the end, I was more or less satisfied with the result although nothing ever turns out exactly perfect.
The treat of the day was found on the road back down the mountain. On the way up I had noticed a few bursts of colors on the hill above the road. The shady north side of the mountain is the perfect area for Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron and we hit the jackpot with the Flame Azalea. I would have my dad stop the car, jump and and run straight up the hill to the flowers. After several pictures, it would be back in the car to find more. The thing that amazed me was the variety in color from a brilliant red to bright orange and even a few muted shades of orange.