Appalachians in July

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by Darkroom317, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    I'm looking to go to the region surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park in July. Any specific location and shooting suggestions. What is the weather like in this area at that time? Would there be enough water to shoot waterfalls?
    Shenandoah National Park is also under consideration.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 27, 2010
  2. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    West Virginia is now on the list of ideas.
     
  3. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Hot and humid. May I suggest reading Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods for one perspective (perhaps skewed but funny) of those parks and the AT.
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Yes indeed... very hot, very humid. Frankly I'd be pretty uncomfortable there in July. Consider sooner! Or later! Lots of bears, that could be fun. It's been a while but I recall being very impressed by the Smokies near Asheville NC.

    I drive through WVa regularly and there are many times I've thought of exploring a bit but haven't gotten to it. Idid have a good time at the Blenko glass factory recently, that would be an interesting spot for occupational photography and abstract macros (as would the nearby coal mines). There are also some good scenic rails spots in WVa, I've heard.

    Shenandoah, now that's up in my neck o' the woods....

    P.S. Isn't there a spectacular Carnegie mansion somewhere along the blue ridge parkway? I cannot remember the name for the life of me, but possibly a very nice destination.
     
  5. erikg

    erikg Member

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    Keith, It's a Vanderbilt mansion: Biltmore in Ashville NC. Insanely big. Appalachia in July... very green and buggy. Pretty though.
     
  6. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Biltmore mansion, built by the Vanderbilts. More of a huge faux châteaux than a mansion. $55 for a day visit. In Asheville.

    Note that in visiting the park you may need to plan around a big landslide that's shut down I-40 on the east side of the Smokies, and travel on the Blue Ridge Parkway was still limited a couple of weeks ago by a landslide there and tens of thousands of downed trees from a big winter storm that are blocking the roadway.

    Just checked (http://www.ncdot.org/travel/i40_rockslide) and I-40 appears to be opened, but with only one westbound land. The projections were for a slower reopening of the parkway.

    Lee
     
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Ah yes Biltmore. Thanks. A good destination.
     
  8. geoferrell

    geoferrell Member

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    The Townsend area is great for flowing water and Cades Cove, too, is another area that is close by to make for great images.
     
  9. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Don't overlook the High Country, the area further north between Linville and West Jefferson, centered on Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk. Grandfather Mountain is here as well. There are some waterfalls and rapids; Hebron Rock Colony is very popular and if you like to hike, the Boone Fork Trail is a nice and rugged five mile loop trail that follows Bee Tree Creek for a good distance. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the whole region; near Grandfather Mountain is Beacon Heights. further south, closer to Asheville, there is a place off the Parkway called Craggy Gardens, very interesting rocks. Also Appalachian State University (my Alma mater) in Boone, NC has An Appalachian Summer Festival, well worth a look.
     
  10. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Unfortunately, I've signed up for Summer semester which starts on June 1 and ends around July 4. After that, I've got relatives coming down from Chicago. This is the only time I could go. All, I've got is a week. :sad:
     
  11. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Sounds pretty much like here (Arkansas) at that time of the year.
     
  12. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Well don't frown! I don't mean to dissuade you... just dress accordingly :wink: and have a good time. It is a beautiful area and if you stop in to a bookstore you'll likely find plenty of visual material to motivate you. And yes, now that I see you are from Arkansas, you'll be totally fine! It'll be a good 10F cooler in the smokies... but for landscapes, haze can be a problem so consider IR film for b&w and polarizers otherwise.... and early morning shoots.
     
  13. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    I mainly wish I had more time to explore the area. Might head your way, as I really love Monticello.
     
  14. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    If you come over I can probably assemble some folks. We had a nice mini-APUG summit in Charlottesville last year and it'd be nice to do it again.
     
  15. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    I'll definitely think about it then. I've been trying to do that here but it hasn't worked out,
     
  16. photobum

    photobum Member

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    The Smoky's are beautiful but crowded in July. The roads are narrow, twisty and steep, sometimes all at once. Get stuck behind a land whale (motorhome) and you (I) could go nuts. But... Cades Cove is about the most beautiful place east of the Mississippi in the morning with the mist burning off. The loop auto road will fill with very slow moving cars pretty early too. The Cades Cove loop road is closed to cars two mornings a week. Check with the NPS. Ride the loop with a bike for the best photo's.

    Fantastic photo op's available along Little River Road. Clingmans Dome at sunrise and sunset are a must. There's a campsite just outside the start of the Cades Cove loop. Camp there with a bike and your golden. If moteling it, Townsend is the closest to the Cove.

    The best time crowd wise is late September just before leaf season or May/June.
     
  17. Marvin

    Marvin Member

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    Mt. Mitchell highest point in the eastern US. Brevard NC for waterfalls in the Pisgah Forrest. Cades Cove is a nice area with old cabins and farmsteads. I don't think Biltmore allows cameras inside but you can shoot all you want on the grounds, winery, and garden. If you go to Mt. Mitchell or Clingmans Dome take a jacket it gets cool at 6000ft. The old farmstead at the visitor center is nice to photograph. They have demonstrations with period clothing showing farm life years ago.
    Marvin
     
  18. Dreamcatcher1450

    Dreamcatcher1450 Member

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    I live in Franklin, NC. This is a beautiful area, lots of great waterfalls, mountain views and panoramas. The temp is always 10 degrees or so cooler than the lower altitudes. Come prepared with good hiking shoes and you'll have a blast.
     
  19. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    The air quality varies quite a bit in the Smokies. There are web sites with air quality information, and even forecasts. I would not try for great long-range landscapes there without considering the clarity of the air. Everything else will be great.

    They are not called the Smokies because of the general haze in the air. That comes from coal-fired power generation in the Midwest. The name came from the low-lying fog and pine-tree mist which clings to some mountainsides.

    That rock slide on I-40 is a problem. If you are going to the Smokies, that will probably keep you on the West side of the rock slide, so Asheville and most of North Carolina is going to be hard to get to.
     
  20. Darkroom317

    Darkroom317 Member

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    Thanks for all the answers

    It looks like the majority of this trip is going to be on West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania
     
  21. Dreamcatcher1450

    Dreamcatcher1450 Member

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    The rock slide on I-40 has been cleared from NC to TN westbound and one lane is open eastbound, so it shoudn'l be a problem.
     
  22. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    Yes. I did see that just after I posted. Franklin is now available from the West.
     
  23. Vaughn

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    I was at Great Smoky National Park last summer with my family. It was about the middle of July. We camped one night on the east border and one night at Elkmont Campground more in the middle (east-west) and towards the northern boundary. Cades Cove is nice -- took the one-way road south and made a big loop. The one-way dirt portion was interesting in the minivan...normally I would not recommend that particular style of vehicle.

    But each late afternoon we had tremendous thunderstorms. Put the tent up in the rain the first night and the next night the skies opened up just I finished setting up the tent (in fact T-storms seem to be with us that whole trip cross-country and back -- had an especially nice one on the shores of Lake Ontario.) The weather was not too bad in Great Smokies...helped by the T-storms probably.. We had a great swim in Little River.

    I was just photographing with the Rolleiflex on that trip. Working with the 8x10 there would not have been as comfortable as it is under the cool redwoods!