Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mingus Mill in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Over the past few years we have traveled thousands of miles and visited many national parks in the US and Canada.  The ironic thing is we live within easy driving distance of the most visited National Park in the US.  We've decided we need to spend more time in the Smoky Mountains National Park. 

This week we spent three days in some familiar places and some new spots we've not been to before.  One of the new spots was the Mingus Mill.
The mill was built in 1886 for only $600.  You won't see the traditional wooden waterwheel because the mill uses a metal turbine.  

The mill is still very photogenic.  The millrace that brings water from Mingus Creek to the mill starts out in the ground with moss covered wooden sides.  When the mill is not running water flows off the side of the millrace near the mill fall near Jewell Weed growing at the base of the wooden tower.

Mingus Mill is a working mill, still grinding grain and corn that is sold at the mill.  The inside of the mill is maintained much as it looked at the end of the 19th century.

Taking photographs inside the mill was a challenge because of the dark wooden walls and the bright sunlight streaming in through the windows.   Two of these images are High Dynamic Range or HDR photos, which are made from multiple exposures blended together in software to eliminate the very dark and very bright range of light.   The photo of the lever in front of the window would have been impossible to photograph in one shot.  Either the trees outside the window would have been solid white or the walls would have been almost solid black.

The image with the wheel is also a HDR photo.  The lighting conditions were not as extreme in that photo but it was helped by using the HDR technique.

The photo of the stove is not a HDR photo.  There was no direct bright light to deal with and only indirect light from a nearby window.

The Mingus Mill is worth driving out of the way and spending an hour or so exploring this historical building.  There is also a Mountain Farm Museum near by that we didn't get to.  We will be spending more time in the park and will make our way back down to that area again before too long.

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