Sunday, August 10, 2014

Scouting For Ideas

I'll be leading a photo outing to South Holston Dam near Bristol Tennessee on August 16 for the Eastman Camera Club.   Anyone is welcome to join us.   Trip details are available at   Send me an email if you have questions -

It's been a couple years since I was up there and I decided I had better do a little scouting before next Saturday.   I need to have some suggestions for photography to offer.  Here's what I found.

The wildflowers are not the primary photo opportunity in mid-August.  The Cut Leaf Coneflowers that bloom along the river banks have seen better days.   There were a few Jewelweed or Touch-Me-Not still in bloom, but they were not growing where they were easy to get to.

TVA was generating so the water flow was pretty high over the Weir Dam and after a couple cloudy rainy days the sun was out making it difficult to take long exposure shots of the flowing water.

What I found was some really cool reflections and patterns.

Hanging On

Golden Reflections

Cut Leaf Coneflowers
Golden Flow

Stump - Long Exposure


Repeating Patterns

Weir Dam Patterns

If you join us Saturday, here's some suggestions:

Stuff to bring:

  • A picnic dinner.  We will eat and have some social time at the picnic area before starting our photographic journey.
  • A tripod.  You will want to try some long exposures of the water flow.
  • A polarizing filter.  It can make a tremendous difference with the reflections and the fog that rises off the river in the evenings.
  • A long lens.   I found I wanted something longer than 200mm for many of my shots.   Except from the top of the dam, there are not many wide angle shots.
  • A neutral density filter if you have one.  It will cut the light and allow you to get longer exposures and blur flowing water.
  • A hat or something to shade the front of your lens.   Late afternoon sun can cause flares in your pictures if it shines on the front of the lens.
  • Comfortable shoes.  There is a nice 1.8 mile trail around Osceola Island.  This is where we will spend most of our time.
  • Bug spray.  There were a few pesky bugs but nothing bad.
Things to look for:
  • Reflections in the surface of the water.  The greens will give way to golden reflections as the sun gets lower.
  • People fishing, canoeing, etc.  People can add interest to your photos.
  • Patterns
  • The little details
  • Light - no telling what the light will be like when we get there.  We'll work with what we get.  If we're lucky there will be some clouds, but enough light to give the warm light of sunset. 
  • Fog - sometimes the fog off the river is very thick.   This creates perfect soft light.  Watch for sunbeams in the fog.
  • Wildlife.  I haven't seen any wildlife there, but it should be a good place for herons and other birds.
If you are interested in joining us meet me at the Colonial Heights location or up at the Weir Dam.   If you have questions just email me at

1 comment:

  1. Am I the only one that likes bright light and lens flare? ;) I'm never happy with the colors when it's not sunny.

    I really like that last shot there!