Great Smoky Mountains Spring Photography Workshop

Workshop location; Morning, panorama of the eastern view from an overlook on Foothills Parkway near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The rolling, forested hills and valleys seen here are a favorite with photographers. In this Spring image the mountains are back lit and a wisp of fog meanders through the valleys. Where the sun breaks through the partly cloudy sky and hits the thin valley fog, it glows and powerful attracts the eye.

APRIL 21st - 26th, 2024

Workshop Full (Waitlist)
$1590 USD
Instructor: Andy Cook


Spring is a wonderful time to photograph in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A vivid assortment of greens proliferate the surroundings, streams and rivers babble with fresh runoff and wildflowers abound.

FOCUS: Photographing spring scenes, wildflowers, streams, cascades, scenic overlooks and historic buildings.

Workshop location; The sun is just starting to break through the fog on this Spring morning. Hyatt Lane emerges from the bottom of the image and climbs a small hill before twisting out of sight. A post and wire fence tracks through green grass on the left side of this narrow, dirt lane. Evenly spaced, large trees line the right side of the lane and the furthest ones disappear in the fog. Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Spring Morning in Cades Cove
Workshop location; This vertical image show the diversity of color available as leaves unfurl in Spring. Various hues of green, orange and red fill the forest above this spectacular section of cascades on the middle prong of the Little River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Cascades on Little River


The workshop starts on Sunday, April 21, 2024 at 7:00 pm with introductions and discussion in the hotel conference room. We start photographing on Monday morning, April 22, 2024.

LODGING LOCATION: Townsend Gateway Inn, 8270 State Hwy 73, Lamar Alexandar Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882. 865-238-0123
Check-in Sunday, April 21, 2024; Check-out Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

Relocate to
Hampton Inn, 967 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738. 865-436-4878
Check-in Tuesday, April 23, 2024; Check-out Saturday, April 27, 2024.

The workshop ends after evening photography on Friday, April 26, 2024.

During our workshop it is impossible to visit all of the wonderful locations in the park. We feel participants may benefit by staying a few days after the workshop and continue photographing on their own.

We will reserve a block of rooms at each hotel. When the group reservations are created we will email participants with information about selecting rooms.

Photography location; Beautiful silky water flows left to right in the bottom of the frame. Large moss and lichen covered boulders, in calmer water, take the middle of the frame. In the top, a forest displays the vibrant greens of Spring. In front of the forest, on the left, is a blooming dogwood tree arching over the Middle Prong of the Little River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Middle Prong Little River


MORNING: We will be at a photography location for the start of early light and we'll stay in the field into the morning. Group meal after the morning shoot (on Monday this may be lunch).

MIDDAY: Time at hotel to download and rest. On two days there is additional time to aid with post processing.

EVENING: In the late afternoon we'll eat a meal (picnicking twice) and return to the field for evening photography, sunset is about 8:15 pm.

NOTE: Our itinerary is created to provide the best lighting conditions with mostly clear skies. If we have an overcast day (good for photography) that day's schedule will be modified. We will photograph in drizzle, but not hard rain and wind.

Photography location; Close-up, vertical image of the moss covered water wheel on Cable Mill in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The wheel is not spinning, but water spills through it and a long exposure makes the water record as silky strands.
Cable Mill Water Wheel


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Workshop location; Layered, smoky blue mountains fade into the distance under a deep, red sky which glows around the setting sun. Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Great Smoky Mountains Sunset


participant experience level

EXPERIENCE: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

workshop group size

GROUP SIZE: Target number of participants is 8.

workshop effort scale

EFFORT: Easy - Moderate; Most photography locations will be within 400 yards of the parking lot, some may involve trail hiking.
When photographing along streams participants will seek vantage points amongst large boulders and rocks. This takes extra strength and increases one's risk of slipping and falling. Hiking boots are recommended.

workshop weather conditions

CONDITIONS: Be prepared for possible temperature extremes and sudden changes in weather. Mornings can be very chilly.

ELEVATION: The elevation range of our photography locations is 1,300 to 6,600 ft.

Workshop location; Vertical photo of one of the incalculable creeks and runoffs that swell in the Spring and cascade down the slopes through the vibrant green mossy forests of Smoky Mountains National Park.
Spring Cascades


suggested workshop airports

AIR TRAVEL: Most people flying to this workshop will find flying into Knoxville, TN to be the best choice.

Driving time from Knoxville to Townsend, TN is about 45 min. Driving time from Gatlinburg to Knoxville, TN is about 1 hour.

car information

DRIVING CONDITIONS: Paved highways and maintained dirt roads, possibly muddy. We prefer participants car pool with each other to limit our impact and get to know one another.

Workshop location; At the bottom of the image is a criss cross fence. Looking over it one sees a large, green lawn with a scattering of trunks from various tall trees. The small, historic Carter Shields cabin sits in view at the back of the lawn. Vibrant, spring leaves fill the forest behind, while higher up in the image, flowering dogwood branches in the foreground form an arch over the cabin.
Carter Shields Cabin


equipment information


FOR SMOKY MOUNTAINS SPRING: Lens range from at least 18mm to 400mm after the lens multiplication factor, polarizing filter and a 6 stop or higher neutral density filter.

MACRO: Our photography locations are selected based on compelling non macro subjects. However, at many of our locations one will find a plethora of flowers and other amazing macro subjects.

Rain is a real possibility. Yes, we may photograph in the rain, if we're lucky, bring an umbrella and rain proof cloths.

Shoes for wading in water, yes, it's cold, but worth it.

Photography location; This vertical image show the diversity of color available as leaves unfurl in Spring. Various hues of green, orange and red fill the forest above this spectacular section of cascades on the middle prong of the Little River in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Cascades on Little River