A Visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Majestic Mountains

Looking out at the Great Smoky Mountains

The mountains and valleys of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park unfold in the distance.

Recently, we went with our good friends the Riedels to spend a few days in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Laura and I had not been there in around 15 years, so it was great for us to visit somewhere different. Although hanging out with our friends was the highlight of the trip.

While we were there, we hiked a few of the trails in the Great Smoky Mountains, and we also drove through the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This view above was from along that trail, and as you can see, it was an amazing view.

As you might imagine, I took lots of photos during our stay, so watch for those soon.

Good Friends

Laura and the Riedels on one of the Great Smoky Mountains trails

As I mentioned above, we were invited along on this trip by Brant and Karen Riedel. We have been on many trips with them before. But this was our first trip without any of our children along. Unless, that is, if you count the Riedels’ dog Zoey, who is not pictured above because pets are not allowed on the trails.

All of our (human) kids were off doing other things, so this was an adults-only trip. And it was good. We talked a lot, walked a lot, laughed a lot, and ate Subway for lunch two days in a row. We were rejected by three different pizza places in one night, and we determined that none of us is a pool shark. Great times!

There is nothing wrong with having the kids around, of course. But things were a little more relaxed and laid back on this trip. We did not have a set agenda, and we figured out the night before what we would do the next day.

As I said, it was all good. This was hopefully the first of many adults-only adventures to come!

Bible Verse

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. - Galatians 6:2

About the Photos

I wanted to get the look of the first photo just right, and so I made several adjustments back and forth in Luminar AI to get the look that I wanted. I would like to think that this is slightly reminiscent of the iconic National Park graphics that are popular, which was the look that I was going for here. It is actually pretty easy to create a beautiful photo when you have beautiful scenery to work with.

I had thought about using my 50mm prime lens for some photos on this trip, such as for portraits like the second photo. However, I decided to keep things simple and only carry one lens as we were hiking. The lens of choice was pretty obvious in that it should be the lens with the widest angle. That was the 28-70mm zoom lens. So I traded the depth of field of the prime lens for the wide angle of the zoom lens. With the second photo above, it was worth the trade. And as above, it is easy to create a good photo when you have good people to work with.

Photo: A single Raw exposure, processed in Luminar AI. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
_Lens: _ Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens
Date: July 20-21, 2021
Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee


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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.