Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Late Spring Trilliums

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of my favorite spots on Lake Superior. The park is carpeted with wildflowers at the end of May and early June.

The road to Miner’s Castle is a particularly good spot. I took these images in light rain.


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Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Grotto Falls, Laurel Falls, Chestnut Top Trail, Spring Wildflowers

I am going to wrap up my Great Smoky Mountains Spring trip series with a look at a couple more waterfalls and some more wildflowers.

Don’t overlook the details.

Feature Image – Grotto Falls 

Grotto Falls

It’s a matter of choice as to which Grotto Falls image you prefer. I happen to like the detail shot. When approaching scenes like these, try different angles and different focal lengths. I shot the verticle at 31mm.

Once again, bright overcast light is far superior on these woodland shorts.

Laurel Falls

Chestnut Top Trail Wildflowers

Those looking for Spring Wildflowers can find them in masses along this trail

I shot right along the trail that at 17 mm, F16 at ISO 400, for 0.3 seconds. The foreground is razor sharp but the background is a bit soft. I was not into focus stacking yet on that trip but do it routinely in scenes like these now.

I always like to ask,  “What could I have done better?” In this case, the clear answer is to focus stack, that is to focus on different parts of the scene and blend them together in Lightroom or Photoshop.

Please check out my other images of the park.

I am going to visit the Great Smokies again this Autumn.

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Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Trilliums Galore

Trilliums are my favorite Spring wildflower. The Great Smoky Mountains has more varieties in one place than I have seen anywhere else. Check them out.

Feature Image Details

Does anyone recognize the Trillium in the feature image? It’s not a Painted Trillium nor does it appear to be a white variety trillium gone pink with age. It is a pink-tipped trillium with a white center. I am unsure of the second image as well.

Any botanists out there?

The small whiteish pink-lined flowers that are predominant in many of the images are Spring Beauties.

I used a Tilt-Shift lens on the feature image and the three images that follow. Even with the tilt function, I did not capture all of the landscapes as sharp as I like.

I would do things differently next time. Instead of using the shift feature I would focus stack the images (focus on different parts of the image and blend them). Unlike the Showy Orchis image in my last post, I do want all parts of most of these images totally sharp from the foreground to background.

Yellow Trilliums?

I am not positive of this identification.

Trillium Sulcatum – Southern Red Trillium

Trillium Sulcatum – Southern Red Trillium

Trillium Erectum 

That closeup detail was taken with my Canon 100-400 MM F 4.5-5.6 L Lens at 400mm from quite some distance away. I estimate at least 10 feet.

In this case, the out of focus background helps show off the flower. Note the difference from the previous image. This flower hands below the leaves.

Trillium Undulatum – Painted Trillium

Trillium Simile – Sweet White Trillium

I used a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens for the above two images. I estimate I was three to five feet away from the flowers in these images. Both were taken with a near-normal focal length about 50mm.

Trillium Simile – Sweet White Trillium

Please check out:

Equipment List

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Coming up next: More wildflowers and waterfalls in the Great Smokies. Then it’s on to a new location.

I am going to visit the Great Smokies again this Autumn.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Little Pigeon River – Spring

Looking for spring wildflowers? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee is one of the best spots around. The last half of April is typically the peak time, but the timing can vary year to year.

If you miss the wildflowers, the streams are still beautiful. The images on this page were taken on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.

Feature Image Details

To capture scenes like these you need a long exposure. Depending on how fast the water is flowing, the range may be between 1/4 second and several seconds.

One second worked nicely for this image.

But that’s not the only requirement. One needs little to no wind, especially if there are flowers that may be moving. Finally, bright overcast or very weak sunshine though is a necessity. All of the images on this page were taken under such conditions.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Death Valley: Wildflowers, Ashford Mill, Harmony Borax Works, Rhyolite Ghost Town, Sourdough Saloon

This post covers historical sites in and near Death Valley with some additional wildflower images.

Feature Image Details

The feature image is a single shot, not a composite or focus stack taken at Ashford Mill, a former mining town settlement in Inyo County, California.

The next image shows what’s left of the mill.

The original mill at the site was built in 1914 by brothers named Ashford. The ore was processed here from the Golden Treasure Mine 5 miles to the east in the Amargosa Range, and processed for further smelting.

Wildflower displays in Death Valley are few and far between. “Super blooms” occur every ten years or so. I was there for the “super bloom” in February of 2016. As “super blooms” go, this one was mediocre. In a true “super bloom” there are huge waves of purple and yellow and more densely packed flowers.

Yet, compared to the typical year, this display was magnificent.

Flowers in Mud Cracks

Harmony Borax Works

The Harmony Borax Works is located in Death Valley at Furnace Creek Springs, then called Greenland.

After the discovery of Borax deposits here by Aaron and Rosie Winters in 1881, business associates William Tell Coleman and Francis Marion Smith subsequently obtained claims to these deposits, opening the way for “large-scale” borax mining in Death Valley. The Harmony operation became famous through the use, from 1883 to 1889, of large Twenty-mule teams and double wagons which hauled borax the long overland route to the closest railroad in Mojave, California.

Darwin Falls

Darwin Falls is located just west of Panamint Springs via a 2.5-mile unpaved road. There is no formal trail. A mostly-level, one-mile walk to the falls involves rock scrambling and several stream crossings. I would rate it as easy.

This small spring provides most of the water for Death Valley.

Rhyolite Ghost Town

The Rhyolite Ghost Town is a boom and bust story related to gold mining.

The above link provides a fascinating story of a town that went from boom to bust in a decade. It had a stock exchange and a red light district that drew people all the way from San Francisco.

In 1906 Countess Morajeski opened the Alaska Glacier Ice Cream Parlor to the delight of the local citizenry. That same year an enterprising miner, Tom T. Kelly, built a Bottle House out of 50,000 beer and liquor bottles.

The Bottle House was restored by Paramount pictures in January 1925.

The ghost town of Rhyolite is on a mixture of federal and private land. It is not within the boundary of Death Valley National Park.

Tom Kelley’s Bottle House

Tom Kelley’s Bottle House Side View

The bottle house is now fenced in with a locked gate. A caretaker unlocked the gate for me one afternoon, but mid-day is not a great time for images. The first image shows the porch in the shade. For the side image of the bottles, I used a polarizer to cut glare from the sun.

Polarizers work best at right angles to the sun, and I am pleased by the overall quality in some brutal light.

Union-Pacific Railroad Car Ruins

Cook Bank

That is what’s left of the once booming Cook Bank.

For the above image, I used a Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L Tilt-Shift Lens to maintain proper perspective.

Notice the straight lines on the sides. Tilting a lens up to fit things in, results in buildings (trees, whatever), that appear to be leaning in.

Sourdough Saloon

Sourdough Saloon is in Beatty Nevada, just minutes from Rhyolite.

If you want to dine in a smoke-filled ash-heap, be my guest. I found the place intolerable. I took one step inside, then left. Nevada has few smoking restrictions and this is typical.

That said, I love the iconic look of the place. Also, I was very fortunate to have a jeep in front instead of a parade of cars.

I took that image shortly after sunset. The ambient light and the lights of the saloon balanced out nicely.

As a general rule, nighttime images like this often look best 15-30 minutes after sunset.

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

If you missed them, please check out my previous articles.

  1. Death Valley: Zabriskie Point Sunrise, Manly Beacon
  2. Death Valley: Dante’s View Sunrise
  3. Death Valley: Artist’s Palette
  4. Death Valley: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Sunset
  5. Death Valley: Badwater, Salt Polygons, Devil’s Golf Course
  6. Death Valley: Golden Canyon Sunset and Moonrise Images
  7. Death Valley: Natural Bridge, It’s Another World
  8. Death Valley: Aguereberry Point and Aguereberry Camp – Christmas Eve Fog

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock