First day of an extended weekend trip to the Smokies.
Janet and I had done a very similar trip to this before in 2015, so it was relatively predictable. Drove overnight Wednesday to get to Gatlinburg and then got a hotel on the outskirts of Smoky Mountain National Park to do some hiking and picture taking. The 2017 version started a bit later than typical – we left Chicago at about 1AM or maybe a bit later. Janet drove for a while and I think I took over somewhere just south of Louisville. We got to the park visitor center around 11AM.
Our day 1 hike was up Little River Trail, continuing onto the Husky Gap Trail which was reportedly good for wildflowers. There wasn’t a specific destination for this one, we decided to turn around where it meets up with Sugarland Mountain Trail, which made it about a 10 mile round trip.
One of the black bears we saw in Yellowstone. Looking back on these pictures, I wish I had a better camera (actually, better lens would have been preferable) and had shot them all as RAW files. There was probably a quarter million dollars in lenses* standing the bank watching this bear just waiting for it do something special.
Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF70-300mm lens @ 300mm, 1/800 shutter, f/8.0, ISO 800
* I know, I’ve anthropomorphized lenses to replace people, but I don’t care for people.
I call this the proof of sighting picture – it’s not really good at ISO 3200 and still a slower shutter – but we saw our bear. It wasn’t until our last day, and completely by chance that we saw a black bear along the road out of Smokies munching on some leafy greens. It was just the right timing to see it alongside the road before it ducked into the foliage down the hill.
Picture taken with Sony a6000, SEL 18-200mm lens @ 200mm, 1/13 sec, f/7.1, ISO 3200
Sticking with the animal theme for one more picture, this is one of the better shots I got of a bear while in Yellowstone, even though it’s a black bear and not the more impressive Grizzly. Hung around watching this one forage for about an hour and of course took a bunch of pictures.
Picture taken with Canon 60D, EF70-300mm lens @ 300mm, 1/640 shutter, f/8.0, ISO 800