It’s not secret that I take a lot of pictures.  It’s also no secret that I’ve spent a lot of time in Cades Cove in the dark.  When I first started doing star trail photography, I spent a LOT time in the park at night.  I am fairly certain I shot every structure in the park at least twice, and most of the prominent trees at least once.  No joke!  I went a little crazy (I subsequently never shared all those images because frankly, a lot of them weren’t good LOL).  With all that, I got a little burnt out on star trails, and now I’ve gone crazy for the Milky Way (and deep space!).  BUT, the shot of the cantilever barn at the Tipton Place has always sort of bugged me.  I’ve always felt like I could do it better (by the way, I’ve come to learn this is a normal part of the photographer’s experience), but I didn’t have the desire, nor the equipment to do it the way I wanted to.

Now, that’s the second time in two weeks that I’ve mentioned equipment as being a problem.  I’m a firm believer that good photography happens because of the photographer, and not the gear, however there are some cases when the gear can be the limiting factor, and night photography is where I’ve run up against that limitation the hardest.  The camera I have shot with for years was released in 2010 (ancient in technology terms), and it served me well until I started trying to capture the Milky Way.  It just couldn’t capture it to the depths I wanted to do.  For this particular image, the limiting factor was the sensor size.  The 60D is a crop sensor camera, and even with a 14mm lens on it, I couldn’t back up far enough from the barn to see enough sky, without either running into another building or getting into a bunch of bushes trees.  With my new camera, which is a full frame camera, the 14mm lens lets me see everything I wanted to see.  So… *sometimes* its the gear… but almost always it’s the photographer. 🙂

Anyway, I’m calling this the 2019 edition because I’m still not sure this is the best I can do, but I’m at least happy with it for now.  More next week!

–Dan Thompson

Tipton Cabin Cades Cove

Tipton Cabin Cades Cove
Tipton Oliver Corn Crib, Cades Cove Loop Rd, Townsend, TN 37882, USA
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