Well anyone who knows me knows I’m special ( 🙂 ) but I now have proof.  I have officially joined the estimated 15% of Americans who have had COVID-19.  I got my positive test result back yesterday, but frankly I was going to be shocked if I didn’t have it.  Thursday I started having flu-like symptoms (headache, achy muscles and joints) and then Friday and Saturday I felt absolutely horrible.  Today I’m feeling noticeably better than the previous two days, but still not great (clammy, mild aches, winded, etc) and my sister-in-law Lora, who is a nurse, has warned me of a possible relapse of symptoms in the coming days.  So for now, I’ll enjoy the more tolerable nature of my current situation.

BUT, enough about me, let’s talk about photography.  Earlier in the year last year I started considering the prospects of not being able to travel at all during the rest of the year and so I started thinking through potential subjects I could work on here locally.  What came of that mental exercise was a “shot list” of sorts, which included waterfalls, trail scenes, and various nightscapes.  It also occurred to me that I have lots of shots that I love of cities around the world, but none of Knoxville, so I wanted to change that.

Back in the day when I used to do TV spots for WBIR, the local NBC affiliate, I was always impressed by the backdrop of the main interview set, which had Knoxville framed in a similar way as above, with the mountains in the background.  I had long since assumed that they had either shot the image from a helicopter OR they had shot it from a rooftop just off downtown (I’ve actually spent hours scouring Google maps, trying to find buildings with correct angles and then trying to track down building owners… turns out the University of Tennessee owns all the optimal ones and well… I never found luck getting on top of any of them).  I had mentally put that shot on the backburner, assuming I’d never get it, when as luck would have it, my friend Rob Shomaker posted a picture with the exact view I’d been looking for!  He was kind enough to tell me where to go and after a few attempts I was able to come away with this shot!

From this particular vantage point, you’re looking almost exactly south, so there’s no way you’ll get a direct sunrise / sunset.  This particular morning however, the sunrise colors were strong enough to spread across above these mountains.  As I’ve been thinking about it, I may try a sunset here once the mountains green up again in hopes of some nice alpine glow in the sky opposite the sunset.  That said, don’t be surprised if you see another image one day from this same vantage point! 🙂

More next week!

–Dan Thompson

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Knoxville, TN, USA

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