Taylor and Stephan’s engagement session took me to a location I’ve not been to in a LONG time, Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I was pretty excited for this session because any chance I get to shoot in a location I’m not familiar with it tends to be a refresher for my creativity. Sessions like this force me to look at my surroundings with a fresh eye and look at what opportunities are present. In turn, when I’m back home shooting locally, I find myself in the same mindset where I’m looking at my surroundings in a new way.
The day of the session turned out to be absolutely amazing. Our end goal for the session was Cades Cove, a valley about an hour away from Gatlinburg.We spent the first leg of the trip stopping at spots along the winding road. Everything from trails, trees, and water! This place had it all. After three or four stops along the road, it hit me that we had really only traveled about 2 miles. That’s two of the 28 miles to Cades Cove. The speed limit was around 30 mph, this was the reason for the hour drive time. Do the math, we had only traveled two miles, 26 more to go at 30mph. We had already spent 45 minutes taking pictures, and that’s when it hit me that we had a lot more traveling left to do if we wanted to get to Cades Cove before sunset.
Upon arriving at Cades Cove, the two-lane road turned into one-way. The loop around Cades Cove is about five miles. About 10 feet into the one-way road, we found ourselves in middle of a traffic jam. There’s no other name for it, it was about one mile of cars completely stopped. For what, you might ask? My best guess, horses! At first, it was kind of annoying, but then it became quite funny. Visitors would come to a screeching halt on the road for any living being on the side of it. As I would take pictures of Stephan and Taylor, folks would come to a stop because upon approaching me, all they could see was me with a camera. They assumed I was photographing something wild. The two of them had quite the audience at times during their session. One of the funniest reasons for a small traffic jam was because of two small deer walking out in the pasture. Yes, deer. You’d think people just saw Bigfoot the way they would come to a stop and start making cheers of excitement. Nope, just deer. This would be one thing if we were in the middle of Chicago and people stopped because of some deer. Probably a rare sighting, but in the mountains? I mean to get to Cades Cove, folks probably came close to hitting five deer on the way there! HA!
Overall, this was a great experience. Working with Taylor and Stephan was a blast and the pictures we were able to create there were definitely unique. I love having the opportunity to travel for pictures, and this location definitely didn’t disappoint.