3 Parks in 5 Days

In addition to the Savage Gulf Trip we took on Thursday May 27, we all went to 2 other state parks over the Memorial Day weekend. On Sunday May 30 we went to Old Stone Fort State Park in Manchester Tennessee:
[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=35.482828,-86.098394&spn=0.041515,0.123596&z=14&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

We’ve been there before, but this time we went to cook out. We had a great time, the kids even got to cook some marshmellows:


(she was not happy that it was burnt!)

Other shots from that day:

There are several great waterfalls there but they are kind of hard to get to (especially with two young kids!). I think we found a way but then it started raining so we headed back to the car.

Here are some shots from previous trips there:
Old Stone Fort State Park

The Leaning Tree of Middle Tennessee

The next day, Monday May 31, we went to Rock Island State Park near McMinnville:

View Larger Map

This was our first time at this park. Shortly after we entered the park, we saw this:

There were lots of waterfalls there but this place was a composition nightmare! None of the falls were easy to get to and I didn’t get a shot of most of them. None of them looked really great from the overlooks. Maybe I’ll go back with out the kids….

We also cooked out for lunch here and then the kids got in the water. It was packed but still fun:

My son under one of the many small falls

Other shots from that day:


(this one took a long time to get as people kept walking through the scene….)

On the way home, we stopped just outside of the park and got this:

It was a great weekend! Hopefully we will do more of this all summer…

Savage Gulf

My wife and I took a day off last Thursday (May 27) to go hiking. We wanted to try a new area so we headed down to Savage Gulf, part of the South Cumberland State Park – near Monteagle Tennessee:
[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=35.448784,-85.610275&spn=0.083066,0.247192&z=13&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

Check out the Friends of South Cumberland website for more information.

Overall, we thought the park was very nice! We started off at the Stone Door ranger station. After a very short walk on a paved trail, we got to the first overlook:

It was still early in the morning so it was still hazy but it was an incredible view! After this overlook, the path was not paved anymore. A little more than 1/2 mile from there we got to another overlook:

I set the camera on a tripod and had to use a remote to trigger the shutter. I really like this shot, and the one at the top of this post. I even entered them into the Friends of South Cumberland photo contest.

This is also the same area that the “Stone Door” is. Basically, the Stone Door is wide crack in the rocks that enable you to climb down to gulf below:
Stone Door

There are rock “stairs” in the passage. We climbed down just to look around and then climbed back up. From there you could take several trails. We took the Big Creek Rim Trail. It goes for about 2 more miles and has several overlooks:

The BCR trail ends at a campground, which would be really fun to camp at one day. From there, the trail splits off again in several directions. We took the Laurel Trail, which loops back around to the Stone Door Ranger Station after about 3 miles. If we do it again, I would not do this trail again. It was not very scenic as it didn’t follow the Savage Gulf anymore.

After we made it back to the Ranger Station, we realized there was a waterfall (Laurel Falls) very close to the station. We followed a short trail down many steps and made it here:

Not a very impressive waterfall, but still cool to see and easy to get to.

After that, I wanted to hike back out to the first overlook and get another shot because there were a lot more storm clouds in the sky that I thought would make for a better shot than the one from the morning:
What a View

By now it was time to head home so we could get the kids from the daycare. We also wanted to leave enough time to stop along the way and get some shots of barns and things. Here is what we got along the way:

I couldn’t decide if I liked that one in color or black and white best – so here are both!

And that was our trip! A fun day and something we need to do again soon…
Over Memorial day weekend, we visited two other state parks with the kids – pictures from those trips are coming soon….

This Week at the Lake – 8/52

This Week at the Lake 8/52
Camera: Canon Xsi
Lens : Canon 70-200 2.8L
Exposure: 1/160
Aperture: f2.8
Focal Length: 200 mm
ISO Speed: 100

For more information on my 52 week project at Radnor Lake, see my first blog entry about it called This Week at the Lake – 7/52

The above shot was taken Thursday morning, before work. I got there at about 6:30 am and walked a little of the trails. There were several deer down in the water and I got a few shots but this one was the best I think. If you look close, you can see it was a buck!

Also from the same morning:

Camera: Canon Xsi
Lens : Canon 70-200 2.8L
Exposure: 1/125
Aperture: f2.8
Focal Length: 200 mm
ISO Speed: 100
It’s funny because when you carry around a large lens, everyone you see on the trail feels like they need to tell you everything they saw (not really a bad thing I guess). I was heading back and I passed a lady who told me about a wood duck sitting on a log. These wood duck are so hard to get close to. I left the trail (which is not allowed at Radnor) and got as close as I could. Got a few shots and he flew off. I would love to be able to find a good sitting spot off the trail one day and just spend some time there.


Camera: Canon Xsi
Lens : Canon 70-200 2.8L
Exposure: 1/125
Aperture: f2.8
Focal Length: 70 mm
ISO Speed: 800
I’m not real happy by the way this turned out but I liked the idea. I wanted him to stop and look at me but while I was trying to get these shots a group ladies came power walking by and the deer ran off.
There are still plenty of wildflowers blooming all around Radnor Lake. On the way back to the car I grabbed these:

Also last week I visited Monday morning. It was still raining off and on then and the sky was very dark and stormy so I didn’t stay long:

Camera: Canon Xsi
Lens : Canon 28-135 3.5-5.6
Exposure: 3 exposure HDR (1/200, 1/50, 1/13)
Aperture: f9
Focal Length: 28 mm
ISO Speed: 100

This was taken Monday morning also. The wind was blowing too much for HDR, so I did some “Orton” processing on it and I thought it looked cool

Camera: Canon Xsi
Lens : Canon 28-135 3.5-5.6
Exposure: 3 exposure HDR (1/5, .8, 3.2)
Aperture: f8
Focal Length: 135 mm
ISO Speed: 100

By Friday, I needed a lunch break at the lake. Stopped by and caught this deer in the water:

Camera: Canon Xsi
Lens : Canon 70-200 2.8L
Exposure: 1/400
Aperture: f2.8
Focal Length: 200 mm
ISO Speed: 100

This Week at the Lake – 7/52


Technical info:
All shots with the Canon XSi
Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 at 10mm
3 exp (-2, 0, +2)
f10, (1/1000, 1/250, 1/60)
Hand held (only because I left the tripod at home!)
ISO 100

I’m 7 weeks into a 52 week project called “This Week at the Lake”.
“The Lake” is Radnor Lake in Brentwood/Nashville Tennessee
[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=36.045629,-86.786842&spn=0.041292,0.123596&z=14&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

It’s a great place for photography and it’s very close to where I work in Brentwood. I’m able to go on my lunch break and occasionally early in the morning. There’s always plenty of wildlife and beautiful wooded or lake scenes. If you walked all the way around (which I don’t have time for usually) you will hike almost 2.5 miles. 1.8 of it is a wooded hiking trail, the rest follows Otter Creek road, a road that has been closed.

My main goal in visiting there so often is to see an Eagle or an Owl, both of which are definitely there. I’ve already got a shot of a Red Tailed Hawk, Turkey and plenty of Deer.

Every Saturday I’ll post a collection of shots taken that week at Radnor Lake.

This week I was only able to make two short lunch break trips. Along with the benches above, I got these:

70-200 2.8 L at 200mm
f2.8, 1/2000
ISO 100


Canon 70-200 2.8 L at 200mm
f2.8, 1/320
ISO 100


Canon 70-200 2.8 L at 200mm
f2.8, 1/250
ISO 100