Photography © Albert Marquez & Scott Slone.

5-Day Smoky Mountains Fall Colors Photo Tour/Workshop

Trip Highlights

  • Plenty of time spent in the field.

  • Historic Structures

  • Abandoned buildings and resort

  • Landscapes

  • Wildlife

  • Milky Way

  • Learn about photo techniques from professional photographers that are experts in the field.

  • Tour Limited to 6 participants.

  • Transportation while on tour is included!!


About the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photo Tour

We return to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park for our 2017 photo tour!  Over this four day photo tour and workshop we'll photograph classic mountain vistas, beautiful landscapes, flowing streams, waterfalls, historic barns and cabins, fences, pastoral scenes and perhaps even bears. We will have workshop sessions using  Photoshop and Lightroom, landscape photography techniques, and wildlife photography.  Our workshop includes critique session of work completed. In addition to the presentations and demonstrations, there will be an emphasis on photographing in the field. The workshop is designed for all levels of expertise, from  beginners to advanced. 

TOUR OVERVIEW: On this photo tour we'll guide you to pre-scouted locations offering a rich diversity of subjects. This photo adventure is prime for both intermediate to advanced photographers. You should at least know your menu systems and manual settings, we can help from there. We'll cover composition and photography techniques, night photography for Milky Way and Sunrise, basics of location scouting, and introduction to post producing your images in Adobe Lightroom.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS/REQUIREMENTS: Days have the potential to be long when conditions are at their prime, although we'll always consider appropriate breaks for hydration and food. We’ve planned to keep a balanced pace, but if we’re feeling it, we’ll stay out. There will be light walking, you should be comfortable walk at least 1-2 miles with little to no elevation gain. Water, snacks and food in the field are your responsibility.  Cold weather clothing is required for those participating in Milky Way and Sunrise photography, temps can get down to freezing, and winds are not unusual.

Great Smoky Mountains Fall Color Photo Tour Itinerary - 5 Days

DAY 1: After an introduction and orientation, the group will depart for an afternoon/evening photo shoot and then a group dinner afterward.

DAYS 2 - 4: Field work all day photographing sunrises and/or early morning and late afternoon and/or sunsets and other locations depending on light conditions.  Exact locations will depend on the weather. There will be presentations and critiques each day.

DAY 5: Photograph in the morning or workshop session. Group discussion/image critique over breakfast. Workshop should be finished by our 11am checkout time. 

2019 Tour Dates, Cost & Other Information

TOUR DATES:  October 23-27, 2019

LOCATION: Gatlinburg, Tennessee, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

TOUR COST: $1,100 (Exclusive Tour Limited to 6 participants)

HOTEL INFORMATION: We will provide hotel and location information, as well as suggested clothing and equipment, to all workshop attendees upon registration.

TRAVEL INFORMATION: Specific photography shoot locations and timetables are not set until shortly before our workshop so that we can assess last minute weather and light conditions. You will receive a detailed itinerary upon arrival.

WORKSHOP INFORMATION: About a month before our photo workshop we will email you information regarding what to bring, clothing, equipment and weather. Final tour updates and any additional information is sent out to you about a week before tour departure. 

SKILL LEVELS: All skill levels are welcome on our photo tours. Our workshops typically range from amateurs to advanced amateurs. We’ve even had other professional photographers on our workshops. Every workshop is different in some respects as far as location accessibility. We will inform you of any difficulties that are involved—there will be no surprises. We stay safe and don’t get involved in areas that are questionable. However some areas require a bit more hiking than others. Workshop participants should have a good understanding of their camera equipment, camera menus, as well as the knowledge between aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings.  A laptop and a thumb drive or portable hard drive will be very handy for preparing images for review as well as backing up your work. Having Lightroom or Photoshop on your computer would be beneficial although not required.

TYPICAL SCHEDULE: Pre-sunrise departure from our hotels. It’s a good idea to bring some snacks and water as sometimes activities/photo sessions can extend over lunch. Unless indicated when we meet at the beginning of our workshop, we will return to town late morning and eat lunch. We may elect to stay longer in the field one day and save the review/discussion session for another time. We are very flexible. Depending on weather and location, our time in the field often continues through sunset, taking advantage of the day’s golden hours. Again, it’s a good idea to carry snacks and water as dinner could be at a late hour. It is very important that you are prompt for departures and for situations that call for attention to time. We recommend that you are ready at least 15 minutes before the  scheduled departure time.

PHOTOGRAPHIC OBJECTIVES: This tour targets varied photographic opportunities. Every image should tell a story and convey emotion. When we use our eyes and inner emotion together, we have the potential to make a powerful image. In the field we emphasize slowing down, defining the subject and deciding how to tell the story using your camera. We will work on “seeing” images and using the environment to aid in creating artistic imagery. We will discuss the need for foregrounds, leading lines or patterns and how to handle these in different ways. We will stress simplicity and use all aspects, including depth of field, proper exposure, filter usage and more. All this will help you become a better “thinking” photographer and at the same time, return home with some wonderful images from unforgettable locations. The following are just some of the many things we will bring attention to during our time together.

  • Improving your technical and visionary photographic skills

  • Developing your photography skills in finding, seeing and creating your image

  • Making images that allow the viewer to quickly define the subject and understand the story you are trying to convey

  • Working the scene and area, not just making a photograph and moving to the next possible location

  • Composition, exposure and other essential elements needed to bring out the story within the image

  • Choosing the right focal length (lens)

  • Learning to think about how you want your image to look while in the field, not after the fact

  • We will discuss how to make panoramas and long exposures, and how to use focus stacking and HDR effectively

  • Basic image processing, workflow, how to use available programs such as Lightroom and Photoshop

The majority of instruction, nature photography techniques and tips take place in the field. We take time in the evenings and periodically during the day to review our images in informal critique sessions. We also make special presentations concerning nature photography from time to time. 

WHAT IS INCLUDED & WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Our 5-day workshop includes field sessions, class sessions, critiques and transportation between Gatlinburg and photo locations. NOT INCLUDED: Lodging, airfare, any applicable taxes and meals. Planet Earth Adventures has negotiated discounted group rates in Gatlinburg, TN. A discount code will be provided after booking your tour.

MINIMUM NUMBERS: This tour does require a minimum of 4 to go. If we do not have the minimum number 2 weeks out we will notify you of this situation. Guests will receive a full refund if we do not meet the minimum numbers.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENT: Several shooting locations are right next to the road and require some walking. Other locations require up to a mile hike and these will be optional. If you are not able to hike a mile or two, we will be prepared to have an alternative for those who wish to skip the more strenuous treks.

PHOTOGRAPHY GEAR: For the best results, we recommend bringing a SLR-style digital camera, mirrorless camera, or a point and shoot that allows you to manually set your shutter speed and aperture is highly recommended. Lenses ranging from 18mm to 300mm. Filters such as polarizing, ND filters; Split density filters. I highly recommend filters from Singh-Ray. Bring a tripod, your camera’s manual. The light conditions tend to be quite good, and while you may not need a tripod for sharpness, it can be helpful to hold your heavy gear so you don’t have to.

TRAVEL INSURANCE: We strongly suggest purchasing trip cancellation/interruption insurance to protect your travel investment at the time you sign up for one of our trips. This coverage will offset cancellation charges in the event of illness before or during your trip. Trip cancellation/interruption and baggage insurance is available at a supplemental cost. Click Here to purchase travel protection.

Question or booking please call us at (907) 717-9666 or (907) 306-6029