Anniversary Trip (Picture Intensive - Deer, turkey, bear, and scenery)

omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,084 Captain
So the wife and I just celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary this past Saturday. Since the little one was born last year and isn't quite 1 yet we decided to get away for our 5 year and leave Mason with Grandma and Grandpa. Worst part was/is our anniversary corresponds with my neice's birthday so, unfortunately, we missed her 1yr party this Saturday :banghead

We left Wednesday knowing we weren't going to make it to Pigeon Forge to check in for our cabin prior to 9PM so we took it easy, ate at the Cheesecake Factory in Atlanta, and stopped at the wife's grandmother's place in Hayesville, NC Wednesday night. We watched a little Mythbusters on Thursday morning before heading on up to Pigeon Forge so that we'd arrive after the 3PM check-in time. We were greeted with some miserable weather. Rain, thunder, lightening. Just not a fun time Thursday so we sat at the cabin pondering what we were going to do Friday and Saturday. The weather broke, for a short time, Thursday evening right at dark. It was followed by more rain after dark which was gone before daylight. We were told there was actually snow up there on Monday. Decided a "little" hiking was in store Friday with a Cades Cove trip on Saturday.

What follows are some of the better pictures I took over the weekend (out of 420 pictures, 45 good to excellent isn't bad in my book!). I will preface this all of these pictures are nearly "as-is". At most I have sharpened slightly and adjusted contrast and exposure. Otherwise, they are what I saw - and in some ways looking back, better! And the green in the pictures, well, EVERYTHING up there is "spring green" and gorgeous! But you guys would know the spring colors better than anyone. Sorry for all the other non-animal pics

>> Views from the cabin overlooking Wears Valley <<

This is the view Thursday evening after the weather broke.
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Thursday night just after dark
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Friday - Sunset at the cabin through the glass
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Friday - Just really liked these two photos for some reason
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Friday - Going
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Friday - Going
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Friday - Gone
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A really cool night shot Friday evening. Haven't played with these much but this was a 25 or 30 second exposure!
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>> The Hike to Rainbow Falls <<
This was supposed to be a 2.5 mile hike, 5 miles total and 1500' of elevation. According to the phone GPS track I had turned on it was more like 3 miles and a little over 1800' of elevation. It'll tell on your conditioning REALLY fast!

The stream that paralleled the trail to Rainbow Falls. It varied in size but was mostly inaccessible except for a few spots.
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This was on the way to Rainbow Falls. It was a dumb luck picture that looks like a black and white and I hightlighted the green leaves with photoshop...but I didn't!
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Samantha didn't like this guy much...
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I don't know if you'd call this a waterfall or just a part of the stream.
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This picture really shows the color of the woods right now up there. This is a switchback in the trail and you can see where we've been and where we're yet to go.
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Big rock looking back down the trail
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A small fall on the way
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Another small fall
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Rainbow Falls - FINALLY! Only took us over 2 hours to get here!
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Took us about 1/2 the time to get back down the trail and to the car.

On the drive out we rounded a bend with a lot of people/cars wadded up. That could only mean one thing in this country!

Yep, and he's not a baby either!
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I spent a while, within 30 yards trying to get some decent pics but I mostly have him with brush in the way. I went and sat back in the car and was thinking of leaving when he just plopped down and "posed" for everyone. I couldn't resist a few more, which turned out to be the best!

The stare down...
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I'm just a baby and harmless
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Look at my head, it's not THAT big :wink
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>> Laurel Falls <<
Laurel Falls was supposed to be an easy 1.3 mile hike. It was more like 1.5 but compared to Rainbow, it WAS easy. It was paved all the way.

Laurel Falls, top to bottom
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Just the top half
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Nice view out across the smokies on the hike back
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The only color in a sea of green
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>> Cades Cove - Saturday <<
Sorry - some of these are from a ways off. I tend to not be one that walks out and disturbs the animals just for the "close" encounter or picture and keeps others from enjoying them. If I can't do it with what I have, well, you're just going to have to see a smaller picture of them! As a note - we encountered a family biking the trail who had NO respect for anyone else. The parents let their two boys run up on the hill chasing the deer, and subsequently pushing them away from the road and out of picture range in the woods. If you go, please keep your kids under control and don't let them run around like heathens! Wish he would have let his boys do that to the sow and cubs at the beginning of the loop :grin

Gobbler putting on a show
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He even gobbled a couple times for us
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A view that never gets old
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And now for my greatest failure over the day... Face it, I drive slow on the loop. I like animals and seeing them. So I pulled off in a parking area letting traffic go by and am sitting there when I look up and running to us is a deer so I start snapping pictures. Little did I know he was going to run up to within 10 yards of the car and I was going to screw the pooch!

Getting closer and you can see it's a young buck
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Ah yes, where I screwed the pooch! If I had my act together, other than the line of cars ruining the shot, I would have had a great sequence of him jumping the fence!
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>> Cades Cove Sunday <<
So the wife wanted to sleep in on Saturday which put us in the cove around lunch. Me, being a hunter, know the animals aren't going to be as active. So I talk her in to an early rise and a trip through before we leave. Boy am I glad we did! We saw 13 gobblers, heard a 14th, saw a hen, watched a hen get bread, saw a bear - from a LONG way off, and couldn't even begin to count the number of deer we saw.

A young buck. Likely the doe's yearling from last year.
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A couple does with the young buck
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So we're driving along after having seen a couple strutting and gobbling birds. We go into the woods and I'm looking at the photog guy on the left and what he's taking pictures of (woods it turned out :shrug:huh) when Samantha goes, "There's two on the right."

"Two, what?" I asked

"Two turkeys. They're all fanned out!" Boy was I in for a treat! Photog guy was busy with woods and flowers while I had what ended up 3 gobblers and 2 hens to myself! :hail

I snuck back up the hill and peeked over the edge to this
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I've got to work on my manual focus. This one nearly became a stunning photo!
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This ol' gal was part of the cause of the commotion
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I stayed within 10-15 yards of this guy forever and he obligingly spitted and strutted his butt off for his lady the whole time. If you look back and left, you'll see a second bird
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Double fans
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3 gents and a lady
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My favorite pic of the trip. The colors, the sun - it almost looks fake
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What sould have been - just a bit blurry but thought I'd share anyway
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Another "what could have been". I've got to work on using manual focus... :banghead
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King of spring
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The competition
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This guy was a surprise. He was much farther along than all the others we saw.
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Believe it or not, these were all 4 bucks! We saw more bucks than does while there.
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Yep, a couple more rubbing a little salt in the wound!
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So that's it. My trip in a nutshell... Hope you enjoy the pics

Replies

  • eorlandoeorlando Posts: 560 Officer
    Love the pictures!!!! What camera and lens were you using???
  • down4dacountdown4dacount Posts: 2,580 Officer
    Great pics , love the Turkey ones .
    ShotKam Pro Staff
    Full moons make me crazy and I go out and kill deer . Come to think all moon phases do that to me
    Check out my videos http://www.youtube.com/user/Down4dacount1?feature=mhee
    [IMG][/img]
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,084 Captain
    eorlando wrote: »
    Love the pictures!!!! What camera and lens were you using???

    D5000 with kit lenses. The scenery was the 18-55 kits lens and the animals was 55-200. I still need to get some better glass, and longer, for those critters in the fields.
  • down4dacountdown4dacount Posts: 2,580 Officer
    omegafoo wrote: »
    D5000 with kit lenses. The scenery was the 18-55 kits lens and the animals was 55-200. I still need to get some better glass, and longer, for those critters in the fields.

    get the Tamron 18-270 and you won't have to be switching back and forth
    ShotKam Pro Staff
    Full moons make me crazy and I go out and kill deer . Come to think all moon phases do that to me
    Check out my videos http://www.youtube.com/user/Down4dacount1?feature=mhee
    [IMG][/img]
  • BatemasterBatemaster Posts: 1,699 Captain
    That place looks amazing!
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,084 Captain
    Batemaster wrote: »
    That place looks amazing!

    It truly is. It's the "zoo" for hunters. I told the wife that one trip she's just going to have to drop me off at daylight and come pick me up at dusk. I could walk the loop and fill up a couple 32Gb cards with pictures!
    get the Tamron 18-270 and you won't have to be switching back and forth

    I know, I know. We've talked about that lens in the past and I just haven't got off my butt to do it. :banghead Plus the 270 would give me a little extra reach out for those far off critters. The nice thing was that all the critters were in one place and the scenery in another. So I used the 18-55 while hiking and the 55-200 while in the cove.
  • Fish AddictFish Addict Posts: 684 Officer
    dang.. looks like you stumbled upon turkey heaven..
  • james 14james 14 Posts: 2,816 Moderator
    omegafoo wrote: »
    I know, I know. We've talked about that lens in the past and I just haven't got off my butt to do it. :banghead Plus the 270 would give me a little extra reach out for those far off critters. The nice thing was that all the critters were in one place and the scenery in another. So I used the 18-55 while hiking and the 55-200 while in the cove.

    I'd like to take my 270 out there as well. I'm sure that's what you meant ;)
    Our 5 year is in a couple of weeks but I don't think we're going to be able to leave the baby to get away and momma's not too interested in taking her along...so we'll be home more than likely.
  • launchpadlaunchpad Posts: 386 Officer
    looked like a great trip. thanks for sharing.
    "When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." Franklin D. Roosevelt
  • wilburzwilburz Posts: 929 Officer
    those are some nice pictures. Looks like a good time.

    Happiness is a belt fed weapon!

  • swampwalkerswampwalker Posts: 1,087 Officer
    Great pics, especially the turkeys! Gotta be careful on those getaways - another little one will bless your happy home in about 9 months....Thanks for sharing!
    The original - "Renaissance Redneck"
  • BuckDaddyBuckDaddy Posts: 644 Officer
    Awesome pics!!! Love Rainbow Falls & Cades Cove... What a beautiful time of the year...

    I made it to Pigeon Forge at the height if the fall leaf change several years ago... hardly believed I was in the same place...
  • MenziesMenzies Posts: 19,289 Officer
    Looks like your Photobucket bandwidth was exceeded! Guess you shared with a lot of peeps!
    Maybe if we tell people that the brain is an App, they will start using it.
  • omegafooomegafoo Posts: 3,084 Captain
    Menzies wrote: »
    Looks like your Photobucket bandwidth was exceeded! Guess you shared with a lot of peeps!

    here, my normal haunt in the NW, and a select few of these in the photography. Didn't realize FS would eat up all my bandwidth like that...

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