All Photos - Brad Lee Dale North

Cade's Cove Cadence

From a Fall excursion to the Smokies in 2010, this image depicts not only how I've grown in my photography, but also how receptive I was to the moment rather than the method when this was captured.

Leaving the cavalcade of cars, stacked back to back in Cade's Cove early morning, I traipsed through the field with my then new Canon 7D. The further I was from the road, the more in tune I felt with my surroundings. Fog slithered around the valley, eventually revealing a group of deer in the clearing. Light and shadow balanced beautifully between the elements, creating a mood and atmosphere that could only be enjoyed during this early time.

Without much know-how or technical prowess, I began snapping away, zooming in and out and basically shooting anything that seemed remotely interesting. I wasn't worried about settings, color, gear or really anything other than being there and seeing what I was seeing.

Fast forward a few years and I noticed that wonderment seemed to fade, and I worried more about whether or not my gear was good enough. I would stress about being on a tripod, how sharp the image was, if I chose the right lens or filter for the job, or if my composition was strong enough. These worries prevented me from being present in the moment and enjoying myself as much as possible, which is truly what it's all about and why I fell in love with photography in the first place. Digging back and seeing this image reminds me of that early mentality I need to connect with.

As for this particular photo, using the original file, I was able to edit more tactfully and precisely than I would have five years ago. In doing so, I realized my initial edit was entirely too cropped and cut out a pair of deer having a smooch session on the left side of the image. Now with a new feel, more indicative of how it actually looked and another element brought in by the deer, the image takes on new meaning and closes the five year gap, between then and now.

cade's covesmokiesmountainsfieldvalleyprairietreesdeersunrisemorningTennesseeKentuckyfogatmospherelandscapeFallAutumnwildlife