Great Smoky Mountains National Park Spring Photo Wokshop

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photography Workshop
Spring in the Smokies
April 21st - 26th, 2024

Instructor: Andy Cook

Join our spring workshop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Spring is a wonderful time to photograph in the Smokies. A vivid assortment of greens proliferate the surroundings, streams and rivers babble with fresh runoff and wildflowers abound. During this workshop, we focus on photographing spring scenes, wildflowers, streams, cascades, scenic overlooks and historic buildings.

This workshop concentrates on exploring and photographing locations. Some days we may spend most of our time in the field photographing, on other days we will have lengthier midday breaks and provide post processing assistance. This workshop is geared for the intermediate to advanced photographer. However, beginners with a working knowledge of their camera can gain a lot of experience and instruction. Each participant is assisted at their level. We focus on helping participants create the most appealing compositions of each location we visit. As needed we'll delve into extensive discussions on equipment, exposure, metering, filters and personal tips. This is a workshop environment, the instructor is present to aid in the field and teach his techniques for landscape photography. If you're an advanced photographer he is happy to help or stay out of the way.
Spring Photography Workshop

Spring Photography Workshop

Itinerary Outline

Participants should check in with Andy on Sunday, (April 21st, 2024) in the hotel conference room at 7:00 P.M. for introductions and a discussion We start photographing on Monday morning.

First Lodging Location: Townsend Gateway Inn, 8270 State Hwy 73, Lamar Alexandar Pkwy, Townsend, TN 37882. 865-238-0123
Check-in Sunday, April 21, 2024; Check-out Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

Relocate to:

Hampton Inn, 967 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738. Phone # 865-436-4878
Check-in Tuesday, April 23, 2024; Check-out Saturday, April 27, 2024.

Generally, participants can expect to be at a shooting location for the start of early light (about 6:00 - 6:45 A.M. depending upon location) and we'll stay in the field into the morning. We will provide breakfast bars and water for the early mornings. We will have a meal after the morning shoot (on Monday this may be lunch). Everyday there is scheduled midday time at the hotel to download, rest and on two days there is additional time for the instructor to answer post processing questions. In the late afternoon we'll eat a meal (picnicking twice) and return to the field for the evening shoot (sunset about 8:15 P.M.). Our itinerary is created to provide the best lighting conditions with mostly clear skies. If we have an overcast day (good for photography) that day's schedule will be modified. We will photograph in drizzle, but not hard rain and wind.

Formal workshop ends after shooting Friday evening.

During our workshop it is impossible to visit all of the wonderful locations in the Smokies. We feel participants may benefit by staying a few days after the workshop and continue photographing on their own.

Great Smoky Mountains Spring
Great Smoky Mountains Spring Workshop Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Spring

COST: $1,590.00 per participant. Target number of participants is 8.

Deposit Amount: $300.00 due at time of registration. This deposit becomes non refundable 90 days in advance of the workshop.

Full payment of the workshop is due 60 days prior to the start of the workshop. If final payment is not received when due, we reserve the right to treat the reservation as canceled, please review the cancellation policy on the registration page.

Spring in the Smokies.

Workshop Effort Scale

Compared to our other workshops, this workshop is best described as on the low side of the middle. During this workshop most photography locations will be within 400 yards of the parking lot, some may involve trail hiking. Trail hiking surfaces and those beyond the parking lot are generally uneven, hiking boots are recommended. The effort for this workshop is higher than other low effort workshops because when photographing along streams participants will seek vantage points amongst large boulders and rocks, this takes extra strength and increases one's risk of slipping and falling. Please bring appropriate footwear. One doesn't have to be in tip-top shape, but a participant's enjoyment will be enhanced by good health and preparation. Please consult with a doctor before attending our workshop.

Be prepared for possible temperature extremes and sudden changes in weather.  Be aware that mornings can be very chilly. Often we will be out in darkness before sunrise and after sunset, please bring a flashlight.
Spring Photo Workshop

More Information

LODGING: For this workshop the instructor's hotels have been selected for ease of access in and out of the park. It is recommended that participants stay at the same hotels. We will reserve a block of rooms at each hotel. When the group reservations are created we will email participants with information about selecting rooms.

Driving conditions will consist of paved roads and maintained dirt roads. When possible we prefer that participants car pool with each other to help limit our impact and get to know each other. A standard rental car will be sufficient.

Thankfully, both Gatlinburg and the park are much less crowded in Spring as compared with Autumn.

Our photography locations are selected based on compelling non macro subjects. However, at many of our locations one will find a plethora of flowers and other amazing macro subjects.

Spring Photo Workshop
Photo Workshop

Spring in the Great Smoky MountainsEquipment Recommendations: Bring all camera equipment including the camera's manual. We recommend using a polarizing filter with most photographs on this workshop. Andy combines images of various exposures in post processing. Andy will be happy to teach participants his field (requires a cable release with some cameras) and post processing techniques (bring laptop with Photoshop) for doing so.

A lens range from 18mm to 400mm after the lens multiplication factor is recommended. However, we think participants should bring their entire range of lenses. A macro lens or extension tubes or diopters for shooting close-ups may also be useful. To blur water motion on a bright day, consider bringing a 6 stop or higher neutral density filter, this filter can be the screw on type. Note: Many variable ND filters have issues with banding and differential darkening, Andy does not recommend using variable ND filters.

One should shoot with a sturdy outdoor tripod that can adjust from standing height without cranking up a center post, to very close to the ground. This type of tripod does not have attachments connecting the legs to the center post; i.e. the legs can move independently. Please use a cable release or know how to work the camera's timer delay to avoid camera shake. Unless your camera has a built-in level, we recommend having a 2 axis flash shoe bubble level, it is the easiest way to make sure photos are level. Please buy these at a reputable dealer; they run about $35.00.

The Fine Print

We do not guarantee the weather. Workshop fee does not include transportation, lodging or meals. In order to keep workshop fees as low as possible we may overbook any given workshop by 1 space. Usually this results in 8 participants, but from time to time we may have 9 participants attending. Photo locations visited may vary year to year. We require an acknowledgment of risks be signed before going into the field. We will send the acknowledgment of risks upon registration, please return it at the start of the workshop. Not all locations visited in the past may be part of this workshop, we may add new locations. In the event Rocky Mountain Reflections Photography, Inc. (RMRPI) cancels a workshop due to unforeseen circumstances such as inability to obtain permits, instructor injury, death... Then, RMRPI will refund fees collected by RMRPI for the affected workshop. In the event of a natural disaster, government closure or other happening of this nature that causes a workshop to be canceled, RMRPI may be unable to refund workshop fees. If this happens then funds collected by RMRPI will be applied as credit toward a future workshop of the participant's choosing. RMRPI will not be held responsible for other expenses (airline tickets, hotel deposits, rental car...) that may be associated with any canceled workshop.

Rain is a real possibility. Yes, we may shoot in the rain, bring an umbrella and rain proof cloths.
Spring in Great Smokies



Spare Camera Batteries
Camera's Manual
Lots of Memory
Extra Shoes and Socks
Rain Gear including Rain Pants
Hiking Boots
  Shoes for wading in water, yes, it's cold, but may be worth it; Andy uses Tevas.
  Warm Clothes
Photo Workshop

Smoky Mountain Spring Photo Workshop

Please call

To be as prepared as possible for this workshop, please review the 2 videos, 7 lessons and 10 workshop handouts found at the link below:

Below please find the PDF handouts recommended for this workshop. One needs to print or download to a digital device these documents before the workshop from the link above.

For this workshop we recommend that participants:

*Print: Blank Workshop Locations Visited.

*Print or download to field digital device: CFDER Field Reminder (This is useful to those new to our workshops and/or trying to develop a useful field workflow.)

*Print or download to field digital device: Steps to Capture Panorama Photographs

*Print or download to field digital device: Hyperfocal chart for camera’s LMF. (Unless you already have a depth-of-field app on your smart phone.)

*Print or download to digital device: Andy’s Camera Settings (Only if unsure about what the camera’s settings should be.)

*Print or download to digital device: Tripod Tips and Techniques (Only if one is new to tripod use or is considering a tripod purchase.)


Series of video lessons teaching post processing for Landscape and Nature Photographers
(Excellent for beginners and intermediate users of Adobe Photoshop.)
Available to everyone for viewing at anytime.

Photoshop Video Instruction

Workshop Photo
Spring Group Photo

Participant Gallery
View images from our
Spring in the Smokies Photo Workshops

Participant photos

Click Here for Complete Workshop Schedule

Rocky Mountain Reflections Photography, Inc. is authorized by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, to conduct services in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Images on this website are property.
Please do not use them without the photographer's Permission.
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on Facebook.
Follow us on YouTube.