Middle Prong of Little River in Spring

Middle Prong of the Little River in Spring

A flat rock in the Middle Prong of the Little River creates a lovely cascade

When I visit the Smokies, I almost always stay in Tremont, a small town on the southwest side of the park. I do so primarily because I just don’t enjoy the traffic and crowds in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The other reason is that my favorite part of the part is the southwest where Cades Cove and Tremont are found. I mentioned a little bit of the history of Cades Cove earlier. Tremont is another name for the Middle Prong of the Little River. There are three primary tributaries to the Little River. This one flows from near Clingmans Dome down the Tennessee side of the mountains and joins the Little River to flow through the town of Tremont. Since this tributary is closest to the town, it is frequently called Tremont.

I love the area because the stream is beautiful for the full six miles or so that it can be followed. There are often trout fisherman working the stream for their dinner or pleasure. There are dogwoods that blossom in the spring, rhododendron that flowers in the summer, and a variety of hardwood trees that turn vivid colors in the fall. Tremont is beautiful in any season.

One of my favorite spots on the river is this one. Near the upper reaches of the stream, this large flat rock lies midstream. To get to it, I had to climb down about twenty feet into the stream along a steep, slippery bank. Fortunately, there is a large flat rock in front of the shelf from which I could sit or lie down in order to compose the image. I positioned my tripod as low to the rock as possible in order to give the impression of being in the water looking up at this scene. Most of the water flows over this shelf and cascades off about three-fourths of the way around the shelf. The lovely layers of cascades are always fun to shoot – especially when the water flow is high.

I used exposure blending to make this image. The exposure latitude between the underlying rock in the foreground and the bright blue sky and clouds would have been too much to hold with a single image. I used seven shots separated by one stop each to create this image. I like using the exposure blending mode because it renders what I consider to be a realistic image. I’m just not a fan of HDR shots that look other-worldly. This is very close to what my eye was viewing as I composed the image.

If you ever visit the Smokies, a trip up Tremont is an absolute must. I’m sure you will see images that I’ve passed by many times before. It truly is a special place.


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