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What comes to mind when you think of Great Smoky Mountains  National Park? Idyllic, remote, unaffected by time? Experience the quiet side of the park as spring takes hold. With fewer visitors this time of year, the intimate landscape invites you into its hidden beauty. Sit along Little River and watch the water tumble over the rocks and gentle falls. Photograph the historic churches and cabins of Cades Cove and make the journey to visit the Walker Sisters’ cabin, home of the last original residents of the park. These mountains, one of nature’s great reclamation projects, are now revered as one of America’s most beautiful sanctuaries.

This is a location-specific workshop, and the focus is making images. I will introduce new locations each day, which we will explore briefly together. Afterwards, the area is yours to create images. I will remain in the area du jour for guidance if you want it. 

Our locations for the week include Little River, Tremont and the Middle Prong of Little River, Cades Cove, Elkmont and possibly Little Greenbriar School House and the Walker Sisters’ Cabin. You are encouraged to return to any location that speaks to you. Friday morning will be your final chance to do so. 

Late Friday afternoon there will be a sharing of 10 – 15 images of the work you each created. These do not have to be final images but should give the class an understanding of your experience of the Smokies.

Late afternoon, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, I will offer short, optional seminars on Using Soft Focus and Pinhole Lenses in the Landscape, Bracket Focusing in the Landscape, and Using a digital file to make a negative for Platinum Printing. Depending on the topic, these will be offered in the classroom or on location and are completely optional.

You will have at least two opportunities to share work informally with the group, most likely Tuesday, and Thursday evening. All students are asked to share 10 – 15 images during the wrap up meeting late Friday afternoon. It is not expected that these will be final images, but rather give the class an idea of your experience of the location and how it affected you. 

Weather

By late March, spring is usually on its way. Typical daytime temperatures are 40 – 60°F. Sunrise is ~7 a.m. and sunset ~7:30 p.m. Cool mornings may lead to some fog, rain is always possible, but we should have great skies as fronts move through during the week. Along Little River, sunrise is often an hour after official sunrise, and shadows will creep in the mid-afternoon hours depending on where we are along the river.

Equipment

All cameras and formats are welcome. Your equipment should include, but not be limited to, camera and lenses, tripod, laptop computer and file management software, cards, batteries, chargers, connecting cables, and thumb drives. It is expected that you can use a color management system, edit your work and export files to a thumb drive. If you choose to shoot film, please note that processing is not available at this workshop. 

Lodging

We will be based at the Highland Manor Inn in Townsend, TN. Maine Media Workshops will reserve a block of rooms for the workshop group, but you must make, confirm, and pay for your room separately. We will use the classroom at the hotel for our group meetings.  Call directly (800) 213-9462 and identify yourself as a student of the Tillman Crane workshop.

Meals

Your tuition covers the cost of the two group meals, Sunday and Friday evening.

A continental-style breakfast is provided by the hotel most mornings. If we are out photographing early, we will take elements of the continental breakfast with us on location. 

For lunch you can pick up a sandwich to take with you or return to Townsend as most of the locations are not too far from town. The day we go to Cades Cove we will pick up sandwiches the night before to take with us due to the distance from Townsend. 

On the nights we are not having a large group dinner I encourage participants to gather in small groups as I expect restaurants will require reservations for most groups. 

Schedule 

I have a schedule in mind about where we will photograph each day, but this will be determined by weather and participant interest. 

Preparation

I encourage you to research the natural and cultural history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is interesting and may help your photographic focus for the week.

For any photography related question, please contact me ([email protected]). 

I look forward to seeing you in March!

All image credit ©Tillman Crane

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Instructor: Tillman Crane

Tillman Crane’s distinctive platinum photographs combine 19th century materials with a 21st century aesthetic.  From photojournalist to teacher and artist he has honed his technique and mastered his craft over the past 35 years. He made his first platinum print in 1987 and since 2001 his work has been exclusively shown as platinum prints. He works with 5x7, 8x10 and 5x12 view cameras.Today’s images focus on the unique sense of place he finds in the ordinary, everyday locations where he lives and teaches. He has published four limited edition books: Tillman Crane/Structure (2001), Touchstones (2005), Odin Stone(2008), and A Walk Along the Jordan (2009). For the discriminating collector, Tillman collaborates using images of your choice to create one-of-a-kind handmade books of platinum prints.