Have you ever heard of a place so amazing you just had to visit it immediately? That is probably one of my worst and best attributes as a photographer. I find myself constantly drawn to run out to a new location to capture God’s artistry each time I see a new image on instagram. As beneficial as this can be for creating new art, it can also be a fault as I have pushed the limits of my budget and a lotted time to do it.
That was the case when I first heard about Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from a fellow photographer I met while photographing elk in the Cataloochee Valley. She was more than excited to share some of the bear photos she captured there, and I was hooked!
That evening I rescheduled my plans, gathered my gear, and set out the following day for the three-hour truck ride to the cove. When I arrived at seven in the morning, a line of visitors were already slowly driving through the wildlife refuge. I couldn’t blame them because various fauna were walking right up to the road as if on display. I was amazed at how easy it was to capture images from my seat as if God was simply lining them up for me to photograph.
Then it happened, just as I had read online, a bear jam. When a black bear wanders close to the road, visitors stop their vehicles to watch. Unfortunately, this prevents everyone lined up behind them from enjoying the moment until Park Rangers force them to move along. But I didn’t take this jam as a problem; instead, I saw it as a sign to park my truck at a nearby pull-off and jump out with my camera.
I quickly jotted down the hill to find this mother bear enjoying her breakfast of acorns. So I set up my camera with a telephoto lens (giving her some space) and started to snap away and capture video to share with you. I was blessed enough to be able to snap the shutter of my camera just as she quickly looked up to watch visitors drive by. That click of the shutter has produced “Soulful” which I am very blessed to have captured and now share with you.