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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Mountain Trek

Take a road trip through the Rockies and the Smokies with two pros who map the most dramatic spots in these American icons

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mountain trek
The Little River, Greenbrier/Tremont
5 The Little River, Greenbrier/Tremont
Along Little River Road, a section of State Route 73, you’ll run into the Little River, where outdoor photographers can sink their teeth into exceptional wildflower and water shots. The towns of Tremont and Greenbrier in this area are located just east of Cades Cove, and there are ample photographic opportunities throughout the seasons, depending on whether you want to photograph scenics or wildlife. From cascading rocks painted with fall foliage to the meandering water that swirls around the Little River, this is one of Campbell’s favorite spots in which to photograph.

"Sometimes you can get beautiful fall color doing reflections," Campbell says, "reflections of brightly lit colors and the water up at Greenbrier and along the Little River Road. There also are several areas through there where you can just concentrate on the water and get a lot of interesting reflections."

Tooling Up For A Road Trip
The road trip is an American endeavor as old as the automobile itself. Who among us hasn’t yearned for the freedom of an open road, with no set deadlines and no final destination but where your whims take you? Some of the best photographs were taken by photographers who took a left when they hit a fork and suddenly found themselves on a remote dirt road that led up to a magnificent vista or a secluded mountain brook.

SubaruAnsel Adams was the prototypical road-trekking adventure photographer. With his old station wagon loaded full of view cameras, holders, film, provisions, camping supplies and spare axles, Adams explored the ins and outs of Yosemite Valley among other regions and returned home with photographs that came to define the grandeur and drama of the American landscape.

Exploring the backroads and byways remains one of an outdoor photographer’s best ways of getting rare and inspiring images. Unlike Adams, today’s photography adventurer is less likely to be worried about snapped axles, getting lost or stranded and having to wait days to see the product of their labors. Outfitting a photo vehicle for our photo needs is easy and, thanks to technology, much of the guesswork of reaching our destination is a thing of the past.

The most important component is the vehicle itself. Adams’ station wagon has been replaced by vehicles that are comfortable and capable, and they don’t have to be huge SUVs. The Subaru Outback is a prime example of a car that’s manageable as a daily driver and displays considerable offroad prowess. All-wheel drive, a strong engine and ample cargo space for the modern digital photo studio are hallmarks of the Outback.

Then there are the little tools that Adams could only have dreamed about. GPS units that not only tell you the coordinates of where you are, but can give you turn-by-turn directions from highways to secluded fire roads are affordable and easy to use. You can add photo tools like a printer and power inverter and make prints on the fly, and the largest and most heavy-duty tripods are made of lightweight high-tech materials like carbon fiber and basalt.

The photography road trip is better than ever, and outdoor shooters can take advantage of more tools than ever to return home with inspiring photographs.

To learn more about the Outback, visit www.subaru.com.

To see more of Bill Campbell's photography, visit www.billcampbellphoto.com; to see more of James Kay’s photography, visit www.jameskay.com.


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