Choosing Gallery Photos

Billie and I spent a month in Hendersonville, NC last summer to escape the heat and humidity of the South Carolina Lowcountry, and we enjoyed our stay so much that we went back in early November to explore real estate options in Hendersonville and Henderson County.  The bottom line is that we found a new home in Henderson County in the village of Fletcher, halfway between Asheville and Hendersonville.

One of the many attractions in the area, other than the obvious mountainous terrain, is the Camera Club of Hendersonville.  Once we moved in, I attended the first available meeting of this club and felt very welcome, so I joined.  Not long after this, the pandemic reared its head and all of us were urged to stay home.  Club meetings were canceled for the foreseeable future.

With all the time available to us, Ken Weaver, the club webmaster suggested that we take some time to select ten images from our libraries to constitute a gallery of our work, and I decided to jump in and participate.  I chose ten images, composed a short biographical statement, and sent the information along to Ken, who immediately posted the images and notified the club that I, as the newest member of the Club, had responded to his charge.  He broadcast my website to the membership of the club and I immediately began to wonder whether I had chosen judiciously or superficially in constructing my gallery.

I have some 65,000 images in my Lightroom catalog, and to pick only ten of those images to represent my work is a daunting task.  Have I made good choices?  Reflection on the choices I have made is certainly in order, and I have come to the following observations.

I chose two images taken with my very first digital camera, the Nikon D80, an APS-C crop-sensor camera.  Before going digital I shot with a Nikkormat FTN film camera, and I don’t have any of those images in my digital library so I couldn’t easily include any of them in my gallery.  The two D80 images I chose were taken as part of my early CNPA experience, under the leadership of Foothills North Leaders Bob Phipps.  Bob helped me learn to look for stories and uncluttered simplicity in my landscape shots, and these two represent both of those characteristics.

The photo “Dugger’s Creek Falls” was shot on 9/30/2010 at 4:17 pm using the Nikon D80 with the Nikkor 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens.  I used a focal length of 75 mm (35mm equivalent of 112 mm) and the exposure was 2.5 sec at f/8.0, shot at Aperture Priority in spot metering mode at an ISO of 100.  And, yes, I used a tripod for this shot.

The image is important to me because of the serendipity in finding the waterfall subject and because of the not-so-obvious origin of the colors surrounding the falling water.  When we asked at the Ranger station for directions to this little-known attraction we were told that it was just across the parking lot and that “You may be lucky today–there may be water there since it rained recently.”

Dugger’s Creek Falls, Blue Ridge Parkway

We were lucky indeed!  I recall that Bob Phipps commented that I had captured the different colors of algae in the variety of splash zones around this little waterfall, and that seemed important to me at the time and it’s even more important now in retrospect.  This remains one of my favorite shots.

The “Sunrise on the Black Mountains” shot was made on another CNPA field outing, this time to Carver’s Gap on Roan Mountain in Tennessee.  The date was 10/09/2010 and we got there early to catch the sunrise at 7:48 am.  I used my trusty Nikon D80 with the Nikkor 70-200 mm f/2.8 at a focal length of 70 mm (35mm equivalent of 105 mm) at an exposure of 1/100 sec at f/8.0.  This was shot in Aperture Priority mode using spot metering, with an ISO Speed Rating of 200.  I used a tripod for this shot even though it was at 1/100 sec.

Sunrise on the Black Mountains

I recall that I had agreed to scout this location for the CNPA Foothills North outing and even though I went there in mid-morning rather than at sunrise, I found the view breathtaking.  The shot was taken from a bald area alongside the Appalachian Trail which runs through Carver’s Gap, and it provides a majestic view of the Black Mountain range which includes Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak in Eastern North America.  I chose to include the Mount Mitchell peak in the image rather than the rising sun to the left because I was fascinated with the oblique lighting on the valleys and ridges cascading across the open space toward the mountain range.  This also remains one of my favorite images.

I will continue this exercise of examining the shots I chose to include in my CCoH Member Gallery.  If you wish to jump ahead of my analyses, you may view my gallery here.



About Tom

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Appalachian State University.
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