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Great Smoky Mountain Instructional Photo Tour

Join us an instructional photo tour or workshop to Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the surrounding areas. The incredible biodiversity makes this one of the top areas in the country for nature photography.

April is a magical time to be there. The forests are carpeted with wildflowers, lush forests, beautiful mountain ranges etc. The streams and waterfalls are flowing at peak water level. The Dogwoods and Red Buds should be in bloom. We also will photograph wildlife. Black bear, white tailed deer, coyote, and wild turkey are commonly seen

The Park is home to approximately 1,600 kinds of flowering plants. In fact, the park is sometimes referred to as the “Wildflower National Park.” During mid to late April many wildflowers are in brilliant displays. What's great about the park being so large and having more than a 4,000 foot elevation range between its highest an lowest point is that you can chase a blooming season starting at lower elevations and warmer southern exposures to the higher elevations and more northern exposures to prolong the duration of peak bloom.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains some of the largest tracts of wilderness in the East and is a critical sanctuary for a wide variety of animals. Protected in the park are some 66 species of mammals, over 200 varieties of birds, 50 native fish species, and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians.

The reason for the large number of species is attributable to several factors, including vast differences in altitude and temperature and lots of rain (averaging 90 inches per year), the impact of the ice age, and the preservation efforts by the National Park Service.

The symbol of the Smokies, the American Black Bear, is perhaps the most famous resident of the park. The Park provides the largest protected bear habitat in the East. Though populations are variable, biologists estimate approximately 1,500 bears live in the park, a density of approximately two bears per square mile.

This tour will greatly enhance your skill as a photographer. We will be doing a lot of landscape, wildlife, and macro photography. We also have a conference room reserved for additional critique sessions and lessons. We will cover several subject including exposure, depth of field, histograms, shutter speed, filters, macro, wildlife photography, digital darkroom, Photoshop, and lightroom.

Our itinerary will be planned around weather conditions, lighting, and recent wildlife activity. We will take advantage of the lighting and the unique opportunities. Our goal is to capture the best images we can during our tour. Each day we will be starting before dawn and ending after sunset. However, we typically will take a mid day break to rest and recuperate. This is also a good time to go over some more techniques and do photo critiques. The tour is based in Townsend, TN which is centrally located to many of the parks best photo locations.


April 23-27, 2014 Wednesday-Sunday


Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Vicinity

Tour begins and ends in Townsend, TN.


$795. Per person includes , instruction, and transportation. Park admission, permits and transportation from hotel to field locations.

For more Info:

Payment can be made by check to Slonina Photography. We also accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. If you prefer to use credit card you can call our office at (508)[masked] or use the paypal shopping carts on our website.

This trip will sell out so please register early.


Day1: We will meet at the hotel. Check in time is at 3pm.
We will have an introductory meeting go over safety issues, recent wildlife sightings etc. We also will discuss plans, goals and objectives for the upcoming week. We will then leave for an evening shoot continuing to sunset.

Day 2-4: We will meet and be on location before the sun comes up to take advantage of the morning light and the peak wildlife activity. There will also be an afternoon session continuing to sunset. Each day is paced to maximize photo opportunities and the schedule will be flexible to maximize getting the best light.

Day 5: Early morning photo shoot. We will conclude trip and return to hotel before check out time of 11am
Who Should Attend:

Anyone with an interest in photography from a beginner to professional.

Some topics we cover

Group Size:

Our groups are small in size this one is limited to 6 people. We will work with each participant to provide complete, informative, helpful lessons. This also ensures that no question is left unanswered.

Before and after each workshop we will assess each participants needs, interests and skills so we can teach techniques that will help each participant.

What's Included:

Also included are transportation from hotel to field locations, instruction, gates fees and permits.

Not Included:

The hotel is not included but we reserved a block of rooms under Slonina Photography. The discount cost of the room is $69.50 per night . Please mention Slonina Photography to get this rate.

Highland Manor Inn and Conference Center (800)[masked]

Food and drinks will not be included. We will visit various restaurants in and out of the park. Each participant will be responsible for their own food tab. We will provide snacks and drinks.

Air travel is not covered.

Getting There:

McGhee Tyson airport (TYS) is the closest airport to park.

It is approx 20 miles to Townsend. There is also a local taxi service that can take you to the hotel. You do not need to rent a car.

About Me:

John Slonina is a professional nature photographer who has been photographing for over 25 years. He estimates he has taken over 800,000 photos. John has a love of natural history as well. You will receive information on photo technique and the natural world. Understanding the natural world not only increases your appreciation of nature but also helps you become a better nature photographer.

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Your organizer's refund policy for Great Smoky Mountain Instructional Photo Tour

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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