Barely two miles downstream from where Ramsay Prong and Buck Fork have joined their waters to become Middle Prong, a huge Thunderhead Sandstone outcrop on river left forces the nascent Middle Prong over several rocky cataracts and down to river right around the massive boulders. If there is a quintessential stretch of Smokies water, it is, in my mind, here; and it is here that the late afternoon, golden light of spring shines almost directly up the streambed illuminating the still barely budding branches of the great cove hardwood forest.

A focal length of 27mm, squarely within the range of wide-angleland, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted, spanning the entire width of the stream and a broad area of forest upstream. An aperture of f/16 provided depth-of-field, and with an accompanying ISO of 200 gave me a shutter speed of 0.8 second. I had determined that I wanted to keep the shutter speed under 1 second to better control the way the water was expressed as it came toward me.

I truly hesitate to say that I have a “favorite” section of water in this Park, but if I’m pressed, I’ll admit that Greenbrier and Middle Prong rank right at the top of the list. There is no more special public land anywhere on Earth. We are loving it to death and our love must be tempered with understanding and care.