It somehow seemed fitting that the last EarthSong Image for the Asking – after thirteen years and three months of weekly publication – would not only be an image from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but would also be an image from the most prominent feature of this park, the heights of Clingman’s Dome, and this looking toward the lands sacred to the Tsalagi: the valleys of the Oconaluftee, Tuckasegee and Little Tennessee Rivers and the Mother Town of Kituwa.

It has been a wonderful experience for me to offer this to all of you, and I fervently hope that each of you has benefitted  from it as much as I have and it has in some small way contributed to your photographic journey and your growth as a photographer. When it all began in 2009, I could hardly image that it would continue into 2022, but I am very pleased and honored that it has.

This coming Friday (25th) I will leave my beloved Western North Carolina Mountains and travel to Front Royal, Virginia to spend several days with a dear friend photographing Shenandoah National Park. This park will most definitely be part of the public lands book project, and it will be the first location I visit for that project.

As most of you know, I am creating a YouTube channel – Photographic Rhythms of EarthSong – and I will be posting content to that channel as I travel. I hope you will all join me on the journey. We have an amazing and beautiful country that is more than worth preserving and protecting from those who would take it from us in the name of profit.

A focal length of 28mm, squarely in wide-angleland, gave me the angle-of-view I wanted, a sweep across the southern slopes of Kuwahi. An aperture of f/11 provided depth-of-field from the camera-to-subject distance; and a shutter speed of 1/15th second at ISO 400 gave me an overall slightly darker-than-medium exposure. Note that if I had used some of my more typical settings for this composition: ISO 100 and f/22, my shutter speed would have been 4-stops slower, in other words, a full second long. There was enough of a breeze present that the motion of such a shutter speed would have been visible in the image and that was not acceptable. The digital noise at ISO 400 was my biggest concern, but it proved to not be a problem in the end.