I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite places recently and its no surprise that they are all places that would not exist if it weren’t for conservation efforts.

One place that I return to again and again is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee.  When I first started exploring further than my own state, GSMNP was my first big adventure.  It was a bucket list location that soon became a year (and sometimes thrice or more yearly) location.

It was in the GSMNP that my photography found its direction and purpose.

To celebrate Earth Day, I’d like to share with you some of my favorite images from my Smoky Mountain adventures:

CervinePrideREweb TwoDoesREweb ComesTheLightweb SpringCovePanoramicweb GSMNP0412web CadesCoveMorningMistweb GSMNP0303web DoePausedweb Mirroringweb SpringTurkeyweb Greenwoodweb LightOfTheMorning MistyMorningweb

Good Morning!

Good morning and a happy Tuesday to you!  I was up bright and early, listening to the birds sing, and lamenting the fact that its completely overcast— no sunrise for me!

But, here…a sunset is nearly as good as a sunrise in such a situation, yes?

"Sinepuxent Sunset" Assateague Island National Seashore

“Sinepuxent Sunset” Assateague Island National Seashore

Also, this just happens to be today’s Deal of the Day:  purchase an 8×12 for $25 (regularly $36), a 12×18 for $45 (regularly $54) or another size at special pricing.  If interested, send me an email at jlgould@jlgould.com.


Sinepuxent Bay


We’re expecting a very rainy Tuesday and perhaps snow in some parts of Maryland, so here’s something warm and sunny to tide you over. Sunny days are coming again soon enough. :)

For The Birds

Several times when making plans with friends or fellow photographers, I’ve had people dismiss a location or plan because the main attraction was birding and “birding/photographing birds was boring”.   I guess I can understand from a certain….well, no…not really.  Fact is, I find birds endlessly fascinating.  Photographing birds, I get a sense of the ‘character’ of certain birds.   Perhaps its my imagination and the way it anthropomorphizes birds that makes them so interesting to me.  But, I can’t photograph an eagle without thinking how grumpy he looks and how he’s likely annoyed at my presence if he notices me at all; or a pair of mallards without thinking how sweet they look together and imagining how long they’ve been married.

Or, gulls….Gulls, man.


So, here’s the three gulls.  The momma, the juvenile and the seemingly aghast dude watching the rude antics of the begging offspring.


The onlooker looks away, muttering to himself over the behavior of children…


…while Mom cast a glance my way that clearly says “I can’t believe this is my life”.


EVERYONE looks away as the kid tries to get mom to cough up some fish.


And when she does, right out there in the public for all to see, the kids is thrilled and that one guy is just aghast.


Shocked and aghast.


Shocked, I tell.




Seriously, how can you not like photographing birds?  Maybe I’m doing it wrong…

Gloom In Spring

In the longer winter months when I tend to struggle for something to post because I’m not photographing as much, I forget that better shooting weather does not immediately mean more blog posts.  If I can be out shooting in beautiful weather, I’m not often going to choose to sit at my computer instead.   Come summer I’m sure to have an extreme backload of unprocessed photos and half-written blogs whilst my blog fills with quick dumps of photos and information.  Today is one of those beautiful days, but events transpired to keep me home, so you get a blog post of fresh new photos.

Though, maybe not so “fresh” looking.  I spent the day exploring the eastern shore, traveling down backroads on a meandering path towards Assateague Island.  While the temperatures were very spring like, the sky was full of clouds and the atmosphere was one for swamps, vultures and old farmhouses.



The above photo was taken just off a country road.  I’d noticed that there was a break in the trees, that looked both like an old road and a creek.  Its edges were straight, but instead of pavement, there was greenish brackish water going off into the distance as far as I could see.



I think this particular eagle must nest in the area on a regular basis.  I’ve come across him in this tree before, always alone and never in one of the neighboring trees.






Tomorrow I’ll post something a little less gloomy…

Photo Art

I’ve been combining my love of photography, travel and quotes into photo art.   Said art is available over in my Etsy shop if you’re interested.




All photographers are familiar with the concept of shooting in the magic hours.  Sunrise and the early morning hours/the late afternoon and sunset hours.  At these times the light can be remarkable and many times, its at these hours when I’m out and about.

On other days, when I can, I take the entire day to shoot.  Sometimes this means shooting for a few hours, then taking a break to go have lunch and kill some time before the light improves.  At other times it means making the light I have work for me.

I spent the day at Eastern Neck Island here on the eastern shore this past week.  The temperature was great, so I happily wandered down trails through good light and bad.  It was overcast for much of the day, but this means less harsh light.  I find that shooting when I can, experimenting with angles and options and subjects is good practice for my overall skillset.  Also, its fun.

At midday, the light didn’t do much for the landscape in a ‘big picture’ way, but it did create some nice ‘tiny landscape’ opportunities.



I just so happened to have some amusing props in my camera bag (ok, so a friend suggested I use them to kill some time during the day), so I also…


Since it was so nice out, there were a lot of people out on the trails.  I hope I provided some entertainment crawling around in the dirt with my raptors.

I shot simply to capture some of the mood of walking around in pre-spring foliage:


I lucked out with some cloud and sun play:


You can make out the faintest hint of color from a “sunbow” in an arch around the sun.

After a while, the skies cleared and the light changed into, well, perfection.



For more images from the day, check out my Facebook page.


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