Spring Landscape Photography of Spring Cascades in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Ah spring, a season filled with rebirth, rejuvenation, renewal, and the resurrection of sneezing and itchy eyes. Spring photography hasn’t always been my thing. Fall and winter have always been my favorite times to be out with my camera. Those are the seasons when I jump out of bed effortlessly, and it isn’t because later sunrise time. I’ve always enjoyed the dampening quiet from a blanket of snow and calming trance of leaves twirling in the breeze towards the ground. 

Although, with each passing year, my attraction to spring photography grows. Spring is loud and commands attention. Birdsong fills each morning.  It is a time of rapid change and growth.  One minute it’s a bud, and then magically, that bud blooms in what feels like an instant. Every time you turn your head, something is sprouting, blooming, and settling on its new shade of green for the season. Since returning to the East Coast of the United States, I realized the incredible punch of greens delivered to this area by Mother Nature. There’s no denying that we absorb that energy and sense of renewal from nature.  Those spring greens and bright floral blooms put a pep in anyone’s step, sometimes even a jump if the sneeze is strong enough. 

At the same time, there is this underlying tone of fragility and finiteness. A sudden cold snap or late frost can wreak havoc, where plenty share their methods to protect the young buds from being damaged before their time to blossom. We even have festivals around the world to celebrate the beauty of cherry blossoms so we don’t miss the delicate and fleeting nature of their existence. I can’t help but think buried deep inside of our subconscious, we feel this existential connection to our own mortality. Our lives too are so brief when compared to the universe’s timeline. Whether we realize it or not, we inherently sense that spring is a remarkable time in the world.

In early spring, I tend to shy away from the grand landscape scenes. In the northeast, it’s still a lot of sticks and mud until very late spring. Therefore, I delay visiting those grand landscape locations until the lush greens have started to cover the landscape. Instead, I try to turn my wide-angle lens to big bloom areas and smaller floral scenes. This could be bluebell forests, poppy fields, cherry blossom festivals, or almond orchards.  

Catching those places with beautiful golden light is pure magic, but again, it’s fleeting. There is such a small window to find a location blooming under beautiful light to photograph a wide-angle scene. No wonder those photographs captivate our attention. It isn’t simply awe, but also a metaphysical longing where we have witnessed heaven on earth. It’s a temporary reprieve until we are plunged back into the reality of our human existence filled with the weight of school, work, deadlines, chores, and errands. 

At the end of winter, when I’m feeling the most disengaged and unmotivated, spring is the relief. I find myself putting off things on my to-do list to soak in that sweet smell of hyacinth lingering in the air. It seems to knock just enough rust off my soul to feel my optimism return.