Author Archives: Jerry Whaley

About Jerry Whaley

Jerry Whaley is an internationally published writer, photographer and Getty Images contributor based in East Tennessee.

PhotoArt – Log Cabin Porch and Flowers


Log Cabin, Porch & Flowers

How nice it is to photograph flowers in the Springtime. A log cabin porch and this patch of flowers takes me back to a simpler time.  I like how the handrails and sloped ramp converge, inviting me to explore the image more fully.

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Once Upon A Theme

Once Upon A Theme

A Travel Essay

 I often look for ways to produce more successful, higher-quality images. One very effective technique I use is to select a subject or theme on which to concentrate. A themed self-assignment works as well in my backyard as it does while traveling around the globe.

A number of years ago, I started noticing the varied shades of green and other subtle pastel colors in hardwood forests in early spring. I began to realize that flowering plants are not the only interesting color in the springtime. I  focused my efforts. The more I looked, the more I saw. As I began exploreing this subject, I started seeking out new, more effective perspectives. I began to develop my technique for vividly capturing the varied shades of green. In short, my concentration on this theme really got my creative juices flowing and motivated me to get out in the field and work hard at producing images of a unique subject that had visually inspired me. The theme became a driving force.

Foothills Parkway, East Tennessee

Concentrating on a subject or theme helps develop your photographic technique. This is a win, win situation. Your skills increase while you enjoy the process. Being productive and creative is much easier if you are inspired. Good subjects for concentration while traveling, or at home, might be; people, seasons, modes of transportation, doors, roads, bridges, buildings, architectural details, flowers, or just about anything your heart leads you to. The list is infinite. If the subject arouses your interest, you will seek out ways to do well with it.


For me, travel itself sometimes awakens my interest in a subject. I might begin focusing on doors because I notice some interesting doors on a trip. I then start developing a good file of distinct and interesting doors, locally. With each trip I will expand my files with images of different, more exotic doors. Travel can both initiate the interest, and then enhance your prospects of developing a diverse, interesting file on your chosen subject.

Spring from Newfound Gap Rd, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN-NC

I think it’s better to develop your technique closer to home you can then be more effective when you travel. Travel is expensive and photographic opportunities are sometimes limited, so you need to be able to quickly and effectively capture the image you desire. Working within the context of a theme helps you become a quick and effective photographer, both at home and on-the-road. This approach also provides you with strong images on an interesting subject, good for developing articles for photographic magazines, prints for a gallery, or sharing with friends.

Spring Foliage, South Carolina Mountains

The more unusual your subject, the more likely you are to find interested galleries, or editors that want to publish your work. They constantly look for “different” subjects that have not been covered recently in their publication. I find that once the process of seeking out a subject or a theme begins, other interesting subjects materialize. I believe the higher level of concentration on one subject just naturally helps me to “see” other interesting subjects and themes. My positive experiences with thematic self-assignments has made me a believer.

Sugarlands Stone House

On the warm Friday after Thanksgiving this year my wife and I set out on the Old Sugarlands Trail to visit the Sugarlands Cemetery and then hopefully find the Stone House. Descriptions we had found made it sound fairly easy to find, but that is not exactly the case. We stopped briefly at the cemetery to catch our breath and rest our feet. Leaving the cemetery, we continued up the old road bed. We both commented on a path we saw going off up into the woods on our left as we followed the road on up the river.

The road petered out as it ramped down to the riverside where a bridge had once stood. At this point we could, by looking up across the river, see the first big pulloff on Newfound Gap Road called Carlos Campbell Overlook (previously called Bullhead Overlook). We continued to hike along the river looking for the first significant creek because all the descriptions said that is where the Stone House is located. We had a GPS with topo maps and thought we had the GPS coordinates with us too. After a time hiking off trail over rough terrain we came upon the creek, which is known as Big Branch.

We scrambled up Big Branch for a distance and tried to locate our objective in the rugged landscape. There was no sign of it, and no indication of a trail either. We considered turning back. Out came the GPS. Turns out we forgot to bring the coordinates. Out came the iPhone. Amazingly, there was enough reception to get access to the web, though just barely. With the numbers in hand and a look at the GPS, I told my wife we were within 50 yards of our destination. About that time I spotted someone about 40 yards up the creek. They had followed the path we had noticed earlier which actually led to the Stone House.

We worked our way up to the area where we had spotted people and found the path. Standing at the creek at the crossing point and looking up at the knoll in front of us, the only thing we see is rhododendron – no house. We followed a steep path up through the rhododendron, and it did lead us to the aptly named Stone House which is believed to have been built by the CCC in the 1930s. Parts of the structure are in precarious condition, with leaning and cracked walls — not to mention the doorway lintels that are about to fall (one is now supported by two metal bed rails).

While Marina & I were at the Stone House other people arrived, including my photographer friend Harold Stinnette who you can see in the iPhone photos that follow.

Marina inside Stone House

Marina inside Stone House




As the historical artifacts of the Great Smoky Mountains fade into time, including those left by my grandparents in the Greenbrier area, about all that remain are the metal and stone items — fading more slowly. In time, maybe a hundred years from now, this solid structure will probably be just a pile of stones that some other off-trail hiker will stumble upon and wonder what once stood here. For now, this piece of history is quite impressive, so enjoy it while you can.

Stone House, Sugarlands, Smokies

Stone House, Sugarlands, Smokies

Stone House, Sugarlands, Smokies

Stone House, Sugarlands, Smokies

Stone House, Sugarlands, Smokies

Stone House, Sugarlands, Smokies

Appalachian Light photography blog

jerry102812I plan to use this space to share my adventures in the field, the images I produce, and information on the techniques & equipment I use to produce those images. In addition to self-marketing my work as stock images in advertising, publishing, etc, I am represented by numerous stock photo agencies including Getty, Age Fotostock, Alamy, UIG, iStock, CanStock, DreamsTime, Shutterstock, and Veer — with this list subject to change as the industry evolves. Expect, over time, to see information on unique locations, ideas expressed in photo related essays, explanations of photo techniques I have found to be useful, specific information on technology and image processing, plus an occasional quote or personal musing on the meaning of life. Here are a few examples of how my images are used in print. Enjoy

Jerry Whaley