Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

After the Rain

Lousy weather is my idea of a fun afternoon at work.  I can't get enough of the light that follows a storm. When I was in the Smoky Mountains earlier this month, there was rain, ice, and snow.  The trip started off with rain. Soak to the bone and sporting wilderness hair I was a happy girl, even if it was 34 degrees. Before you think I lost my mind let me explain; when the showers end the magic starts. The rain naturally saturates all the colors. When conditions are right, steam will rise from the fields and roads. Because of the moisture in the air sunsets can become vivid as if the photographer went overboard with the saturation tool.  Sticking around for a rainstorm to clear is almost always worth the wait. The Smokies did not disappoint. The sun filtered through the clouds enough to dance across the raindrops clinging to the trees. The wet indian grass was a fiery amber color.  Then the steam rose from the field, completing the scene.   Don't blink or you may miss this marvelous event in nature for it dissipates as fast as it began.

After the Rain/Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018

Ludlow Falls in Snow

Ludlow Falls is another of my local waterfalls.  The golden morning sun had begun to reflect around the aqua green frozen fall.  I had to try to capture the colors. Snow blanketed the rocks, but warmer temperatures had thinned the ice on the creek.  This combination made it difficult to move around the bottom of the falls. Careful considerations were taken before each step.  I perched atop one of the highest rocks, out of the way of stray tree branches. Few choices in the location where available unless I wanted to take a polar plunge in the big pool.   I set up my tripod and worked with what I had in front of me.

Ludlow Falls in Snow/Elle Pollard (c)2018

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Ice Column

From Sunday's Hike, unnamed hollow and unnamed falls in Hocking Hills.

Ice Column/Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Emboldening Boulders

Sunday I had the pleasure of taking some lesser known trail in Hocking Hills with a great group of photographers.  Typically I am out alone or with one other. I love to challenge myself when I am with a group. I want an entirely different point of view, tricky when four photographers are shooting the same waterfall at once. These are my opportunities to grow.  This time I took the back seat, watched as photographers scattered. I was on the hunt for the original and unique image. Captivated by the large lichen and moss-covered boulders in the hollow.  I decided to make them my main point of focus, letting the massive frozen waterfall be an element in the background.  It's my version of cheering for the underdog.
Emboldening Boulders/Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Doe, a Deer, a Female Deer

Another Cades Cove image. A doe standing in a snow covered field with the Smoky Mountains behind her.

Female deer in the Great Smoky Mountains/ Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Call For Photography Related Question

Ever wonder how I got the shot?  Want to pick my brain on an issue that has been plaguing you?  Here is your chance.  I will be starting a new series on my blog answering your questions.  Send your photographic query to   I'll start answering them in my Tuesday blog posts in February.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lessons from the post

The old lichen covered fence posts is as much a part of Cades Cove as the cabins and deer. Due to a snow and ice storm, no traffic was allowed in the cove. I was able to take all the time I wanted and move as I pleased. Shifting from one post to another, looking at all the angles until I settled in the perfect spot. I parked my tripod and bum in the middle of the road. I would adjust the framing by moving my gear ever so slightly.  Changing camera settings, and double checking the focus. Stopping periodically to warm my hands.  It was a slow and deliberate process I often forget to enjoy.  It took that cold day in Cades Cove to make me realize how utterly fulfilled I am out in the field, surrounded by nature and behind the camera.  This is my lesson from the old fence post; fully embrace the tasks at hand, for it is those processes that make the final image complete.

Lichen Covered Post, Cades Cove, SMNP/ Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

West Milton Falls in Snow

I arrived home from my latest trip to a beautiful snowfall. Before I could download all my memory cards, I was out the door to my favorite local waterfall, West Milton Falls.  Steam rising from the fall was so thick I could not see the water at times.  It was time to think outside the box. I moved to a new location across the creek.  I found snow covered rocks for the foreground.  While I could no longer see the largest fall, I was able to capture some of the cascades in the background by lowering my camera closer to the ground.  Because of the dense steam, I had to look downstream. The result was a fresh perspective from a location I photograph often. 

West Milton Falls in Snow  /  Elle Pollard (c) 2018

Friday, January 12, 2018

Journey to Understanding

My office falls silent. The air is thin, a bit harder to breathe. The only light I can see comes from the computer monitor in front of me.  Unsure how I ended up in an old Lightroom catalog, but there he sits on my screen. Dad.  I work each slider in the develop module nothing is bringing the photograph to life. Something is wrong; it does not feel right. A pile of work and deadlines sits on my desk, but I can not pull away from this image.

You know when someone has passed away you wish you could have had that one last special day with them? I had that gift with Dad. I was given two weeks jammed packed with giggles, long car rides, exploring new places, and sharing our passion for photography. We did not know those were our last days together, but we lived them to the fullest.   When I think of him, it is not childhood memories; it is those two weeks. 

Dad did not have the energy he did the year before. I would often find him sitting surrounded by vegetation. Sometimes working his macro skills other times lost in deep thought. This day I photographed him seated in the prairie grass in Wind Cave National Park. Above average amounts of rainfall made hills and prairies greener that June instead of the typical dried brown grass, making our excursions all the more memorable. 

Frustrations with the inability to convey my emotions in the image pulled me out of my trip down memory lane.  I open a different photography program, Topaz, for one of my favorite black and white conversions. Quickly I ruled out black and white. My most active memories of that summer involved color.  At that moment I understand what is wrong with the photograph. It is a picture, light captured on a sensor recording him at that moment in time.  That is what he was to me then, not now.  Now, Dad is an abstract, always with me but never seen.  He is the memory I invite to ride in the passenger seat everytime I hit the road. Dad is who I am talking to in the field when people think I am talking to myself. Dad has moved beyond the picture. Therefore I push the photograph into graphic art using a painterly post process. This post most likely will be one of the very few if not the only time I will publicly show a no-long-a-photograph-graphic-art-because-I-can't-paint image, but it feels right. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wordless Wednesdays

Wordless Wednesdays is another new feature of my blog and social media. Giving me a chance to post images from my extensive backlog of work once a week without stressing over the words.  My task will be to title the picture well to give you, the viewer, the necessary information.

Red-backed Shrike South Africa

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ice Fall

As the Midwest and east coast starts to thaw from the polar vortex people are inclined to hit the trail to shake off the cabin fever and check out the frozen waterfalls. The breath-taking beauty of the ice pillars can turn dangerous as the temperatures rise. Last year I headed out to Ohio's cherished Hocking Hills region after a cold front had moved through to photograph the frozen fall of Ash Cave.  It was not long before there was a steady flow of people.  I decided to step aside to enjoy the splendor with my eyes while people explored the cave and ice pillar.  Then a loud deep pop filled the cove as the ice broke free from the cliff above. Tons of ice crashed to the ice pillar below. A blood-curdling scream came from the icy rubble. Two young women had moved in closer to the ice formation right before the break. I quickly scanned the scene; I knew there were four additional people there with me. "One, two, three …. Three. Where is the fourth? Where is she?" I said to myself as I felt my heart grow heavy. I feared the worst had just happened. Then the sound of the most beautiful voice broke the screams, "I'm ok! It's alright" repeated the woman closest to the fall as she ran out from behind the ice to embrace her hiking companion.  Not only was she alive but she escaped without injury. I took a minute to recompose myself and captured one more image of the scene, after all, I am a photographer. Feeling the most profound gratitude for the positive outcome, I packed my gear and headed home. 

Before and after images of Ash Cave morning of January 10, 2017.

If you head out during this warm spell, check the trail in front of you. Watch overhead for icicles that may have formed on the rocks, cliffs, and overhangs.  Half-pound of ice hits with 1,000 pounds of force according to Nationalsafety's Weblog. "That is the rough equivalent of a couple of people on a stiletto-shoe heel on top of your head," Andreas Schroeder, a physics professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago says.


Nationalsafety's Weblog:

Friday, January 5, 2018

First Friday Photo Friends - Dwayne Reaves

I am not only the sum of my work but the sum of those around me. With this thought, a new project starts this year. I will be featuring a photo friend on the first Friday of the month. These are the people who have touched my life and my work in some way. Collectively they have helped shape me into the person and photographer I am today. I’ll share a bit about them and their work with you. I want to encourage you to check out their work and show some love on their social media with likes, shares and comments. It's a tough world out there, let’s make it a little friendlier.
I thought Dwayne Reaves would be the perfect person for my first feature since he has been around since the early months of my trek into social media. I quickly found it was harder than I expected to make meaningful connection in the cyber world. Dwayne was not like every other photographer. He has a genuine interest in the photographer and their work. Through the past few years he would always send a note to check up on me if I had been hibernating from my social media. Several times it was the motivation I needed to get going again.
Dwayne’s passion for photography is unwavering. I have watched as life has hurled complications his way. He does not use them as an excuse to why he can’t. No, this man will find solutions and why he will. Last year we chatted about his equipment breaking. This would discourage so many. Dwyane kept shooting with the gear he had. Proving it is not the camera that makes beautiful images it’s the photographer. He would tell you, “you don't have to have an expensive camera to make a difference with photos … so many people think it is the camera when it is the person behind the camera and their attitude toward life.” Dwayne’s images are largely made within ten miles of his home in North Carolina. “Most people think you have to travel to far away places to take beautiful photographs, that is not true. There is beauty all around us.” His positive can-do outlook on life and his photography truly inspires me.
This is one of my favorite pieces of his work. He loves to photograph old homes and landscapes. If you watch his feeds you will see images of his beautiful daughter, a cherished rock in his life.

Please take a minute to check out Dwayne’s work at the links below and show him some love.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018


It’s that time of year it’s customary to set new goals. Typically, I do not partake and if I do I set the bar low. For example, 2017 my new year resolution was not to die. I am happy to say I achieved my goal. This year I am going to raise the bar. For years I have been told I need to let more of my personality show on my social media. That is past my comfort zone. But if life begins at the end of my comfort zone, it’s time to start living or maybe I should say writing. I am going to open a window into my life. Share with you my accomplishments, joy, adventures, frustrations, heartbreaks and fears. Anxiety of people not liking me and the grammar police picking apart my writing has paralyzed my efforts in the past. I enter this year with a game plan. Haters will be pushed out the door, I have no room in my life nor the time for them. Grammar cop will be handcuffed to my inbox and made to edit all my work. My 2018 resolution is to write and share more of me with you.
What are your New Years Resolutions?