Fall in the Smokies

Oct 27-31, 2024 - 2 Spots Left!

Experience the magic of the Great Smoky Mountains in autumn as the rolling hills are awash with vibrant shades of reds, oranges, and yellows.  As layers of fog flow between the ridges, you’ll hear the distant sounds of bugling elk in rut. You'll capture waterfalls, spectacular sunrises, wildlife in action, historic cabins, and even some local personalities! With resident photographer Roger Trentham at the helm, you'll photograph spots only known to the locals. The workshop itinerary is kept flexible so we can take advantage of the best weather and conditions. Moderate-level hikes are required for many of the locations.


Max Group Size

  • 4 Students per Instructor
  • Max 8 Students


  • Roger Trentham
  • Brian Clopp
Fall in the Smokies Photo Workshop Autumn


  • Marvel at the rolling hills covered in a tapestry of reds, oranges, and yellows.
  • Explore beautiful waterfalls and creeks graced with brilliant autumn foliage.
  • Capture the rolling fog as it flows between the ridges and valleys.
  • Wildlife sightings are plentiful with elk in rut, black bears, white tailed deer, and more!
  • Photograph true Southern hillbillies on a special photo shoot.
  • Get off the beaten path and escape the crowds with resident photographer Roger Trentham and instructor Brian Clopp.
  • Small group of 8 students and 2 instructors will allow plenty of individual attention. Post-processing and image critiques will be scheduled during our time together.


The exact itinerary will be kept flexible to account for weather, conditions, and group interest. The itinerary below is just an example of what you can expect.

  • Day 1:  Meet at 1PM near Gatlinburg, TN for a mandatory introductory session. We'll cover logistics and many of the shooting techniques you'll use during the workshop. After dinner we photograph sunset from a high viewpoint overlooking the mountainous layers adorned with beautiful fall colors.
  • Day 2: This morning we head out to photograph a beautiful series of waterfalls.  After a quick lunch, we meet for a post-processing session where Roger and Amy will show you how to put your finishing touches on your autumn images.  Later that evening we have a special shoot with some true Southern hillbillies at an old cabin.  We continue photographing into the blue hour using a special lighting setup.
  • Day 3:  With a good potential for sunrise today, we get up early after just a few hours sleep to photograph sunrise from Clingman's Dome. Low-hanging clouds grace the valleys below as the sky turns various shades of pastels.  We photograph various spots on the way down before returning for breakfast and rest breaks. That afternoon we do a hike along a creek with many photogenic cascades and waterfalls.  With our waders on, we can find many different compositions.
  • Day 4:  It's another early morning as we head into Cade's Cove for first light. You'll be busy pressing that shutter button with numerous pastoral scenes and wildlife around us.  It's even more amazing with morning fog! We stay and shoot for several hours before returning to town. That afternoon we hold an image critique and post-processing session and then photograph some curious black bears! With lots of clouds in the forecast, we focus on shooting creeks, streams, and forests in the evening.
  • Day 5:  For sunrise we head up along the foggy Blue Ridge Parkway to capture the ridge top fall colors with an expanse of rolling hills behind. On our way back we capture bull elk in full rut.  We arrive back in town no later than 11AM and say our final good-byes.
Great Smoky Mountains Photo Workshop Autumn Fall in Tennessee and North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains Autumn Photo Workshop
Great Smoky Mountains Autumn Photo Workshop
Great Smoky Mountains Photo Workshop Autumn Fall in Tennessee and North Carolina


Please arrive in Gatlinburg, TN by 1PM on the first day for our orientation session (make sure you eat lunch first). The nearest major airports are either Knoxville (TYS) or Asheville (AVL). If you are flying in, we recommend renting a car to get to Gatlinburg. We will be providing transportation for all workshop outings from our central meeting point near Gatlinburg.

Lodging is not included in the workshop package, allowing you to stay wherever you like in the greater Gatlinburg area. Our central meeting point will be the Holiday Inn Express. There are many other nearby hotels and RV parks. If you decide to stay somewhere else, you will need to drive to our central meeting point for each outing.

Everyone on this trip should be in reasonably good physical condition.  We aren't planning any long hikes but you should be comfortable walking 1-3 miles per day while carrying your photo gear. Some of the waterfalls and creeks require walking in water. Due to cold temperatures, we recommend all participants bring a pair of chest or hip waders.  Hiking poles can help with the slippery rocks.

Food is not included as part of the workshop.  You are free to bring your own food or eat at restaurants in town.  Having your own car will give you more options for dining and shopping between workshop outings.

On the evening of Oct 31st (after the workshop), people in Gatlinburg dress up in elaborate costumes. If this is something you are interested in photographing, you may want to extend your stay by one night.

Temperatures start getting much colder in the fall.  Snow is always a possibility at high altitudes.  Come prepared with a rain jacket and a backpack rain cover.  Please see the gear list further down.


$2250/person + Tax

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Trip Includes:

  • Ground Transportation During the Workshop
  • Entrance Fees
  • In-Field Photography Instruction
  • Post-processing and Image Critique
  • Pre-Workshop Zoom Meeting
  • Hillbilly model shoot at old cabin.


Trip Does NOT Include:

  • Transportation to/from your home to Gatlinburg, TN.
  • Lodging
  • Beverages
  • Meals and snacks.
  • Instructor Gratuities.


When you complete the checkout process, you will be given the option to either pay the full amount or put down a 50% deposit.  If you pay the deposit, the remaining amount will be charged 90 days prior to arrival to the credit card we have on file.

Fall in the Smokies Photo Workshop Autumn
Great Smoky Mountains Photo Workshop Autumn Fall in Tennessee and North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains Photo Workshop Autumn Fall in Tennessee and North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains Autumn Photo Workshop

Recommended Camera Gear

  • Sturdy tripod and ballhead
  • Digital SLR or Mirrorless Camera Body.
  • Wide angle lens in the 16-35mm range.
  • Mid-range zoom lens in the range of 24-70mm or 24-105mm.
  • Telephoto zoom lens for wildlife and landscape compression.  A 100-400mm works best from our experience.  A 200mm lens is not long enough for most wildlife shooting.
  • Circular polarizer filters and ND filters for your lenses. A 9 or 10-stop ND filter will be useful for creating very long exposures.
  • Backpack to carry your gear along with a rain cover for the pack.
  • Extra batteries, memory cards, and cleaning supplies.
  • Laptop if you wish to back up or review your photos during the trip.

Personal Gear List

  • Sturdy hiking footwear, hiking socks, and long pants.
  • Rain jacket and warm layers for cold mornings. Hat and gloves are also recommended.
  • Hip or Chest Waders.
  • Headlamp
  • Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Sun Hat.
  • Water bottle or hydration bladder.
  • Hiking poles if you like having them.
Great Smoky Mountains Autumn Photo Workshop
Great Smoky Mountains Autumn Photo Workshop
Great Smoky Mountains Photo Workshop Autumn Fall in Tennessee and North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains Autumn Photo Workshop
RogerTrentham Square

Roger Trentham

Roger Trentham is an eighth generation native of the Smoky Mountains who expresses his love of the natural world through photography. Roger is a past partner in the Smoky Mountain School of Photography and an experienced nature photography presenter/educator. His work may be
viewed on Facebook at Roger Trentham Nature Photography.

Roger has presented programs at various venues throughout East Tennessee including the Georgia Nature Photographers Association, the Southern
Appalachian Nature Photographers in Knoxville and Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge. Roger considers himself a generalist nature photographer
and feels equally comfortable with macro, wildlife, night and landscape photography. For the past few years Roger has co-led nature photography workshops with nationally known nature photographers/instructors. If you want to explore seldom visited parts of the Great Smoky Mountains, Roger will take you there!

Brian Clopp

Brian Clopp

Photography Instructor

Brian Clopp is an entrepreneur and a passionate wildlife and portrait photographer based in Salt Lake City, UT. His work has been featured on Forbes, CNN, MSN, Daily Mail, DP Review, DY Photography, and the cover of Foto Magazine.  His portraits include noted celebrities such as President Jimmy Carter, Ted Turner, James Earl Jones, John C. Reilly, Jessie Jackson, and more. His work has graced the CNN Travel homepage numerous times, is featured in world class hotels, and his print “God’s Painting” has won a major National Geographic award.  Recently, he won a prestigious Travel Photographer of the Year Award for his wild stallion portfolio in the Thrills & Adventures category.