Great Smoky Mountains Spring Photo Tours and Workshops

Great Smoky Mountains instructional photo tours and workshops, photo classes, cades cove, spring, wildflowers, cligman's dome, roaring fork nature trail. Our photo tours takes you to best locations. We visit twice a year in April and October.

Join us on a photo tour or photo workshop to the Great Smoky Mountains. Cades Cove, Tennessee, TN, waterfalls, Rivers. Clingman's Dome, Roaring Fork Nature Trail, Black Bear, White Tailed Deer, Smokies, Gatlinburg, Townsend TN.

Great Smoky Mountains Photo Tours and Workshops Spring



John is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park. He has been leading trips there for several years.

This trip always sells out.

Join us on an instructional photo tour or workshop to Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the surrounding areas. This incredible biodiversity makes this one of the top areas in the country for nature photography.

April is a magical time to be there. The forests are carpeted with wildflowers, lush forests, beautiful mountain ranges etc. The streams and waterfalls are flowing at peak water level. The Dogwoods and Red Buds should be in bloom. We also will photograph wildlife such as black bear, white tailed deer, coyote, and wild turkey are commonly seen. In 2015 we had over 21 black bear sightings.

The Park is home to approximately 1,600 kinds of flowering plants. In fact, the park is sometimes referred to as the “Wildflower National Park.” During mid to late April many wildflowers are in brilliant displays. What's great about the park being so large and having more than a 4,000 foot elevation range between its highest an lowest point is that you can chase a blooming season starting at lower elevations, warmer southern exposures to the higher elevations and more northern exposures to prolong the duration of peak bloom.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park contains some of the largest tracts of wilderness in the East and is a critical sanctuary for a wide variety of animals. Protected in the park are some 66 species of mammals, over 200 varieties of birds, 50 native fish species, and more than 80 types of reptiles and amphibians.

The reason for the large number of species is attributable to several factors, including vast differences in altitude and temperature, lots of rain (averaging 90 inches per year), the impact of the ice age, and the preservation efforts by the National Park Service.

The symbol of the Smokies, the American Black Bear, is perhaps the most famous resident of the park. The Park provides the largest protected bear habitat in the East. Though populations are variable, biologists estimate approximately 1,500 bears live in the park, a density of approximately two bears per square mile.

This tour will greatly enhance your skill as a photographer. We will be doing a lot of landscape, wildlife, and macro photography. We also have a conference room reserved for additional critique sessions and lessons. We will cover several subjects including exposure, depth of field, histograms, shutter speed, filters, macro, wildlife photography, digital darkroom, Photoshop, and Lightroom.

Our itinerary will be planned around weather conditions, lighting, and recent wildlife activity. We will take advantage of the lighting and the unique opportunities. Our goal is to capture the best images we can during our tour. Each day we will be starting before dawn and ending after sunset. However, we typically will take a mid-day break to rest and recuperate. This is also a good time to review photo techniques and photo critiques. The tour is based in Townsend, TN which is centrally located to many of the parks best photo locations.

April 25-29, 2019 Thursday- Monday


Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Vicinity

Tour begins and ends in Townsend, TN.


$1295. Per person includes , instruction, and transportation. Park admission, permits and transportation from hotel to field locations.

Transportation: We provide transportation. Participants will be able to ride in a comfortable passenger van. Many tours have multiple cars following each other. This is a problem since some of the best photo opportunities have only room for 3 or 4 cars. This forces the tours to skip some of the best locations. For wildlife photography if there is a bear on the side of the road it can sometimes be difficult to get a parking spot never mind with several cars.

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Payment can be made by check to Slonina Photography. We also accept credit cards thru our online shopping cart.

This trip will sell out so please register early.


Day 1: We will meet at the hotel. Check in time is at 3 pm.

We will have an introductory meeting, review safety guidelines, and discuss recent wildlife sightings. We also will discuss plans, goals and objectives for the upcoming week. We will then leave for an evening shoot continuing to sunset.

Day 2-4: We will meet and be on location before the sun comes up to take advantage of the morning light and the peak wildlife activity. There will also be an afternoon session continuing to sunset. Each day is paced to maximize photo opportunities and the schedule will be flexible to maximize getting the best light.

Day 5: Early morning photo shoot. We will conclude trip and return to hotel before check out time of 11 am

Who Should Attend:

Anyone with an interest in photography from a beginner to professional.

Some topics we cover

Fitness Level:
This trip will involve some short flat walks. None of the hikes are long most of them within site of my tour van. So you do not have to be in great shape for this tour.

Group Size:

Our group size is limited to eight people which is smaller than most other tour companies.

This offers several advantages.

Maximize Learning

Personalized one on one attention, critiques, and photography advice. Both in the field and in the classroom. I want to make sure you get the best shots while we are on location.

Better Access

We get much better access to remote areas than bus tours, day tours and car pools. There are several incredible places which only have room for one or two cars.

We will be traveling in one vehicle designed for wildlife viewing. We can access more remote areas and respond quicker to where wildlife has been spotted.

Our smaller groups allow a closer approach to wildlife. Larger groups makes animals more nervous.

Before and after each workshop we will assess each participants needs, interests and skills so we can teach techniques that will help each participant.

What's Included:

Also included are transportation from hotel to field locations, instruction, gates fees and permits.

Not Included:

The hotel is not included but we reserved a block of rooms under Slonina Photography.

The discount cost of the room is $109.50 per night .

Please mention Slonina Photography to get this rate.

Highland Manor Inn and Conference Center (800) 213-9462

Food and drinks will not be included. We will visit various restaurants in and out of the park. Each participant will be responsible for their own food tab. We will also stop for snacks and drinks.

Air travel is not covered.

Cancellation Policy:


About Us:

John Slonina is a professional nature photographer who has been photographing for over 30 years. John has a love of natural history. During the workshop, you will receive information on photography techniques and the natural world. Understanding nature not only increases your appreciation of it but also helps you become a better nature photographer.

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