photography and digital scrapbooking

Sweetwater Creek in Autumn


We spent an afternoon at Sweetwater Creek State Park last week. We always enjoy the hiking trails, sense of history, and the soothing sound of water splashing in the rocky creek. I like the trail that leads to the ruins of the New Manchester Textile Mill. This structure was burned during the Civil War to hamper production of Confederate uniforms. Holes for windows and crumbling bricks create a haunting sight along the shadowy trail.

I used my least favorite lens that day;  an older Tamron 18-270mm. It gives me some trouble with a loose focus ring and other problems, but I knew I would need the wide focal length for shots of the creek and wooded areas. I used RAW format and expected to work on the processing quite a bit. However, these files were more desaturated than expected. Not even close to the color I saw that day. So I adjusted basic tonality, clarity, and vibrance settings in Lightroom. Then applied some Nik filters mostly for saturation, tonal range, and in some cases a gentle high key filter. I quickly discovered that processing autumn landscapes is not easy! The challenge was to reveal the range of colors while keeping them natural. I hope you enjoy these and please let me know if you have any tips for processing autumn tree photos!

All photos: Canon 60D, handheld.

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Author: Karen Chandler

Metal clay jewelry, nature photography, and digital scrapbooking are Karen's passions. She is mostly self-taught, enjoying the learning process as much as producing her works of art. Karen's jewelry features fine silver, copper, and bronze. She sculpts and refines metal clay, then kiln fires her pieces and polishes them to perfection. The process allows for exciting interpretations of symbols, shapes, textures, and combinations of metals. A long time user of Photoshop, Karen loves to create digital layouts with her photos. Her layouts and albums are a diary of sorts; documenting milestones, recording happy times, and celebrating her love of nature.

24 thoughts on “Sweetwater Creek in Autumn

  1. Beautiful autumn colours.

  2. Karen, those photos are just simply gorgeous. I guess I am easily awed, because I don’t get to see that much color in the fall here. I really like the old ruins, too and the texture of the brick, etc. But they are wonderful. Thank you so much for showing them. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Bob! I love the trees here (except spring when the pollen gives me all kinds of trouble). The autumn colors are usually spectacular in Georgia. The mill ruins are surrounded by a high fence to keep people from taking the bricks. Saturday tours include the mill ruins and (other historical ruins) at the park. I plan to take the tour someday.

  3. Love your photos – Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. Okay Santa, here’s what I want for Christmas . . . a wide angle lens! But obviously it will take a lot more than that to capture the same beauty as you have displayed on this page. Your work is totally professional and exceptionally outstanding Karen.

  5. Beautiful as usual. You have such a wonderful eye for making your pictures balanced and so very nice for the eye to follow.

    • Thank you, Joy! So much to remember when processing photos. I did keep the upper and lower tonality balance in mind as I worked. The sky was very bright that day so I used a Lightroom exposure gradient on some photos. Thanks for noticing!

  6. Fall colors just never get old! I had the opportunity to see Central Park earlier this week from 36 floors above ground and the colors of the tree tops was just breathtaking. It didn’t even feel real!

  7. Wow. The new photo carousel was made for pictures like these, Karen. 🙂 I especially like the ones with the row of trees reflected on the still waters. Gorgeous.

    • Thank you, tita buds! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I love the carousel. I was thinking about changing themes so I could have a wider central panel, but now that seems unnecessary. Of course, wordpress just added a cool new photography theme that is tempting me!

  8. You seem to be doing well. The photos are beautiful. I am still trying to work on my photography, therefore I do not have any hints for you.

  9. Boy that looks like a place I would like to visit!!! You did a super job Karen!!!

  10. Such beauty in your photographs, Karen. You’ve really done the season justice!

    • Thanks, Cait! Bright sun that day and heavy shadows along the creek bank. Made things a bit more difficult. But I love learning to deal with photographic and processing challenges.

  11. Hi Karen,
    You have captured the wonderful colors of Autumn perfectly! Nice work! 🙂