What's Blooming in the Smokies

I've made a number of photo excursions to Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the last 5 yrs or so. There is an incredibly diverse array of photo ops in the park to attract image makers of all types. And though I'll attempt to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself, I'm mostly after 'landscape' shots when there......be it the moss covered rocks in streams/rivers in locations like the Tremont area or the fade in the distance ridge tops from Clingmans Dome. 

And I've had the good fortune to capture the unbelievably vibrant spring greens in the park as well as warmer colors that come in autumn. The one opportunity I've not yet captured is the blooming of the rosebray rhododendrons and/or mountain laurels that are so populous throughout much of the park. From everything I've read, they tend to bloom anywhere from late May to August....depending on the elevation of any given location. In the lower elevations like Cades Cove and Tremont, it seems the best opportunity to capture these will fall in the first 2-3 weeks of June.

All of which is a long way of getting to the point of this post. While researching the best time frame to capture the bloom, I ran across this Species Mapper link specific to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. If an equivalent is available for other National Parks, I was not able to find links to other parks. Perhaps it's something new.(?) In short, the provided map will assist one in finding areas of the park where a particular species of fauna or fowl is likely to be found. When I input either Mountain Laurel or Rosebray Rhododendron, it's clear the lower elevations throughout the park are very highly populated with these 2 species......which just verifies what I've seen 'up close & personal'.

Only thing left to do here is.....plan another trip to the park in June!

Below is just a sneak peek. Please visit this link for the whole enchilada....