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D810 70-200mm f/4.0 VR 1/200 sec. f:8 @70mm

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Anyone who knows me knows that I love summer, but I hate heat. I spend all year planning the things I am going to do but then will immediately change my mind when the temp breaks 90.

The last few years I have been retreating to the mountains as it starts to get hot in the flatlands of NC. This year however, I started early. For my birthday (April 3rd) I rounded up everyone who I could get to go with me to the mountains. Now this was not a photo trip at all, it was in fact a fishing trip. 

I love to fish, it's calming and peaceful, you can spend 10 minutes and feel fully rested. Now being from NC most of my fishing is Bass, Bream, and Surf. That said I have always wanted to catch a Trout.

Trout fishing is a little bit magical to a central North Carolinian. They live in the Mountains, in small creeks; you need to find them and fish for them with an entirely different approach to normal pond fish. 

D750 105mm 2.8g VR 1/60th F/5.6

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This is what I ended up catching my first ever trout with. A hand tied (by yours truly) Clouser Minnow with bead chain eyes on a #10 Firehole barbless hook. This is exactly not the correct fly for trout. Why was I using a Clouser instead of a Parachute Addams, or a Caddis Fly, or anything else?

After 3 solid days of fishing with everyone else's recommendations I decided to think like a fish. I wasn't getting any attention, I needed to entice an aggressive fish. What do aggressive fish eat? Other fish! I decided to use a baitfish imitation and it caught me my first Trout.

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I caught this little guy on the last day we were there, we had already checked out of the cabin;and frankly I had given up on catching a Trout. It shouldn't have been a big deal, but that was the entire point of the trip. Additionally both my uncle Tony and Ralph had caught one each. Prior to this trip none of us had ever fished for Trout and now I was the only one leaving with out a catch. 

I decided to pull off on the way down the mountain to try one last time. and practically instantly I had this little guy on the line. This fish totally changed my outlook on the trip. I was becoming sullen and miserable to be around. I could think of nothing other than why I had not caught one. I was fishing from 6am to 10pm the second and third days of the trip.

You may be wondering why this fish was so important. It wasn't so much the fish as it was my attitude that changed. Because of this Brook Trout I decided not to head straight home. We decided to head up to Clingmans Dome.

D810 70-200mm f4 VR 1/200th f/8 @145

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What we found then we got to Clingmans Dome aside from massive elevation gain in a very short time, was ice. Evidently the water vapor from cloud cover actually crystallizes onto the trees overnight. It was stunning and totally unexpected. The Temps when we got there were around 30 degrees. It was a complete 180 from the cabin we had been staying in just a couple hours earlier. 

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I would like to thank that Trout one more time. If it wasn't for him or her ( I can't discern fish gender easily) I would not have continued on to Clingmans Dome. That would mean I also wouldn't have captured my favorite image over the first half of the year. 

This is the view from the top of Clingman's dome with ice crystals coating the trees along the ridgeline of the Great Smokey Mountains.

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I would like to give a special thanks to my Uncle Tony for the suggestion as well as walking the cold steep climb to the top of the dome when he really didn't need to. 

Thanks Tony!

-B. Greene

D810 70-200mm f4 VR 1/800th f/4 @70mm

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