Trees at Welch Point in Sparta, Tennessee at sunset

A chilly sunset shoot at Welch Point

Trees at Welch Point in Sparta, Tennessee at sunset

A couple weeks ago I was going to be sort of in the area of my favorite overlook in the Upper Cumberland - Welch Point in Sparta, near Virgin Falls State Natural Area (I say sort of because it involved taking the long back way home from Crossville to Cookeville, and even without the hour plus stop for photos, probably added at least 45 minutes to my drive. But I digress) at sunset.

Anyway, knowing I was going to be somewhat near the area, I grabbed my camera bag on the way out the door so I would be prepared. Unfortunately I didn't think to grab a jacket, or gloves, or a hat. The real feel was about 34 degrees and it was crazy windy up on the overlook!

Anyway, I got my tripod set up and started figuring out where to shoot from. I also took a few self-portraits which I later had to Photoshop a bit as I was on the edge of the frame using a wide-angle lens. If you've never seen what that looks like, just know it is NOT a flattering look for anyone. With a little work and a lot of cropping though, I ended up with a nice shot for my social media, keeping up my "living my best life" vibe that I somehow have even though most of my free time is spent in sweatpants, reading on the couch with my dog begging for popcorn at my feet.

Nature and Landscape Photographer Andrea Kruszka standing at sunset at Welch Point in Sparta, Tennessee

Gorgeous, if I say so myself. I'm slowly getting better at the self-portraits, even if I feel like a total fool while I'm doing them. Luckily, I was alone at the overlook this particular time, so no one was looking at me wondering what the hell I was up to - sometimes that happens.

I got my camera settings all set how I wanted them, and then set my interval timer to take shots every few seconds so I could be less concerned that I'd lost feeling in my fingers. This also ensures I kept the same exact frame for merging photos in processing later on. After the sun went behind the hills, I started bracketing my shots so I could take advantage of Lightroom's HDR merge feature, which I hadn't used yet. I've got some learning to do, but I'm pretty happy with how this turned out for a first shot!

Sunset at Welch Point in Sparta, Tennessee

Not long after this, I decided to pack it up before it got super dark. I got all my gear together and trekked the short walk back to my car, thankful I had a flashlight in my bag because there's a lot of rocks and roots to trip on!

On the road out, I had to stop a few times and shoot out my car window because the trees against the sky were so beautiful.

Trees in Virgin Falls State Natural Area and Bridgeston WMA in Sparta, Tennessee just past sunset

I love these trees. On cloudy days they always give me a post-apocalyptic vibe for some reason. With the sunset colors fading away in the background, it was hard to tear myself away.

So that's it! A beautiful way to spend an evening and it produced one of my new favorite pictures. It's easy to see why Scott's Gulf was called "The Grand Canyon of the Cumberlands" by a traveler in the 1800s. This is definitely worth a trip if you're planning a visit to Sparta or the Upper Cumberland!

Sunset at Welch Point in Sparta, Tennessee

Stay wild, friends!

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