Smoky Mountains Photo Workshop

Fall in the Great Smoky Mountains
with Ron Modra and Patrick Murphy-Racey

October 24-29, 2021

(12 spots available)

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year in the Smoky Mountains. When the air gets crisp and the foliage turns vibrant, visitors from across the country come to witness the breathtaking views firsthand. Prepare to be amazed by the beautiful colors and scenery. It takes a picture to describe how majestic the mountains look when the leaves change from the deep greens to the bright oranges, reds, and golds.

We will also be photographing an Elk herd at the Oconalufee Visitor Center. During the October mating season, bull elk rutting calls can be heard just before dawn and right around dusk.

Some of the locations that we plan to visit include:

  • Clingmans Dome
  • Newfound Gap
  • Cades Cove
  • Morton Overlook
  • Mingus Mill
  • Oconalufee Visitor Center
  • Mingo Falls

This workshop will have an emphasis on field location shooting. It will also include sessions in image workflow (from RAW to finished print) using the latest versions of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. There will also be a minimum of two image reviews.

We will begin in the heart of the fall color season in Smoky Mountain National Park. We will stay in Cherokee North Carolina at the Marriott Fairfield Inn where buffet breakfast is included.

For those of you who don’t know, I worked 27 years as a staff photographer for Sports Illustrated amassing over 70 covers! Check out my website at:


I am also a member of the Lensman Project along with my good friend, country music star, Ronnie Dunn:

Come photograph one of America's grandest National Parks in a spectacular fall workshop this October 24-29, 2021 with me, former Sports Illustrated staffer and workshop leader, Ron Modra, accompanied by accomplished photographer and Sony Artisan Patrick Murphy-Racey.

What's Included

  • Single Occupancy for 4 nights, everyone has their own room!
  • All breakfasts and lunches
  • All transportation in a 24-seater bus
  • Processing Classes and Image Review


What's NOT Included

  • Airfare
  • Transportation to and from Knoxville Airport
  • Alcoholic or soda beverages


The hotel is located across from Harrah’s Casino where there are many dinner options, Ruth Chris Steak House, Uno Pizza, Noodle Bar (Asian) Lobby Café, Johnny Rockets, Selen Garden Cafe

How do I sign up?

Workshop Cost: $1975.00 (includes 4 nights lodging at the Marriott Fairfield Inn in Cherokee and transportation to and from photo locations)

Deposit: (required to hold your space in the workshop) $500. Remaining payment is due by July 26, 2021.

If you would like to pay the full cost of the workshop, click the PayPal link below to sign up:

Pay With PayPal

If you would like sign up, but only pay the deposit right now, send an email to Ron letting him know your interest, and send a check for the deposit to:

RModra Inc.
309 Church St. #108
Nashville, Tennesse

Questions? Here are some answers:

Where will the workshop be located? Marriott Fairfield Inn, Cherokee, North Carolina

What’s the closest airport? Knoxville, Tennessee. From there it’s a bit less then 50 miles to Cherokee, NC

How much time will be spent in the field? We will have you on location prior to sunrise and after sunset. We will spend secondary shoots after sunrise and before sunset photographing other locations.

Will you be discussing composition? Yes, and more. With each location, we will offer suggestions and go over technical (craft) questions. We will be there to assist you in finding and fine-tuning your compositions.

What are the times for the class sessions? Usually the class settings will be held when the light gets too harsh to shoot - normally early afternoon.

What topics will you cover? We will base our instruction after determining the group needs. The priority in this workshop will be field location shooting.

Will there be an Image Review Session? Yes, we will have at least (1) image review sessions!

When do we eat? We will get you back to the hotels in time for breakfast. We recommend eating dinner prior to the sunset shoots. If the light is holding, our priority will be to stay in the field and shoot; thus, we may not always get you back on time for breakfast so bring snacks.

Will there be night training sessions? No night shooting for this workshop is planned.

What’s the weather like? Typical weather in October is cool, with highs in the low 50s and lows in the low 30s. There could even be a chance of precipitation and wind. Layering and protective rain gear is recommended.

What camera should I bring? Most participants will have a digital SLR or mirrorless, but bring the camera or cameras with which you’re most comfortable shooting. We are not camera snobs. We work with all types of DSLR's and Mirrorless Cameras.

Do I have to shoot digitally? Much of the training will assume you’re shooting digitally, but digital isn’t required.

What lenses do you recommend? Lens choice is a very personal thing. You could probably find a use for every lens in your bag. So, bring as much as your luggage will hold, even if you won’t take it in the field for every shoot. We suggest at the minimum you have the range from 24mm to 200mm (full frame) covered.

What filters should I bring? Polarizers are the number one recommendation. Beyond that, GND filters are useful but not necessary. We will show you alternate ways of solving expanded dynamic range without filters. ND filters also add a creative alternative around water.

Travel and other expenses: Under no circumstances will I refund any charge not paid to me, such as (but not limited to) airfare, lodging, car rental, or meals. Though I’ve never had to cancel a workshop, and consider the possibility extremely remote, for your peace of mind I strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance to cover any losses resulting from a cancelled workshop.

Is a tripod required? While not required, a tripod will greatly enhance your opportunities and your images.

Will I need a laptop? Not required but useful for reviewing and storing images.

I’m a beginner—is there a minimum skill level required? All skill levels are welcome. Some of the material may be beyond your current level, but much will benefit photographers of all abilities.

Refund Policy

Your workshop payment, minus the registration fee ($150.00), will be refunded if you cancel outside of 91 days prior to the workshop.

No refund will be issued if you cancel 61-90 days prior to the workshop but that amount can be transferred to another workshop.

If you cancel 60 days or less, prior to the start of the workshop, you will forfeit the entire fee unless I can find a replacement. If I do find a replacement, you may transfer the amount to another workshop of your choosing if there are openings. I realize last minute emergencies can and do occur and I'll do my best to find a replacement but sometimes we just cannot fill the spot on such short notice.

Failure to pay balances by due date (July 26, 2021) can result in being dropped from workshop with no refund of deposit.

The Fine Print:

Sometimes circumstances beyond our control force us to alter our plans. Ron Modra Photography cannot be held for any unanticipated circumstances (such as natural disasters, park closures, inability to access locations, weather, pandemics, etc.) that either prevents you from attending or from us altering our location shoots. I will do my best to work around any unforeseen circumstances. TRAVEL INSURANCE IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR PERSONAL AGENT.

Travel and other expenses: Under no circumstances will I refund any charge not paid to me, such as (but not limited to) airfare, lodging, car rental, or meals. Though I’ve never had to cancel a workshop, and consider the possibility extremely remote, for your peace of mind I strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance to cover any losses resulting from a cancelled workshop.

Permits: Ron Modra photography workshops carry valid Commercial Use Authorization Permits for all locations used for this workshop. We are fully insured and instructors have certified advanced first aid training.

Transportation: All workshop participants will travel together in a 20 seat van to all locations.