The John P. Cable Mill, Cades Cove, and a peek at process

This is another entry based on an update I did for the Kickstarter campaign I ran for The Old Mill. I have made a few tweaks for clarity and removed anything, other than graphics, that refer directly to the campaign. I'm still getting the hang of the OctoberCMS Blog plug-in and building a workflow that works for me.

Hello again Passersby!

John P. Cable Mill

The Old Mill is the John P. Cable Mill. It is located in Cades Cove, which is a part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It’s one of the many things to see in Cades Cove, let alone the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It is a functioning grist mill that you can see in operation a good chunk of the year. If you’re touring Cades Cove, you can stop in and see grains being ground into flour if you’re there between April and October. I found it to be quite interesting, and the low droning of the stones grinding against each other created a somewhat soothing, if uneven, sound. You can buy flour there, too, but interestingly you can’t buy any of the flour that you see being ground there. According to the gentleman working the mill when I was there it’s because they allow the public into the room where the mill stone is doing its work. He said where the flour that you can purchase was actually milled, but I do not remember where. With enough internet sleuthing I'm sure it can be found out.

Still, though, it is interesting to see the process in action. Outside there are a few mill stones that had been used beyond effectiveness and worn down over the years through use.

They make a nice place to sit and contemplate while you listen to the water flown down over the wheel behind you.

Cades Cove

Cades Cove was a settlement whose inhabitants lived there until the early part of the 20th Century. The land was then swallowed up as part of the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To put it mildly, there was a lot of resistance from the inhabitants. It is an interesting story and, if you’re interested in reading more about it all, there are lots of great resources out there chronicling the history of the area.

To travel the whole length of Cades Cove, you have to drive or walk 11 miles on a one-way road. Before 10:00am, though, it's pedestrians and bikes only. If you’re planning on visiting during times of incremental weather, check the weather before you go. If you want to see everything, or most of everything, plan on spending the whole day there. Especially if you want to spend any time at any of the primitive Christian churches, trails, or the mill itself!

Keep an eye out for bears and other wildlife, though. They’re amazing to see in the wild, but you do NOT want to be on the wrong end of an angry mother bear defending her cubs. A telephoto lens helps keep the distance.

A few links to get you started…

Now, on to the photo…

I wrote in the project description how one of my main goals when taking a shot is to be able to present a familiar object in an unfamiliar way. Additionally, I have an avid interest in older methods and styles of photography. It’s why I chose to create the pinhole shots for the postcards.

As you can tell from The Old Mill, grungy old photos hold a special interest for me. I love the idea of wet plates, but I absolutely, positively, 100% do not have the space to stash all the equipment I would need in addition to what I already have.

And that’s not even counting all the stuff that will need to find a home when the baby gets here in April!

I knew when I saw the water coming down over the wheel that it was a shot I had to take. There weren’t too many people around, so I could take my time and get it right. But, I knew that it wasn’t going to look right in color and it needed to be a black and white shot, but something a little special beyond just being black and white.

I thought about it for a moment then I knew what I had to do. Given where I found myself standing, and when the mill had been constructed, I knew that I wanted it to look like a worn wet plate.

So I pushed the button and the shutter went click!

Before and after comparison of The Old Mill

The left is the untouched, aside from cropped image. The right is, of course, the final product.

To create the effect of what you see, I dumped the raw file into Lightroom and fired up the Nik Collection (which, as a side note, Google had let die and apparently was purchased by DxO. I missed that bit of information somehow until I sat down to work on this update) and adjusted the color version that you see on the left until I got what you see on the right.

I won’t go into a tutorial here in this blog entry, I'm saving that for later, but the work centered around using Wet Plates in Analogue Efex Pro 2 and customizing what I saw until I got the look I was happy with.

Screenshot of Nik Collection with Digital Pinhole of Lincoln Memorial

For now, you can still download the Nik Collection for free. With DxO's purchase of the Nik Collection, who knows how much longer that will be a possibility. If you do download it, it works great in Photoshop CS5, the current version of Lightroom Classic, and mostly works in CC 2018, but you have to manually move the plug-ins to the right folder. I've also had good luck with it running in Affinity Photo, but there are some parts of the software that don't want to cooperate with it. Still, an option worth trying if you're interested and don't want to subscribe to Creative Cloud.

Comments or questions? Contact me or leave a note below!

Posted in All Posts, General Posts on Mar 14, 2018

Hey there!

Thanks for reading! I hope you found it fun, informative, interesting, or entertaining, Work like this is what I do full time so I’d appreciate any support you can give to help me continue! Or, if you’d rather, how about picking up a print from my store?

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Unless otherwise noted, all content Copyright © 2015-2018 Ronald A. Bigler.