RobTravis Pano at the Cradle of Forestry

Check out the new art installation by photographer Rob Travis at the Cradle of Forestry on Highway 276 near Brevard, NC.  The photographic triptych is hard to miss, measuring 30” x 90” and hanging right behind the welcome desk - it’s an impressive depiction of the valley that’s home to the Cradle of Forestry.

Rob Travis' Cradle of Forestry Tower Project Triptych

Known as the “Birthplace of Forest Conservation in America” the Cradle of Forestry historic site resides in a 6,500 acre valley just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Rob worked with Carlton Murrey, the director of the Cradle of Forestry Interpretive Association of America, and other Cradle personnel. In June they made their first trip together to Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower, a U.S. Forest Service location on the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost 409.6). The group climbed six flights of stairs to the observation deck, with its expansive views of the valley.

Rob saw Looking Glass Rock to the right with “Cradle Valley” in the center of the view. “This was perfect – I just couldn’t get it all in a single image. I decided then on a stitched panoramic moving left to right. I picked a landscape point and rotated to the right 80 degrees. I kept doing this so each exposure had about a 20% overlap with its predecessor. Then I took seven, eight, nine images.”

His goal that first trip was to ensure that Carlton and the others understood his vision for the picture. After looking at the panoramic at home on his computer, Rob said “yes, that’s it” and emailed his vision to Carlton.

Once he knew it was a panoramic, Rob decided to present the visual in a triptych. “The image will hang in a public space and it’s challenging to frame a 7-foot work. Also, it’s much easier to repair one section if that’s ever needed. The triptych is also a nice design element.

Rob decided on either a sunrise or sunset shot to play off the colors in the sky. “That first trip was late afternoon and the valley was already in the shadows. I wanted to try a sunrise. The color in the sky adds a pop. With sunrise I got an easterly illumination of the valley.”

Rob made five trips to the top of the lookout tower on Fryingpan Mountain, each time he worked to get the best rendition of the valley using his panoramic method.

Carlton and the Cradle of Forestry selected his image, and the seven foot triptych was installed at the Cradle of Forestry during the first week of August. Rob is pleased with the outcome. “The setting there at the Cradle is terrific and the image benefits from the great lighting. I hope that visitors enjoy it too and that there will be many photos taken with ‘The Cradle of Forestry in the Pink Beds’ as the backdrop.”


Camera and Shooting Details: Canon EOS 5D MK2, Gitzo Tripod, EF-S 28-135mm lens, vertical orientation, no polarizer or AWB, remote shutter release, mirror lock-up. Each individual capture f/14 at 40mm, 2 second exposure, ISO 100.

About Rob Travis: Rob offers fine art photography, commercial and editorial images and a series of workshops designed for photographers of all skill levels. His photography is available at:
Blue Moon Art and Photography, 10771 Greenville Hwy., Cedar Mountain, NC
French Broad Place, 29 W French Broad, Brevard, NC 28712
Woolworth Walk, 25 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC
Kress Emporium, 19 Patton Avenue, Asheville, NC
Cindy Saadeh Gallery, 128 E Market Street, Kingsport, TN

About the Cradle of Forestry: located on Hwy. 276 north of Brevard; open every day, April 11- November 8, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; $5.00 for adults 16 years of age and older. Free for everyone on Tuesdays (except guided group programs by reservation).

Article Contributed by: Joan Van Orman

Joan VanOrman - Focused Marketing for Photographers