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Photographer offers his vision of Cades Cove

Bill Lea is a professional photographer who quotes Albert Einstein and sees one of the most photographed areas in the Smokies as a “secret world.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m., Lea, invites the public to share views of Cades Cove through his camera lens. With a desire to capture Albert Einstein’s concept of nature, Lea says, quoting Einstein, “Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

Lea created “Cades Cove: Window to a Secret World,” by creating a photo album, assembling pages into a book and adding tidbits of history and natural history commentary. The public will have an opportunity to experience his photography and commentary during the presentation at the library.

“Bill Lea has managed to capture the very essence of Cades Cove in this fabulous book,” says Ian Plant, president of Mountain Trail Press. “His photography shows us the intimate Cades Cove,- not just the pastoral scenery and historic charm, but the very soul of this special place.”

Cades Cove is known geologically as a “window,” meaning that mountains of older rocks surround the younger valley floor. Cades Cove is a “window” in another sense, says Lea. Preserved by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to look much the way it looked in the 1800s, the “window” of Cades Cove allows visitors to peer back in time and to visit a secret world of historic cabins, barns and churches, while enjoying incredible wildlife viewing opportunities.

“In addition to sharing the visual wonder of Cades Cove, I want readers to gain a warm and personal glimpse of the settlers and stories behind every splendid scene,” says Lea. “I hope people will connect and forever bond with this tranquil but exquisite Smoky Mountain setting, just like I have.”

The book includes breath-taking scenic views, animals with personality, ice-frosted plants, maple leaves clinging to a dewy spider web suspended between barbed fence wires, sun-splashed fields, cloud-covered meadows, full-color palette sunrises, shadowy mountain crests and clutches of fog fingers hugging log cabins.

“I believe the Lord has blessed us with so much beauty in the world. My photography focuses on the various components of His creation. He is the Master Artist; I am simply the student. Perhaps these images will help inspire a greater appreciation for our natural world and a deep reverence for all life…I hope so,” Lea said on his Web site www.billlea.com.

Drawing from several publications about Cades Cove and from personal interviews with local Cades Cove authors and historians, Lea’s textual captions and historic comments compliment his photographic images.

Free and open to the public, the program is at the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street.

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