Laurelwood Photography


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2016 - A trip back to Orr, Mn

Posted by Sherry McCollum on June 6, 2016 at 5:50 PM Comments comments (2)

In late May and early June of 2016, I had the experience of again visitng Orr, Mn where the Vince Schute Wildlife Sanctuary is located and the thrill of taking more photographs of the beautiful bears that receive supplemental feeding there from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year.  In addition to photographing the bears I met some of the most amazing volunteers, interns and employees at the Sanctuary.  Their dedication and love for being at the Sanctuary is beyond description.  They made me feel so welcome  that there are no words to describe the experience.  I went to the Sanctuary almost every afternoon from the 5:00 PM opening to the 8:00 PM close.  I was greeted warmly everyday as I entered the bus area, bought a ticket, boarded the bus and arrived at the deck where more volunteers and interns awaited the many guests who were riding the bus.  On deck we were privileged to hear "Bear Talks" given by loyal and knowledgeable interns and volunteers who were definitely enjoying their jobs.  I feel that I arrived as a guest but left as a friend to these wonderful people.  Of course, being here in the Spring, there weren't as many bears as there were during my last trip in August 2012 when the bears are eating up to 20 hours a day and trying to fatten up for their winter hibernation, but there were still many photo opportunities to take advantage of.  I've begun posting the photos I took to an album here on my website, so I hope you will take a few minutes and enjoy the Black Bear photos as well as those of other places I visited during this spectacular trip back to Orr, Mn.


Posted by Sherry McCollum on August 23, 2013 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (4)

Memories.  What a great reference we carry in our mind.  As I look back, I realize that at this very time last year (2012) I was experiencing the most exciting photo trip ever.  I was with a group of very devoted to the craft photographers with our experienced and well known photo guide, Bill Lea, taking Black Bear photographs near the tiny town of Orr, Mn at the most amazing place I have ever seen, The Vance Schute Wildlife Sanctuary.  If you have any love of Black Bears and wildlife in general, you must visit their website at and then plan a trip to the sanctuary.  There is a huge viewing platform where the public view the bears but as paying photographers, we were actually on the ground with the bears at eye level.  We started our photography days early in the morning while the dew was still on the grass and the bears were coming in from the surrounding woods to be fed from the green buckets carried by volunteers who dumped piles of nuts and grains and dried fruit  for the bears to gorge on during the day.  We were there during the time when the bears were eating as much as possible to fatten up for their winter hibernation period and WOW, could they put away the food.  I watched a particularly charming 3 legged bear named Schwinn eat so much one day that he just fell over.  Scared me to death.  I thought he had died but I was told he was just in a "food coma" from eating so much.  This trip and the over 1,000 photographs I brought back with me will be a lasting treasure and memory I hope will stay with me the rest of my life.  If you would like to see some of the bear photographs I took, look at my Black Bear gallery.  Happy photographing, Sherry

Sherry attended the Spring Photo Workshop @ Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Posted by Sherry McCollum on April 30, 2010 at 11:53 PM Comments comments (6)

I have just attended the Spring Photo Workshop at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont in Townsend, Tn and it was one awesome workshop.  The workshop featured four great presenters:  Bill Lea, Jeff Miller, Todd Moore and Tom Vadnais.  Each presenter has a different take on photography, digital editing, printing, etc and I learned so much from the programs each of them presented.  We photographed in the morning light off the Foothills Parkway near Townsend and later in the day on the Middle Prong of the Little River in the Tremont area.  We also took a couple of trips to newly opened Cades Cove loop road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to photograph turkeys, deer and the ever charming log cabins.  It was one great workshop and I'll soon have some of the photos I took on my website.  Sherry, Laurelwood Photography