I’m probably going to regret doing this because it’s letting a big ol’ cat out of the bag.

But I’m going to do it anyway: UT Gardens is one of the best kept secrets in Knoxville.

Located off Neyland Drive on the University of Tennessee campus, UT Gardens is one of those places that you can miss if you aren’t looking for it. In fact, I drove by it for years without ever knowing that it was there. But if you take the time to look for it, you’ll find one the most beautiful arboretum-type garden areas in Knoxville. This time of year, especially, you’ll find all kinds of blooming trees and flowers. There are plenty of nice areas to sit in the shade or in the sun, there’s a waterfall that’s really pretty, and little nooks and crannies to sit and read or just let the world go by. Oh, and the best part? It’s totally free to the public.

As a photographer, I love it because I can schedule shoots there and there is enough variety in the surroundings that they won’t look the same. The shot below is from one of our recent sessions at UT Gardens.

If you want to spend some time in a beautiful, natural setting, then I highly recommend it.


  • Emails asking for access to your bank account to launder money. I’ve gotten a couple of these recently, which are variations on the old Nigerian or 4-1-9 scam. This one is supposedly a guy from South Africa needing help getting $22 million out, for which he will give you a fee of 20%. Do people still fall for this stuff?
  • Lost. Now I’ll admit that I’m not a fan and have never sat down and watched an entire episode. So I’m probably opening myself up here for criticism. But I have to say I never got the fascination. A show about a bunch of people stranded on an island after a plane crash? Sounds more like a bad TV movie than a show that ended up lasting for six years.
  • People who pull out in front of you when the road is clear behind you for miles. Had this happen a couple of times recently and it always causes my blood pressure goes up at least 20 points. You’re telling me your in such a hurry that you can’t wait another 20 seconds until I get by so I don’t have to slam on my brakes to keep from T-boning you?


  • UT Gardens. One of the best places to shoot photos in Knoxville. Period.
  • The new version of Photoshop, CS5. Best update in years to the best program for editing photos. There are too many improvements to go into here, but two of them — content aware fill (which recognizes what a photo should look like when you remove something from it) and High Dynamic Range handling (which can give photos that gritty, modern look) — are worth the price of admission by themselves.
  • Live 365. Internet radio isn’t hugely popular, but I happen to like it. Live 365 has both free and paid offerings and allows you to listen to independent internet radio stations that can have interesting or hard to find music offerings. Right now I am listening to a station that plays music from the Walt Disney World parks.