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Photographer/pilot, Ron Lowery uses his aerial artistry to connect us all environmentally and emotionally to the Tennessee River

A hardcover book of over 130 color photographs of the beautiful Tennessee River.

An Awareness Project About the Tennessee River

Hi! I'm Ron Lowery and I'm a professional photographer and pilot based in Tennessee. I’m nationally recognized for the previous aerial and photography adventure book on the route of Lewis and Clark, Chasing Lewis & Clark Across America: A 21st Century Aviation Adventure.

My new book, Tennessee River: Sparkling Gem of the South, is a eye-opening view of one of America’s great, but under appreciated rivers. This river is 652 miles of lakes and tributaries; it begins high in the Appalachian Mountains and ends in a merger with the Ohio River in Paducah, Kentucky. The book is 144 pages, hardback with foiled and embossed cover, 11.75 x 9 inches, with beautiful color images throughout.

A Photographer and a Pilot

I've spent the last thirteen years virtually living in the sky, flying an experimental plane that I built and named, Cloud Chaser, and taking these photographs along the Tennessee River.

Being able to be airborne hundreds of hours has presented me with dramatic lighting effects after a summer rain, allowed me to catch the earliest rays of sunshine at dawn and photograph cities emerging from the fog along the river.

I’ve soared with hot air balloons, dodged (not quite successfully) cow patties on a dirt road landing strip and flown with flocks of sandhill cranes as they come in to roost for the night.

I would like to share my unusual, aerial perspective above the river with you! Through the photography in this book, you will see the beauty from my perspective and why I treasure this “sparkling gem of the south.”

My view from the cockpit over Hiwassee Island
My view from the cockpit over Hiwassee Island

Please Help!

The Tennessee River book design is complete— all the images have been selected, the copy written and the layout has been done. Now we need your help to complete the printing phase. Most books like this are printed overseas, however, we are really committed to printing this book here in the US and need your help.

If you can't pledge, please share this project with your friends and family, and with your social networks on facebook and Twitter and email friends. The more people that know about it, the better chance it has of succeeding. Remember, Kickstarter projects are all or nothing, if we don't meet out goal, we and you, get nothing.

Keep it flowing forward.

Early morning fog breaks up over Knoxville as sun turns the buildings to gold.
Early morning fog breaks up over Knoxville as sun turns the buildings to gold.
Evening sunset over Lake Ocoee
Evening sunset over Lake Ocoee
Hot Air Balloons over Decatur, Alabama
Hot Air Balloons over Decatur, Alabama
Coolidge Park, Chattanooga
Coolidge Park, Chattanooga
Snow at sunset
Snow at sunset
High altitude of the Tennessee River
High altitude of the Tennessee River
Barge on the river
Barge on the river

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Challenges to Date:
To create great ideas for photographs is one thing, execution is a whole different matter. For instance, after finding out about the Hot-Air Balloon festival in Decatur, AL, I thought I could just go there and get shots as they drifted across the river. Well, it took four years to eventually get the shots I needed because of wind intensity and direction problems. Two of the years the balloons never lifted off.

For many years I had this dream of shooting a twilight shot above the Vol's Stadium in Knoxville during a game with the river in the background. After the 9/11 attack Homeland Security put a stop to that. After a few years passed, the security threat was relaxed and I was then legally allowed. However, then someone in the college athletic department made things difficult for me, so I eventually gave up and just thought… sorry Knoxville.

Then there were several years of drought and most of the upper lake levels were too low to make a good photograph.

When Sue and I first started planning this book project we thought funding wouldn’t be a problem knowing how much this book would promote economic development and tourism. We showed our project to various corporations, charitable foundations and city planners in the hope that they would share our vision and become so enthused they would shower us with money. But nothing happened, so we just continued the draw down on what was left of our home equity loan.

All my life, I've never been a dare-devil, but I am a financial risk taker. I have re-invented myself with several different careers, but all in the visual field. I am passionate about making this project work and become a reality.

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    5 backers

    RAINDROP LEVEL: Every drop counts! A “thank you” and know you are contributing to a wonderful project. Please spread the word to all your friends on email, twitter and facebook. Spreading the word is worth a lot!

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  • Pledge $25 or more
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    2 backers

    BROOK LEVEL: POSTCARDS, Three beautiful, 6’x9” embossed postcards featuring images from the book. Please pass the word out to everyone, your help is very important.

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    36 backers

    CREEK LEVEL: THE BOOK: a hard-back book with foiled, embossed cover, 144 pages. *Add $50/copy for additional copies.

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    STREAM LEVEL: THE BOOK, plus three POSTCARDS, Estimated Delivery: Oct. 2013, Shipped anywhere in the United States

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    15 backers

    TRIBUTARIES LEVEL: A SIGNED BOOK and three POST CARDS, PLUS keepsake BOTTLE OF TENNESSEE RIVER WATER from Mile Marker 477, with custom signed label.

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  • Pledge $225 or more
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    3 backers

    LAKES LEVEL: SIGNED BOOK, 15” signed fine art PRINT of the cover, keepsake BOTTLE OF TENNESSEE RIVER from Mile Marker 477, with custom signed label, and three POST CARDS.

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    TENNESSEE RIVER LEVEL: A SIGNED BOOK, 15” signed fine art PRINT of the cover, keepsake BOTTLE OF TENNESSEE RIVER water from Mile Marker 477, with custom, signed label, and three POST CARDS and a PERSONAL PHONE CALL where I will answer your questions about the book, the plane, how we did the project, shooting aerials, and advice on your own photography.

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    WATERSHED LEVEL: A “watershed” is a signature event to celebrate! This level will thank you for your generosity with a BOOK signed with a PERSONALIZED message for you and a LEATHER SLIPCASE with foiled TITLE on the outside, a 24” signed fine art PRINT of YOUR CHOICE of image from the book, and a PERSONAL PHONE CALL where I will answer your questions about the book, the plane, how we did the project, shooting aerials, and advice on your own photography.

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Funding period

- (30 days)