There is a generally accepted school of thought that, if one is going to paint from photographs, they should be photos taken by the artist himself. It makes a lot of sense, really. If you took the photo, you have a connection to the place, and a memory of what the sounds, smells, and air were like in that spot.
But I occasionally stray from conventional wisdom in my approach to my art, and that includes the use of photographs by other people. One caveat, of course, is that permission should always be obtained. Beyond that, I occasionally stumble over photographs that reach out to me, begging to be used as the basis for a painting. This was one of those instances. Seth Ramsey, a member of my extended family, gave me permission quite some time ago to use some photos he had taken along the Rainbow Falls Trail in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They were all beautiful photos, but one of them conveyed this almost mystical scene of a trail passing through an arch of foliage, and disappearing into the fog beyond.
One almost expects Bilbo Baggins to emerge from the mist, shuffling around the bend leaning on a walking stick.