Southeast

Atlanta from Freedom Parkway

Atlanta from Jackson Street, December 2016

Downtown Atlanta skyline as viewed from the Jackson Street overpass in December 2016

The app that I use to forecast sunrise and sunset conditions showed that there was a high chance of a brilliant sunset over Atlanta last night. So, Taylor and I headed down to the Jackson Street bridge over Freedom Parkway to see what might happen. I’ve shot from this location many, many times, but I’ve never come away with the shot I want. Unfortunately, the same was true last night. Conditions were promising, but no blazing sunset over my hometown materialized. Sigh. Conditions were great for the classic twilight view of Atlanta, however. Here’s that shot and here’s to that fiery sunset over the city that I’ve been chasing for a while now.

Venice Rookery

Venice Rookery 2

One thing that has been on my bucket list for a while has been to shoot the bird migration at Sanibel Island and the Venice Rookery. Given the facts that I live in Georgia and those locations are only about a nine-hour drive south of my home I should have been before now. Unfortunately each time I’ve considered making the trip something else at work or in my family has become a bigger priority and I couldn’t make the trip.

This past January, however, my wife’s parents decided to spend a month on Casey Key and she really wanted to check in on them to make sure they were doing okay. We decided to combine our interests and visit them and also make a long weekend out of the trip. The plan was to spend a night with them and a couple of nights on Sanibel. I would get to shoot a bit, she could check in on her parents, and we would both get a break from the colder weather in Atlanta.

So, we made the drive and I was able to get up early one morning and visit the Venice Rookery. As it turned out, the rookery was only about twenty minutes away from where they were staying! I had a blast shooting with my new Nikon 300 f/2.8 and teleconverters. Getting close up shots of beautiful blue herons, great egrets, and other migratory birds was a blast. There’s something beautiful and elegant about a bird in flight or interacting with other birds.

Unfortunately the time on Sanibel was not to be. Virtually every hotel on Sanibel was sold out since we were booking last minute. We stayed in nearby Fort Myers Beach but the weather turned rainy and windy. On our last day we were going to at least drive the wildlife trail on our way back to Atlanta, but a flat tire took up all of our time we had allotted for that. Oh well, at least Sanibel and the migratory birds will be there next year. I’m already planning a trip…

Venice Rookery 1 Venice Rookery 3 Venice Rookery 4 Venice Rookery 5 Venice Rookery 6 Venice Rookery 7

Eyes on Miami

These Eyes

A beautiful mural of a boy’s eyes in the Wynwood Walls section of Miami

The Wynwood Walls district of Miami is an amazing place to wander around for a day as a photographer. The artwork is imaginative, colorful, and unique. The more I shoot the more I like vibrant colors and unique patterns. Wynwood Walls has those in abundance. Here are a few murals done in the same genre, and I must assume by the same artist, of faces of celebrities and even some of people I don’t recognize. It doesn’t diminish the quality of the art. These and many of the other murals there are simply beautiful.

Salvador Dali

A mural in the Wynwood Walls district of Miami depicting Salvador Dali

John and Yoko

John Lennon and Yoko Ono as depicted on a mural in the Wynwood Walls district of Miami

Graffiti, Miami Style

Graffiti Miami Style

A painted wall near the Wynwood Walls section of Miami and a palm tree

I’ve shot in South Beach a little bit, but I wanted to venture out and find some unique Miami scenes to shoot. Fortunately for me I have two teenage daughters who are knowledgable about all things hip and cool. One of them told me about the Wynwood Walls section of Miami. They love to take shots of themselves to post to Instagram and Snapchat in cool, urban locations. Wynwood Walls definitely qualifies as cool and urban.

This shot is actually from the edge of the district, but I really like it a lot. The graffiti is very consistent with other stuff in the area and the palm tree screams south Florida. There’s more to come from Wynwood Walls in the next few posts. Enjoy.

South Beach Lifeguard Stands at Sunrise

10th Street Lifeguard Stand at Sunrise

One of a string of unique and colorful lifeguard stands on South Beach in Miami, Florida

For spring break this year, we decided to go as far south as we could reasonably drive in search of warmer weather. It doesn’t get that cold in Atlanta, but, still, after a few months of temperatures hovering around freezing and occasionally dropping well below freezing, sunshine and the beach always sound pretty good. After a good bit of research we settled on a place in North Miami Beach. I wanted to stay away from some of the craziness of South Beach but still be close enough to enjoy it a bit.

So, I took a couple of visits to South Beach at sunrise to see if I could capture the lifeguard stands there in warm, early morning light. My first attempt was a bust because of overcast conditions and a triathlon taking place that day. The second attempt was much more successful. I would have preferred to have a few more clouds in the sky, but I’m still pretty pleased with the results. All of Miami Beach is beautiful, but the lifeguard stands from 22nd Street and southward in general are pretty cool. They are in an Art Deco style consistent with the architecture found in the rest of South Beach. It’s definitely worth checking out if you find yourself in the vicinity. Enjoy.

8th Street Lifeguard Station at Sunrise

One of a string of unique and colorful lifeguard stands on South Beach in Miami, Florida

Chihuly at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Chihuly at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

One of the works at Chihuly’s exhibition at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Pamela and I went with friends on Wednesday night to view the Chihuly exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It’s truly beautiful, especially near sunset and at dusk. The glasswork is amazing and when combined with the beauty of the garden, it really is worth the price of admission. Enjoy.

Atlanta Beltline

Beltline Pano

A mural painted on a bridge underpass promoting the Atlanta Beltline

I thought I would take a quick break from my Ireland images to post a cool shot that I took on Friday. The image is a mural near Ponce City Market in Atlanta denoting that the Beltline passes overhead at that spot. If you aren’t from Atlanta or don’t know what the Beltline is, here’s a link that will help you out. In short, the Beltline is a series of trails and parks that will eventually circle downtown Atlanta using a series of abandoned railroad easements and newly purchased land. The Beltline was born out of a graduate thesis of a Georgia Tech student.

Especially in east Atlanta, there is a growing work of murals painted on building facades and underpasses. These aren’t the typical graffiti but professionally done, innovative pieces of art that actually enhance the urban landscape. I think this one is a great example of the genre. Unfortunately, some people can’t resist putting their own mark on an already painted surface. Hopefully this one will hold up for a few more years before having to be repainted. In the meantime, enjoy.

Cowee Mountains Overlook Panorama

Cowee Mountains Overlook Panorama

A panoramic view of the Cowee Mountains from an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway

I was spending a few minutes puttering around in my office this morning and I came across this image. I had just posted an entry that contained another image captured during this sunset, but I’m still intrigued by this shot.

While I was waiting for the clouds to turn brilliant shades of pink, orange, and red after sunset, my friend Tom and I were standing on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the Cowee Mountains Overlook in western North Carolina just waiting for things to develop. As is often the case with me the shot that I wound up with turned out to be totally different from the shot I had anticipated. Sunset that night, while not a bust, certainly was not sensational. This, however, turned out to be an epic shot. Paraphrasing John Lennon among many others, sometimes life is what happens in the meantime.

For those of you interested in the technical details, I shot this with a Nikon D800 at ISO 400 with an aperture of f/5.0 at a speed of 1/500 second using my Nikon 24-70 2.8 at 50mm. I shot on a tripod with portrait orientation taking eight shots stitched together with the panorama feature in Adobe Photoshop CC with final adjustments made in Lightroom CC.

I wish it was a sunrise shot because it would make for great commentary on how I view the new year. So, let’s just go with the sunrise/New Year analogy even though this is a sunset shot..

Here’s hoping that 2016 is your best year yet. I certainly hope it will be for me and my family. In any case, may your relationship with your family, your friends, and God who created you grow in depth and vitality in the new year. Enjoy.

Suches, Georgia Farm in Snow

Suches, GA Farm in Snow

Outbuildings in a snowy landscape in beautiful Suches, Georgia

As I sit writing this post I’m looking out from my home office at a beautiful snowfall beginning to cover my patio. It’s been an odd winter in Georgia. We started out with some of the coldest late November and early December temperatures that I can recall. Then, winter became mild and made me think we would have an early spring. Now, a fairly decent snowfall seems destined to cover us.

As the temperatures dove last week, I began to hear tales of people actually climbing giant ice formations in north Georgia. Then I saw photos of climbers with ice axes and crampons actually scaling the icy cliffs on Richard Russell Scenic Highway. I decided that I had to see that for myself. So, I drove up early last Friday morning to see the frozen landscape.

Unfortunately, despite checking the road closure list, the road I wanted to drive was closed. Anna Ruby Falls near Unicoi State Park was closed as well. But, having grown up wandering through those mountains, I had a few other locations in mind that certainly would be worth visiting. I wandered around Helen visiting the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River. That was fun because the slow moving parts of the river had frozen over and made for a beautiful landscape. Helton Creek Falls near Vogel State Park had also frozen over. The road was a bit slippery down in the valley where the falls are located, but the picture more than made up for the effort.

My favorite road in Georgia, Highway 180 leading from Vogel State Park to Suches was open and beautiful. The snow from earlier in the week was still on the ground and new visual delights awaited me around every corner. At the top of Wolf Pen Gap Road, Lake Winfield Scott was totally iced over. I wouldn’t have gone ice skating on the lake, but it clearly was frozen and held pockets of fresh snow.

At Suches I planned to go back down the mountain, through Dahlonega, and head home. Fortunately for me the most beautiful part of the trip was waiting for me in Suches. Snow still covered the ground and trees were still covered in ice. It wasn’t a deep snow, but it was enough to make for a lovely scene. I found this image and spent a while composing and recomposing until I had it just right. I love the pops of color on the storage sheds and the overhanging oak with its ice-covered limbs. The background of snow-covered mountains adds to the sense of a cold winter scene. Perhaps I’ll share some of the other images soon, but I hope this one gives you a sense of winter in Georgia. Enjoy.

Merry Christmas Y’all

Christmas Tree in Atrium

A beautiful Christmas tree glows brightly in the atrium of a historic building in Atlanta

As we remember in this Christmas season that God sent his son to reconcile us to Him, may we seek reconciliation with all those around us. I hope that you find joy, peace, and contentment this holiday season. From me and my family to you and yours, may you have a very, merry Christmas.