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

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.

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.

Hood Ornaments as Art

Cadillac Hood Ornament

The hood ornament from a vintage Cadillac

Late 1950s Chrysler Imperial Hood Ornamentation

Hood ornamentation from a rusting late 1950s Chrysler Imperial

As I wandered around Old Car City, I was struck by the variety of hood ornaments from vintage cars. Today’s cars seem to have at most a badge on the front grill. Designers of vintage automobiles wanted to make a statement with the front grill and hood ornament of their creations. They really did seem consumed with creating works of art.

I was struck by the simple yet flowing design of the Cadillac hood ornament. It is a rocket-like figure yet it has a human face. The fins of the rocket could be the wings of an angel or a man taking flight. That is somewhat a depiction of the era this car was built in. Handcrafted works or art once built by craftsmen were giving way to the mass-manufactured powerful vehicles of the late twentieth century. Vehicles of this era were still built as functional tools but also strived to be artistic statements. As the utilitarian vehicles of the late 1960s and later appeared, automobiles as works of art became less and less common. Muscle cars may have become predominant, but they were prized for their performance much more than their lines. The few that bridged the gap between performance and art have become classics.

The ornament for the Chrysler Imperial struck me as photogenic for completely different reasons. It is ostentatious and bold – one could say imperial. The juxtaposition of the classic eagle symbol with the peeling paint, pitted chrome, and rusting metal seems appropriate. It truly is a symbol of a bygone era. Hopefully, this image captures some sense of that dichotomy.

More from Old Car City

Row of Vintage Trucks

A row of vintage pickup trucks at Old Car City

All of the images that I’ve posted from Old Car City have been virtually straight out of the camera. I’ve done a simple curves adjustment, straightened when necessary, and cropped occasionally. That’s the neat thing about old rust and paint. When photographed in the right conditions, the colors and textures just pop.

For a few shots though, adding a bit of color and contrast seemed appropriate. So, I’ve included two of those here for your viewing pleasure. Both are composite images built from five image sets. The row of vintage trucks above is very close to the image I saw in person. There is a bit more saturation in this image that causes the trucks to really stand out.

The image below is also a blended exposure. In this case, it was necessary to capture the extreme amount of contrast in the composition. As I played with the image, adding some color and contrast seemed to enhance the scene. It’s a bit over the top and definitely is not what my eyes saw, but I like the image nonetheless. It certainly captures the look and feel of Old Car City.

Old Car City Offices

The original office of Old Car City in White, Georgia

Parts Is Parts

Bel Air Tail Fin
Bel Air Door Handle

A door handle from a rusting Chevrolet Bel Air at Old Car City in White, Georgia

Rusted Rearview Mirror

There was so much to shoot at Old Car City that I wound up hanging out there for four or five hours. I probably am posting way too much from there, but the stuff is so different from what I normally shoot that I really enjoy looking at it. I hope you do, too.

In the front part of the yard, there were cars and trucks that have some hope of being restored. They still have some paint on them and are the bodies are in pretty good shape. I enjoyed photographing these most of all. The peeling paint barely covered rusted metal and made for some incredibly interesting textures and colors. So, enjoy the tail fin, mirror, and door handle of some beautiful, vintage vehicles.

Emblems and Badges

In my last post I told you about my visit to Old Car City in White, Georgia. It really is a fascinating place if you are a fan of vintage automobiles or if you are a photographer looking for new and interesting subjects to capture.

As I wandered around the yard there were tons of cars that I hadn’t seen or thought about for years. I couldn’t resist taking images of several of them. So, instead of my normal post a day about one image, I’m presenting these as a group. For some of you it will be a walk down memory lane. For the younger crowd, you may have never heard of some of these. I think each is beautiful. Many are made even more beautiful by the rusted, peeling surface of a forty to seventy year old car body they are mounted on. Enjoy.


Studebaker Emblem

Studebaker Emblem

The emblem from a Studebaker

Plymouth Belvedere V8 Emblem

The emblem from a Plymouth Belvedere V8

Ford Fairlane Emblem

An emblem from a Ford Fairlane

Ford Emblem Dodge Emblem
Chevrolet Bel Air Emblem

An emblem from a vintage Chevrolet Bel Air

Minor Cascade on Dick’s Creek

Minor cascade on Dick's Creek

As I was photographing Dick’s Creek Falls, my eye was drawn to the stream below the falls. The late afternoon sunlight was filtering through a high overcast sky and creating some incredible reflections and colors in the stream. I wanted to capture the beauty of the stream and convey some sense of the motion of the water.

I shot a couple dozen images varying exposure length, depth of field, and the use of a polarizer. I don’t think I captured the shimmering quality of light so well, but I am happy with the length of exposure. Some of the images I took were so long an exposure that I lost all of the detail of the water in the left side of the frame. Here I’ve managed to keep that detail and still capture the water cascading over the small drop in the creek.

I don’t know why, but I like this image a lot. I suppose after focusing on landscapes and trying to capture the vastness of nature, it’s fun to shoot intimate details every once in a while. I hope you enjoy the image as much as I do.