Atlanta

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.

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.

Lone Tulip at Atlanta Botanical Gardens

Lone Tulip at Atlanta Botanical Gardens

A solitary tulip in a planter complements the background vegetation beautifully

The natural rhythm of my camera usage follows the cycle of the seasons. Summer is usually a busy time to shoot with travel and warm weather encouraging outdoor activity. Fall is also busy since it is my favorite season and I love to shoot in nature as the fall color change occurs. By winter, the leaves have dropped and my photographic activity decreases significantly. I like to shoot the occasional snow blanketed landscape here in the South or indoor events like my kid’s sporting activity or concerts at North Point. Other than that, I largely put my camera away and work on processing the year’s haul of images.

By spring, I’m ready to pick up my camera and shoot. Usually my desire to shoot precedes my ability to get in front of pretty landscape scenes. The urge to shoot usually begins in mid-March. At that point, my go-to location is the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. It’s a relatively unheralded location in Atlanta, but always beautiful to me. The staff there do a terrific job keeping season color in prime locations and keeping the gardens beautiful. It’s really a beautiful place in any season, but particularly so in the spring.

This shot was taken approaching the children’s garden. There are some planters for seasonal color lining a pedestrian bridge there. This shot was taken by isolating one tulip from others and using the other vegetation in the planter as a background. I love the way the two color palettes complement each other. I should have posted this earlier in the spring, but too many other images are lined up in the queue. Enjoy.

Spring in Oakland Cemetery

Spring in Oakland Cemetery

Atlanta’s Oakland Cemetery and the colors of spring

Another go-to location for me in the spring is Oakland Cemetery. I suppose some people find hanging out in cemeteries a bit creepy, but historic cemeteries are some of the most beautiful locations in many cities. That’s certainly the case at Oakland.

Atlanta is not a very old city compared to many cities I’ve visited. It was only founded in 1837, but quickly rose to national prominence as a transportation hub. Therefore, no grave in the cemetery predates the 1840s or so. But, in that time lots of prominent Atlantans have been buried here – some in quite impressive mausoleums or with ornate grave markers.

The real attraction at Oakland for me is the riot of color that emerges in spring. Dogwood, azalea, camellia, and dozens of other flowering shrubs, trees, and other plants seem to peak at the same time. Along with some of the beautiful grave markers, statues, and mausoleums, it becomes quite an interesting place to shoot.

I made two different trips to Oakland this spring. I was fortunate to have overcast skies and cool temperatures on both visits. As I’ve mentioned often, those are my favorite shooting conditions. The clouds create a giant soft box to keep harsh shadows and highlights at bay. Hopefully, the resulting images convey some sense of the beauty of Oakland in the spring. Enjoy.

The Texture of Green

The Texture of Green

Shades and textures of green at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

And now for something completely different… (Bonus points for you if you can identify the comedy show that used that line consistently.) I’ve been working through a backlog of images from last fall and am just now making my way to some images from this spring. I usually post scenics and grand landscapes but a good bit of what I’ve shot this spring are intimates and macro shots.

This one was taken at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I’ve fallen into a bit of a pattern where this location is usually one of the first places I shoot each year. I don’t intend to but many of my shots are taken spring through fall. Once the weather gets cold and leaves come off the trees I tend to put the camera aside and focus on other pursuits. I’ll shoot the occasional Atlanta snowfall but most of my images during the winter are of my kids’ sporting events.

So, I get the itch to shoot in mid-March once the weather begins to warm. The easiest place to go and get some guaranteed results is the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Even though it’s a beautiful location I see relatively few serious photographers taking advantage of its delights. One other factor that makes the Garden such a draw is the Fuqua Conservatory. There are desert and tropical sections allowing photography of diverse species all year around.

I should know the name of this plant, but to be honest, I don’t. I do know that it is beautiful and the shades of green from it and the surrounding plants make for a wonderful composition. The textures of the plants make the image even more compelling. Hence, the title of the image emerged. When you are in Atlanta a visit to the Garden is certainly worth your time. Enjoy.

SCCA at Road Atlanta

SCCA at Road Atlanta

An Audi R8 at Road Atlanta during the SCCA race in March 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve created a blog post. That’s partially because life has been very, very busy and because I had pretty much run through my backlog of images that I wanted to share. There’s still a few in the archive that I’m working on, but now I’m getting out more to shoot. It’s not that there isn’t anything to shot in the winter, but my eye certainly is drawn to the colors of spring, summer, and fall more than the monochrome of winter.

This image came from a recent outing to Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA. The track is a world-class race facility that hosts a variety of races and classes of cars. I’ve shot there before, but I never captured any images that I really loved. I made a ton of images that I love this time out. I may share some more in the future, but I wanted to get this one out there.

I really enjoy looking for different subjects to capture. I truly enjoy capturing landscapes, but variety truly is the spice of life. I find that if I shoot concerts, races, architecture, or other subjects, when I return to landscapes I enjoy them even more. So, enjoy the race photo and let me know what you think. But, soon I’ll be back to posts of my favorites. Enjoy.

My Annual Pilgrimage to the Atlanta Botanical Garden

As I’ve probably written before, one of my favorite places in Atlanta is the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It’s a wonderful set of gardens that rarely attracts the attention that it deserves. I’ve visited quite a few botanical gardens over the years and only a handful are at the level of Atlanta’s. Very few exceed it. Each year after the long winter, I get the itch to shoot color again. One of my first destinations is the Botanical Garden. The seasonal plantings and the orchid house guarantee a splash of color even as the native flora is awaiting spring. Although spring came early in Atlanta this year, I still made the pilgrimage to the Garden. I hope you enjoy the flowers as much as I did.

I’m posting many more photos than my normal one image per post today. Don’t think that I’m lazy. I just don’t have nine different stories for these images.

I know the common flowers. I’m just not certain of all of the other flowers that I encounter at the Garden. These first two are poppies, one in bloom and one waiting to bloom.

To be honest, I don’t know the name of this flower, but it certainly is beautiful.

Orchids I do know. The Fuqua Orchid house has an incredible collection of orchids native to many different parts of the world.

Another one that I don’t know the name of but I certainly admire its beauty.

This state of a little boy catching frogs has adorned the gardens for year. I love the look of sheer joy on his face and the thoughts evoked by living a simple country life.

I know roses as well. I especially love the peach shade of these delicate, perfectly formed flowers.

I believe this is a poppy as well. I love the delicate feel of the overlapping petals, the soft transition from rose-colored to white, and the intricate structure of the pistils and stamens.

Once again, I’m not sure of the flower name, but the large stands of them made for some interesting foreground in focus, background out of focus compositions.

Antebellum Home in Macon, Georgia

Antebellum Home in Macon, Georgia

Spring came early in Georgia this year. In fact, it seems to have been early over most of the continental US. The normal peak of spring is usually still a few days away here in Atlanta, but most of the dogwoods and azaleas have bloomed and leafed out by now here.

Fortunately, I had planned a trip in late March to central Georgia in hopes of catching the spring colors. Although conditions weren’t all that I had hoped, I still saw plenty of beautiful foliage and architecture on the trip. As I wrote earlier, Macon, Georgia isn’t often thought of as a destination location. However, Macon has plenty of antebellum architecture and is especially beautiful during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

This home is representative of that architecture. I love how the early morning light has cast a warm glow on its facade and has made the tender green foliage an even more vibrant shade of green. Of course, a polarizing filter also helps to accentuate the colors. There’s more to come from the Antebellum Trail of central Georgia. Stay tuned and enjoy the images.

Spring in the South

Spring in the South

I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes yearn to spend more time in other parts of the US. The mountains of the West, the Northwest coast, the Maine coast, and others are always fun to visit. Some of my appreciation for other parts of the country stems from the fact that I am a born and bred Southerner. I’ve grown accustomed to my region and just enjoy visiting other places that are different from my home.

However, each year at this time, I’m reminded of how beautiful my little part of the world can be. We may not have the dramatic landscapes of the West or the crashing surf of the ocean, but spring in Georgia creates some of the most beautiful sights that anyone will ever see. The landscape becomes a riot of color beginning in March, peaking in April, and usually lasting well into May. As I write, the number of flowering trees and shrubs that I see every day is impossible to describe. Just about every bend in the road brings a view of oak, cherry, redbud, wisteria, azalea, dogwood, and other species in all their spring glory. In addition, flowers of all types are springing up from the ground while budding trees create a multi-hued green canopy that stretches in every direction. The only downside is the pollen count. A warmer than normal winter has apparently created a record pollen season. The counts are ridiculously high and every horizontal surface has a yellow-green tint from the settling pollen. It’s a small price to pay to live in a giant flowering garden. Atlanta and the southeast in the spring is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

This year, I decided to return to central Georgia to follow the Antebellum Trail. It begins in Macon and ends in Athens. On the route are Gray, Milledgeville, Eatonton, Madison, and Watkinsville. If you enjoy pastoral country settings, small towns, beautiful architecture, and flowering gardens, you really should visit the Trail in the spring.

This image is from the second day of our trip and was taken in beautiful Madison, Georgia. As Sherman marched through the South towards Savannah and Charleston, he followed a scorched earth policy. Fortunately, he made an exception for towns that surrendered peacefully. In light of an overwhelmingly superior army, many Georgia towns wisely laid down their arms. For them the war was over. For us, their beautiful architecture was spared for us to enjoy today. White columned mansions are not just myth. They exist in abundance in towns throughout the South. Nothing says small town southern town to me quite like a white columned house with azaleas in full bloom. This is a great example of the genre. I hope you enjoy it. There’s more to come from the Antebellum Trail.