A gentleman on horseback ambled through my viewfinder not long ago, and without stopping, asked me what I was taking pictures of. His words made me pause for a minute. I was standing in that sun swept North Georgia field for a reason, but how do you explain how special the light is in late winter to a stranger who had to ask? How the sun transforms everything it touches with its amber glow, the grasses, those oceans of wild wheat that pulsate in the light, rows of nimble dancers swaying in the wind. I started to sweep my arm around to show why it moved me, then dropped it back to my side and mentioned something vague about the setting sun and wished him a wonderful evening. His friendly voice carried across the field as he and his horse continued on, half shouting about how bad the traffic had become and that he can’t take his horses on the roads anymore because of it, and did I know he used to photograph his daughters during their many years of horse shows. After they disappeared into the woods I slowly turned and drank in what was left of the day, then quietly whispered a goodbye to winter.
Hot summer days, lots of haze and a need for a local escape landed me in the north Georgia mountains to a favorite little garden center where I go to take walks, fool around with my camera and to enjoy the scenery. I like it here because it’s usually a few degrees cooler in the summer, there are lots of paths to hike around the wooded naturalized gardens or some that head off toward the more centralized more formal designs. It’s a friendly environment and the air has the cool freshness that comes from being near the mountains. One of the things I look forward to seeing here are the resident garden cats. They happily hop up from their place in the shade to welcome unsuspecting visitors in a confusing tangle of leg rubbing and twisting around the ankles until everybody’s on the ground for a belly rubbing session. Being on the receiving end of a cat’s love is one of life’s simple pleasures I think.
Every Monday my friend Jo welcomes bloggers to walk along with her on her wonderful travels. This week she showcases the coast of Seaton Sluice, a beautiful rural area where the channel meets the sea in Northumberland England. You can see her beautiful photography here: Jo’s Monday Walk: Seaton Sluice. Meanwhile, I hope you’re enjoying your summer, and wherever you’ve landed make sure to stop now and then to enjoy all that’s beautiful around you.
My cat friends at Gibbs Gardens made me think of another blog I’d like to recommend. If you are a cat lover, and enjoy horses and the world of equestrian competition, you would like my friend David’s blog, “Through the Viewfinder” His life stories are a joy to read, his photography, wonderful.
Click on the link if you’d like to read more about North Georgia’s Gibbs Gardens.
The ability to enhance your blog with beautiful photography seems like a no-brainer, until you actually attempt to master beautiful photography. After gamely trying to self-teach myself over the last few years, I finally caved-in to taking a few classes after someone innocently remarked that I had a good eye, but needed to master the technical. Shortly afterwards I was standing in the middle of a busy parking lot in downtown Atlanta adjusting my shutter speed for Lesson 2 on “panning” of my Photography class. It’s hard to adequately describe the visual of our cute young instructor gamely running from one end of the lot to the other encouraging our small group to freeze her motion with our cameras as we moved our bodies side to side, all in unison. After several attempts no one was successful, but I’m pretty sure it was due to mutual concern that our instructor, for all her enthusiasm, was going to hurt herself. Two weeks later, after lesson 4, I stood alone in the dark next to my car and started panning the cars passing by, trying not to focus on the fact that I was standing alone in a parking lot in the dark. My first three attempts were fine. I was relaxed, feeling the motion, and following through with my body just like your arm should after hitting a tennis ball. About to call it a night, a saw the flash of red before I saw the car, a red Porsche driving down the street fulfilling my dream of photography Nirvana. Not a technical masterpiece, but not too bad for a mid-session Photo2 student. Photo Challenges the Daily Post: Blur
There is a certain irony to being owned by a camera-shy Westie, a dog breed that is one of the most photographed in the world. Many of my shots of Hildy are of her rear end, the result of calculated last-minute turns, or of the back of her little white head. The light this morning was what I call autumn, luring me outside to play with my camera and to create a little mischief with Hildy. A toss of the beloved squeaker toy set the trap, and despite the possibility that I was waiting for her holding the evil thing that clicks, it was too much of a temptation for even the most wile Westie.
Build a 10 million gallon aquarium and they will come. Four whale sharks, four beluga whales, eleven bottle nose dolphins, four manta rays and over 100,000 fish and other sea creatures made their home at the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta. Built in 2005, then the largest in the world, the aquarium is a wonder to experience. Although there are many highlights, the show stealers are the whale sharks, known for being the largest sharks and the largest fish in the world, with some growing as large as forty feet in length. Nothing can prepare you (although I am trying) for the impact of seeing these gentle giants glide silently by for the first time. Like a pied piper of the sea they are rarely alone, a trail of colorful schooling fish following along, a continuous parade along the viewing window. The whale sharks are imported from Asia, and if you feel unsettled at the thought of these great beasts living in captivity, you’ll rest a bit easier knowing that they were taken from Taiwan’s annual fishing kill quota, and would have been eaten had they not been purchased by the Aquarium.
In Atlanta? I recommend finding the time to dive into this remarkable underwater experience.
Bringing a camera? Read this informative article “How to Take Great Photos at the Aquarium” by Nikon
Atlanta, Ga. Reports are coming in that the color green has been missing from the Atlanta area since late November of 2013. Green, known as the symbol of nature, fertility, and life, is a popular color in the Southern U.S. for farmers, gardeners and more importantly, fans of the Masters Golf Tournament. Clues left at the scene of the crime include, but are not limited to, leaves scattered on the ground under stunned trees, a landscape drained of all color, and hundreds of small animals furiously digging tiny holes in the ground for no apparent reason. The primary suspect, Winter, seen in the area during the first hard frost in December, is said to have “dug in deep.” After the recent capture of warm weather antagonist Jack Frost at the recent Green Bay, 49ers playoff game in Wisconsin, Winter went into cahoots with a more dangerous accomplice who goes by the name of Polar Vortex, wreaking icy havoc on a good part of the North American Continent. Spring, who has a vested interest in the safe return of Green, is offering a reward in the form of lush grass, tender new growth and an addictive fragrance in the air that has been known to melt even the most hardened of hearts, and inducing random outbursts of singing in many people. To assist authorities in locating the missing popular color, please visit your local garden center. And fertilize.
I’ve wanted to go to the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s “Garden Lights” display since its inception three years ago, and decided that this year I would cast aside all self-imposed holiday duties and make a beeline to the beautiful mid-town gardens with my family. We were not disappointed. A million plus twinkling lights displayed artfully throughout the woods and gardens made for a fun and festive evening. Enhancing the adventure is a popular detour from light gazing, the Glow Bar, where beverages of choice (wine!) are available to toast the holidays with loved ones in this magical setting. If you find yourself in the Atlanta area mid-November through early January this year, try to make the effort to take part in this enlightening and extremely enjoyable experience. My advice is to check the Weather.com forecast before you make plans and pinpoint the evening with the warmest temps. If it includes a warning about a POLAR VORTEX, you may want to keep your eye out for a friendlier weather day. Polar Vortex = Not Much Fun Sightseeing Outside at Night. For more information check out the Atlanta Botanical Gardens website.
A door like no other. I passed this hinged wonder tucked away on a side street in downtown Atlanta and was so intrigued I returned the following week to take a second look. I don’t know the inspiration behind the design, but oddly it reminded me of another southern belle, the Gone With the Wind heroine, Scarlett O’Hara. She also possessed a fierce iron will disguised beneath an ornately beautiful exterior. Do you see the resemblance?
I fell in love with the charming Belly General the first time I walked in the door, and it’s become a favorite breakfast drop by during occasional morning runs to the Atlanta airport with my husband. This modern take on a general store appeals to those who crave the warmth and openness of a homey gathering spot, yet enjoy fast efficient service so you can eat on the run.
Long pine tables line the space for family style seating, and mismatched chairs and benches make it roomy so you don’t feel like you’re intruding on another diner’s meal. Who knows, after breaking bread together, perhaps you and your table mates won’t part as strangers.
Outside, there is vintage seating available if waiting for a friend, or to simply sit and watch the world go by.
Belly General Store
772 N Highland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30306