With 2017 coming to a close, I wanted to take a few minutes to make my first blog entry. For a guy that has been photographing for several years now and has worked in the I.T. field for the past 14 years, it's hard to believe that it's taken me this long to "blog" something.
During 2017, I was fortunate to capture some memorable images. Some by myself and others with great company and friendships from other local photographers to professionals that are affiliated with various photography brands. I spent time photographing more of the same such as Berry College, the Berry College Eagles, and Rome, Georgia. I also did some traveling. Not as much as I would have liked, but I did get my landscape fix courtesy of 3 of our nation's National Parks (Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Grand Teton Nation Park, and Yellowstone National Park). There was also some traveling in between.
Below is a collage of my favorite image taken in each month of 2017. Not necessarily my "best" but the one that stands out to me whether it be that moment that it was captured, the company, or the story behind it. There is a brief description of each image below as well.
- The first image is of the Ford Buildings in a light snow that hit northwest Georgia. I've always wanted to photograph Berry College in the snow and had my 1st opportunity to get out and do so this year. Of all the buildings that Berry is known for, the Ford Buildings are among my favorite.
- Secondly is the Robert Redden Footbridge in downtown Rome, Ga. This bridge has an American Flag made out of lights that is quite the sight in the evenings. I always find myself glancing over at the flag whenever I drive by. In the past few years, the guardrail fencing has become a popular spot for couples and families to display their "Locks of Love," a pad lock that often bears the name or initials of those that left it. I said several years ago that I would like to photograph the flag from a low angle with a fisheye lens. First, I needed a fisheye lens. That happened a couple of years ago. I finally got around to doing so when my wife and I had a date night around Valentine's Day. She's definitely a keeper for letting me spend 30 minutes finding the angle that I wanted and waiting for the footbridge to clear of pedestrians.
- In March, I captured an image from near the top of Myrtle Hill Cemetery in downtown Rome, Ga. I had been facing away from Rome hoping for a good sunset. As the sunset was far from spectacular, I turned around to look out over downtown Rome and was drawn to the pinks and purples in the sky that had been behind me. I tried to quickly compose a shot before the color disappeared.
- Another first came in April when I visited Old Car City in White, Georgia. They market themselves as being the worlds largest classic car junk yard. My favorite shot from this trip with a good buddy was of a 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Galaxie. The different layers of paint and rust really popped on this rusted relic. Among the good laughs that we had, our lunch topped it off as we ate at Wes-Man's across the street. I ordered a double cheeseburger that ended up being bigger than the plate it came on. I gave it my best college try.
- During May, My wife and I decided to take a somewhat last minute vacation to Savannah for Memorial Day. When we arrived, we checked into the hotel and headed down to River Street for lunch. A small arts and crafts festival was being held and I had the opportunity to meet a couple of photographers from the area that were selling their prints. I gained some valuable information from them concerning printing options and a few places in the area to photograph. Later that evening, I opted to spend an hour or so on River Street photographing the lights. In this image, I was able to capture a great reflections on the Savannah River with the Talmadge Memorial Bridge lit up towards the end of the "blue hour."
- June FINALLY came. I was as giddy as my son was on Christmas just a few days ago. I skipped an arts and crafts festival that I had become a regular at in lieu of a bucket list trip to Wyoming to photograph Grand Teton National Park and the southern part of Yellowstone National Park with a few photographer friends. Another first for me! This was by far the most difficult month to choose a favorite from. This particular image is of one of the Moulton Barns along Mormon Row. As one of my buddies worded it in his favorite shots from the year, the weather that morning was complete crap! It had rained all night, but we pushed on and went out anyway. We decided on Mormon Row in hopes of getting some lightning shots above the Moulton Barns and/or the Teton's. We thought we would be out of luck as sunrise was approaching. No lightning, no break in the clouds and, at the time, light rain. We waited patiently snapping a shot here and there when the clouds behind us broke for all of 5-10 minutes and lit up the front of the barn. The light rain had slowed even more and a rainbow appeared to our left. Then a second rainbow. Over the course of just a couple of minutes, the rainbows made their way across the field and behind the barn we were set up at. We were elated! This is one of those "Once in a Lifetime" shots for me.
- July yielded another first. One of my photographer friends from Fort Payne, Alabama reached out to myself and a couple of others about going to the home of one of his friends to photograph DeSoto Falls. I had seen a couple of his shots from the property, but seeing this view for myself was fantastic. You usually see images of one of the falls or a reflection of the red boathouse, but never all of them. The property owner was very welcoming to us. After our shooting, we were given a short tour of the property and a history lesson of the area and the early inhabitants and supposed explorers. We then sat on his back porch well into the evening shooting the bull and enjoying each others company and the stories that were shared.
- In August, I got on a small reflection kick at the Ford Buildings at Berry College. The reflecting pool can provide a great reflection. I woke up early one Saturday morning and drove out well before sunrise and found an angle that I liked. I see so many people standing to take their pictures and it just doesn't seem to offer much variety. For this image, I was laying on the stone walkway that borders the reflecting pool with my camera resting on the same walkway. Shutter cable in hand, I fired off a few shots and came away with one that I was pleased with.
- September offered yet another first. Every year, Rome hosts the Running Water Powwow over Labor Day weekend. One of the staples of the event is a birds of prey show put on by Winged Ambassadors. They typically have a variety of birds on display, some local to our area, some not. In 2016, I captured images of a Eurasian Eagle Owl, which is a cousin to the Great Horned Owl that we find locally. This year, it was a Barn Owl. These are some absolutely gorgeous birds that are found across the world. In fact, Barn Owls are the most widespread land bird in the world. They're found on every continent except for Antarctica.
- In October, My small family and I took another abbreviated vacation. This time to the tourist trap that is Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. I was able to barter a morning of photography during the trip. I had researched several areas that I wanted to photograph and decided on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. I arrived before sunrise and waited at the entrance for a little more light. Riding through, I could still see damage from the fire at the end of 2016. It was heartbreaking to see one of my favorite places still showing signs from the damage. As I made my way along the one way loop, I pulled off to the side every chance that I got. After several stops I finally found a spot that I had to break out the rain boots for. I was working my way across this part of the stream and saw an angle that I couldn't pass up. So like any photography, I leapt at the opportunity. Literally. I also filled up one of my rain boots with water and was drenched from the knee down on one leg. Yes, I "slipped" into the stream. Would I do it again? Absolutely!
- More of the same in November. I had seen several friends sharing images of some great fall color on the Mountain Campus of Berry College. So one day, I spent my lunch hour out there and was rewarded with another belly crawling shot, this time of the Old Mill. Ok, so I wasn't on my belly since I had to go back to work. I had placed my camera on a rock, aimed, and shot. I would then get in a push up position and see what I had and make adjustments to my settings and angle. This is another case of "everyone has the same shot/angle." When you're short like me, you're already halfway to getting a low angle shot.
- Now to December. More of the same again. Kind of. Berry College has quickly become known for their nesting pair of Bald Eagles. I've spent many hours and days "chasing eagles" and photographing these raptors. This time was different. We had a light dusting that turned into 4-12 inches depending on who you asked and Berry was no exception with a good 6-8 inches near the nest. This image is of the female that we often refer to as Ma Berry. The snow had started to melt on a branch above her and provided small flakes to fall. I think it made for a more unique shot of her. We need more of our eagles in the snow!