We know. It’s been a while since a good, content-heavy post. Between our work and travels in 2015, we got a little bogged down like this farm equipment. But it’s time to put the wheel back on this wagon and start sharing more from our 2015 adventures as we look forward to even more exciting photography in 2016. This first batch is from our October trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We stayed in the Cade’s Cove campground so we could be close to the action and the light. I think I had just finished some binge sessions playing Witcher III. The virtual explorations looking for herbs in farmhouses might have influenced my perspective and tone. At one point, we even saw a bulletin board and went looking for quests. 🙂
©2015 Garber Geektography
Our second camping adventure took place in northeast Georgia at Tugaloo State Park, near the small town of Lavonia. Tugaloo
State Park is located on Lake Hartwell and within a short driving distance of several other state parks such as Richard B. Russell State Park, Victoria Bryant State Park, and Hart State Outdoor Recreation Area (two of which we visited). We enjoyed driving through the small towns dotting the area and taking pictures of the canola fields in bloom. We hopped over to Athens one day for lunch and stopped off at the outlet stores in Commerce on the way home, so there is plenty of variety in the area to explore. We didn’t see too many restaurants near the park, and everything seems to close up early, so be sure and pack your meals!
Our campsite was a decent size, very level, and covered in gravel. We were right on the water, near a small cove for boats, canoes, and jet skis. The view was beautiful and it was very peaceful to listen to the water as we relaxed in the shade. We both agreed it would have been more fun to be there with a boat or kayak, but the view was nice and we were able to walk along the beach, and the dogs had fun getting muddy. We didn’t fish or try the water or the pool—too cold—but it looked like all of the kids were having fun! We had a fire pit, concrete picnic table, water and electric hook-ups, and a nice, clean comfort facility just steps away. And we loved having a pull-though site!
The roads to the camp sites were more narrow and uneven than we had experienced before, and this campground was both larger and more crowded than our last experience, but we did arrive at the tail end of Spring Break. There were a lot of kids and families there, but it was a fun, friendly experience overall. My only complaint would be the ENORMOUS light our neighbors left on all night (the same neighbors who played the radio well after quiet hours). Some friends of ours camped there the same weekend and their grandson had a ball playing with the other kids, swimming, etc. We saw plenty of dogs, kids whizzing by on bikes, and boats making waves in the lake. It would not be the place I would recommend for peace and quiet, or nice long hikes, but it was a fun getaway and the landscape in the area is beautiful.
As we were driving up I-85 to our faculty retreat at Lake Hartwell, we kept seeing these beautiful yellow fields in the distance and instantly wanted to know what they were. We saw a couple up close and found out that my guess of canola was on target.
Our time at Botany Bay Plantation in Edisto Beach, SC, brought us many surprises. The salt marshes were one type of landscape that we had not experienced, and we had a wonderfully foggy day to photograph them right after sunrise. I kept thinking of Gollum’s solemn warning to Frodo and Sam in the Dead Marshes: “Don’t Follow the Lights!” The fog helped me envision a more ethereal approach to these images, and I played a bit more with texture and color tones.
On our first trip in the camper to Edisto Beach, SC, Michelle mentioned going to Botany Bay Plantation. I knew I had heard that name somewhere before, and I kept racking my brain to figure it out. Turns out, that SS Botany Bay is the name of Kahn’s ship in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (and later in Star Trek: Into Darkness). Of course that name came from the original Botany Bay in Australia, which was a penal colony. After discovering the geeky nature of my recollection, I repeatedly quoted this line from Pavel Chekov when he discovers the identity of the mysterious marooned ship.
When Michelle showed me pictures of the old trees on the beach, I couldn’t wait to get there to capture the sunrise. Of course, the weather didn’t cooperate very well … or maybe it did. A dense layer of fog blanketed the sun. This gave a certain mystical and lonely quality to the shots that I had not anticipated, but that I thoroughly enjoyed. The fog was like a giant softbox, giving even lighting over the trees and lightly shrouding the other objects in a distance. This really helped me isolate my subjects and also gave me an interesting canvas in the background to use various processing techniques and textures. I processed all of the following shots with a combination of MacPhun’s Tonality Pro and Karen Hutton‘s and Tanya Wallis’ forthcoming texture pack.
We have several more images from the Botany Bay Plantation shoot on the way, but I am grouping them in different blog posts. The area has so many types of landscapes: bogs, marshes, ponds, streams, dense forest, farmland, and beaches. It really was a great place to practice a variety of landscape and nature shots.
All images © 2015 Garber Geektography
Maybe it’s because I was born in Arizona or spent half of my childhood in El Paso. Or maybe it’s because I spent the other half of my childhood imagining I was Luke Skywalker on Tatooine. Whatever the case, I love desolate desert landscapes. We spent half of our Thanksgiving holiday in a desolate landscape photographer’s dreamland: Joshua Tree National Park. And, yes, we listened to U2 on our way there. As one friend told me, that’s not cliché. It’s classic. Here are some of our favorite images from our first day at the park. We focused the first part of our visit on the Joshua trees and the rock formations. We’ll post some images later in the week of the Cholla Cactus Garden and the Cottonwood Oasis.
When I first moved to Atlanta, I spent a lot of time at Stone Mountain Park: walking the dog, hiking, biking. As the years went on, I lost interest in the location. In the past couple of months, though, Michelle and I have been visiting the park to practice our photography, and we have discovered it from some different perspectives.
One of the new discoveries I made this past weekend was the Songbird Habitat Trail. It is on a less-traveled road in the park, which means there are fewer people, dogs, bikes, and cars. The sanctuary itself has some very nice trails through a meadow, and is quite peaceful and serene. I didn’t do any birding, but had a good time shooting some landscapes.
The next morning, Michelle and I went to the Grist Mill. It is on the eastern side, so you need to be there in the morning to get the best light. Otherwise, the big hunk of granite known as Stone Mountain will cast a shadow over the whole area.
Michelle had some fun playing with a macro lens we rented to test for an upcoming trip. She loves to go into a different universe and see things in unique ways.