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
It’s been about a month, but we are finally around to processing some of our favorite photos of our Dakota adventure. The first stop in North Dakota was Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where we encountered the “badlands” as well as some great wildlife. Here is one of our early views of the landscape:
We also encountered our first bison of the trip while in the park. Here are a couple of portraits:
One of the highlights of the trip, by far, were the feral horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. We came upon this group of horses on our first morning drive of the loop road.
All images ©2015 by 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.
In early March we took our inaugural camper trip to Edisto Beach, SC. We chose Edisto Beach (pronounced EH-dis-toe) because it was relatively close, the campground was only about half-full and had received good reviews, and the surrounding area seemed to present some interesting opportunities for photography. It was a terrific choice! I’ll write in more detail about the camper experience in a future blog post, but for now, I’ll focus on reviewing the Edisto Beach State Park campground. We chose to stay in the Live Oak Campground section as opposed to the beach front campground section because we wanted space and privacy—and I think we’ve been spoiled for future campgrounds!
Our site was lovely and shaded and HUGE! It was almost perfectly level and overlooked the salt marsh, giving us a beautiful view of the sunset each night. The site was surrounded by palm trees and vegetation making it feel like our own private oasis. And we could still hear the ocean! We stayed in site 118, but there were several near us that looked nearly as private—117, 122, and 124, especially.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, we needed to rely on their bathhouse facilities, and thankfully they were very clean and just a short walk away. The garbage and recycling were on the way to the bathhouse and the dump station was just a short drive from the campground. The atmosphere was quiet and peaceful and surrounded by nature.
We took advantage of some of the trails from the campground that took us through the marshes and out to a boardwalk along the river. We only passed two people on bikes and a number of cardinals, bluejays, and other birds. We explored the salt marshes and the beach and the park via quiet, well-maintained, and serene paths—most of which took us through or near the campground. There was not a lot of activity or people—just the way we like it. For a few days, life moved along at a different time, perfect if you are looking for a relaxed, slow-paced time away from it all. We also explored Botany Bay Plantation and the beach there—just gorgeous. See Dave’s blog on Botany-Bay for more on that magical, pristine, other-worldly location!
I should add the disclaimer that we like the beach best when it is deserted and a little chilly! Edisto Beach, SC is a lovely little area and we appreciated the general lack of commercialization. Our dogs were able to run off-leash on the beach and had a blast (dogs must be on-leash May-October)! Most of the time we had the place to ourselves, except for the occasional kayaker or sea gull. We even had one night out for seafood at a fun little restaurant called Seacow Eatery—great pie and friendly staff!
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