Atlanta Thru Athens, Georgia

I think this is one of those things where the trip was enjoyable despite my lack of photography prowess during the trip.

Planning the trip was a pain. I had been planning this thing for a couple of months and due to the fact it was only three days, knew I only had time to see a few people. I hate having to pick and choose but next time hopefully my next trip through Georgia will be a bit longer and more relaxed. Had to change things last minute due to workload, which honestly, is stressing me out lately. It’s really a huge learning experience trying to manage these projects and really moreso, how to effectively delegate, something I’m still getting a grasp on. Balancing that with attempting photography, trying to focus on studying more than 2 hours at a time and sleep…I’ll let you know when I figure that out.

Didn’t know when I was getting out of Carolina and of course, got to a later start than I really wanted to. After 7 1/2 hours of driving (yeah, I know…rain weather, accidents everywhere) I got into Atlanta Tuesday night and stopped by Household Wirtz, waking up the entire family around 8:30ish. Kidding! Sorta. Rene and Denise were half awake, Campion was upstairs listening to Who Knows What, and Pepper was busy being a burrito. I’m not going to try to explain the burrito, but one of the things I noticed was how happy Pepper, even in comparison from when I first saw her at the wedding. Remarkable transformation for what is clearly a very creative child. It’s always great to see Denise and Rene and our conversation is always awesome and insightful. One thing that was different that I didn’t think about until the end of the trip? None of us had any drama. TOTALLY AWESOME. And seriously, as much time and style products Campion put in his hair, I really need to inform him how many years of his life he’s dedicated to primping his hair to make it so emoish.


Checked into my hotel that night and of course – totally overslept. Grabbed some breakfast from downstairs and picked up Rene from the house. It was cloudy and we drove up to Blue Ridge to pick up my photography from a juried show I was featured in. It gave me the opportunity to show Rene how neat my GPS was and how ridiculously easy it was to get lost with it. Note to Garmin: “TURN RIGHT IN 500 FT.” should not mean the same thing as “DRIVE STRAIGHT AHEAD”. Thank you.

Blue Ridge is a sleepy mountain town, fairly progressive for its type. Venue was interesting, a slightly modified church building. In front of it is this cheesy replica of the Statue of Liberty doubling as a lamppost.

From there I proceeded to show Rene what happens when you punch the wrong address in the GPS. We overshot Anna Ruby Falls by like 15 miles – which in the mountains, is like 45 minutes. When I realized I had screwed up, we stopped at a BP to increase our blood-sugar count. As we were cruising the aisles of the food mart, we hear this woman practically yell to the cashier in an obnoxious southern mountain accent, “HEYYYY GIIRRRRL WHERE’S THE TAMPONS?!”

Now – when this sort of situation happens, you are immediately presented with several options:

a) should I look around out of curiosity to see who yelled that clear across the mart?

b) should I look back to my friend, join him in raucous laughter, thereby risking our own lives, unmercifully slaughtered by a woman who is clearly in need of tampons?

c) pretend I didn’t hear anything, keep a straight-face and grab my soda.

I did C. After about 15 seconds, I couldn’t resist and turned around. Rene was trying to control himself too, his amused look cleary indicating he had no interest in dying that afternoon either. The woman was completely decked out in a full ensemble of fashionable uh…”country” wear and while she was checking out, was looking at some sort of hunting knives in a glass display, asking about the price. Raging tampon woman with keen interest in sharp objects – great. Smart move pretending nothing happened, at least until she pulled out of the gas station.

45 minutes later we were at Anna Ruby Falls. Rene had never seen it before and it had been awhile since I had been there. Would’ve been better during fall colors, but it was nice just having a break from reality for a bit. Because of early sunset, cloud cover and my dexterity in getting lost in North Georgia, we didn’t have time to get to Minnehaha Falls or Dick’s Creek, which ironically my juried picture was taken in. Next time around.


That night, Denise, Rene, Zlatko and I went to Ippolitos for some Italian. I thought D&R; were exaggerating about the goodness of the garlic rolls. They totally were not. It was so good to have a relaxing fun time with friends. Everytime I see Z, I think he’s dropped 10 pounds. But the boy’s in great shape. If I get to Georgia next summer, he’s going to *poof* disappear in thin air. Denise looks absolutely radiant and happy – she looks great. I’m so happy for all of them.

Next morning I oversleep again and use the GPS to get lost, this time to Z’s place in downtown Atlanta. From there we scoped out Sweetwater Creek Park – which is amazing. Not a great place to shoot in the winter, but when the leaves are green or during autumn colors, there are some spectacular locations including the brick wall remains of an old factory. We are so scoping that place out next year. During the hike, I had trouble keeping up with Z, and he wasn’t even going fast. Amazing what a bum ankle and getting just a little bit older does – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it.

From there we traveled to this place Z discovered – the old Glidden paint factory, a tresspassing haven for graffiti artists (Owen would do wonders in this place), photographers and random homeless people, who we were told were harmless (we didn’t encounter any). The place has been closed I want to say since like 1986, because they weren’t making lead-based paints anymore. I was in total awe of the many acres of graffiti in and on the buildings on the campus. While we were there we ran into a couple of photographers with an uh…”model” and some graffiti artists Z knew on the way out.

Entering the middle of the main building, my jaw dropped. I stopped dead in my tracks and made an exclamation. Z was behind me in the previous room. He was like, “Dude chill out it’s not that big of a deal.” Then he walked into the same room I was in, stopped in his tracks and repeated the same exclamation. Yeah, now you know what I’m talking about buddy.

I could spend days in there just shooting, but we only had a couple of hours to work with. Definitely the photography highlight of the trip.


Drove to Athens to catchup with my friend, Tony, one of the local photographers who mentored me as I was discovering that I was going to go somewhere with photography…only four years ago. Man. What a journey it’s been. We met up at the skating rinks where the Athens Rollergirls were playing the Atlanta B team. Tony apparently is becoming the staff photographer for the Athens girls. I was exposed to Rollergirls by Meghann last year and it’s become my new favorite sport. These girls are -tough- and it’s great fun to watch. All sorts of people go from all ages, and entire families go.


The next day wasn’t the best day for photography. It was perfectly clear – which with bare winter trees was opposite of what I desired, considering the types of rural and landscape photos I like to take. I revisited Watson Mill Bridge, which I go to almost everytime I return to Athens. Visited some sites recommended by Evan Leavitt, an archaeologist and rural photographer that I met in in the Athens area through Flickr. Scoped out some of the locations for future trips and took as many shots as I could.

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