February 27, 2011

bradford pears and daffodils

purple haze

spring has sprung in the fair city and wednesday evening i raced the rainstorm to capture 
the lush and bountiful japanese magnolias that bloom by my office.  
this is my second spring with them and each time i see them in full bloom, 
they take my breath away. 

February 25, 2011

journey to the sea - savannah

there are not words for me to describe the downtown area of savannah, georgia.  the majestic live oaks draped with the spanish moss, the beautiful buildings, the squares, the fountains, the sense of history...so i will leave you with these shots of my morning.  many stores were not opened with the president's day holiday and i longed to take a road never traveled before.  i don't know that i admitted to myself yet, but this is what my adventure was about - the road never travelled....

out of savannah, i decided to take all rural roads down to the "golden isles" - the sea islands that dot the coasts of georgia (similar to the islands off the coast of north and south carolina) - in this case brunswick, st. simons and jekyll.  i rode along highway 99.  the wonderful thing about taking rural roads.  you might find the world along with you for the ride....

or you could find america's smallest church (so they say).  this precious little church sits along highway 99 between savannah and darien.  under a canopy of live oaks, the one tiny room has beautiful stained glass, one pulpit and maybe eight chairs.  behind the altar are scattered pictures of loved ones with prayer requests, statues and other offerings.  it was a sweet and touching experience to see these.

darien is located along one of the many rivers along the coast - a huge fleet of shrimping boats were docked but i couldn't get close enough for great shots.  this area also had rice plantations and you can see the grasses filling a lot of the low tide areas along the banks of the rivers.


for some strange reason i quit taking pictures once i got to brunswick and st. simons.  maybe it was late in the day and i was tired.  the traffic was hectic and heavy - there was construction across high bridges (which wig me out anyway) and i wasn't the daredevil that i was on sunday.  i made my way to the mullet bay seafood restaurant - a popular place as it was quite full even later in the afternoon.  i love sitting at the bars because you meet other people alone.  i chatted with a nice older man about the book i was reading (the happiness project) and to another gentleman who was treating his mother to lunch (he was 65 and she was 90!).  leaving there, i felt the siren call of being on the road.  so, i decided to drive the backroads of georgia....

the problem - the gps decided it was time to quit the quiet roads and kept routing me back to interstate.  finally, in macon - i found highway 80.  but...it was also dark and i decided i was close enough to home and headed that way.  the deer along the highway were beautiful and the dark made it feel as i was alone in the world.  peaceful - quiet - wrapped in dark silk with me and the radio.  life was good...well, until i couldn't find a gas station for a while...but that resolved itself too. 

i made it home - back to montgomery - having seen new places and new things, with a belly full of shrimp. 

life is indeed very good.

February 23, 2011

journey to the sea - atlanta to tybee

there is something refreshing about driving four hours alone with your thoughts, i was also able to listen to some radio programs that i normally miss as i'm usually not in the car on sunday mornings.  one program i love is "american voices" on npr.  it reminds me of my dream project - to drive around the country backroads talking and interviewing people and taking their photographs.  since i can't do that - this program at least allows me to listen to some versions of those stories.

driving through savannah and out to tybee got my blood stirring.  the live oaks are gracefully draped with spanish moss.  like elegant senoritas, they caress the air with their fans of gray silk.  as you drive closer to tybee, the salt flats stretch out on either side of the road - flat and endless - lined with sea grass.  occasionally water birds stretch to take flight and lazily drift back down.  the shrimpers have docked for the afternoon, having unloaded their hauls and await a new day. 

the lighthouse and fort stay together, protective and secure.  brave souls hover near the walls as the cool wind whips scarves and jackets like unfurled flags.  visiting off season allows me time to listen to the ghostly voices slip past on the wind as i admire the strong, beige walls of the fort.  but the beach beacons and i can't resist. i dig ig my toes in the sand, watching the few people hunch their shoulders against the strong winds - whipping hair, clothes and sand.  frothy waves dance on the salty waters and the sounds soothe me.  i sit and rock in the swing.  too cold to sit there all evening, i take some photographs and go to seek shelter for the night.

off season brings bargains and i snag a "ocean obscured view" at a beach front bed and breakfast. (the desoto)  it is not fancy - but it offers warmth, access to the beach and free breakfast.  if you are the adventurous sort - i always recommend going off season and seeing what is available.  going late in the day and talking to the clerks can often snag you a deal.  this room is normally $200 on season - it was $72 on my walk in.  sweet!

a quick clean up and i decided to go with "uncle bubba's" for dinner.  being owned by the deen family brings a lot of traffic and i waited patiently about 20 minutes for a table, but in doing so i got a great table by the waterfront and a good view for people watching while i eat.  (i always bring a book too)  the menu is fairly basic seafood type items.  i went for the fresh fried shrimp dinner.  the shrimp was divine but the sides were generic - cheese grits and corn (there were several to choose from, again nothing fancy.)  there was a basket of tiny, cute corn muffins with honey butter while i waited and the sweet tea was definitely sweet.  one of my indulgences when i travel is taking dessert back to my hotel to savor while watching tv in bed (something i never do at home).  the dessert my friends was fantastic - homemade pound cake, with ice cream and fresh strawberries.  again, nothing fancy but sometimes simple is so amazing that it doesn't need the fancy.

i tried to stay up for moonrise at 9:30 but the combination of the long drive, full tummy, and ocean waves overtook me...more tomorrow.

here are the shots:

February 22, 2011

journey to the sea - montgomery to atlanta

i drove in the fog and wondered if the weather reports were wrong.  they were not.  i arrived in atlanta to sunshine and girly time.  we shopped, we ate, we drank, we talked our heads off, we went to a party, we took two taxis....a great kickoff to my weekend.  though i was sad she ended up not being able to go to the sea with me...i became excited at the adventure of being on my own for two days.  these are shots from the first leg of the journey.

i was so excited to see forsythia blooming that i squealed.

after two firsts (ikea and trader joes) - we settled down to an afternoon of wine, snacks, and solving the problems of the world.  i adore mellie - she is the friend that whenever you see her again, its just like you hung up the phone an hour ago.  smart, intelligent, funny, whimsical.... that night we went to a neighborhood block party where she loved telling how we met about 14 years ago.  in line at an edwin mccain show - she was first in line and i was second.  gah....how embarrassing.  but...i got a fantastic friend out of the deal.  she lives in adair park in atlanta - an area being reclaimed from crime and decay.  the houses were built in the 30's and 40's and have amazing character.  the people that i met were charming and interesting.  i can't wait to go visit again - i actually met a circus performer!!  she eats fire - so you know i told her that i want to photograph her the next visit!

now i know their beauty up close and personal.  they were left as a hostess gift...but mellie was hip to my buying them as a photography subject.  why oh why can't the stores here carry these beauties?

sunday morning i was both happy and sad to leave...this shot is right before the traffic jammed up because of a wreck...oh yes, atlanta traffic.  though i miss living in a big city - there are certainly things that i do not miss.  traffic is one.

oops - i just realized i'm telling on myself.  i have a bit of a lead foot.  this stunt is not for children.  trying to focus a camera while driving, reading a gps and driving too fast.  (i made sure no one was around me)  this is just outside of savannah...heading towards tybee island.  more tomorrow!