Amicalola Falls

During a spur-of-the-moment road trip, we decided to stop by Amicalola Falls in Dawsonville, Georgia.  We stayed at the lodge, which was very nice!  The room’s view over the mountains was amazing.  There’s a restaurant at the lodge, and they definitely take advantage of the fact that the nearest store is forty minutes away.  Breakfast was a buffet… think “free continental breakfast” quality, complete with waffle makers and re-hydrated scrambled eggs.  For four of us, breakfast was over $50!  And my littlest kid was free.  Insanity.  But hey, it was food, and it was convenient.

We were watching the weather waiting for a break in the rain so we could head down to the falls, but it didn’t look like it was ever going to let up.  So, we decided to go anyway!  A little rain never hurt anybody.  I actually love to go to beautiful places in the rain because it’s way less crowded (We had the whole place to ourselves), and it can make for some very dramatic photos.  Being from Florida, there are two things we don’t see much (any) of: mountains and waterfalls!  This place was truly amazing.  Photos really can’t do it justice.  I would love to go back here when we have more time to spend on the trails.  The southernmost approach to the Appalachian Trail can be reached from here.  Some day!

I didn’t get a whole lot of photos because, well, my camera isn’t waterproof. 🙂

There was an old, upside-down car under the stairs. No clue how this car could have gotten here!

Sadie knows how much I love spiderwebs, so she saw this one and made me take a picture.

The view from the top of the falls.

There were sooooo many stairs! Over 400 for the first part and close to 200 for the lower part.

Such troopers. This little girl is tough!

Checking out the car under the stairs.

Selby Gardens

One of my absolute favorite local places is Selby Gardens.  I’ve been to many botanical gardens and none have yet topped Selby’s orchids!  I could spend hours in the conservatory taking macro shots of the orchids.  The whole place is just so peaceful and relaxing.  There’s always something new blooming.  Sadie and I had a chance to go for a couple of hours last week.  I didn’t get many photos because it’s not as easy with a Little to entertain, but here are a few.  I’m sure I’ll be going back again soon!

Fairchild Gardens

We were lucky enough to get one more cool day before the Florida heat sets in for the summer. It was a perfect day for a little road trip. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens is a bit of a drive at three hours, but it was totally worth the drive!

A New Chapter

After ten years of professional photography, I decided it was time for a change.  I loved taking pictures, and I loved giving people the gift of memories they could hang on their wall.  What I did not love was  hour after hour of sitting in front of a computer photoshopping people into their ideal version of themselves.  People weren’t happy unless every flaw was removed, and inches were taken away.  I hated that!  I could see the beauty in every laugh line, in every curve, in every “flaw.”  It became very frustrating for me because it goes against my own personal standards of beauty.  I felt like a hypocrite.  To me, what makes a person beautiful is their spirit.  Are they kind, compassionate, considerate human beings?  That’s what matters.  Wrinkles, gray hair and a few extra pounds are irrelevant!  So rather than fight the standard of photoshopping flaws away, I left the business.  There were more reasons than just that, but that was a big one!  I know there are other plans in store for me.  I want to help people.  I want to make a difference in the world, even if it’s just one single person I help.  I’m going to school full-time for some kind of psychology.  I haven’t quite decided what, exactly, I want to do.  But I know that it will involve helping remove the stigma of mental illness, and helping people learn to love themselves.

So why this webpage??  Because I still absolutely love photography!  That never went away.  I became a bit jaded by the business of photography, but I’ve never stopped loving the art of it!  So, I hooked up with a few great friends and put some life back into a photo club we started a couple of years ago, http://opticaldillusions.net.  I rekindled my love of photography as we’ve created and participated in fun weekly photo challenges and monthly topics to help us and anybody else who joins to improve our photography.  We’ll also be entering some contests, which is always a great motivator!

One of the first challenges we did was symmetry.  It was a lot of fun finding things in nature that were symmetrical.  It was also very cool to create my own symmetry from things around the house, like this book of Shakespeare on a mirror.

Our photo club can be found on Instagram and on Facebook. We’re hoping to grow and find more members to come shoot with us and participate in the challenges.  These things are always more fun with friends!

If you’ve made it through my long, rambling post, I hope you’ll enjoy following my photo adventures here, and on Facebook and Instagram!  Surely the rest of my posts won’t be so long-winded and will mostly consist of photos. 🙂

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