Hiwassee Union Baptist Church

Since moving to Tennessee almost two years ago, I have done lots of exploring. I constantly search the internet to find interesting places for picture taking. I keep a list so that I can refer to it and pick out a place to travel to. Today we are going to visit the small town of Reliance, TN.

I saw a picture of this church and had to instantly add it to my list. I really love old churches. They have so much character. And when you find one this old still in great shape, well, you have to check it out!

Built in 1899, this church is situated on the banks of the scenic Hiwassee River. Standing the test of time, it is a true testament to the folks that built it.

My timing couldn’t have been better as the sun was setting and the sky was ablaze with color. I quickly surveyed the scene to find the best angle. The orange glow on the river and the fiery clouds really got me excited. I setup my tripod to capture the breathtaking light before it faded into darkness.

I plan on returning again to this spot really soon. It certainly makes me happy to live in Tennessee with so much scenery!

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Hiwassee Union Baptist Church

Located in Reliance, TN. The setting sun accents this beautiful church built in 1899.

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Marble Plains Baptist Church

Adventure can take you anywhere you want to go. Driving around just to see what you may discover is always amazing.  Since moving to Tennessee I have been exploring every chance I get. When a road looks interesting I turn on it to see what I can find. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. While out and about one day recently, I followed my instincts to hopefully come across a photographic scene. I’m always curious if I can locate a great landscape or a hidden gem off the beaten path.

Well as luck would have it, at the end of this road was this beautiful church. The sun was low in the sky and the light was just perfect. I knew I needed to get my camera gear out and take some pictures. The angle was just right for the time of day. The golden glow was so awesome that I stopped shooting to just look at this fantastic scene in front of me. This is the kind of stuff I hope for.

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Marble Plains Baptist Church

Marble Plains Baptist Church

Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge

Just outside of Nashville, Tennessee is the beautiful city of Franklin. One end of the Natchez Trace Parkway is located here. The parkway covers 444 miles through Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi with a very scenic drive. One of the sights not to be missed is the 145′ tall bridge. Opened in 1994 it spans 1,572′ as it crosses over a highway connecting tree-lined roadways.

Once I settled on a view that I liked I setup my tripod to take some photos. With such a wide scene a standard lens was not doing the job of capturing the entire bridge in one shot. I decided to try out my 8mm fisheye lens. This was going to do the trick! The bridge itself is pretty much straight across, however the fisheye lens added in some distortion which bowed it out slightly. I thought it looked cool so I kept shooting from different perspectives until I found what I liked.

This image was shot in February on a very gray cloudy day. There wasn’t a lot going on color wise, so I went for black and white to bring out the textures.

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A low angle view of the double arch bridge in Franklin, Tennessee.

A low angle view of the double arch bridge in Franklin, Tennessee.

Two Rivers Mansion – Nashville, Tennessee

Hi everyone! First off I’ll start by saying sorry for the long hiatus. I promise to try and post more this year. Right before Christmas I moved to Tennessee and things have been hectic as you can imagine. But I am finally getting into my groove so to speak. I am now living just outside of Nashville so you will be seeing more Tennessee pictures with some Florida stuff thrown in once in awhile!

For my first post of 2016 I present to you an historic house that I recently photographed. Two Rivers Mansion in Nashville, Tennessee is a beautiful example of fine quality architecture. Built in 1859 it has stood the test of time. The attention to detail is really quite remarkable. This is one of the reasons I love photographing old buildings; the workmanship is always really impressive considering the limited amount of tools to work with for the time period.

For now I will leave you with this image but will be posting lots more really soon as I have been doing lots of exploration and traveling in my new home state.

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Two Rivers Mansion

Two Rivers Mansion in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Calm Before the Storm

Back at the end of October I posted an image of a beautiful church in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with the promise of more pictures and stories to come. This post will bring you some of that.

Today’s image is from my camping trip back in October. I went to Calhoun Falls State Park in South Carolina. Upon my arrival to the campground, I setup my tent and got some of my campsite essentials setup as well. Table – check. Chairs – check. Cooler – check. Air mattress inflated and in the tent – check. Spectacular view of the lake – check! All that was left to do was to walk around the site, take it all in, snap some pics and just relax and enjoy the breathtaking beauty. Sounds easy enough right? Sure let’s go with that.

My specific campsite was surrounded by water as it was situated right at the edge of the lake. Rule number 1 when you camp in a tent: Anytime you are going to leave your campsite you should always zip up all open doors and windows to prevent water from entering said tent. Remember this rule and everything will be fine. So after taking care of that business it was time to explore the park as a whole.

I drove around checking out all of the other campsites so I could pick out my faves for my next visit. After that I proceeded to the day use area of the park for some exploration. This was such a beautiful park that I didn’t want to leave, but after making about a 10 hour drive to get there, all I could think of was getting some food. One of my favorite things to do is grill out. However I didn’t feel like doing that on this night so I had to drive over to the next town to hit a grocery store for some grub. Abbeville, South Carolina was about 25 minutes away from the camp. Insert rule number 1 here!

When I got there I located a nice grocery store and went inside. After perusing the store, I found some good-looking sandwiches in the deli, and a big bottle of tea. A perfect dinner to take back to the campsite and enjoy the beautiful scenery and sounds of nature. As I walked out the door and across the parking lot I was noticing how the full moon was illuminating the night sky. I thought to myself that would be so beautiful rising over the lake at the campsite. Again, we need to insert rule number 1 here.

As I started my Jeep I saw a flash of bright light. Surely that wasn’t lightning! I thought. Naw couldn’t be. I just saw the moon. As I made my way back down the road I saw light flashing again. Now I know that was lightning. Crazy! Then it started sprinkling rain. Do you remember rule number 1? “Anytime you are going to leave your campsite you should always zip up all open doors and windows to prevent water from entering said tent.” Yes, yes I remember that rule. I always practice that rule. Right?

Well under normal circumstances I follow that rule to a TEE. Except this time. Oh no! It absolutely did not look like rain when I left. I am still about 20 minutes away and by now it is raining so hard I can’t even see the road. I pull off into a parking lot to stay safe. I decided to check the weather radar. WOW! Heavy rain is just all over the place. I can tell by the map that the campsite is being hit really hard. I get back on the road and lightning is hitting all around me. I have to drive slow because of the deluge. I kind of figured by this time, what’s the point of worrying about it anyway. Whatever has happened is done and I can’t do anything about it.

As I finally pull in the park entrance, my headlights are no match for the driving rain pounding the darkness. I make my way slowly back to the campground and to my site. I pull into the driveway and just sit there. The rain is blowing sideways into the tent! The good news is that it is still standing. Only thing to do is sit and wait. And wait… After consuming my dinner in the Jeep, what seemed like hours of waiting, the rain finally quit. Once the lightning disappeared for good, I got out to survey the damage. My air mattress was covered in water as well as the whole tent floor. Looks like I’m sleeping in the Jeep tonight.

After a not so restful night, I awoke to birds chirping at the sunrise, signaling a new day. Looks like today will be awesome! Right after I dry everything off and get some breakfast. Now where did I put that towel?

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This was taken at sunset right before I left to go get dinner. C’mon this does not look like a monsoon is about to let loose!

A beautiful sunset reflects upon the water in South Carolina at Calhoun Falls State Park.

A beautiful sunset reflects upon the water in South Carolina at Calhoun Falls State Park.

Time Marches On

As a photographer I am constantly looking out for interesting subjects. When I find something, I make note of the location so that I can return to it when the light is right. This image is no different.

I spotted this gem on a recent excursion and got extremely excited. This is the kind of stuff I love to find. Sitting out in the middle of a huge field, there it was. An old cracker style farmhouse left to the elements. The weather has certainly taken it’s toll on this wonderful building. But there is just so much character contained in a piece of history like this I knew I had to come back and shoot it.

After doing some research on the angle of the setting sun and what time of day it would be, all I had to do was just show up at the right time. Oh and hope that the sky spirits would hear my call and present me with an amazing sunset ;). I think they delivered! What do you think?

Most of the time I previsualize a shot in my head which helps me to capture it exactly the way I want it to look. However all of the elements must present themselves to make it happen. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I originally planned on a black and white image that portrayed the entire field around the house. On the day I took this, I changed my mind and zoomed in closer to show more details of the house. The color was so amazing that I decided to nix the black and white idea. I had really hoped for some birds to fly through while I was there but they didn’t. So I had to add the birds to the scene after the fact.

The idea for the title struck me after noticing how nature is taking over the structure but the field is still in use with fresh hay bales in the background.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this picture so please feel free to leave me a comment.

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Time Marches On

Coronado Springs Resort

Welcome to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, a Spanish-colonial style resort hotel with a beautiful lake view. To get this shot I knew I wanted to be there at sunset. I was here earlier in the afternoon and the water was too ripply to get a nice reflection. I was hoping the breeze would subside by evening and the water would look like glass. I was not disappointed!

I ended up circling the entire lake by the time the night was over. I shot from several different areas looking for the right balance of buildings, reflection, sunset color, and a little bit of foreground element to complete the image. I was really happy how this one turned out.

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Coronado Springs Resort