Head of Tennessee Baptist Church

On my way to the Smoky Mountains in March of 2011, I stopped in the small town of Dillard, Georgia. I stayed the night at a wonderful place called The Dillard House. They have a fantastic restaurant and outstanding accommodations. The plan was to get up early the next morning and visit a few different sites that I wanted to photograph in the area before continuing on. One of the places I went to on this same day was Toccoa Falls which is featured in this blog post – The Falls Behind The Trees.

Now while planning a trip beforehand is a great thing to do, sometimes it’s the unknown gems that you find on your journey that really catch your eye. (Like this other church I discovered later in the day which was in this blog post – Lufty Baptist Church.)

Upon my arrival the night before, I spotted this church located just up the street from where I was staying. As someone who has a fascination with older architectural styles, I knew I had to shoot it. The sky was beautiful that morning with lots of clouds and a rich blue color. The front of the church faces due east, so the lighting was perfect. The bell tower with the stainless steel top, the brickwork, and the double arched doorways were just a few of the elements that attracted me to it. On the south side is the cemetery with a beautiful and peaceful mountain view.

Construction of this building was completed in 1932. The opening service was held on August 21st. To read more about this church and it’s history, click here to visit their website.

Also if you would like more history on this area, you can click here to see early photos of the church, The Dillard House, and other historical buildings.

To enjoy a larger view, please click on the images below!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I encourage you to join the conversation by writing your thoughts below as I truly like to hear from all of my visitors! 🙂

Sunset on the Serengeti

No not the African plains but Florida! Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa to be exact. Photo opportunities abound when you pay a visit here. There is a variety of animals to see and learn about. This image features three of their stars: a Reticulated Giraffe and two Marabou Storks. This was a perfect day for taking pictures as it rained off and on all day. The clouds would come and go opening up briefly to let the sunlight in. I was walking around taking pictures of the birds when I spotted this lone giraffe. He kept getting closer to me and I had the hopes of getting a close-up shot. He stopped at a comfortable distance from me and stayed where he was. With him keeping a close watch on me, I setup the shot to include the two storks with the giraffe in the background. I got four shots before he turned and ran away. The color in the sky and the giraffe staring right at me was my favorite shot.

To enjoy a larger view, please click on the image below!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I encourage you to join the conversation by writing your thoughts below as I truly like to hear from all of my visitors! 🙂

Wheel Well Motel

On a recent photo excursion that brought this image to the blog, I took a visit to the newest addition of Disney lodging: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. There are a few different themes going on that are very exciting. I found the Cars theme to be very interesting. I enjoy scenes with lots of color and this certainly was a treat to my eyes. As a photographer who shoots lots of HDR, this was like heaven! It is set up to resemble route 66. The sidewalk looks like a paved street with power poles and streetlights  running alongside it. Several different characters from the movie were strategically placed for your viewing pleasure.

This scene in particular was setup in front of the Wheel Well Motel. Lightning McQueen and Sally Carrera were parked out front like rock-stars. Even fine details such as the fuel pumps bearing the name “Butte Gas” were not overlooked. Disney always goes all out to bring magic to their guests.

The resort is opening up in phases with two phases complete and two phases scheduled to be open real soon. For more information about this resort property click on the link above or right here.

To view more pictures on my blog from Disney, just click here.

To enjoy a larger view, please click on the image below!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I encourage you to join the conversation by writing your thoughts below as I truly like to hear from all of my visitors! 🙂

Shutterbug

I started this blog almost 2 years ago on July 7th 2010. My original intentions were to post some of my pictures I took and share them with the world. Not being much of a writer I thought all I needed to do was put a picture on, state where it was taken, and be done. But after reading some of my fellow bloggers pages, I came to realize that pictures alone were not enough. I needed interesting story-lines to help engage the readers.  Since I started doing that my readership has grown and I truly appreciate the support everyone has shown me.

On that note I wanted to share something that recently happened to me. Back in March I was contacted by Joe Farace who writes a column in Shutterbug Magazine (www.shutterbug.com) titled Web Profiles. He wanted to feature my blog in the July 2012 issue, and needed my permission to include a screen shot of my blog page. I of course had no problem with that so I said yes. Well the magazine just came out and I am so excited to see it. I have included screen shots of the cover and the pages of the article.

Thank you Joe for the wonderful write-up. I am truly honored. Also I want to personally thank all of my blog readers. You have inspired me to keep bringing new content to share. You have helped to make this blog what it is.

The Grand Entrance

Living in Florida definitely has its perks. We’ve got miles of beaches. We don’t have to deal with 10 feet of snow. And we’ve got Disney! As a longtime fan of everything Disney, I can tell you it is a magical place. A place to escape the world and leave your troubles behind. There is something for kids of all ages. I never get tired of visiting this oasis. Everywhere you turn, there is something to take a picture of. No expense is spared when it comes to treating their guests like royalty.

Enter the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Just minutes away from the awesome theme parks, this is the flagship hotel out of all of the resort properties. The Victorian style architecture stands tall on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon. This is luxury at its best. And with 6 restaurants on site, there is always something good to eat.

When I stepped inside after getting off of the monorail, I was greeted with this spectacular view. The reflection on the perfectly spotless floor was unreal. I stopped and looked back and decided a photo-shoot was in order. I set my tripod down low to make sure the reflection had the impact that I was looking for. I waited, crouched down, for the people to clear out. I shot a few different angles until I was happy with what I saw on the camera’s LCD. The ginormous light fixture along with the hallways brilliantly reflecting on the floor had me in awe. No doubt the designers of this hotel planned this out ahead of time. If you would like more information about this amazing hotel, click here.

I will be posting more pictures from this day of picture taking soon, so be sure and check back for that.

To view more pictures on my blog from Disney, just click here.

To enjoy a larger view, please click on the image below!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I encourage you to join the conversation by writing your thoughts below as I truly like to hear from all of my visitors! 🙂

Sunflower Dreams

This past Sunday I went to a sunflower maze in a small town nearby. Armed with my tripod and camera, I set out to hopefully capture some beautiful pictures. The vision in my head was one of those shots where there is an infinite field of short sunflowers, the sun is low in the sky, and there are big, fluffy clouds. Well that didn’t happen. Most of the flowers I encountered were 8 to 12 feet tall. The sun was still relatively high in the sky. And clouds? Nada! But I am always optimistic about making pictures in any condition.

The maze itself was 5 acres in size. I spent roughly 3 hours walking through it, intentionally going the wrong way just to see what I could find. As this was the last day of the maze being open, a lot of the flowers were past their prime. But most of them were still blooming out nicely. I walked along stopping every so often to take a picture. I was nearing the end of the maze when I saw this flower. The sun was lighting it up from behind and the glow was amazing. I moved around looking for the right angle to capture it. When I found the right spot, I set my tripod up and shot. I looked on the camera screen and thought – no that’s not it. I turned the camera just a little bit and just as I pressed the shutter, the wind blew slightly, moving the other flowers and leaves around. I checked the screen and I was ecstatic. This was the shot I was looking for. The sun flares glowing across the frame in a diagonal line. The bright spot of sun in the upper right. The light cast on the back of the flower. All of these contributed to a shot that only required me to be in the right place at the right time.

I didn’t do very much post processing on this shot. A little bit of sharpening, contrast, and clarity were all that I needed to do in Lightroom.

To enjoy a larger view, please click on the image below!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I encourage you to join the conversation by writing your thoughts below as I truly like to hear from all of my visitors! 🙂

Bricks, Shadows, and Stairs…Oh My!

A couple of weeks ago I took a drive to a charming little town that I haven’t been too in awhile. Mount Dora. Located in central Florida just North of Orlando, this beautiful small town has a lot to offer those who visit. There are shops, art galleries, restaurants, and parks just to name a few things. You can spend hours just walking around seeing the sights. There are lakes in the area where you can catch a fish or a beautiful sunset. At 184 feet above sea level, it’s not exactly a mountain, but that contributes to the name. I’ve included a link to the city’s official website, which goes into detail about the history of this beautiful city.

As I was walking around, this alleyway caught my eye. I really liked the pattern of the bricks on the walkway and on the building. The light was hitting it just right and creating some very interesting shadows across all of this texture. The stairway to my left just seemed to add something to an already photogenic scene.

To enjoy a larger view, please click on the image below!

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and I encourage you to join the conversation by writing your thoughts below as I truly like to hear from all of my visitors! 🙂