Little forewarning…this post is going to be full of photos so bare with me and I hope you like them!
Over the holidays I was able to spend a lot of time at home in Virginia, all of which was a surprise, however this photo was taken as I was flying into Charlotte, NC. I honestly have no idea what it is but I thought that it was such a cool thing to see from the sky I had to capture it before we passed it.
After the New Year celebration came and went it was time for me to get back on the road. I have to say I have realized that I am comprised of some serious oxymoron complexes. I have a gypsy soul some would say, I love to be on the move, to travel, explore the back roads, hidden corners and far reaches of the world. And yet I love to be home, spending time on the couch with Peter, being able to have my office laid out on my desk, cooking in my kitchen. There are simple things about being home that many people either don’t think about or take for granted. I think that being deployed and now being on the road I think about the little details that so many people take for granted and appreciate them so much more.
When I arrived in Savannah I knew that it was going to be an interesting expedition. Times like this I am very thankful for the experiences I have gained in my years of travel. Walking out of the airport, on the phone with Peter, he reminded me how thankful I should be that finding transportation would be so much easier in Savannah then it was when we were in Athens Greece. With a smile on my face I had to agree with him, at least I was dealing with navigating transportation in the same language. Finally I found a shuttle that cost $5 to take me from the airport to downtown Savannah.
Let me back up a little, during my time home when my car would have been sitting at the airport, I let my boss borrow it so he wouldn’t have to rent a car and I wouldn’t have to pay for the parking fee. Thus leaving me without a set of wheels when I landed or a place to put my stuff when I was exploring around. Even though it basically reversed all of the good that was done during my massage I had when I was home I knew that the experience was going to be well worth it, and I was right.
I had done some research on some of the areas I wanted to go explore, and to anyone who knows me will grin at this but, I had a list of areas I wanted to see and how far away those locations were from one another. This made getting dropped off in downtown Savannah a blessing! Not only did I not have to pay for an expensive cab ride but I also didn’t have to try and explain to a cabby where I wanted to go, probably explaining it wrong and end up on the opposite side of town from where I wanted to be at…this way was much simpler. The first area I wanted to explore was the historic district! This made walking much simpler because apparently how the city is laid out and all the locations I wanted to visit were all heading the same direction so all I had to do was…walk. As I walked through historic district I couldn’t help but see SCAD on most of the old buildings. At first I didn’t think anything of it until I stopped in the Sorrel-Weed House for a tour, that is when the tour guide informed us that SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design, have been a huge help to maintain a lot of this historical buildings in Savannah. What they do is they buy the buildings, then they have the students as part of their school work restore the buildings. It doesn’t cost the city money, gives students hands on learning experiences and helps keep the city beautiful. One thing I have loved about my travels is being able to see the people. I have always loved being able to observe people, we are all so different and it is always so interesting and sometimes a little worry some to watch and listen to people. These women come out and sit on the benches in the park all day, mostly to gossip as women do, but also to inform visitors about the African-American history that is rooted in the city. One reason I am so thankful, though my feet would disagree, about walking through Savannah was because I got to see and appreciate the architecture that comprises the city. So unique and diverse it really gives you a big bite of Southern culture in one small city. How often do you find boutique shops everywhere and you have to search for a department store in a city? I was very impressed to see that this community really believes in the community. Small businesses flourishing due to a good balance of artistic and ghost hunter tourists have their pick of the themed local shops. It may not be a one stop shop but you are able to experience more of the city when you go into the shops and visit with the locals.
Nearly every other block walking down through Historic District into Victorian District there was a city park in the center. I must have walked through four or five “squares” before reaching Forsyth Park. I am going to forewarn you right now…there are a lot of pictures of this fountain. Not only is it one of the most notable features of Forsyth Park but I also like playing with exposures and angles of fountains and other things of this nature . I have absolutely fallen in love with the trees down here. If it wasn’t for the humidity, big bugs, snakes, hurricanes and alligators I would love to live in the South. From North Carolina to Georgia (thus far) I have found an area in each state that I could see myself living in if I was ever to end up on the East Coast. In Georgia, Savannah would be my spot. But as you can see in my multitude of photos I wanted to capture every “mood” I felt when I looked at these trees.With the romantic Spanish Moss that hangs from the trees seems to encompass a multitude of moods. Hanging over the road in a romantic arch makes me feel like the road will keep rolling on and on until I hit the horizon. As the sun sets behind the horizon it changes the mood of the trees from romantic to sad and somber. Weeping trees hanging over the haunted angels guarding over the souls of those who eternally rest at Bonaventure Cemetery. Now giving the air an eerie feeling as the sun continues to set and the shadows creep from the corners of which they have been hiding taking over the night. I do have to share a funny story about Bonaventure Cemetery. Now anyone who has known me for nearly any amount of time knows that I have a thing about cemeteries. I am oddly attracted to visiting them. From what I was told and what I saw during my research I saw that Bonaventure Cemetery was like the cemetery in Phantom of the Opera. Dramatic Gothic statues and crypts surrounded by mossy trees…I had to go! Well when I got my car back and finally ate something it was starting to get late and the cemetery was about 25 minutes from the hotel I was staying in. So by the time I got there the cemetery had JUST closed. Needless to say just because a place is closed does not always stop me from getting the pictures I want. Many who have been with me when I do this can attest to that fact, when I want a picture I generally find a way. Well in this case I found a way but it literally took me going to get a coffee and sitting in my car on a stake out till the coast was clear! Once it was clear I made my way around the gates and stayed close to the tree line to help hide my figure from anyone who might see me from a distance. Now I wasn’t able to go see much, wanting to keep my B&E to a minimum I snapped a few pictures at the memorial gardens and turned around to leave. As I got closer to the same entrance I came through I noticed that the grounds keeper’s lights were on! I started to freak out! So instead I changed my exit strategy by sneaking around a crypt, as I was sneaking around I startled a small black (I think) dog which of course gave me a heart attack! He jumped and ran off into the darkness and I made my way as quickly as I could without being seen to my car because I am pretty sure I nearly shat myself. Cause I thought it was a good idea to break into a HAUNTED cemetery at NIGHT…greeeeat plan! Once I got my heart beating at a regular beat again I made my way back to the historic district because I really wanted to capture the Forsyth Park fountain at night. Once again parking the car and just walking took me to some really cool places and with the “haunted” history of the city it made walking around after dusk a slightly eerie experience. Which is something I wanted to capture in my photos. The Forsyth Park fountain is one of the city’s most photographed landmarks, knowing that I knew I had to try my hand at capturing the cascading water both during the day and at night. I used to wonder, when looking at photos of renowned locations, how the photographer was able to capture the location without having a bunch of people walking through the photo. Over the last two years I think that I found their secret, they go during the worst weather, out at the most ridiculous times and braving some crazy things in order to capture the perfect picture sans people. My experience for these images wasn’t that difficult to get, the wind was howling and the temperature had dropped so most people were at home and not wanting to be out in the “cold”. Since I am a crazy Alaskan I tend to run towards the cold rather then away from it. The following morning I had the unpleasant experience of realizing I forgot my debt card at the coffee shop I had to get my “stake out” coffee from the night before. So once I dragged my lazy butt out of bed I went back to the coffee shop to retrieve the card…and get coffee. What was a nice coincidence was that the shop was 1.8 miles from the cemetery and since I wasn’t able to get the extent of the photos I wanted the night before I decided I was going to take a quick stroll to fill the lack of images. This area hit close to home for me. The Holocaust has always been a subject that I have spent my life researching because I was taught that “knowledge is power” and if we do not educate ourselves on the catastrophic events throughout history they are bound to repeat themselves. So the Holocaust has always been a subject that was near and dear to my heart, this area also hit home for me because my Grandmum, who was Jewish, passed away right before I left on this grand adventure. I had an emotional moment I knew that she was with me but I also was reminded on how much I missed her. As I continued to make my way through the cemetery I found these beautiful crypts. Something that always reminds me of Greek Temples or Phantom of the Opera of course This photo has to be one of my favorite that I took in the cemetery. It is a perfect combination of all the things that I find to be hauntingly romantic about cemeteries, especially this one. This 100-acre cemetery is also historically significant as a reflection of changing views on death and dying in the Victorian era. As death became more romanticized and ritualized during this period, cemeteries became lush, beautiful cities of the dead. Walking through you can see the years that these headstones have endured, rain storms, floods, hurricanes and countless other natural destructive elements that they have weathered through. This image is my absolute favorite I took in the cemetery and the reason why I titled this blog entry “Haunted Angels”. I could get lost in the layers of emotion and symbolism represented in this photo, most importantly the photo reaches into my soul. Sounds arrogant I am sure to say that as the photographer, but even the photographer is touched by the very photos they strive to capture. I don’t think I will ever understand my love of cemeteries. Even in a “haunted” one I still felt at peace At first I used to think it was because of the stone work, I always found it to be a complicated and delicate art that is under appreciated. Then as I got older I started to become fascinated with history and cemeteries became something else to me. Now it was history, I became fascinated with their stories and how did that story fit into the puzzle of our history. During my time in Savannah I was able to spend a lot of time exploring around and though I didn’t get to see everything that I wanted to see, I never do, I am still very thankful that I was able to have as much time as I did to explore. Another day…Another mile! I hope y’all enjoyed the plethora of photos and entertaining stories.
Traveling Photographer Out!