Photos in a Location not Named

I've mentioned on here before that I don't do as much personal photography as I'd like to.  I get much so wrapped up in my business and forget why I got into it in the first place.  It helps to have a friend that wants to shoot too, however for this shoot in particular... I'm going to leave the particulars out.  We both figured it best to not give too much info as we may not have been invited in, per se   We went shooting at a well known place in Atlanta that has had a few movie filmings recently.  It's a really incredible place on a few acres of land in a great neighborhood.  It's a place most in-towners have seen and said "I wonder what's in there?"  Let me tell you, it was an amazing experience.  I'll let the photos tell the story, though I will say even though we found artifacts of life, we never came into contact with anyone (luckily).


Meteor Shower at Chattooga Belle Farm

I was talking to Keri the other day about a photo contest I submitted to recently.  It wasn't so much about the contest, but about looking through my catalog from 2012 for photos to submit.  I realized that the downside to a good business year can sometimes mean the lack of personal projects.  I ended up finding something to submit, but it was a slap in the face to realize I had done very little shooting for myself this year.  This is why I was ecstatic when I spoke to Marc Del Santro about photographing the recent meteor shower.  It was about as last minute as can be when at 2pm he said "I'm heading to South Carolina in about 9 hours to shoot from midnight until dawn."  To which I replied "yes, Marc- I will invite myself along."   It was exactly that- finish up a shoot at 6pm, go to band practice until 10pm, then head to SC for shooting until dawn.  Marc also brought along the incredible Nadia D.  I can't tell you how much fun I had- not only for the photography and friendship, but for the fact that it was photography for myself.  Plus the meteor shower was pretty insane.

Light painting and general goofery provided by Marc Del Santro and Nadia D.

Maine: The Way Life Should Be

Greetings from the northeast! I've been out on an architectural photo assignment for the last week and a half (hence the blog slowdown). Keri and I were still able however to go on with our planned trip to Maine/Anniversary trip. We had a great evening in Boston and a few nights with Patrick, Jennifer, Kate, and Abbey in Bangor. Below you'll see a mix of photos (many of Kate) from hiking, paddle boarding, and a sea plane ride over Moosehead lake (thanks again Pat & Jenn!). I'll start with my favorite of the week!


Unfortunately, Jen had to work the evening these were taken...



Our sea plane was built around the time our parents were born:


After our flight, we hiked to the top here:


At the top, we climbed the fire tower for an incredible view.



Lesson Learned

Though these probably aren't photos to put on a postcard because they were taken at the worst part of the day for lighting, I thought I'd try my hand at some neat "waves crashing on the rocks" photos while hiking around Half Moon Bay in California.  Check out these sequence frames from a sunny afternoon and the lesson I learned.

... and then I got wet.  So naturally, I moved farther back:

... and then I got wet again.

So my lovely wife suggested:  "maybe you should come up here and take photos."

So I did.

The lesson learned is that you can take awesome photos close to the action and get a little wet (this is why you spend the the money on weather resistant cameras and lenses), or you can take pictures of flowers.  Both are fine, but I'm glad I got wet.  :)

Super Moon and Burgers!


This week and next week I'll have lots of photos for the blog!  I've been busy getting my backlog of shots from the past month edited and uploaded to the client site.  We have an engagement session, a wedding, portraits, and another fun surprise I'm sure you'll get a kick out of.

Saturday night I made the long trek up to Marietta (30 min) to stay the night with my good friend Curt.  We had plans to go mountain biking up there in the morning and I had no real plans that evening, so we decided to grill out and enjoy the amazing weather.  As it just so happens, all of the food we prepared was homemade:  homemade burgers, homemade buns, homemade fries, and homebrew.




After dinner, we packed our photo gear to check out the Super Moon.  It pretty much looked like a normal full moon, but it was bright enough out to throw a football.  After a few close-up shots of the moon (they're actually on Curt's camera, so I don't have them for ya!), Curt discovered how easy light-painting can be with a cell phone.  Well... easy in that you can physically do it.  Making shapes and writing mirror-image messages proved a little tricky.  Here's what we came up with at a 30 second exposure setting on a tripod.  None are perfect, but we had a good time!





The last one here is a composite of 4 pictures of our outlines.  Curt's idea.  The ones on one leg were tough to hold for 30 seconds...

Firenze! Which apparently means "Florence" in Italian!

We kept wondering why the train stations kept saying "Firenze" and not "Florence."  I can honestly say Keri and I gave Italian the old [community] college try before hopping on a plane overseas.  We found about 8 hours of Italian on CDs and listened to them all in about 2 months.  I knew 8 hours of listening in the car wouldn't get me to conversational Italian, but I thought it would at least cover "why the hell isn't Florence on the map?  Should we ask someone in what city The David is located?  We eventually figured it out... and arrived in the artist's city.

To be honest, we were expecting something different.  We thought Rome was going to be a big, busy, bustling city; Florence would be a small, artsy city easy to get around; and Sienna would be just a big neighborhood town.  We were right about Rome and Sienna, but we overestimated the quaintness of Florence.  We're not saying we didn't like Florence, because we did experience some amazing art, stayed in a beautiful former convent, and Keri met "Bernini"- her new baby lamb leather jacket.  Florence just seemed full of crazy mopeds, long lines for museums, and a few unfriendly waiters.

I'll start the photo series with our first moment of peace from the trip.  Between the 5 missed standby flights to Italy, going to Germany first, getting acclimated in Venice, and the sightseeing in Cinque Terre, we began Florence with our first moment of downtime- laundry day.  Because Keri and I flew standby, we had to pack roughly 3 weeks of clothes in a "carry-on and one personal item."  Florence was about all our wardrobe could handle without offending the natives.  We settled into the Setti Santi Hostile (Seven Saints)- a former Catholic Convent- for a few hours of laundry, napping, and relaxation.  The window you see immediately below opened to an olive orchard.

The Ponte Vecchio and a close-up of the stilts supporting the retail shops that open to the inside of the bridge.


A random opera singer on the street.

And onto the market day 2.

This woman freehand embroiders fabric in about 20 seconds.  Pretty amazing to watch.

And of course, I had to include pictures of Bernini.  The coat that came to Keri by way of an Italian man that knows Keri's style and size by just one look at her.  No joke.  It was pretty amazing.

Part II on the way...

Cinque Terre, Italy! Part 2 of 2

Day two in the Cinque Terre consisted of a trail hike through the five towns.  You can read about day one and the Cinque Terre here.

Unfortunately we weren't able to spend much time in the other four cities, though we got to see the sights and have a few bites of food along the way.  In Rio Maggiore (the fifth city) we even decided to take a break and cool down with a dip in the Mediterranean.  The water was so unbelievably clear I had to actually taste it to see if it really was saltwater (yes).  We could easily see 30 to 50 feet below us in the clear blue water... so clear that we got a little freaked out and only stayed in for a few minutes.  Yeah, we're wusses used to the Atlantic ocean where the water's too murky to see the imaginary sharks lurking.  I think the worst thing we really had to worry about were topless aging overweight Europeans (no pictures of those, thankfully).

I'll stop with all this "wordy stuff" and aside from an occassional caption, let the pictures from the hike do the talking.  I am working on some panoramic shots I should have up in a few weeks of the views I couldn't fit in one shot.



WC = Water Closet = Bathroom





Italian Mailbox:


Keri and my lock on the Via dell'Amore trail between Maranola and Rio Maggiore where couples "lock up their love and throw away the key."  Keri's idea...

Though apparently we picked the wrong spot.  Maybe we were blazing a new trail.

We like to New Years in Maine

Keri and I were in Maine for New Years two weeks ago.  My brother just finshed up dental school last year in Augusta, GA and it just so happened that the residency he decided on to follow school is in Augusta, ME.  They seem to love it up there so far.  I say so far because of this week's way below zero windchills. We flew into Boston and immediately drove to Waterville, ME where Patrick, Jennifer, and Abby live.  Very cute town with a relatively fresh coat of snow everywhere but the roads (much more prepared than Atlanta).   We spend New Years Eve and Day in Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park with some cold hiking and beautiful scenery.  I would love to live somewhere that got a respectable amount of snow each year.  Maine may be a bit much, but an average Atlanta winter is usually pretty snowman-less.

Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park:

A cold Keri in Boston:

And this one isn't mine, but I thought I'd let Patrick show you how much Abby likes the snow.

GA & TN Hiking: South Cumberland, TN & Brasstown Bald, GA (Part 2 of 2)

Along with Cloudland Canyon, GA, Curt and I drove into Tennessee to check out South Cumberland State Park.  The views there were breathtaking.  Unlike Cloudland, none of the overlooks had railings... which gave it another level of incredible.  Though we got freaked out a bit when approaching the edge, I couldn't imagine anything better than taking a camping trip, waking up from my tent on a Saturday morning, and watching the sunrise with a cup of coffee.  It's on my list for 2011.

The day following our two park hikes, Greg joined me in hiking up Brasstown Bald.  Though you end up driving up most of the way, there are still miles of trails surrounding Georgia's highest point that can keep you busy for days.  The sideways ice on all the branches was as interesting as it was beautiful.

First up:  South Cumberland

And for those with vertigo...

And finally, Brasstown Bald:

And I had to put this one in there for fun...

Georgia & Tennessee Hiking: Cloudland Canyon, GA (Part 1 of 2)

I'm a good bit behind on this one, but it's what always seems to happen to my personal photos.  Back in October, my good friend Curt Mayer and I took a day off of work to travel to northwest Georgia and south Tennessee to photograph a couple of the best state parks around.  Though the weather was a rough (snow/rain all day), we were able to crank the heater high enough and take the top down on the convertible we stole borrowed.   Cloudland canyon has numerous waterfalls and streams in addition to good foliage views- definitely a place I plan to visit again!


Venice, Italy | Part 2

This is a continuation of the Venice, Italy post I did on Monday.  Italy has a ridiculous amount of picturesque scenes.  Any idiot could have gotten these shots.    And as always, click on the pix for bigger versions!







I can't claim this one.  This is the one where Keri snatched the camera from me (she really never does this) and said, "no, shoot from behind the railing, don't shoot over it!"   I gotta say, she's got an eye when she's not afraid to use it. 

Venice, Italy | Part 1

As I have alluded to in the past, it always takes me a while to edit my personal photos.  When I go on vacation and take pictures, it always seems that when I get back, paid gigs seem to come my way and take precedent to whatever personal work I want to take care of.  As far as mine and Keri's Italy trip goes, I had weddings, portrait sessions, and the fact that I took 2,600 photos working against me. I'm trying to chip away at it city by city from the trip.  You can see Day 1 in Suttgart, Germany here.  I've finally gotten through days 2 & 3 in Venice and soon to come will be days 4 & 5 in Cinque Terre.  Feel free to give me honest feedback as I'm normally more of a portrait photographer than I am of landscapes.  If you have an interest in any prints in particular, email me!

The Rialto Bridge

We went to the island of Murano and watched this guy turn the glowing blob of glass below... this in about 5 minutes.

New Alex The Photo Guy site is LIVE!

I've owned the domain since college.  Three years ago I re-upped it's registration and I contracted my good friend Greg Vilines at Webnormous to begin work on the site.   Then a combination of producing an album, playing in a band, get married, and having his house burn down slowed Greg's progress on the site a bit.  A combination of helping with the album, buying a house, running a photo business, general laziness, and getting engaged slowed me down too.  I know my excuses aren't as valid as a house fire, but regardless of the timing, it is finally LIVE! Greg built the whole thing from scratch and he did a damn good job on it.  I know I was a difficult client at times but in the end we got it all worked out.  There will be a few tweaks made in the coming months, but since it's 99% done, we figured why not launch it?  This will be a soft opening for my six blog readers and facebook friends until I get it 100% finished.

Keep in mind the new site isn't going to be a replacement for the blog- just think of it as a "best of Alex the Photo Guy."  I'll still keep you up to date with my crazy photo antics here on the blog, so don't stop reading!

Let me know what you think!  Many thanks again to Greg who did all the hard work.  All I did was take a few photos.  If you need a website, let me know and I'll get you in contact with Webnormous.

Hoochie (not Coochie)

A few weeks ago I was asked to help my friend Erin at The Nature Conservancy's yearly donor event, "The Hoochie" (formerly "Hoochie on the Coochie").  They originally wanted to hire me, but I chose instead to volunteer my photography services for the event since it's such a wonderful organization- even if they scrutinize photography agreements more than any bride I've met with.  ;)    You can read more here about what TNC does. This year's event was hosted at the Top Hat Soccer fields in Buckhead.  I'm not sure what I originally expected, but I definitely didn't think anyone would put a soccer field in the heart of Buckhead's elite neighborhoods including the famous Tuxedo Road.  It really was beautiful driving through these neighborhoods before the event. 

The "pre-party" was hosted at the home of Martin and Jennifer Flanagan overlooking the fields.  I can't really describe how amazing this house was, so I'll let the first pictures speak for themselves.  The rest are from the event.  Enjoy!

The Georgia director of the TNC, Shelly Lakly, with Wendy and Hank Paulson (left to right).


Inman Allen, son of Atlanta's Ivan Allen Jr.



Fresh shucked oysters all night long.


Erin at the "Birds of Prey" show just before dinner.  I'm pretty sure she had no idea they'd have a python there...


The auction tent.

Zoo Atlanta

Keri has been working her butt off lately, so a couple of weeks ago we both decided to take a day off and do Atlanta-y things.  The weather was perfect, so we rode bikes around Decatur, took a stroll through Oakland Cemetery (much more interesting and educational than it sounds), and ate at Sun in my Belly, Six Feet Under, and Caroll Street Cafe.  We also figured we'd go somewhere that we haven't been since elementary school- the Zoo. All in all a fun filled day that included french toast, graves, and pandas... very few days incorporate all of these things.

Keri and I experienced a very Hitchcock moment at the bird exhibit.  If you've ever been, you know all the bright colorful birds in the first few photos below are in a big netted and gated area that you can walk through.  We were with a bunch of other people for the first few minutes watching the birds and hearing all the cacophonous chirping.  However, as soon as the other people left Keri and I alone in there, all of the chirping stopped for about 10 seconds.... we thought were were about to be attacked.  Luckily the chirping started again as the birds knew they wouldn't get away with it.  :)


And of course, the baby panda. 

The Big Apple, with friends

Howdy! Last month a few of us went to NYC. Keri and Greta had never been before and it was my third time. Over the five days we were able to see most everything we wanted to... in fact, Keri and I got to see David Letterman tell the world his extortion/blackmail story. No joke! We were in the 2nd row for that taping! It was very interesting (kind of surreal)... and a bit awkward because no one saw it coming. We were told by the CBS pages to laugh at everything, but toward the end we just couldn't. Aside from the TMZ moment we had, I was able to snap a few pictures. Even though the weather was cloudy everyday (except the day we left, of course), I think I had a few good shots.

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Seattle- Mt. Rainier

See the "Camping on the Coast" post below first.

The next day Curt and I went to Mt. Rainier and hiked and camped there.  It was absolutely gorgeous.  The mountain was amazing (and intimidating), the flowers were blooming all over the place, and the views were incredible.  I can't say we even made it halfway up, though we got close.   We had views of a glacier and waterfall and came up on the most amazing bathroom I've ever seen.  Aside from a delta flight, I can't say I've been to a toilet at such a high altitude.   We camped at "Cougar Rock" campgrounds.  The name was incredibly misleading as Curt and I found no older single women looking to prey upon younger men.  Maybe it just wasn't hunting season.

These first few pictures were from a "rustic garden" on the way to the park.  It was too ridiculous not to stop and take pictures.  I'll stop and let the pictures do the rest of the talking...  fun trip.  Highly recommend it to anyone looking for some beautiful scenery and good camping.

Sneaky Maytag....

Paradise.  No really, thats this locations name.

Marmot  (I had to ask someone)

Curt (I had to ask someone)


You can actually see the next photo entered in the Strobist Boot Camp contest for indoor architecture.

The most amazing toilet ever.

Star trail shot from the campground


And here are just a couple of shots from my hotel room in Seattle two nights later.  It's traffic from an MLS Soccer game getting out.

The soccer teams motorcade.

Seattle - Camping on the Coast

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to head to Seattle and Portland for work. Since it was essentially a free flight for me, I decided to take advantage and bring Curt along for the ride. Neither of us have really spent any time up there, but we heard the hiking and camping was awesome. Absolutely the truth.

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