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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Central State Hospital

In November, I joined a group of photographers on a photo trip to Central State Hospital, which was at one time one of the largest mental hospitals in the U.S.  Many of the buildings on the 1750-acre campus are pre-Civil War structures with the first one built in 1842. Many of the buildings have been left to disintegrate.  Still the beautiful architectural details are evident even while roofs are falling in and vines grow through windows and doors.  Because of the condition of the buildings, we were not able to go inside any of buildings except the Powell Building which is used as the administrative building for the development company tasked with what to do with the campus.  Here are some links to more details of the history of this unique place:
Laundry Room in the Powell Bldg.

Depot contains the Central State Museum

Screened Porch in Patient Area - Powell Building

Fisheye window in Patient Room

Patient Room - One of the more pleasant ones

Entry doors to dilapidated chapel

Interior of Chapel

Architectural Detail - Railroad Depot

Patient Residence Building

Marble Cornerstone on this building reads "Georgia Lunatic Asylum - 1883"

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Lexington, Kentucky - Bourbon, Horses and Shaker Village

Lexington, Kentucky, was my second road trip of 2014.  Lexington boasts the largest horse farm in the state and we were able to have a tour.  The stables were pristine and beautiful.  The rolling hills and miles of fences were perfection.  The horses were magnificient.
The Stables


Miles of Fences

The next stop was Buffalo Trace Distillery - a distillery which is on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. The tour took us through all the steps of how bourbon is distilled and aged.

Before we left Lexington, we visited Keeneland Race Track where we watched the practice runs at the track and strolled through the paddock.  At the appointed time, we watched the races. 
In the Paddock

Photo Finish

The jockeys ready to find their mounts

Our last stop was Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.  The Shakers were a religious group who lived in the village during the 1800's.  Besides their religious beliefs, they are known for sustainability, creativity, and craftsmanship.  Shaker Village is a living recreation of the way the Shakers lived.

The peculiar grace of a Shaker chair is due to the fact that it was made by someone capable of believing that an angel might come and sit on it.   - Thomas Merton
The Museum at Shaker Village

Asheville Architecture

Updated Historic Apartment Building

Detail - Former S&W Cafeteria
On the second day of our Asheville weekend, we went to downtown Asheville.  Asheville has done a great job of preserving the beautiful historic architecture in the downtown area.  We had a delicious brunch at a new restaurant and the manager allowed us to photograph the interior. 

This road trip deserves a do-over!

Blue Ridge Parkway

Old Man in the Falls

Duggers Creek Falls

Craggy Tree

Craggy Gardens Rhododendrons
I didn't have a lot to blog about last year.  My time was spent recovering from some health issues and purchasing and moving into a house from an apartment.  I got to make two trips  - one to Asheville, NC and another to Lexington, Kentucky.  I spent my birthday weekend with two other friends who are also photographers and also have birthdays close to mine.  We didn't have but two days to shoot in and around Asheville, so we spent the first day at different locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Linville Falls was our first stop early in the morning.   Above the falls, we found beautiful rock formations and water thundering down to a large falls.  Near the Visitor's Center, in a hidden cove, was Duggers Creek Falls - not a lot of water, but beautiful reflecting pools and lush greenery. The next stop was Craggy Gardens, a beautiful mountain top area with tons of rhododendrons.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sapelo Island Road Trip

I didn't know a lot about Sapelo Island - a barrier island off the coast of Georgia - until I took a trip there in October with six other photographers.  I found out that Sapelo has a rich history of cotton plantations with wealthy owners and hundreds of slaves.  Today, most of the island is owned by the State of Georgia and it is a state park accessible only by boat.  The remaining part of the island is owned by parttime residents and descendents of the slaves which worked the plantations.  Remains of the tabby structures where the people lived are still visible even though they are continually disintegrating due to the effects of nature.  The mansion on the R. J. Reynolds plantation can be rented out and we were lucky enough to get a tour of the house.  The most fascinating thing about the mansion is a  playroom which is painted with circus characters and animals.  The poolroom in the basement is decorated with pirate characters and includes a bowling alley and pool table.  The University of Georgia has a research facility on the grounds and there is the shell of a greenhouse nearby.

Our group stayed in an older house on the grounds of a former cotton plantation--not as elegant as the RJR property, but comfortable, and our host made our stay a very fun weekend.  The best thing about it was the fantastic view of the sunset and one night we even saw dolphins playing in the waterway.

Much of the island was covered with pine forests, palm trees and  live oaks with "beards" of Spanish moss.  Grasses cover the wetlands and provide habitat for the many birds and other wildlife on the island.  The lighthouse on the island is the second oldest brick lighthouse in the U. S.  and was restored by the state in 1998.  At that time, the original red and white stripes were repainted on the lighthouse.

More photos of Sapelo Island are on my website:

Monday, October 14, 2013

Eufaula, PC Beach, Providence Canyon

Friends reunion in Seaside
Sunset at Panama City Beach

Historic Home - Eufaula

Providence Canyon State Park
I had heard about the "Little Grand Canyon of Georgia" for a few years, so when I had the opportunity to check it out,  I took it!  I was on my way back to Atlanta from a weekend in Florida where I had spent a great reunion weekend with my four best friends from high school.  On the way to Florida, I stopped in Eufaula, Alabama.  Eufaula has more than 50 buildings on the National Register of Historic Buildings and I toured one of the homes that is open to the public.  Just across the Georgia-Alabama state line and the Chattahoochee River is Providence Canyon State Park - the "Little Grand Canyon".  My visit there was reserved for the trip home.  Georgia's canyon was not created by natural events, but rather by poor farming practices.  The gullies are as deep as 150 feet.  The varying colors of soil create a sculptural effect.