This is the story of a fantastic eight day week! Driving from city to city for our photography workshops tour, our week started on Monday with St Patrick’s Day in Savannah, Georgia. For the last several weeks, our numerous friends in Savannah have been touting their celebrations as the second biggest in the country so we were excited to revisit a city that we enjoyed, catch up with friends we had made and let our hair down for a day. I’m not sure if I completely agree that Savannah’s celebrations are larger than Chicago or Boston – but the spirit in the city was definitely festive, despite it being a miserable and rainy day. An ongoing joke at Remember Forever is my control over the weather, however after it rained on the St Patrick’s Day parade (just two weeks after raining all through New Orleans Mardi-Gras), I am starting to doubt my abilities.
However, rain aside, the day was fun and we caught up with Walter, Bill and Lois from our 1790 social circle and spent the evening trying to patch up another friend who drank a little too much and hit his head a few times. What’s a celebration without a bandage, right?
After saying goodbye (again) to these great friends, it was onward to Atlanta – home of Coca-Cola, the 1996 Olympics, The Walking Dead, CNN, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, and much more cool stuff. I highlighted those features, as they were what I focused on photographically (and being a little touristy) during our time in Atlanta.
Let’s start with the World of Coca-Cola. For a $17 entrance ticket, this can’t be beat. It’s always the real thing. It’s always the one. Wherever there is fun, there’s always Coca-Cola. Yes, you will walk out with the jingles stuck in your head for at least a week but how they turned a simple concept in the 1800’s into one of the largest brands in the world is unbelievable. Besides being able to sample more than 60 different Coca-Cola products from around the world, there is so much more to see and do – it is well worth a visit. Photographically it’s amazing and I could devote an entire blog post to photos I took at the site. The only two times you cannot take photos is during the Polar Bears movie and the 4D movie toward the end of your self-guided tour. Other than that, have a great tine with your camera.
Centennial Olympic Park was home to our Saturday photography workshop. The park was a major part of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and it lies between CNN and the Giant Wheel on one side and the World of Coca-Cola and the Georgia Aquarium on the other.
The coolest feature of the park is yet another fountain – this one called the Fountain of Rings, which (as you can see) focuses the water sprouts from the Olympic Rings. Several times throughout the day the kids are asked to stop playing in the water as the fountain becomes an interactive light and music show. Well worth seeing.
Centennial Olympic Park is home to several water features, monuments to the Olympians and also amazing city views. The park is another place where I could happily spend some time taking photos – and indeed did so for our night photography workshop.
Our Sunday morning class took place at Piedmont Park on the other side of the city. The park is home to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens so our People Photography workshop kind of turned into a Macro Photography class also. While the spring blooming was becoming a little evident, we didn’t have the wash of green and other colors I was hoping for. This feature of the Earth Goddess, in some cultures Gaia and in others Patchamama, is adorned through the summer months with flowers and botanical treats. I urge people to visit Atlanta in June or July and take some photographs.
Our Advanced Travel Photography workshop began at the Martin Luther King Jr Tomb and Memorial. No visit to Atlanta would be complete without paying respects to a man who helped shape a world of equality. In keeping with the somber mood we opted to take the class to the Oakwood Cemetery, overlooking the city. Not wanting to be completely morbid, we walked there via the Krog St Tunnels, a site famous for street art and graffiti.
I can just imagine shooting a high fashion magazine spread in these tunnels, and one day I hope I get the chance to.
After New Orleans, I have become a little enamored with cemeteries – well, at least the older ones with interesting crypts, tombs and statues. Oakwood boasted a lovely view of the city and some amazing tombs and graves to photograph – including confederate soldiers from the Civil War. My eight-day week finished as it began, with amazing things happening on a Monday. If you’re a fan of the television show The Walking Dead on AMC, you may know that a lot of the filming takes place in Atlanta and also a town about 30-40 minutes away called Senoia.
We did a fair bit of research and found that the town of Senoia is what was used as the town of Woodbury in TWD so of course we had to go there and take some photos. We asked and researched if there were any other sites we could photograph and were told unfortunately not. Apparently most of the recognizable sites take place in studio or behind studio gates. Our GPS accidentally proved them wrong.
After photographing “Woodbury” and visiting the Official Walking Dead store, we drove around a little bit, almost aimlessly before Nicole had enough and suggested we drive on to Alabama. (Remember, nothing good has ever come of us being in Alabama.) So, we entered the city of Birmingham into our GPS unit, Lola (named after the GPS in the Robin Williams’ movie “RV”) and drove on. Lola took us around a couple of backroads and then something happened. I recognized things. Quickly bringing the RV to an abrupt halt, I leaped from the driver’s seat with camera in hand. Lola had inadvertently directed us to a street of abandoned shopfronts and barns that had featured heavily in the show.
If you’re looking for a more unknown Walking Dead location to photograph, put 94 Main Street, Sharpsburg GA in to your GPS unit. So our eight-day week started on a Monday with St Patrick’s Day and good friends and ended on a Monday with photographing locations from one of my favorite television shows. Who says Monday has to suck?
We’re now leaving Georgia for Alabama (yes, we’re putting ourselves through the Yellowhammer State yet again) and hopefully this time we’re getting a little more Sweet Home Alabama rather than Hard Luck Story. (If you don’t get the reference then you need to Google “Whiskeytown.”
Hopefully we’ll see some of you on the road – remember you can use the code WEEKEND60 to get some great savings on our photography workshops anywhere on the Photographing America tour. If you’re interested in reading what some people are saying about the Photographing America workshops, follow this link. For our itinerary and to find out what workshops may be near you in the coming months, check out this link.
Until next week …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Luke Ballard is the owner and managing photographer at Remember Forever. A travel and portrait photographer for over twenty years, Ballard developed a curriculum of modules to help people become better photographers which later evolved into the Remember Forever system, now available in ten cities around the United States and Australia. In 2014, Luke and his wife Nicole are exploring America in an RV stopping only to stock up on snacks, take photographs and teach some photography workshops around the country. He will send us regular updates on his cross-country trip. Stay tuned for more of his adventures and photo tips from the road!