A southeastern October has its own beauty. It's not about a riot of color like in New England, nor a bracing-for-winter harvest of the midwest. Down here, trees will keep their leaves for another month or so, and some flowers and crops will continue thriving into winter.
But the light is different. The haze of summer has lessened. Shapes and colors look crisper, more vivid. Most years, October brings sweet relief from summer's oppressive heat, but this summer the problem wasn't so much the heat as the near-constant rain. With a relatively dry autumn, we can actually enjoy being outside to see things.
Here are a few beauty shots I've taken while out and about recently.
On a recent dreary Monday, Anthony and I decided to liven up our mutual day off with a mini road trip. We headed to Perry, GA, about two hours south of Atlanta, to spend the day at the Georgia National Fair.
When I go to a fair, carnival, or anything of the sort, I basically start vibrating all over the place. There's so much to see and I don't know where to look. Everything fascinates me. The aroma of fried food infiltrates my brain and I start taking pictures of anything that will hold still--and some things that won't. It's pretty excellent.
Gigantic, ribbon-winning papier mache sculpture in the art exhibit. Very imposing!
Piglet racing! They compete for Oreos and have names like Snoop Hoggy Hogg and Spamela Hamderson.
This is a watusi. Amazing-looking animal with horns eight feet across.
I could have spent the whole time looking at the paintings on the midway. Didn't care at all about actually going inside any of the attractions.
I mean, come on. Just LOOK at these (and click to embiggen, please). Nothing that might have been inside those haunted/western/tropical/etc. funhouses could've pleased me more than what I saw on the exteriors.
Loved the top of this carousel. Not that I bothered to ride it or anything (I have issues with carnival rides--but that's a topic for another post). Bonus points to me for capturing the reflection of the "FRIED OREOS" sign in the mirror!
Wacky photo ops abound at the fair. Make your own fun wherever you go, people!
Last night we scored some free tickets to a Braves game (thanks, Lisa!). Our seats were in the Upper Box, and while they were up high, we still had a great view of the action. I have to say, we've had seats in lots of different parts of Turner Field for various games over the years, and they've all been good seats.
The fun part about being in the Upper Box was exploring the top level of the stadium for the first time. Before the game, we walked around "Sky Field" (basically the roof) and got a cool perspective of the huge ads that are made to be seen from all over the stadium and beyond.
Today our friend Shawna invited us to join her and her kids at the Georgia Aquarium. Strangely, Anthony and I had never been there. We felt like tourists in our own town!
There's nothing like a visit to an aquarium to remind you what an incredible world we live in, full of so many weird, wacky creatures. Such a huge variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and amazing adaptations.
There's also nothing like a visit to an aquarium to remind you how hard it is to photograph wildlife, even when it's in captivity. But I did my best.
Manta ray "flying" overhead as we walked through the tank tunnel.
If there's anything cuter than an otter, I don't want to know what it is.
This guy is the Grumpy Cat of the frog kingdom.
Giant tank of Pacific Sea Nettles. One of the coolest things I've ever seen.
Seriously, I could have stared at the Pacific Sea Nettles for hours. I really wished I had a better camera to capture their amazing colors and textures. Here is a video of some at another aquarium. They are so very strange, but so graceful and mesmerizing.
Now, I might not be a great nature photographer, but if there's one type of photography I excel at, it's shots of me and my loved ones being wacky. So we have plenty of those from this outing as well.
My husband made a new friend.
Shawna's kids liked posing for this photo okay, but...
...not nearly as much as Shawna and I did. :)
Gift shop sword fight!
More antics in the gift shop.
The pictures I'm in, Anthony took those, while rolling his eyes and making his "I can't take her anywhere" face. But he did it anyway, because humoring me is one of his superpowers.
All in all, a fun and fascinating day at the Aquarium. And to top it off, when we came back outside, we saw this:
First time in a week we've had blue sky for more than five minutes.
My brilliant friend Lisa Alembik has a solo exhibition going on through July 13 at The Arts Exchange. Her show is called Belly of the Whale and deals with the period of waiting that comes after a decision has been made but before any real change takes place. After the show's opening the other night, I had a few minutes of waiting myself and felt inspired to capture some images around me in those moments.
Getting in and out of The Arts Exchange is tricky for me because it has stairs at the front entrance. There's a secret back way in, but security was tight this night because the grounds were being used for a movie shoot (I overheard the name Anthony Hopkins). Hubby and I got special permission for him to pull our car to the back, drop me off, and then move the car elsewhere. Parking was also tough because there was another event happening adjacent, namely numerous mostly-naked men performing a solstice celebration.
So when it was time to leave, my guy went to get the car while I took my time wandering out the back door, past a child's crayon drawing of Tupac Shakur (PANIC: I know I took a photo of this and cannot find it!) and other youth art. Waiting for the car in the steamy evening air, I poked around in the mud and muck of The Arts Exchange "back yard" that borders what someone told me they thought was a women's prison (um, it's really not). Some weirdly gorgeous decrepitude back there, not accessible to you folks who enter by the front door.
Long-time readers of this blog will know that one of our favorite ways to spend a summer evening is seeing a movie at the Starlight Drive-In. Last night was our first trip of the season, and a beautiful night it was. The Starlight recently converted to digital projection, making the movie experience even better than ever.
We enjoyed a little pre-movie tailgating of sorts with food from the snack bar (in case my recent posts about salad made you think I never eat junk food--oh, don't worry, I do!), beer we brought from home (yep, the Starlight allows it), and a bit of board game playing. Several other movie-goers appeared impressed by our set-up, offering comments like, "This obviously isn't your first time," "Oooh, tray table! Great idea!" and our personal favorite, "Y'all go for complete fun, don't you?" Complete fun! I love that. Yes, that's basically what we strive for.
I couldn't resist adding a bit of cinematic flair to these photos--except for the Superman shot. That one was pure luck, taken straight through the windshield, with no effects.
It was another beautiful spring weekend in the ATL! I am loving it. Especially because my sweetie just finished up a huge freelance job, so he has more time to goof off now. We spent Sunday afternoon at one of our favorite places, the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
Tulips and flowering trees were out in full force, and the Chihuly fountain was sparkling in the sunshine.
LOVED these tulips in hot colors. (I planted tulips once. Squirrels stole my bulbs. *shaking fist* Damn you, squirrels!!!)
Woody trunk of a wisteria vine. Impressive, huh? The wisteria wasn't blooming yet. It seems a bit late this year. The trees in our neighborhood are usually dripping with it by now.
This strange-looking tree reminded me of something out of a Tim Burton movie. I couldn't get close enough to its little label to see what it's called. Anybody know?
The other day Anthony and I happened to be driving past historic Oakland Cemetery and we decided it was a great day to take a walk around there.
I'm not into cemeteries as a rule, but Oakland is a such an interesting feature of the city and a lovely place to walk around admiring monuments, landscaping, and city views.
Yes, the sky was really this blue. I love the light in Atlanta at this time of year, before the air gets so hazy with pollen and humidity.
Much like last weekend when I got on a roll with tail light photos, on this day I became obsessed with...mausoleum doors. (Click to embiggen.)
Now, I'm not a tour guide or a history expert, so I actually have no idea who any of these grand monuments belong to. But if you'd like to do more than casually admire Oakland Cemetery, they have a very informative web site, and for those of you who are local or plan on visiting Atlanta, they offer guided tours and other community events.
Here's one of my favorite sights in the cemetery. This mausoleum is so over the top, and I love the weird combination of Gothic architecture and landscaped...cacti?? Plus, this is such a cool view, with the MARTA track running behind it in the distance (and yes, I purposely did wait to take this shot until a MARTA train went by).
Here's a peek through the ironwork doors to the inside of the mausoleum.
And here's a shot of the gargoyles guarding it from the tower. (I don't know who "Richards" was, but I'm gonna go ahead and guess, "a rich white guy.")
So there you have it--a beautiful April day in Oakland Cemetery. It's a wonderful place to spend an afternoon, whether you visit for the history, the architecture, or just for some peaceful exercise.
Happy Easter to those of you celebrating it! We don't make a big deal out of it in our household, but it was a great day nonetheless.
One of our favorite comfort food spots, Our Way Cafe, hosted an Easter brunch that was totally scrumptious. They don't normally do brunch, but today's event was such a huge success, I'm hoping they'll make it a regular thing. Here we are enjoying our eggs, home fries, Pine Street Market bacon, biscuits, and gravy. Not to mention the cupcakes for dessert!
Meanwhile, in the parking lot, vehicles were gathering for an antique car parade. After brunch, we had a great time checking out all the cool cars.
Assorted old timey vehicles.
The pest control truck was made by a guy, from scratch! (You can just make a car?? Mind. Blown.) I was in love with that blue Ford on the bottom. I wanted Anthony to cause a distraction so I could steal it.
This cutie pie is Chumley. How he managed to restore this car with no thumbs, I have no idea, but he did a great job. Let's take a closer look at that tailfin....
Wow. I'm not generally a big fan of fins on cars, but these tail lights were spec.tac.ular. Then I became obsessed with taking pictures of taillights.
So many interesting design variations! One lady noticed me taking pictures of taillights and commented that people don't usually notice them, and that hood ornaments are the most popular subject for photos. Here I hope I've given these beautiful taillights the attention they deserve.
By far, though, the most jaw-dropping taillights had to be the ones on this (1958?) Mercury.
Back view of the Mercury. I wish I'd gotten a shot of the whole car, because it was INSANE. Huge and shiny and full of all these weird, fabulous details.
So that was our Easter Sunday, non-Eastery though it was. I hope you all had a great day!