The Road Less Traveled in Valdosta, Georgia

Last November, I flew south (and east) to visit one of my dearest friends and her family. As you may recall, Valdosta, Georgia, isn’t quite the bastion of sites that Europe is (where I flew to visit her the time before). I still managed to find a few things to photograph… dinosaur lizards (a.k.a. alligators), swamps (a rose by any other name is still a rose, and calling a swamp “Grand Bay” doesn’t make it anything other than a swamp!), A-10s (Josh’s babies), and cotton fields.

Grand Bay in Valdosta, GeorgiaThere’s a reason I rarely travel without my camera. There’s nothing worse, photographically speaking, than being someplace, seeing the perfect picture, and having to bite back frustration because you’re without a camera. Granted, I generally have my Canon PowerShot in my purse–oh yes, ladies and gentleman, I keep a camera in my purse–but it doesn’t have the same oomph! as my DSLR. And its lenses.

So walking through a swamp in Georgia in November is an exercise in humidity control, heat control, mosquito control, and creepy-crawly control. But it offered some interesting photographs, to say the least. The swamp didn’t lend itself to color as it’s not overly colorful (which is the nice way of saying it’s drab), but black and white did wonders for the joint.

I really, really liked this photo. I can’t remember if we were coming or going, so I’m not sure if I was in front of Jackie and the fam or behind them (and turned around to shoot the walkway we’d just traversed). It doesn’t really matter. I just liked this shot.

I’m not a fan of bulls-eye pictures. I remember being in Yosemite National Park with my family many, many moons ago–I was in high school–and Mom and I signed up to go on a quick camera tour with a photographer. It was about thirty minutes and free. He talked about bulls-eye photography and the Law of Thirds (or Rule of Thirds, whichever term you prefer). I found it interesting that Mom and I rarely shot bulls-eye. We tended to live by the law of thirds and didn’t even know it. Don’t get me wrong, it probably just stems from an artistic eye. Mom majored in art and is a graphic designer. I am artistic myself and even owned a graphic design business for a while as well. We quilt, sew, draw, and paint. We both have an eye for color (you should see some of the quilts that have been produced between the two of us) and enjoy taking photos of beautiful things. Anyway, it’s not that I never took (or take) bulls-eye photos, because I do many times when I’m shooting sports, but when I have still subjects, or the time to frame up, I naturally go with the Law of Thirds. When I look through the viewfinder of a camera, it’s the aesthetic I prefer.

This photo, aside from the framing, appeals to me because of the contrast between black and white and the starkness of the location. It’s easy to believe we were the only loony tunes walking around a swamp in November. And you can practically see the peace and tranquility of the location (I’m pretty sure that’s because the alligators had already eaten anything noisy). I also appreciated the landscape architects’ efforts to make a really, really long, straight stretch of the path instead of winding to and fro. Had they done the latter, this photo wouldn’t have been possible.

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