Roadtrip! I love roadtrips. Jess and I headed into the southeast to shoot Stephanie+Daniel's wedding just outside of Charleston, SC. (Their photos should be up in a few weeks). We had an amazing time. It was great to see some photography friends and catch up with family and most importantly, have some time off. It's amazing how much one can work when the office is in the house!
And for all you photo geeks – I basically just used my Fuji X100 for all the photos below. The exception being the long exposure night and firework shots. I brought out the D700 and tripod for those.
We started in at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I've wanted to visit here for year and this was our chance. We started in Cades Cove – and inhabited settlement up until they turned the area into a national park. A beautiful valley stopped in time. Unfortunately, the one lane road makes for a lot of stops in your time too (people don't always pull over to be considerate). We then hit the Appalachian Trail for a good hike. This has been on my bucket list for a while. I don't ever plan on doing a whole lot of it, I just wanted to walk on it for a few miles to get the general idea. Amazing. Clingmans Dome is the crazy structure at the end of a crazy tall hike. Fantastic 360 degree views of the park though. After that trek to 6,643ft above sea level and back, we stopped at a turnout for the view and a few yoga posses for our yoga instructor, Jill (she's so good, she got my wife to like yoga!)
Leaving The Smokies, and on our way to Asheville, we stopped at this little antique and fruit stand. I had some fantastic (and super sugary!) grape cider and Jess had some fresh peaches (it's peach season I guess down there now – saw so many trucks loaded up with them). We spent the evening hanging out in downtown Asheville with my cousins, Chris and Lisa Marie. It's amazing how alike Chris and I are; I'd swear we were siblings. It was great to catch up with them and learn about the area, healthy food and raising kids (not that we need to know that, I just respect their parenting and so learned from it). I spent some time that night shooting the stars from their backyard in the mountains. The green streaks are fireflies!
After a few more good meals with them, we left for South Carolina and the Inn at Middleton Place. Seriously – if you go anywhere near Charleston – stay here. It's fantastic! The Inn is just off the grounds of Middleton Place, which itself is an amazing plantation full of history and beauty, including the oldest manicured gardens in the US. It's great for kids too (in fact, our neighbors and their little girls happened to be staying there a few weeks after us – small world!) It's got an active farm and lot's of tours and reenactments. We saw peacocks (they are LOUD!) and peahens, water buffalo, and alligators. Yup, right there. You can get as close as you want (for me, that's about 30 feet away!)
After a few nights there we made our way into Charleston and stayed at their sister B&B, 21 East Battery. Julie, our inn-keeper was a talented chef and friendly face. We spent some a lot of time walking the streets of Charleston and enjoying their restaurants. We felt very special because the symbol on the South Carolina flag is a Palmetto tree under a crescent moon and we came across that exact view one night; so I of course grabbed a shot of it. The Fourth of July fireworks display was rather boring compared to what the Milwaukee area puts on. Seriously, their grand finale seemed like a warm up for us here! Though as we stood on the battery wall, we could see 11 different cities displays at once, all around the bay, so that was a sight to see.
Before heading home we stopped down at Folly Beach to swim in the ocean. How I missed the taste of salt water! Check out the photo of me walking back toward the camera. Notice the people in the background? They were getting married. The couple, the officiant and the photographer – that was it. I sure hope I didn't accidentally photobomb one of her shots! Dinner that night was The Crab Shack – a touristy place but totally fun (a blue trash bucket was in a hole in the middle of the table for your scraps). Jess had her first raw oyster. I passed. We ended the night taking a stroll on the fishing pier, and getting a call that we had a new little niece, Sawyer. Very lovely night indeed!
The last few photos are from a small little hole in the wall camera store in Lexington called Chuck Rubin Photographics. I was in camera HEAVEN! It was a sty, but a beautiful sty. I ended up picking up a Mamiya M645 to play around with (those photos coming soon). Poor Jess feel asleep in the car while I was inside. However, I spent enough time at her stores on the trip that I think we were even.