Photography Zen

Dahlonega Snowflake

As we dragged poor Michael around the cute little shops in the Dahlonega town square, we kept calling out to each other, “Hey, look at this!”.  There was so much to see, and so many cute little crafts and gifts everywhere.  All my photowalks are training me well to be ready with the camera, and to keep my eyes open for the good stuff the I might not normally pay attention to.

Dahlonega Preserves

Photography has always been something I wanted to do, and now that I’m really focusing on it I’m learning to look around me in ways I never used to do before.  As a way of life I’m always trying to live “in the moment”, but don’t always succeed.  Duh.  Actually I kind of suck at that part.  I’m way too impatient for future things to even realize where I am half the time.

Dahlonega Honey

So I practice, and I try, and I have little reminders around me to slow down and smell the flowers.  My camera has helped me do that.  When I have my camera and I’m actively using my eye balls to look for “the shot” it is nearly impossible to keep the calendar and the clock in the front of my mind.  It’s a welcome relief to the difficulty of waiting for all those things I’m always waiting for.  I can forget.  I can capture a moment.  I can stop time.

Dahlonega Marbles

It feels like getting lost in a game, just playing like we all used to do as kids.

Dahlonega Ornament

Finding the angle, finding the light, holding my breath for the shutter to click.  Smiling and laughing when I know I nailed one.

When the day is done and I put the camera down, that’s when I look at the clock and realize I’ve had a great time and I’m also that much closer to the things I wait for.  The watched pot never boils, and the watched clock never moves, but when I’ve taken my eyes away from the clock and lost myself, the clock jumps forward much faster and I’ve also done something I love doing during the jump.

Christmas Village in Dahlonega, GA

Dahlonega Shops

To brave the cold and head out sight seeing, or wimp out and stay home all warm and toasty?  That was the dilemma today.  I think we were all tempted to stay warm in the house, but I’m glad we decided to venture out.  The girls were the ones who decided they’d at least like to go for a drive, especially since today is our last full day here.  I can do a drive! I have a butt warmer.

Dahlonega Town Square

So, drive we did.  All the way to Dahlonega.  A whopping twenty minutes away.  Twenty minutes of toasty buns!

Dahlonega Bow

What a cute little college town! Did you know it was the sight of the first gold rush in the USA?  Now you do.

We spent a little time in nearly every little shop around the square and had lunch upstairs in the cute little Bourbon Street Grill, tucked upstairs where we got warm with our tea, coffee and hot chocolate.  Jesse, my girl and I loved the rare book shop.  We could have spent all day there!  It was really nice to go exploring around a little town with so many cute things to see (and photograph).

Dahlonega Bear

Michael even had a good time.  Do you know why he’s screaming?  I’ll tell you it’s not the bear. And it’s not because he was forced to shop with four women.

Dahlonega Stamp Mill

It’s because he’s thinking about going back outside.  Do you believe me now that it’s a little cold?!

Tomorrow we head back to the airport, back to Houston where I do hope it’s a little warmer, back to holiday preparations and house cleaning and homework and normal every day stuff.

I’m sad to leave.  Lois and I have been friends for nearly 24 years since we worked together in Reno, and we’ve spent most of those years since then living in different places.  We were lucky enough to spend a brief year living only a couple of hours apart when we were both in New Jersey at the same time, and I am thrilled that our girls became such close friends during that time, but that was six years ago.  Visits are too few and far between.  I’m so happy we could be here this past week and a half!  We all know that time goes by too fast and sometimes those good intentions to spend time together get put off for too long.  I don’t know when we’ll be able to do this again, but we both know the doors are open any time.  Thanks, Lowie, for a great 10 days!  Next time let’s do it someplace warm.

Amicalola Falls

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Maybe we should have, (after the chocolate chip cookie frenzy) but we were way too frickin cold to hike to the top of the falls.  We had good intentions about it a few days ago, and I’m sure I would be feeling really good about that great workout right now had we done it, but no way!

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According to the local news channel, the temperature is twenty degrees below normal for this time of year.  Twenty.  Bbbbb burr!

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They are not smiling.  They are grimacing in pain because their fingers and ears are about to break off.

017Amicalola

But they were patient while I ran all around with my ice block tripod to get the shots I wanted.  The view was worth the cold, and the falls have now been added to my list of “places to go” with my heart when we can get back to them.  In the summer, or maybe the fall with a big coat.

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Do you see those chunks of ice up in the corner of the photo?  Ice?  In the sun?  Not melting?

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Today it made me happy that we could park the car right up at the top.  I might have even considered hiking down those stairs, but then a blast of wind ripped my ears off and I ran back to the truck (fully equipped with butt warming seats!).

022Amicalola

The girls found the open restaurant in the lodge on top of the mountain, so we stopped for hot drinks to reverse the frostbite.  The lodge is also a must see/must do for a romantic dinner with a spectacular view.  Wow!

This park is only about a half hour away from the house here, and I’ve never been happier for a half hour drive.  It meant a half hour of my buns being toasted on the highest setting possible of the butt warming seats!

Indian Seats on Sawnee Mountain

We put on our big girl pants and braved the cold to try our mountain hike yesterday. We were all glad we did!

Purple Berries and Leaves

Sawnee Mountain in Cumming, GA is a really pretty little mountain with some Native American history attached.   The hike was not too steep, and not too long.  Just enough to get our hearts pumping and warm us up with some beautiful scenery all around.  The Girl and I felt right at home because it feels and looks so much like our old neighborhood in Pennsylvania where we used to live a few years ago.  Wow, could it be that it has been more than 7 years since we we left PA?

Indian Seats Trail

It didn’t rain on us, and it wasn’t windy, so it really turned out to be a perfect day for a hike. Brisk air and not a drop of sweat in sight.

Sawnee Trail

The squirrels were out, the trees were nearly bare, the trail was quiet and not too steep. The kids were happy and having a great time trekking uphill (mostly).

Sawnee Squirrel

With only a few rounds of, “how much farther? Are we almost to the top? Can we go back now?” we finally made it up to the Indian Seats.

The view made everyone forget they were a little tired.  We made it!  Beautiful!  And only slightly death defying!  Stop leaning over the edge, Mom!

Made it to the Top

How could we have a bad time with such charming and reserved children along?

Such Humorless Children

I wish they’d lighten up.  They’re always so serious, and I have no idea why my Girl and Jesse are such good friends.  They’re nothing alike, obviously.

Still Chilly in Georgia, Now With Extra Procrastination

Georgia Sunset House

This time the neighborhood walk was at sunset. We meant to go hike up to the Indian Seats on Sawnee mountain, but it was friggin cold.  We let the girls work on their school stuff while we waited for it to warm up, then we kept talking and chatting. Pretty soon it was too late to get out there and still get back in time to take Jesse to work.  Oops!

So Jesse went to work and we went for a walk through the neighborhood at sunset.

Georgia Friends

Lois and my Girl are telling me through gritted teeth to hurry up with the camera already because we’re cold!  Even Emo santa hats don’t keep your head warm enough when the sun goes down.

Georgia Sunset

So we kept on walking, and I kept snapping photos because the sky was beautiful.

Georgia Sunset Tree

Three miles of stunning sunset skies warmed me up plenty.

We’re having a really great time and I’m so happy we could come.