Monday, October 31, 2011

Photo Adventures, Oakland Cemetery

Last December I gave myself a gift from husband (you follow that right?) . It was a voucher to learn more about photography and my camera with a company called Southeast Photo Adventures.

Well somehow, this year has flown by FAST, not unlike the past decade of them. But I found myself running out of time to use my voucher. I picked a couple dates and a couple classes, expecting them to be possibly full. 

The dates I picked were not full. In fact I was the only one trying to register for them. And if it came time for the class and I was the only one, the class would be cancelled. BUT, there was a class that Sunday (Oct 23) I could join.  This was on Saturday. October 22. The day before. Not a big deal, except this was in Atlanta. I live over a 150 miles south of Atlanta. That makes it a 3 hour trip there. A three hour trip back. 

What to do, what to do. Shoot, all the things that are left undone will still be undone and the world will not end. And then again, if it does, oh well!

So on Sunday, after church, I headed off to Atlanta. This photo adventure would be a hands on experience in the Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta. A definite adventure.

I had taken a few minutes to Google the Cemetery and found out it is a happening place. There tours and special  events all the time. The day before there had a been a "run like heck" marathon or half marathon. The weekend before, there had  been a benefit walk with a zombie theme.

As we entered the cemetery I was amazed at all the folks sporting high tech cameras, many shooting at the same spot. Not sure if it too was a class or a modeling agency - do they have a multitude of photographers for one shoot?

As we made our way through the cemetery, I enjoyed what I always enjoy about the big cities:
 the rustic and modern colliding.  To the left of the picture below was the Marta system and downtown skyscrapers. I love the crooked headstones and brick building in the back and the old rusted water tower. 

And still, seeing those in costume roam the lanes in and out and the photographers, well, all seemed somewhat surreal too!

While I was being taught about my camera, and instructed  about lighting and angels and polorized lenses.

I realized an afternoon with a guide through this history would be amazing. I can only begin to imagine the stories behind many of these tombstones. The above, of the girl angel, was a part of a pair of tombstones. The other was her brother, my picture of him did not turn out well - the sky lovely, he, a little blurred. And a broken wing.

I imagine hearing the stories would be like stepping back in time. As we entered the Jewish burial ground, three ladies walked by. I don't believe it was three generations represented, but possibly. Completely based on assumption, I assumed they were on their way to pay their respects to the memory of a loved one. Their shoes, their stockings, their coats - everything had a vintage appeal to it. But nothing about them seemed to be part of the halloween costumed clan that we had been seeing frequently.

While at certain moments I almost felt bad enjoying taking pictures in the cemetery, I knew no disrespect was intended. And having made the journey back home, I am thinking this might just be a trip with hubs one day. The instructor, Travis, shared a few stories as we made our way through. Stories he had learned from books he had purchased after his curiosity was piqued. I have visited the website again, and there are now cell phone guided tours (cool!). There are music events. Stories of love, of politics, of religion, of pride, of family, of evil. It is all there. And there is one section that, I imagine, is absolutely beautiful in the spring. Might just give the botanical gardens a run for their money.


Debbie said...

Fascinating! The next time I'm in Atlanta, I think I would like to take a tour. I think old cemeteries have so much history. I agree with you that it can be done with respect.

And I'd love a photography tutorial. I would probably look like an idiot showing up with my shiny red Kodak.

FancyHorse said...

It sounds like a wonderful experience. I'm glad you decided to go!

Christie said...

Wow! How fun to take a photography class. It looks like you had a blast and learned a lot. I really need to do that!

Barbara said...

What a fun experience! I'm so glad you decided to do it on short notice. Wonderful photos!