I said this would be Part Three-ish, but I tried to explain how terrible my math skills are in a previous post. So, I went with a classic…
Anyway, I ended yesterday’s story by reaching my vacation destination–Vero Beach, Florida. As I wrote two-ish/threeve days ago, my goal was to see new places on my way to a state I have visited many times. Since I’ve seen Florida many, many times, I wasn’t as terribly disappointed by the weather as I might have been if I’d never seen the ocean. (It rained. Quite a bit. However, I’ve been in the Sunshine State as hurricanes and tropical storms have churned off the coast, so the rain wasn’t as difficult to deal with as it could have been.)
Plus…stormy weather actually makes for some pretty good photography opportunities.
The weather wasn’t bad all the time, though, and I was able to join my friend for plenty of outdoor dining opportunities overlooking the water. I also took a few walks along the beach. The water was much too cold for my taste, but the scenery was just fine.
Have I mentioned that I was still arguing with the navigation system in the car? I’m telling you, it wasn’t therapeutic in the least to try to talk sense into that thing. Vero Beach covers a lot of territory. A1A felt a lot like a Flintstones cartoon at times…you know, where Fred is operating his highly inconvenient Model Foot SUV and the houses in the background start repeating themselves. Well, not only were the houses repeating themselves, but Miss Navigator was getting really good at telling me to “make a U-turn at the next intersection.” I finally just decided that I’d make things easier on myself. If I wanted to go to the ocean, I’d pull up my compass app on my phone and head east. When I hit water…bingo! DESTINATION. Take that, Ferdinand Magellan!
I spent the better part of the three days I was there driving around, exploring, walking on the beach, eating seafood (fish tacos…shrimp tacos…fish tacos), and, of course, feeding my photography addiction.
After a few days in Vero Beach enjoying a visit with a dear friend and doing vacation-y stuff, it was time to make the trek back home. I had opted for the more direct route driving back, meaning that I would have to deal with–cue the ominous music–the turnpike.
Driving home is another story for another day…or two-ish…
(Okay, so I said I’d be breaking this adventure into three-ish parts. I’ve also said–numerous times–that math isn’t my strong suit, so you’ll have to wait for Part Foursomethingorother for the quasi-exciting conclusion.)
*Once again, if you would like a print of the Vero Beach Sea Oats, the link to purchase is below:
We’re now up to Day Two (wait…it might be Day Three, depending on whether or not the first day of travel really counts, but since I’ve already counted it for the purposes of my story even though I’ve driven to Nashville lots of times, we’ll call it Day Two/Three).
Day Two/Three started out early, but not quite as early as Day…umm…the previous day. (Math. Darn that math.) The reason it started out so early is because I had driven myself into a traffic and parking nightmare in and around Charleston, South Carolina on a Saturday evening. I never quite made it to Folly Beach, although I did buy the t-shirt. So, if you see me in my Folly Beach t-shirt, it’s slightly false advertising.
I woke up early so that I could see the sights in less-crowded conditions. Not only did that part work, it also meant that I was able to capture some sunrise photographs.
With the second third of my trip down to Florida finished, it was time to start my third third. (Math again. Ugh.) It’s worth mentioning that I left the road map stuff up to my new car’s navigation system instead of burning data from my phone. Any time I wandered off the beaten path, the car would try to calmly talk me out of it. I would try to tell her (yell at her) that I was hungry or needed to buy gas, but she kept talking. She was very persistent. As further proof that she needs to work on her listening skills, however, she would occasionally say, “Pardon?” as I was SCREAMING addresses and ZIP codes at the top of my lungs.
My third third took me along the East Coast all the way to Vero Beach. When I reached Savannah, Georgia, I decided I wanted to see Tybee Island. In particular…the lighthouse. I grew more than a tad worried about my navigation system when she sent me out on a road that felt like one small step above gravel…and then I saw a HUGE cable suspension bridge in the distance that I was supposed to cross. (For the umpteenth time…I HATE HEIGHTS. Yes, I realize the irony of this statement coming from someone who was crossing that bridge to see a lighthouse, but you can admire a lighthouse from the ground.)
The signage directing traffic to the lighthouse from the main highway is a bit obscure; my esteemed not-such-a-good-listener-navigator sent me to an RV park before I decided to stop listening to her and look for the little turtle signs. I was in for another surprise once I found the lighthouse. I paid my admission fee, and the guy that was working at the booth told me that the “admission fee also gets you into Battery Garland across the street.”
“Battery what?” I asked.
After that stop, it was on to the Sunshine State!
Haha, right. I didn’t go through any rain on that ENTIRE DRIVE until I was about twenty miles from the Florida state line. From there, it was intermittent rain for the rest of my trip.
I somehow managed to make it through Jacksonville with my bumpers in tact, although the “new car” smell was finally beginning to fade with each fresh hamburger. After a few more hours of driving, though, I’d finally made it somewhere that I’d be staying for more than one night…Vero Beach! And…it was time to check out the water.
I’m getting exhausted just recalling the driving part of this whole expedition. I think I’ll take a break. Up next…Part Three-ish!
Back in the spring, I started thinking about taking a road trip as a way to see some different places and get some new photography experiences under my lens. A friend had graciously offered to let me stay with her in Florida for a few days, and she also offered a suggestion:
“Take the long way.”
Naturally, I asked her, “What’s the long way?”
You see, Arkansans tend to flood the same stretches of the Gulf Coast each summer (although I did pick a less-frequented area of the panhandle last year just to see something new and avoid the high-rises…and it was worth it…but I digress…). I was headed to the Atlantic side this time, which is quite a trek by road from here. So, the long way could have been anything from a practical, direct route to taking a slight detour through Niagara Falls.
Once she described the possible route, my resourcefulness kicked in and the little hamster wheel in my brain began turning. (That thing can get going pretty fast when an idea materializes. The poor little imaginary hamster gets quite a workout.)
In photography, one of the basic guidelines of composition is the rule of thirds. Essentially, when you are deciding on where to place a subject in a photo, you think of the space as a grid divided into thirds (both horizontally and vertically, creating a tic-tac-toe type of setup). This keeps you from placing virtually all of your subjects–by default–in the center, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but your results are more interesting and varied by using the rule of thirds.
I decided to compose my trip in a similar manner, breaking the long way to the Treasure Coast into thirds. (I’m also breaking my account of the trip into three-ish parts. We’ll call this…Part One-ish. Oh, and my eventual destination was Vero Beach, Florida.)
I left on a Friday afternoon. The first third of my trip was a relatively short one–Nashville, Tennessee. I love Nashville. I love Tennessee. I’m going to do a better job next time, though, of leaving the house on “not-weekends.” Had it not been for a sleeve of Saltines being within easy reach, I probably would have starved before I made it to my brother’s house that night.
(The words “I-left-on-a-Friday-afternoon” should help you figure out the traffic situation.)
I’ve made the trip to Nashville many, many times. Going east of Nashville, however, was new territory for me. And that was part of the plan that I had meticulously written out on a sheet of paper listing all of the places I wanted to stop and see.
I left at five o’clock the next morning on the second third of the trip (driving EAST directly into the SUNRISE…big mistake…ouch), and that sheet of paper lasted until somewhere near Asheville, North Carolina. Once you’ve been tied up in Saturday traffic at every possible interstate interchange, looked at your gas gauge and (unfortunately) picked the exit that had less amenities than the next one three miles down the road, and gotten hungry twenty-seven more times than you expected, you just start wanting to get where you’re going. I did, however, LOVE the scenery in Eastern Tennessee/Western North Carolina…even if I didn’t have the chance to take very many photographs of it.
I continued driving with my meandering destination for the day being Charleston, South Carolina. When I drove into South Carolina, I stopped again and took in the scenery (and a few brochures). Very friendly welcome center, lovely views.
By the way, every single convenience store I stopped at was selling fidget spinners at the checkout. I overheard one mother in South Carolina telling her child that he did not need a fidget spinner, and I wanted to thank her on behalf of grownups everywhere, but I was too tired to do anything other than pay for my coffee.
In typical “me” fashion, I ended up rolling into Charleston in the early evening on a Saturday night. Many of the locations I had wanted to visit and tour were closed, so I had to save my photography for the next morning.
Did I ever see some beautiful photo opportunities the next morning, even if they weren’t on my original list…
Coming up in Part Two-ish…the third third of the trip to Florida. (Can someone help me with my math? I’m getting confused.)
*Some of the prints from this post are available in my Etsy shop:
Looking for photography opportunities is always on my mind. I’ve begun carrying my camera everywhere just in case I come across an idea for a great shot. My mind seems to function as a lens, with composition being the first consideration.
(Let’s face it, I catch myself thinking of my windshield as the lens. Bug splatter drives me crazy in that respect.)
Lately, I haven’t ventured too far from my backyard for a series of photos that I call my “fence posts.”
I don’t always have the time to get in the car and drive somewhere to scout out a good sunset location when I realize a really good sunset is happening. (Photography isn’t my full-time job; by the time I get home in the evening I sometimes have just enough energy to scout out a good location to collapse. My sofa usually wins. It’s close to the door.) I have a pretty tall privacy fence that does its job quite well, but it obstructs the view. So, I decided to take advantage of it and look at the sunsets and cloud formations from a different perspective.
Springtime cirrus clouds–that was a big win. Wispy is always a good look on the sky. And you don’t have to go far to find them when they happen.
Sometimes, the clouds are secondary and the impression of the colors stand out in the shot. Photography is interesting like that.
Different angles also make a shot more compelling. When you’re pressed for space, again, you have to get creative.
As I mentioned earlier, photography opportunities are everywhere…even when you think you don’t have many different ways to approach subjects. Just take a good look around and you’ll be surprised. I don’t suppose I’d be calling myself the Meticulously Observant Observer if I didn’t observe these kinds of things.
And try not to collapse on the sofa for too long. Taking a photo is a little tough while you’re face down and drooling after a long day. (That’s more of a reminder for myself. Do you hear that, self? Get movin’!)