Monthly Archives: June 2018

Relax and wait for the photo to cook – Tybee Island

It was a great morning, predawn with a chance to relax and wait for the photo to cook.  At least that’s what it feels like – baking an image.  Use the recipe .  Wait for the clock.  I had been planning this shot for weeks.  Tybee Island, Georgia’s North Beach is the perfect place; tranquil, cool, quiet, and a great jetty for creating wispy, foggy waves in long-exposure images.  Over the exposure the waves “stack” and create the illusion of fog, ice, or in some cases, glass.  The sea looks as if a fog machine has pumped its haze across the surface leaving stationary items like rocks, poles, sharp.  Everything is peaceful as I push the shutter button.  Small waves split as they reached the rocks. The occasional large swell crashes into the granite quay sending salt-water sheets into the air… but only a few inches or feet.  The calming scent of salt and sea water drifts by.

Pelican and Shrimp Boat at Sunrise

The Beckster’s Pelican and Shrimp Boat at Sunrise photo. I’m jealous, still.

The ocean is relatively calm on this edge of the Atlantic. Seabirds fly over.  Some land and peck the sand searching for a sea-washed breakfast morsel.  Others fly on toward Hilton Head Island across the sound.  A pelican roosts on a marker pole several-dozen yards out in the water.  At low tide the wooden perch stands high and dry.  At all times of the tide it welcomes winged visitors, usually pelicans and maybe this same bird.  It’s worth a photograph, but The Beckster beat me to the best one several years earlier.  She, Kate and Tare, our granddaughters, play in the sand a few yards away.  She gets shots when I’m not looking.  She did back then too.

While shooting a small wedding at sunrise I noticed she was missing.  She had spotted the photo unrelated to the bride and groom, ditched us and went for it.  I’ve been jealous ever since that time.  The sun had lifted from the edge of a cloud bank just above the water and was directly behind the bird.  In the distance a shrimp boat headed to deeper water, in just the right compositional place.  It’s a great shot and I give her the best compliment that any photographer can give another, “I wish I had taken that one.”  Leaving the wedding, however?  She can get away with it.  She’s The Beckster.

 

Jetty and Pelican Before Sunrise

The test shot of the jetty and pelican before sunrise. 60 second exposure at f11. I like it so I kept it.

This morning the old bird sits in the same spot, in the same position.  But that’s not why I’m here.  I’m here for long exposures and I haven’t made one in years… thirty-five years.  Back then I had a Toyo 4×5″ view camera that I carried to the bottom of a canyon to capture the North Fork of the Tuolumne River near Twain Harte, California.

Jim taking photos by Bec

A photo of me by The Beckster as I shoot the pre-dawn test images. She’s sneaky, but then, she’s The Beckster.

Long black and white exposures were not a problem in the shadow of the surrounding mountains.  The extended shutter opening captured the flowing stream as if it were ribbons of glass.  One second, two, three, four, I counted off the time.  Around four shots and I’m finished.  Sheet film isn’t cheap.  It wasn’t then either.  Afterward I developed and printed my favorite image and painstakingly oil tinted two.  One went to my Uncle Roy in Savannah.  It was a Christmas present.  The other I kept.  Over the years mine was destroyed while in storage.  Then later, sadly, my friend and uncle died.  The photo stayed with aunt Dot, his wife, until her death.  Now I have it back.  I cherish the copy and the memories that it represents.

Tuolumne River, 1982

This is the image I made in 1982. It took a bit more effort and I love it. But, boy, do I love digital!

Those cameras take more thought and preparation.  But today I still go down the checklist.  Tripod?  Check.  Filters?  Check.  Correct lenses?  Check.  Oh, yeah.  Camera?  Check.  Now, find the exposure and wait for the sun.  I have the filters that cut light, ND16 and ND8 stacked in front of the lens.  Boy, I love digital.  Good black and white images can’t be beaten.  But I do love the ease of computer aided photography.

Jetty And Pelican with Sun

The jetty and pelican as the sun breaks above the horizon, the color version.

I compose the image.  What’s the exposure?  It’s time.  The sun should be coming up, but I need a test.  I take one shot.  It’s overexposed so I stop the lens down to a smaller aperture to cut down the light.  Snap again.  One-minute exposure at f11.  Got it.

The first one is perfect.  All of the images made are perfect.  Did I say I love digital?

Not bad for thirty-five years in  long-exposure hibernation.

Now the dilemma.  Which one… and…  color or black and white?

Leave a note below or email me and tell me your think.

– Jim

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Tuesday, then occasional photos/photo tips on Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

© J.D. Byous 2018, All rights reserved.

 

 

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Two Curmudgeon Boomers at Babyland General – Impressive

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Babyland General

The Cabbage Patch Kids, Babyland General Hospital looks like a plantation house out of Gone with the Wind.

Two Curmudgeons Boomers at Babyland General – Impressive

Jim Byous

 

“Have you ever been to Babyland?” Roger asks as we drive along highway 11 near Cleveland, Georgia.  The question seems a bit odd coming from a seventy-something, white-haired, former special forces, Green-Beret warrior.  He is a relative and a friend.  A man’s-man.  He and John Wayne would get along fine.  He is the kind of guy that Evil Knievel would hang out with…  and did.

Roger and the "Kids."

Roger and the “Kids.”

“No,” I reply, a puzzled look on my face.  My mind quizzes myself, “Do I look like the kind of guy that would find appeal in a doll factory?”  I leave the question to my mental ethersphere.  I don’t want to hear the answer.   I remember that my two daughters had Cabbage Patch dolls when they were small.  Now that they are grown with kids of their own, they still have them tucked away in a drawer or on a closet shelf.

A Kid in a cabbage.

A Kid in a cabbage.

“You want to go?  It’s right up ahead.”  He says.

“Do you want to go?” I come back.

“Why not?”  he says.

“Why not?’ I say.

Roger turns the huge, white, Chevy Silverado onto Hulsey Road.  A brief time later the sign directs us to N.O.K. Drive where we drop over a hill and there it is, the faux-kinder-delivery site.

Racks of accessories for Cabbage Patch Kids.

Racks of accessories for Cabbage Patch Kids.

A large signs hawks, “Cabbage Patch Kids Babyland General Hospital, Cleveland GA.”  Around it are acres of green, manicured lawn boardered by forest growth.

It looks like the plantation house of Tara from Gone with the Wind.  It literally shines on the hillside.  I don’t see Scarlet and I don’t see the Tarleton boys, but this is impressive.

An entryway case displays vintage Cabbage Patch dolls while display cases reflect in the glass.

An entryway case displays vintage Cabbage Patch dolls while display cases reflect in the glass.

My curiosity peaks.  This may be worth the visit… even for an old guy.  Out front of the columned porch and colonnade a gaggle of Canadian Geese feed on the front lawn.  “Why do they call it a ‘gaggle’?” I ask myself.  “Do they gag?”  Why not just a ‘flock’… I digress…  The geese scurry uphill as we stop for photos.  Roger continues then turns in to the drive.  The geese migrate back down after we pass.

Canadian Geese on the lawn of Babyland General.

Canadian Geese on the lawn of Babyland General.

In front of the building are large, white, plaster casts of garden vegetables with baby head insets.  They stare blankly into the sky with their machine-washer-like eyes.  It’s cute, but eerie at the same time. The sky is dark, it is starting to sprinkle.  The smell of moist, freshly-cut grass and asphalt greets us when we open the pickup doors and fast-walk to the cover of the building’s long, wrap-around porch.  A few people sit on the park-bench-style seats and countryesque rocking chairs along the walls.

A plaster cabbage and kid in front of Babyland.

A plaster cabbage and kid in front of Babyland.

Inside the door dozens of eight by ten photographs cover the walls telling of celebrities who have visited the facility; Burt Reynolds, George Lucas, Tom Selleck, Michael Jackson, Luciano Pavarotti… Wait… Luciano Pavarotti?  How cool is that?… (However, Michael Jackson oddly fits into the theme of this venue.)  Just beyond the gallery is a large, building-wide reception area with couches and chairs.

Celebs at Babyland
Celebrity portraits line the entryway.

Glassed shelves display vintage and special Cabbage Patch Kids from the past.  American flags accent the floral arrangements on pedestals along the wall leading down to photo-opportunity spots on the end wall.  I need to get a picture.  This place is looking interesting.

Nurse Debbie is attending to a new Kid while a mom and dad follow their daughter from bassinet to crib, searching for a potential addition to the family.  It’s not busy.  Today is Monday and a holiday.  I estimate there are around fifty people here.

Kids waiting for kids to decide which will go home with them.
Kids waiting for kids to decide which will go home with them.

Another person dressed in scrubs tells me that on the previous two days, there was standing room only.  She tells me that the place was a mass of newly adopted mothers and grandparents. Today, however, it appears most folks are driving home, just as on most holiday weekends.

Several rooms packed with dolls await a new owner… or… parent… that is.  Boy dolls, girl dolls, black-skinned dolls, light-skinned dolls, and those with tones between.

Through a nursery window, a nurse attends a newly cultivated cabbage kid.

Through a nursery window, a Nurse Debbie attends a newly cultivated cabbage kid.

They sit in boxes, cabinets, cases and cribs.  Accessories for the new foster-child-parents hang on racks and include shoes, socks shirts, skirts and about anything else needed for a new addition to a family.

A quick portrait

A quick selfie in front of the sign. I am sitting in a plush, cabbage leafed sofa. Perhaps I am ready for harvest.

I am impressed.  I can tell that Roger, a competent businessman, is too.  We are both calculating prices of products and the customer flow that is swirling through the faux-hospital and its inventory.  On one wall is a large plastic tree.  Below it are rows of cabbages that have doll-head centers.

Fathers and Grandfathers waiting area

The fathers’ and grandfathers’ waiting area. At scheduled times it is also the delivery area for the entertainment of eager onlookers.

I am told this is the delivery area where a forceps-wielding nurse attends an expecting cabbage and delivers a doll, delighting a crowd of admiring onlookers, kids and supporting adults.

Two men sit silently, working the buttons on their cell phones.  No doubt their wives, girlfriends or significant others are wandering the floor with a child or grandchild in search of the perfect adoptee.

Prospective parents and Kids.

Prospective parents and Kids.

“Is this the father’s waiting room?” I ask.  One smiles and nods, then continues to click the virtual keys on the phone.  The other does not break his concentration to respond.

“This is kind of cool,” I say to the first man.

He looks up, smiles again, and gives a one-word response, “Quite!”  His eyes drop back to the phone.  His look mimics the expression of a trapped animal, yearning for freedom.

Roger walks up.  We both know it is time to go, enough time has passed here… for two old curmudgeons.  “This is some operation,” Roger says as we walk toward the door.  “Impressive.”

One of the many cribs-full of Kids awaiting adoption.

One of the many cribs-full of Kids awaiting adoption.

He’s right.  It was a lot more than I expected.  This will be a venue for my youngest granddaughter.  Impressive? Quite!

As we drive away from the Babyland General I glance back over my shoulder.

Kids and more Kids.  These are smaller-than-normal Kids at a lower price.

Kids and more Kids. These are smaller-than-normal Kids at a lower price.

The geese waddle up the hill from away the road as we pass.  What’s that?  I swear I hear a medley combining the themes from Gone with the Wind and Babes in Toyland.

Impressive.

– – The Cabbage Patch Kids’ Babyland General Hospital is located at 300 N.O.K. Drive • Cleveland, Georgia 30528 in Cleveland, Georgia.


Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

 

© J.D. Byous 2018, All rights reserved.

 

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Night Image

Night image

Jim Byous

Tomochichi Federal Courthouse in Savannah’s Wright Square is an exquisite sample of Richardson Romanesque architecture which is also referred to by some as Second Renaissance Revival style.

Tomochichi Federal Building Savannah

Tomochichi Federal Building in Savannah’s Wright Square.

Built in two sections the tower is the centerpiece of the 1894 edifice that faced President Street and marked the focal point for the structure.  During the Great Depression the second section was added in 1932, enclosing the original front and replacing it with a main entrance on Bull Street and forcing the tower into an asymmetrical position.

Medallions of colored marble

Medallions of colored marble highlight the frieze of the structure.

The building is built of marble that is primarily from quarries near the town of Tate in North Georgia.  It is named after the chief, or mico, of the Yamacraw Indians that lived in the area when James Oglethorpe founded the city in 1733.  Tomochichi is buried in the square in front of the building.

Savannah’s Historic District contains 21 squares that serve as parks for the city. they were laid out at the time of the founding.  Bring your shoes, because Savannah is a walking city.  Better yet, take an on-off trolley tour, then go back to walk and study the details.

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (at right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

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Sunsets and Opportunities (Another look)

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By Jim Byous  (A repost from 2016)

The cliché is that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Sometimes that is true, sometimes that is not-so-true.  Then again, sometimes pictures need words to express the details or the emotion of an event.  And, sometime pictures create more questions.  Here are a few that do all of the above.

These were shot within a thirty minute time frame in locations that were about two miles in distance.  Shooting fast and keep moving to change the scene I was able to capture these images at North and South Beach on Tybee Island.  The weather, nature and God take care of the colors.  Photoshop helps to darken, lighten and intensify what is already there.  If the color is not hidden in the original image, it is hard to make it work.

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The Tybee Lighthouse on Tybee Island, Georgia from North Beach.

1 1 1 Sun behind Tybee Lite 2 BYO_2706 jpg sm

The setting sun moves behind the lens on Tybee LIghthouse.

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Lifeguard stand #16 near the Tybee Pier.

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The last rays of sun looking from the Tybee Pier toward the pavilion.

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

 

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Bravery and defiance… Savannah’s history underfoot

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (below right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

Johnson sg c1900

Johnson Square and the Greene monument, c.1900.

Bravery and defiance… Savannah’s history underfoot

by Jim Byous

It was here, directly underfoot.  If you close your eyes you can feel it… at least some folks tell me they can – the history, the struggle, the conflict.  The starting of a new colony in the wild and woolly new world.  The start of a new nation in a time of enlightenment.  The attempt to create a new confederacy and a new nation in the south.  Johnson Square in Savannah, Georgia was where, over the years, debate rang out and the results enacted.

The Greene monument in Johnson Square

The Marquis de Lafayette laid the corner stone for the Greene monument in Johnson Square. Greene and his son are buried beneath it. Photo Morgie McCormick.

The Nathaniel Greene Monument is the centerpiece of Johnson square.  Its cornerstone, placed in 1825 by the Marquis de Lafayette, was finished in 1830 to honor Greene for his contribution in the Revolution.  Lafayette did lay the cornerstone, but the monument’s purpose changed over the half-decade before completion.  The original monument was to be to two Revolutionary War heroes, Greene and Casimir Pulaski.  Between the start date and the years-later finish, Pulaski would have his own monument a few blocks away in Monterey Square.  Greene had fought to reclaim Savannah from the British, as did Pulaski.  Pulaski died just after the battle having suffered a mortal wound in a daring charge on the Spring Hill Redoubt that stood on the east side of town.

When James Oglethorpe came to set up the new Georgia Colony in 1733 he, with the help of Colonel William Bull of South Carolina, drove the stakes to create this square first.  So, no bull, Bull street became the avenue that runs around it.  Today the common joke is that Bull starts at City Hall and flows through the city.  (Cue laugh track.)

The 20th century sundial in Johnson Square.

The 20th century sundial in Johnson Square.

Once known to residents as The Sundial Square, you can now see a replica… that sometimes has sunlight and sometimes does not… buildings and trees surrounding the park make it difficult to read.

The participants in the early Johnson Square events meant business – sometimes deadly business.  In the early days, for infringements of the rules, justice was often laid out at the end of a whip.  After two workers at Trustees’ Garden killed hogs for rooting out plants, they were flogged in a public display of correction.  The same fate came to a woman who continually gossiped.  She was flogged, then dragged behind an ox card from the whipping post to Wright Square… and back.  Don’t know if she continued her nattering, but history’s silence suggests that she did not.

Morgan at eest fountain Johnson Sq

This 2008 image of photographer Morgie McCormick in front of the east fountain in Johnson Square. The mirroring fountain on the west was the site of the Indian pavilion.

The round fountain on the western side of the square occupies the spot of an important milestone in peace for the young colony.  In October 1757 Royal Governor Henry Ellis met with the leaders of the Upper and Lower Creeks who represented twenty-one Indian towns.  An open pavilion stood there where they all met to talk and enact peace.  After that time conflicts with the Native Americans were peaceful in Georgia’s territory, but conflicts were common in South Carolina and other regions.  A walk around the sprinkling nozzles will allow you to tread on historic ground.

Tarring and Feathering in Boston

Tarring and Feathering in Boston. Savannah had similar episodes.

Later, the seeds for the American Revolution in Georgia were planted, nurtured, and born here.  Tax collectors found harrowing rebuke here, tarred and feathered, they suffered a painful, scarring act that is now too torturous for civilized conduct.  Effigies of other officials including King George III burned and glowed in balls of fire, probably a few feet from the Liberty Pole that stood in the square.

The Declaration of Independence was read in this square in 1776 next to that Liberty Pole that marked the gathering spot for the Sons of Liberty.  It was also read aloud in Reynolds square and at Fort Halifax in Trustees’ Garden near the present-day Pirates House Restaurant.  The Sons of Liberty were a constant headache for Royal Governor James Wright… until he, at last, boarded a ship and sailed to England.  His loss of hundreds of acres of land must have been an equal blow to his ego.

The Gadsden flag on Greene's monument in Savannah's Johnson Square

This 1860 image from Harper’s Weekly shows the Gadsden flag on Greene’s monument in Savannah’s Johnson Square.

At the beginnings of the American Civil War citizens who supported secession from the Union held rallies around Greene’s monument to voice their disfavor with “Northern aggression.”  A Gadsden flag, the early symbol of American Revolutionist resolve, hanged from Greene’s granite obelisk.  Local tradition says that when Union General William T. Sherman captured the city in 1864 one of the first things that he searched for was that flag.  He found it and took it home with him.

So, says tradition.

When you visit Savannah, take in the sites, the architecture, the restaurants, and the night life.  But remember where you are walking.  You’re walking on history.

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Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Monday, then photos/photo tips each Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

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