from Members of
The Mindful Eye Community
SPECIFIC TME WORKSHOPS
by Craig Tanner, Marti Jeffers & Flo Deems
Several of TME's most popular workshops - The Next Step, Street Portraiture, and Composition Intensive - are held in the Historic District on the beautiful city of Savannah, Georgia. So what follows are suggestions for where to go and what to see during your free time.
The Riverfront is a visually rich area. It is really great at evening dusk for scenics and for people. You can't go wrong with River Street - day and night. People for the most part are very friendly. If you ask them if you can take their pictures, they usually say yes.
You'll also see some of the street people performing on their instruments. A regular plays a mean sax.
Plenty of restaurants and bars along there, too. The River Street Sweets Shop has interesting scenes inside that you can shoot of the various hand-made candy displays. Great fudge and other sweet stuff. You might get lucky and see one of the employees making candy.
On River Street we like the Warehouse for live music and cheap beer and Huey's for good seafood in a casual environment at a reasonable price.
From River Street, you might want to take a water taxi or ferry (free) from City Landing (near the Hyatt Hotel) over to Hutchinson Island and explore inside the Conference Center. There's a Westin Hotel there, too. Shoot River Street from that perspective. It's especially spectacular at night. (Best at night to drive over the bridge rather than take the ferry. Take the first exit to the island. Plenty of parking spaces are available.)
From the island, take a ferry down to Waving Girl Landing at the Merriott Hotel and walk back towards City Landing, exploring all the shops and their wares along the way. Also along the way you may see container ships steaming up or down the river. Other much smaller boats, too, including tour boats, tugs and private boats.
Nice park area all along the waterfront where people rest, so you can get in some people shots, too.
Note: Most hotels and motels will have free Historic District maps. Highly recommended!
A great way to get acquainted with the Historic District is to do a city hike from the corner of Bay Street and Bull Street (walking on Bull Street from Bay) all the way to Forsyth Park.
About two thirds of the way down there is a great place to eat lunch on the right hand side of the street called Six Pence Pub. It's hard to miss because there is a bright red, English style, old phone booth out front.
Right before you get to Forsyth Park you will cross Monterey Square which is the location of the Mercer Williams House Museum (it's on the right hand side of the square as you walk towards Forsyth Park) which was the house featured in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil".
Forsyth Park is also a must. There is a beautiful fountain and a beautiful oak canopied walkway leading into the park.
To the east of Forsyth is the Colonial Park Cemetery, which, if you like historical cemeteries, is a great place to browse in and read the very informative plaques telling about a particular person's historical impact upon early Savannah.
The Squares (22 of them) are beautiful! They are unique to Savannah and are what make it one of the world's most beautiful cities. Each square has a name and is uniquely landscaped.
Bull Street runs north and south. You can take any of the streets running east and west and walk the length of the historic district in the other direction.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Ascension is a magnificent place in which to shoot stained glass windows. Its sanctuary is on the upper level, so you'd have to climb some stairs.
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, with itís lovely stained glass and murals, is a beautiful church established before the end of the 18th century.
The Telfair Museum of Art is also in Savannah just off Telfair Square. This is a wonderfully light and bright modern building--lots of white marble walls and stairs with windows and skylights--lots of great art, too.
The Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) is housed in buildings all over Savannah, some of them very old, and has a huge influence on entire community.
There's also a Ships of the Sea - Maritime Museum on Martin Luther King Blvd. This facility is housed in an old mansion with interesting architecture inside and out. Also, lovely grounds.
Restaurants in the Historic District
River Street Restaurants is a great webpage, listing info about all the restaurants along River Street.
In addition to the restaurants and bars on River Street, there are others in the historic district that are very good. A favorite affordable restaurant in the city is the Olde Pink House and it's a little pricey (entrees average about $25.00) but if you are looking for a way to treat yourself this is it. I like sitting downstairs in the bar area. Its cozier down there, its easier to get seated and there is live piano music most nights. Its right downtown and anybody can tell you how to get there.
If you want a more casual and less expensive dinner try the City Market. If you like pizza, Vinne Van Go-Go's is great, but there are a lot of great choices. Often there is live (free) music on the boulevard that cuts through the Market. There are lots of restaurants here -- Belfordís, Wild Wings, Tapas -- and lots of great shops and art galleries! City Market is downtown on the west side of the historic district a couple of streets southwest of the river.
Along Bay Street you will find Churchillís Restaurant and Moon River Brewing Company.
There is an active music scene in Savannah and you can find live music somewhere almost every night.
Right around the corner from City Market on Congress Street are great places for local, live music - The Mercury Lounge, as well as The Jinx and 51 Degrees. Marti's "Welcome to My View" blog post of January 4, 2009, features a Lensbaby photo she shot in this club!
Right around the other corner from City Market Ė also on Congress Street are -- Murphyís Law (an Irish Pub) and which is one of Craig's and Marti's favorite bars, and has pretty good food, a beautiful interior and great live music -- and Molly MacPhersonís (a Scottish Pub) with a good, but limited menu, and a wonderful selection of great Scottish beers including a favorite, Innis and Gunn.
As far as hotels go there are a lot to choose from. If you are willing to spend much more than $100.00 per night, you can get the Hyatt downtown a lot of times for a good price online. Its in an awesome location and is a pretty good hotel with some a great views. The Hilton Savannah DeSoto is in the same price range and is also in a great location (near the Six pence Pub on Bull Street - one of Marti's favorite walking streets in the city).
The Promenade on West Bay Street, and The Savannah River Inn right behind it on Williamson Street, are where we stay for our workshops. They are good values in a great location right on the northwest corner of the Historic District and just a stone's throw down to River Street. When you sign up for any of The Mindful Eye's workshops held in Savannah, you'll be given instructions about room reservations at special workshop prices. Both these motels are owned by the same company, but have different pricing scales. The Promenade's prices are more than the Savanna River Inn's, as it is a little more luxurious. Both motels give TME workshop participants a discount. Be aware that The Promenade also charges for parking (September, 2009, the fee was $7/day). The Savannah River Inn does not charge for parking.
Hotel prices in the Historic District are pricey. If you use Price Line http://www.priceline.com/, you can select the Historic District as your destination, ask for a 4-5 star hotel and you can often get some great prices.
There are some awesome B&Bs in Savannah but the good ones are very pricey.
Here are a link to a map of the Historic District.
Great side trips from Savannah include:
Tybee Island and its lighthouse.
In Bonaventure Cemetery you can sign up for a tour.
Wormsloe Historic Site, http://gastateparks.org/net/go/parks.aspx?LocationID=7&s=0.0.1.5 and http://www.officialsavannahguide.com/article_156.shtml is well worth the trip from Savannah.
Fort Pulaski National Monument is on the way to Tybee Island.
Jekyll Island is about an hour and 45 minutes south of Savannah and is a beautiful place to shoot. Please see the section below.
Disclaimer: TME is not responsible for any disappointments due to changes in ownership of establishments or lousy weather. In the summer months, from about mid-May to about mid-September, the weather is usually very hot and very humid. Be forewarned!
For more info about Savannah, please see the Savannah front page.
by Craig Tanner
Note: One of TME's workshops is held on this interesting island. So here are Craig's opinions on interesting places to see: Here are a few suggestions for Jekyll Island which is about one hour south of Savannah - travel south on I-95 and follow the signs.
Driftwood Beach (DWB) is one of my all time favorite places to shoot landscapes. DWB is on the Northeast tip of the island and you get there by following N. Beachview drive apx. 1 mile past the Jekyll Inn Oceanfront Resort. There is a pull off on the right for parking to walk down to Driftwood Beach. When you get to the water the beach is to your left and runs one mile all the way to the sound between Jekyll and St. Simons Island.
The Pier which is at the very northern tip of the island is a great place to shoot at late twilight and at night. The lights on and around the Pier offer some great long exposure opportunities as well as the way that light bleeds out (during very long exposures) into the marsh which is just south and east of the Pier. To get to the Pier go past the parking pull off for DWB and continue north until you see the entrance for the campground...instead of taking a left into the campground turn right to get to the Pier.
The Historic District (especially if you like shooting architecture) is a great place to shoot and can get very dramatic light in the late afternoon and during evening twilight. There are some great sunset and twilight opportunities at the Island Dock which is on the intra-coastal waterway right in front of the historic district. The mud flats here can very dramatic during a low tide at sunset.
The Marsh along the causeway coming onto the island is also a favorite place of mine to shoot as well. This is a huge area. There are lots of tidal creeks which make beautiful leading lines and with the right sky this can be an incredible place to shoot but be prepared to get incredibly muddy. And I donít want to be a master of the obvious here but I have had some pretty harrowing experiences getting caught up in the marsh mud. If you start to sink, donít fight with your legs- just sit down..you will get incredibly muddy but at least you wonít be stuck.
The St. Andrews picnic area on the southwest tip of the island is also another great area for shooting. Its not as obviously beautiful as DWB but can be very beautiful with the right sky at sunset and there are some incredible trees here and a really beautiful area of marsh with a tidal creek inlet just north and east of where the parking lot dumps you onto the beach.
You might be doing the grocery store thing but if you are eating out, SeaJays at the marina under the bridge which crosses the intra-coastal is a pretty good place for both lunch and dinner. SeaJays also has decent live music on the weekends. If you are looking for a really good seafood experience Latitude 31 at the Island Dock in front of the Jekyll Island Club is very good. I mention these two places because a lot of the other eating out choices on Jekyll are pretty horrible. Jekyll is a beautiful place for photography but because of how under developed it is the services on the island are generally poor. Thatís never bothered me because I donít go there to have a resort experience but I still warn people about what I call island time...if you have low expectations when it comes to any kind of service (Seajays and Latitude 31 are the exceptions) you will have a better time.
DEATH VALLEY WORKSHOP
Suggestions by TJ Avery, Denise Bierley, Michael Campbell, John DeMott and Gordon McGregor:
An alarm clock. Bargain AM/FM alarm clock at Wallmart for only $5.00 on the way in. Very handy for those 4:30 am mornings. No radio but the static works.
An LED head light. They are not too expensive and available at good sporting stores. You will be hiking over rocky ground in the dark. That was helpful.
Water and snack/trail mix bars: stop at a big Wallmart on the way. You will be able to skip several meals which will save time and your digestion not to mention your pocket book.
Put a holster or pouch on your camera bag so your water bottle is easily accessible.
No coffee makers in the rooms but there is free coffee here we meet to take off in the mornings.
Bring patience when ordering food. The service is ....mmmmm spartan? Kind of slow.
Some sort of hand cream/ moisturizing cream/ barrier cream. After a week my fingers were cracking. It's dry out there.
Good sandals. You may get by with good walking shoes. Hiking shoes with ankle support would be good. The salt does a job on them and there will be serious scuffing.
Inexpensive knee pads like you can get from Home Depot. Excellent idea. A lot of knee work in rough salt very hard on the pants and the knees.
No laundry facilities. Bring lots of pairs of socks.
Bring a small bottle of detergent, or buy some at the general store. It is so dry in DV that you can easily handwash socks, etc., and they will dry overnight hanging in your room.
Dress for summer and late fall-early spring, some hot and cold.
Be prepared for a wide range of temperatures--it can be in the 30s at dawn, particularly at higher locations like Dante's View,, and in the 80s later in the same day at Badwater.
Warm weather gear and cold weather gear (ski-jacket/ gloves/ hat would have been perfect, along with shorts/ t-shirt swimming stuff) Real range of temps at this time of year - there's snow at the higher elevations and it's in the high 80's at the lower elevations.
Prepare for cold mornings and dress in layers.
Large white plastic trash bags in the camera bag. These can serve as a ground cloth if to set camera gear down on salt flats or sand dunes. Wrap gear in them to protect it from blowing sand (or rain in other locations). Use them as DIY reflectors for close up shots.
Trash bags. Heavy duty ones. Good for putting camera bags down on, in salty/ sandy/ nasty conditions.
Cleaning supplies for photo gear--small and large squeeze blowers, brushes, lens tissues, sensor cleaning supplies. There is a lot of blowing dust and sand that can get in all your equipment and it is very alkaline. I bring a fair amount.
For those who don't know, the standard rooms do NOT have the following: coffee maker, microwave, fridge, Internet, or alarm clock. There are no washers or dryers on the property (there are at Furnace Creek). When you get sick of the food at Stovepipe, the general store has sandwiches and other snacks that could help give your tastebuds a break (it's not too bad, really... at least they have decent beer - Sam Adams and Fat Tire!).
Carpool!!! We caravaned around the park with some half full vehicles. My advice is to team up with your classmates and get 3 or 4 to each vehicle. Craig's suggestion was to rotate around so that you're with different folks for each outing. I did this to some extent and got to know everyone better.
A phone calling card if you want to use the pay phones. The charges for calling collect are outrageous. Also, while we were there, the hotel's internet connection was down.
Hints pg 1, shooting ~ pg 2, post processing
pg 3, gear ~ pg 4, on locations
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