MFer Photography: Blog https://www.mferphotography.com/blog en-us (C) MFer Photography mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Wed, 05 May 2021 20:46:00 GMT Wed, 05 May 2021 20:46:00 GMT https://www.mferphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u943175867-o675985475-50.jpg MFer Photography: Blog https://www.mferphotography.com/blog 120 88 J + S https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/5/j-s They eloped and did not get engagement or wedding pictures so of course I jumped at the chance to share another milestone!

May love and light always be upon you!

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) couple engagement golden hour lgbtq mfer photography portraits sunset wedding https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/5/j-s Thu, 06 May 2021 11:00:00 GMT
Jacqueline's Graduation https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/5/jacquelines-graduation Congrats to Jaqueline for graduating from Kennesaw State University! I was lucky enough to provide the photobooth for her high school graduation and am honored to celebrate her newest accomplishment!

Good Luck in 2nd Grade!

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) graduation mfer photography portraits senior portraits https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/5/jacquelines-graduation Wed, 05 May 2021 20:30:32 GMT
South Dakota in Infrared https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/4/south-dakota-in-infrared I have finally found the perfect IR subject - THE WEST! The skies are the deepest blue and the rock formations provide the best contrast for this type of imagery. I will be posting in more details about the amazing state of South Dakota, but for now enjoy my most favorite IR to date!

The Badlands - named by the Lakota Indians for the poor soil.

Next up, the famous monuments.

Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore and the view from Mount Rushmore!

Hiking to Little Devils Tower in Custer State Park

Cathedral of Spires

Let's just say that I loved the wild west so much that I was not even home a full week and I already had plane tickets to Montana!

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Badlands Cathedral of Spires Custer hiking infrared Little Devil's Tower mfer photography outdoors South Dakota travel wild west https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/4/south-dakota-in-infrared Mon, 26 Apr 2021 23:25:48 GMT
Members Choice Show https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/3/members-choice-show I have art in another show and this time you can actually go see it in person! Sadly I will be out of town and am unable to attend the open house this Saturday, but that doesn't mean you can't! Indie Studio is located directly across the street from Sweetwater Brewery. Make it a day!

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) APG art exhibit mfer photography https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/3/members-choice-show Tue, 02 Mar 2021 15:00:32 GMT
Chasing Light https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/2/chasing-light Went on a sunset and light trail excursion with dear friends who have recently caught the photography bug. During these dark times, these creative moments mean everything.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) atlanta lensball mfer photography sunset https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/2/chasing-light Fri, 12 Feb 2021 12:00:00 GMT
Graveface Museum https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/2/graveface-museum I recently stopped in to one of my favorite towns, Savannah, on the way home from spending new years with family. I am one who always finds something to do both on the way and on the way home from any road trip. I think it is because of so many trips in the back seat of my parents car driving back and forth from Atlanta to New York with out stopping that I am traumatized to be in a car for more than 4 hours. On our way home we stopped by River Street and visited the Graveface Museum. When I found this new edition to the Roadside America app I knew it would be a hit. Between the Cult room, the serial killer room and the VHS horror collection I knew it would not be a disappointment. The best bonus was the added pinball room that is included with admission. I may suck at pinball but I sure do love to play it.

The gift shop has a pretty great selection of vinyl so make sure you browse before you enter through the mouth of the devil.

There is just way too much to see in this place. Very much worth a stop. There is a lot of authentic items on display and the owner and staff are ready and willing to explain any and everything. They are renovating right now. I look forward to another visit when they reopen.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) cult Georgia graveface museum murder museum Savannah serial killer true crime weird https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/2/graveface-museum Wed, 10 Feb 2021 12:00:00 GMT
TFTI https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/2/tfti

The experience at TFTI this year compared to last year is HUGE! This is where Covid restrictions are a bonus. We practically had the entire place to ourselves as opposed to last year when it was crowded and lots of waiting for people to get out of your shot. We did miss one of our girls from the sisterhood of the traveling pants though. I am really going crazy with the lockdown and every so often I got to get with my girls and get creative. It is now tradition.

These were all taken with various iphones. These rooms are a bit cliche now but with so little entertainment I will indulge without a care... #sorrynotsorry

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Atlanta girlgang portrait Selfie TFTI https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/2/tfti Tue, 09 Feb 2021 01:18:05 GMT
Len Foote Hike Inn https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/1/len-foote-hike-inn I was finally able to accomplish a huge goal of mine. I have been wanting to go to the Len Foote Hike inn for years. I convinced my friend to do it with me. The hike Inn trail head is at the top of Amicalola Falls in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is only accessible through a 5 mile hike that is part of the approach trail to Springer Mountain and the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The Inn itself is more like a hostel with 4 separate buildings. The main office attached the the bunk house, followed by the bath house, then the dining hall and last but not least the sunrise room. Most of our time spent indoors was in the sunrise room. That building has an incredible view and a wrap around porch filled with rockers and adirondack chairs. It is the social spot for hikers staying at the inn. Included with your stay is a family style dinner served promptly at 6pm (the dinner bells signals when it is time) and a breakfast at 8 am. Coffee is on at 6 am in time for the best view of the sunrise in this part of the state. I am not going to lie...the sunrise was cold but well worth the chill. We were the first to arrive Saturday for the night. We checked in, received our linens and made up our beds. Each room is the same..very basic with bunk beds but clean. Then I proceeded to clean up and drink about 90 cups of coffee before we ventured out to hike again. We got about 10 miles in on our first day.

My new rainbow Merrells did me right! Seriously the best running and hiking shoes on the market.

 

 

Dinner consisted of Pork Loin w/ gravy, rice pilaf, broccoli, salad and rolls with chocolate cake for dessert. Breakfast was eggs, bacon, grits and peach spoon bread which was to die for. Shortly after breakfast we hit the trails again. We hit Amicalola Falls, High Shoals Baptist church and ventured to an unmarked, extremely strenuous hike to a hidden water fall nearby- Bearden Falls.

26 creek crossing there and back. Only 5 makeshift trail markers. This was the most challenging trail I have hiked yet.

Our first glance at Bearden Falls...and the challenge we faced trying to climb to the top.

If you attempt to find the trail do not believe google maps and its reviews. It is NOT 1.6 miles, It is NOT only 3 creek crossings and the trail head is not where you think it is by the parking area. You will find however a ton of great camping spots. If I come back I will bring spray paint and create a real set of markers. You will have to climb if you want to get anywhere near the falls. I imagine this would not be very good in the spring and summer due to the heavy overgrowth. Overall we did about 20 miles in 36 hours.

Nature is my church.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Amicalola Appalachian Falls Georgia hiking Len Foote Hike Inn mountains north outdoors sunrise sunset Trail travel waterfall https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/1/len-foote-hike-inn Fri, 29 Jan 2021 16:01:26 GMT
Tina + Jason https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/1/tina-jason

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) barn bride events first look groom mfer photography portraits reception wedding https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2021/1/tina-jason Mon, 25 Jan 2021 18:30:27 GMT
Jen + Jay https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/12/jen-jay

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) family mfer photography portraits https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/12/jen-jay Thu, 17 Dec 2020 10:00:00 GMT
Bruce + Dev https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/12/bruce-dev

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) mfer photography portraits https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/12/bruce-dev Wed, 16 Dec 2020 10:00:00 GMT
Taylor + Devin https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/12/taylor-devin I have known this  bride for many many years. I have watched her grow into a young woman and a wonderful mom. It was a honor to attend and shoot her wedding.

These are just a few of my favorites!

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) bride events groom mfer photography portraits wedding winery https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/12/taylor-devin Tue, 15 Dec 2020 22:07:56 GMT
Lullwater Preserve with NY friends! https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/lullwater-preserve-with-ny-friends My bestie from NY came to visit and we did what we both like to do...explore and hike. Last time she visited we were rained out from hitting this trail so I wanted to take her back here.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) lullwater preserve" atlanta hiking outdoors https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/lullwater-preserve-with-ny-friends Wed, 25 Nov 2020 19:31:32 GMT
Yellow Daisies https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/yellow-daisies The yellow daisy bloom at Arabia Mountain is INCREDIBLE. If you enjoyed the red algae bloom than this will be your jam!

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Arabia mountain daisies flowers hiking outdoors yellow https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/yellow-daisies Thu, 19 Nov 2020 17:45:08 GMT
Lauren + Benji https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/lauren-benji My first wedding during a Pandemic. It was beautiful. The weather held out for us and the venue, Stony Oak Farms, was perfection.

Check out the grooms band- it has a guitar string embedded in the middle!

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) bride groom mfer photography wedding https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/lauren-benji Fri, 13 Nov 2020 20:19:31 GMT
CFPA - The Dark Crystal https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/cfpa---the-dark-crystal I saved the best for last, or at least the most creepy.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) center for puppetry arts Jim Henson the dark crystal https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/cfpa---the-dark-crystal Thu, 12 Nov 2020 18:45:00 GMT
CFPA- Global Exhibit https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/cfpa--global-exhibit I really liked this part of the museum. There were some familiar and strange puppets in this section. Some of the details are outstanding.

If you have been reading this blog for a while or follow my IG, then you know I have a penchant for the absurd. This fully satisfied what has been absent from my life in recent months.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Atlanta center for puppetry arts puppets https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/cfpa--global-exhibit Wed, 11 Nov 2020 15:26:46 GMT
Center For Puppetry Arts https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/center-for-puppetry-arts One the last day of the Dark Crystal exhibit, we visited the Center for Puppetry Arts. The museum is split up into 3 sections, the Jim Henson Exhibit, the global exhibit and then the special exhibition area.

Out in front is one of the infamous Tiny Doors Atlanta.

Next up... The Global Exhibit.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) center for puppetry arts Jim Henson muppets puppets https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/center-for-puppetry-arts Tue, 10 Nov 2020 18:18:56 GMT
Day of the Dead 2020 https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/day-of-the-dead-2020 Had dia de los muertos fallen on a Sunday on a normal year we would have had a gathering and built an altar, but in true 2020 fashion we quietly celebrated by writing letters to our loved ones who have passed on and threw them into the flames to send them out to the universe.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) day of the dead dia de los muertos https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/day-of-the-dead-2020 Wed, 04 Nov 2020 20:00:00 GMT
Election Day- Not a Political Post https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/election-day--not-a-political-post I am so sick of the anxiety...as is most everyone, so on this election day I will leave some pretty pictures for your distraction and mine.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Atlanta botanical garden bees butterflies flora flowers insects https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/11/election-day--not-a-political-post Tue, 03 Nov 2020 19:47:38 GMT
Museum of the Weird https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/10/museum-of-the-weird The weirdest part of the museum of the weird was definitely the guy behind the counter. He could not figure out how to ring things up and greeted us the same way when we both came in and left and we were 3 of 9 people in the place. Regardless it did not disappoint. I wish they had better merch though. I would have spent a fortune in the gift shop.

If you are in Austin, Texas, along with the toy museum, this is a must see.

Believe it or not, this was also my first ever wax museum.

It was worth it for the "iceman" alone. I took a gazillion more pictures but really, you just need to see it for your self.

 

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Austin iceman museum museum of the weird oddities Texas travel wax weird https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/10/museum-of-the-weird Wed, 28 Oct 2020 17:51:48 GMT
Photo Buckhead Exhibition https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/10/photo-buckhead-exhibition

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) art exhibition fine art mfer photography https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/10/photo-buckhead-exhibition Mon, 26 Oct 2020 20:40:45 GMT
Austin Aquarium https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/10/austin-aquarium My original plan for my birthday this year was to visit the museum of the weird but that got postponed. I had to scramble to fill in my day and did a quick Google search for things to do in Austin. When I saw the list of animal encounters they had I was sold!

I got to feed and pet otters, stingrays, turtles, sharks, lemurs and a sloth! It was a good birthday present to myself!

There are a ton of animal encounters but it varies on the mood of the animal so there is no set schedule ahead of time. We spent hours there hanging around so that we could visit with the sloth when he was ready. Each encounter and feeding takes a certain amount of tokens but I don't recommend buying a ton of them upfront because you never know when an encounter will happen and how the animals will feel and they don't force them into any situations, which is a good thing. This also is a pretty far Uber from SoCo. The one thing I do regret is not renting a car. This really is a must. 10/10 otherwise for this experience.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) animal encounter animals aquarium Austin lemur mfer photography parrot sloth stingray Texas travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/10/austin-aquarium Tue, 06 Oct 2020 16:19:06 GMT
Austin Murals https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/austin-murals One of the best things about Austin, Texas, besides tacos and BBQ, is the street art. So many famous murals around town. Luckily for the ones that were out of walking distance I had my friend Melanie and her wife Amy to guide us to some of the other ones I really wanted to see.

This is going to be a huge picture dump, so enjoy!

 

I had heard the graffiti art park was closed but Mel and Amy took us there. It is fenced off and closed to the public now but still able to be viewed! This was such a bonus for me!

There is a reason the say "Keep Austin Weird" and I will do another whole post of just the random things we saw while we were there.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) art Austin covid vacation family graffiti mfer photography murals Texax travel vacation https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/austin-murals Fri, 25 Sep 2020 19:35:26 GMT
Light Painting https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/light-painting Painting with light is something I have experimented with in the past but never really delved as far deep into as I have been wanting to. I gathered up some supplies, including a light bar I purchased almost a year ago and got to playing around. The first night was a full moon, I highly recommend waiting for a new moon. You want as little outside light pollution as possible. Other supplies needed is string lights, Gaffer tape, some sort of straight piece of wood, sparklers and water, a tripod and any camera you can set to manual.

 

The first attempts were with the light bar. I really like how the lines of the dock draw you in. I will be heading back to hone in on the ideas I have for this spot.

The second attempt is a much darker night in a more secluded area. I knew I was going to be playing with fire (literally) so I needed a more private and open area.

These are the very beginning stages of my light painting journey and I think it will be fun to look back on these and see how I progress forward. I will say quarantine life sure is good for giving me the kick in the arse to do all the things I have been putting off.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) light painting lightbar long exposure mfer photography sparklers string light photography https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/light-painting Tue, 15 Sep 2020 11:42:29 GMT
Atlanta Celebrates Photography https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/atlanta-celebrates-photography I have 2 upcoming shows featuring some of my artwork!

 

 

Please share and if you are able, attend either in person or log in for the virtual opening.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) art fine art gallery mfer photography https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/atlanta-celebrates-photography Fri, 11 Sep 2020 11:00:00 GMT
Halle + The Botanical Garden https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/halle-the-botanical-garden Halle is the funniest young lady I have ever met. She has the biggest heart and the most creative mind. Not only is she a talented artist but she is my goat whisperer. A kindred spirit who loves all animals, reptiles and bugs alike. Anyone who puts googly eyes on her Roomba is cool in my book.

 

We kept pushing this session out because she wanted the botanical garden and every Saturday it said it was going to rain, and every Saturday it did not rain. Of course the Saturday we stuck with it DID rain, but nature loves Halle and the clouds dried up the exact minute we pulled in. She really is a modern day Snow White. That is if Snow White was snarky and wore converse and Harry Potter glasses.

Congrats Halle! I know you will do great things!

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) children mfer photography portraits senior portraits senoirs https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/halle-the-botanical-garden Wed, 09 Sep 2020 11:00:00 GMT
Cathedral of Junk https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/cathedral-of-junk One of the biggest places I wanted to visit in Austin was the Cathedral of Junk. Due to Covid, I was resigned to the fact that I was not going to be able to check this place off of my bucket list. We had a free afternoon and I decided to take a chance and give the artist, Vince Hannemann a call and see if he would permit us to visit his home and check out his decades long homage to scrap. As luck would have it he said come on! We were the first out of town visitors he allowed since the start of the Pandemic. I felt very lucky to have been able to view the art and meet with him.

Vince was a super interesting guy, full of stories. I wish we could have stayed much longer but due an impending storm rolling in, a ton of mosquitoes and a tiny bladder we had to jump in our Uber and roll out.

Know before you go:

You must call ahead 512-299-7413

Bring bug spray!

Plan to stay a while, he even has a scavenger hunt you can do.

There are no bathrooms!

This is his home, the cathedral is in his back yard and his neighbors are not super supportive so please don't park just anywhere.

Most of all Talk to Vince. He has a dry but wicked sense of humor.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) art Austin cathedral of junk mfer photography outdoors roadside America roadside attraction Texas travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/cathedral-of-junk Tue, 08 Sep 2020 18:37:41 GMT
The Bats of Austin https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/the-bats-of-austin I planned a trip to Austin, Texas way before Covid 19 for my birthday. The trip happened, albeit not exactly how I had in mind, but the main attraction for me was to see the famous bat bridge.

Our AirBnB was just over one block from the Congress Ave Bridge where at the time we were there, close to 2 million bats were nesting for the summer months. It is the largest colony of urban bats in North America. The Mexican free tail bats migrate to the bridge every year in the spring to have their babies and raise their young. Every evening at dusk they emerge over Lady Bird Lake, a section of the Colorado River that is dammed in the city. You can watch the bats from a park below, the bridge itself or from my favorite spot, a boat in the water. We did all 3!

  

I teared up every time I witnessed them take flight. It truly is an amazing thing to see. You don't even have to be a bat lover to like me to appreciate the sheer awesomeness of this sight. This was one of the best things I have ticked off my bucket list. If you have not been to Austin, go!

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) anture Austin bats cityscape Congress Avenue Bridge Texas travel urban wildlife https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/9/the-bats-of-austin Tue, 01 Sep 2020 15:42:56 GMT
Strange Times https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/8/strange-times The world is changing. I kept hearing this is the new normal and I was in denial. How can so much change in one year? I stopped listening to the news. I rarely get on facebook. I don't watch hardly any TV anymore. For lack of a better term, all I can say is "I can't breathe". I started really getting into being more creative. I listen to music. I read. I exercise. This is how I create my new normal. I have changed my entire routine. I have connected with friends I have not been in touch with in so long. I have created deeper relationships with others in my life. I am taking a stand in my own way against everything being fed to us politically. I am documenting my days and my world as it is shifting. I am being honest with myself.

I am observing.

I am getting out and seeing what is going on first hand. I am not hiding and I am not fighting. I chose to live. I chose to see and I chose to experience it all, whether I agree with it or not. One cannot make informed decisions without being actually informed.

I do not want to live in a bubble. If I have to wear a mask to make others feel safe, to be out in public, to save my own sanity than I will wear a mask. I will no longer put my life on hold for fear of what others think one way or the other.

I will feel how I feel without guilt or pressure. I will stand up for what I believe is right or unjust and I will not be pigeon holed into one label or another.

There is still beauty in this world. There are still good people in the world. You just have to go see it for yourself.

Challenge yourself to be true. Find your happiness and spread it around. Hate breeds hate. Love breeds love. Find your passion.

Don't be afraid to be who you are. When you are honest with yourself, then you will find your peace.

Can anybody fly this thing
Before my head explodes
Or my head starts to ring
We've been living life
Inside a bubble
We've been living life
Inside a bubble
Confidence in you
Is confidence in me
Is confidence in high speed
 
High Speed- Coldplay
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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Atlanta Covid mfer photography strange times https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/8/strange-times Thu, 27 Aug 2020 14:01:57 GMT
Austin in Infrared https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/8/austin-in-infrared What a fantastic city. It was the perfect subject for my converted Nikon D50 IR DSLR. Actually, so perfect that is has renewed my interest in IR photography and has given me the needed push to make plans to knock a few more subjects I have wanted to capture for years in IR.

Feature above is the infamous "Bat Bridge" aka The Congress Street Bridge. At Dusk from March until October anywhere from 750,000 to close to 2 million bats (after the babies are born) take flight from their nest under the bridge. More on that later.

A very hot stroll through Zilker Park and across the foot bridge provided some amazing subject matter.

The above shot is by far my favorite of the trip and will be features in an upcoming show.

More info on that as well later.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) art Austin infrared mfer photography Texas travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/8/austin-in-infrared Wed, 05 Aug 2020 12:50:14 GMT
2020 The Eye of the Storm (Goals Recap) https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/7/2020-the-eye-of-the-storm Well I did not see that coming!

What a shit show 2020 has been. Thanks to Covid 19 I am regularly exercising again. Mainly because being stuck in the house with a teenager 95% of the time is forcing me to get off my butt and get things done.

As far as drinking water, I am sure drinking much more but it isn't water. My liver will be well preserved by the end of this year. Can't say I made it to Providence Canyon yet either. There is still time. Not really day tripping around thanks to a pandemic and unrest all over the country. I am concentrating on the little things that bring me joy, it is the only thing holding my sanity together. No Kart racing, yet, shooting more film though. My shoulder is back in action- the lake has been my savior during all of this. As far as family time, not really a choice in that matter, but I will say we have had some moments. I have sure figured out who my tribe is, and possibly who I am deep down inside.

Focus has shifted to other things. The boys are spending more quality time together. Mountain Biking and video games. I have a core group of Framily to spend time with to keep from going insane from isolation. Brody ended the year with straight A's for the first time ever. Feeling pretty thankful for the Hall County School system right about now. Had I been working from home and dealing with Gwinnett County Schools I do not think I would have made it without a nervous breakdown.

Having sent and received 100's of letters and postcards over the month of April was a nice little pick me up as well.

Little silver linings.

I have a goat! I have a sassy bearded dragon named Bellatrix LeStrange. I have a dog that is now more spoiled than ever. I have fireflies and frogs and sunset views.

And then there is peanut butter whiskey. Not all bad

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) 2020 bearded dragon goals https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/7/2020-the-eye-of-the-storm Tue, 14 Jul 2020 15:12:45 GMT
My Goat! https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/my-goat This has been a long time coming, my dream of owning a goat has come true!

Meet Hermoine Grazer! She is a gorgeous 8 month old female Kiko nanny.

 

The Kiko breed is popular in US southern states where drug-resistant parasites have wreaked havoc on southern herds.The Kiko shows a natural parasite resistance that allows it to thrive in climates where other goats do not.

The breed began in the 1980's in New Zealand and made their way here in the mid 90's.

The girls will be working hard to clear out lots of brush on the farm.

The other 2 females are also Kiko and their names are Cotton and Potoooooooo (pronounced Po-eight-o)

Hermoine was greeted by Charlie, the farm dog, when they arrived but she did not like that and head butted him. Charlie steers clear now. Soon the 3 will be joined by one more female and one Billy goat. They should be having babies next spring. Can you imagine all the fun I am going to have with those babies!

Obviously I was partial to capturing lots of pictures of my goat. I will be documenting them all though. Stayed tuned for lots of goat antics!

Zen AF

Pot00000000

Cotton

I am so excited to share the news here about my goat! Crazy thing is she isn't the only new animal added to our menagerie. I will save that for another post!

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) family farm goat goats https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/my-goat Sun, 28 Jun 2020 00:31:44 GMT
Treetop Quest - Father's Day Addition https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/treetop-quest---fathers-day-addition Father's Day fell on our  year wedding anniversary. Normally I try to travel near our anniversary but this year decided with everything going on to just focus on the four of us for the day. Shane got a new Blackstone grill and has been obsessed with it. He started the day making breakfast on it. Later we all gathered to hit recently reopened Treetop Quest. Brody and I have season passes but Shane and Ariana had never been. I focused mainly on watching them tackle the course. Ariana completed the level 5 in a storm! Shane would have too if it had not have started thundering right as he was about to begin the first obstacle.

I made a little clip

 

If you are looking for something to do and are worried about crowds, safety and social distancing than this is it! One person per platform unless in your group, one person per obstacle (always). Mask required in the park when on the ground but OK to take off once on the course. Limited capacity and a 2.5 hour time limit to make sure it stays that way. It feels like you are the only people in the park.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) family mfer photography ropes course treetop quest zipline https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/treetop-quest---fathers-day-addition Thu, 25 Jun 2020 21:11:23 GMT
A New Addition https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/a-new-addition

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) children family mfer photography newborn portraits travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/a-new-addition Tue, 23 Jun 2020 12:32:16 GMT
Muffler Man https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/muffler-man What was listed on Roadside America as a Muffler Man in front of a hobby shop holding an airplane is now a Dentist with what looks like a questionable salute. He looks fresh and clean, as you would like your dentist to be. He beat the actual take over of the dental office to the building.

Big DocBig Doc Big DocBig Doc Big DocBig Doc Big DocBig Doc Big DocBig Doc

He was originally known as Mr. Bendo, from Chicago. He was gifted to the owner of the old hobby shop and became Mr. Hobby and now has been transformed once more to Big Doc. You can see a documentary here about his early years.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Georgia muffler man roadside America roadside attraction https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/muffler-man Wed, 17 Jun 2020 11:56:55 GMT
Hiking in Buckhead https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/hiking-in-buckhead Covid just had me doing more of what I like to do when there is not a pandemic in place, just with less people.

I really want to set up a rain chain station like this!

I love these little free libraries. I miss being able to go into mine, especially now that I can walk to one. Little Storm is the best hiking dog on the planet. She is such a good grandpuppy. The Gwinnett Jail Dogs featured her this week so all her fans could see how she was doing. Now off to plan my next adventure.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) dogs hiking Storm https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/hiking-in-buckhead Mon, 15 Jun 2020 11:00:00 GMT
Expedition Big Foot https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/expedition-big-foot I have never been big into cryptozoology or Big Foot but I have a strong love of the absurd. This museum was everything I love about roadside attractions.

We had a post shelter in place couples retreat to a cabin in the mountains. Us wives went to see BigFoot while the boys explored one of the husbands nearby farm. This will be where my goat will live...soon! This was Amy's 3rd time and Marvey's second. I love that my friends loves this stuff too.

We sat down in the theater to watch the documentary, we waited for 8 minutes while they played the most ridiculous old school drive in movie trailers for snacks and intermissions. I think I liked those more than the documentary.

There were lots of casts around the museum.

The poop or the above butt prints are a toss up for best casts!

Did it make me a believer? Ummm not in the slightest. It did make me want to plan a trip to the Mothman museum though. One of the most entertaining parts was the listening station that had been set up with audio files of actual Big Foot sounds. Have a listen and make up your own mind.

Either way, 2 thumbs way up.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) bigfoot museum roadside attraction travel yeti https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/expedition-big-foot Thu, 11 Jun 2020 11:00:00 GMT
Getting By https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/getting-by Home projects have been occupying my time. I have also propagated some cuttings. My house plants are doing well. My husband bought these off my wishlist and I love them. My zinnia are not doing so hot. I think I planted them too early. Now I am trying to find replacements for the ones that are pooping out on me. I also want to get bulbs in the ground around my mailbox. I like low maintenance stuff outside. My marigolds are doing well. My shasta daisies bit the dust...I do not understand that, they are usually indestructible. I have some lantana coming in nicely and my roses are doing great.

I have written and received over 100 pieces of mail while in quarantine. I have made a few new friends this way that I am planning in my mind to visit when all this craziness is done.

I have become really good at painting trim. I have one painting project left inside the house, my sons room. It would be done already if I could move his furniture. My husband is going to paint the outside furniture and he already has the concrete mold to start extending the patio once the fence and retaining walls are fixed. Feeling pretty good about getting stuff done.

I have been checking off specimens as I observe them in my Birds of Georgia field guide. We have an abundance of Robins, Cardinals and Chickadees.

Our shelter in place is lifted for most part and the one for my mom will be lifted this week. At that time the zipline/ropes course will reopen and I will have something to do again. Rivers are opening up and we have a kayak date on the calendar. My Niece had her baby and I am taking a trip to Hilton Head in a couple of days to snuggle some babies. It is so nice to have things to look forward to.

Some people are still not leaving their homes except to protest. Those same people were giving the protestors in Michigan grief about spreading Covid. I am pretty tired of the hypocrisy on all ends of the spectrum. I am just going to do me and stay the heck off social media except to check on new posts of the babies. If you are sick of all the hate and arguing and double standards and just feeling like we are living in the movie Idiocracy, then check back here for the opposite of everything else on the internet.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) covid19 lifestyle NLWM personal snail mail https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/6/getting-by Tue, 09 Jun 2020 19:04:58 GMT
List 3 and 4 https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/5/list-3-and-4 List 3 was to list all the ways stress manifests in my body and the exercise was to practice meditation. This is something I have been doing for quite a while on my own. Meditation helps me tremendously with turning off my thoughts and being able to relax for sleep. Pro tip: if you use sleep meditations or ASMR, headphones are a must. I keep these strung over my headboard for night time meditations. This way if I fall asleep I am not awakened by earbuds or bulky headphones poking me in the head. I don't get a commission on anything I list here so my opinions are purely my own.

List 4 - Visualize a beautiful plot of land.

The exercise is to come back to this image when I feel stressed. Basically I think of a combination of Crater Lake and The Sound of Music.

I do think quarantine is getting to me. I miss having plans, or at least the option to make plans.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) 2020 52 lists quarantine https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/5/list-3-and-4 Fri, 22 May 2020 15:52:23 GMT
Yellow River Game Ranch Re-opens https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/5/yellow-river-game-ranch-re-opens The Yellow River Game ranch was in pretty sad shape before it closed for good a few years back. New owners came in, found homes for many of the animals and re-imagined the property to be a preserve. They have created new living spaces for the animals and they are thriving in a happier and healthier environment. Not just deer, pigs, goats and bunnies. There is quite a diversity of animals that came to them for various reasons. Tickets are limited and timed and must be purchased on line in advance to limit contact. The gift shop is open but you have to wear a mask if you enter. The paths are wide and there are signs all over to respect social distancing.

It felt great to take Brody and his best friend out somewhere to celebrate the end of school. They already missed out on so much.

Can we talk about how grown up these boys are now? They have been best buds since 1st grade and they are now celebrating the end of Middle School together. Chokes me up!

Bottom line- YR is much improved and though still feels familiar, it is a much better version of it's former self. Also there is Gem mining! I was tempted but I guess the boys are too cool for that now. Instead I was treated to endless "the Office" quotes and a glimpse of teen boys who still can be tempted with animal cuteness.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) animals children family hiking mfer photography park wildlife yellow river game ranch zoo https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/5/yellow-river-game-ranch-re-opens Tue, 19 May 2020 14:13:09 GMT
Sun Prints https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/5/sun-prints On a trip to one of my all time favorite stores, Richards Variety, I picked up this photo kit that takes me way way back to 9th grade photography class. I remember making solar prints but this kit is pretty cool and easier than back in the days of using actual darkroom paper and chemicals. My son and I picked some random foliage on the tail end of one of our runs and brought it home to experiment with.

I used a 11x14 mounting board as my cardboard surface and arranged everything inside the house and carried it out to the back patio to expose to the sun. I was trial an error but I did end up with one I absolutely love and have ordered a frame for it. You get 15 sheets of paper and a clear acrylic sheet. You provide the cardboard, sun and water.

The paper turns white fairly quickly, less than 5 minutes for sure on a bright day. This is what it looks like before you rinse it, after it is exposed.

I used a metal dish drain and a cookie drying rack to dry my prints. I have a print drying book, and recommend using that method if you happen to have one laying around from art school (way back when I shot film and developed prints in the dark room). The paper tends to curl up so having this book to absorb the water and dry the print keeps it in much nicer shape.

The end result is the opposite effect of what you saw when you removed your subject off the paper and out of the sun. Pretty sweet!

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) art photography sunprints https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/5/sun-prints Mon, 11 May 2020 18:25:43 GMT
List 2 https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/5/list-2 List the sights, smells, sounds and feelings throughout the week that I experience. One thing that I have enjoyed both visually and listening to, is all the critters that visit me each morning. Here are a few I managed to capture.

 

This is my favorite part about my mornings. So much life!

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) 2020 52 lists quarantine wildlife https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/5/list-2 Fri, 08 May 2020 19:59:21 GMT
52 Lists for Calm https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/5/52-lists-for-calm I started another 52 lists project. This time it is lists for "Calm". The first exercise was to list everything I was thinking about. Once I finished that I had to cross out anything I could not get done in this moment. Lastly, I had to circle one thing I could do or a positive thought to carry with me.

I listed many, many things. I will keep this post at 5 like I had done with my last 52 lists project.

1. Make room in Brody's closet

2. Origami

3. Digital Learning

4. Baking things

5. Getting serious about running again.

The last one listed is the one I circled. We are on week 2 of couch to 10k. We have been doing Beach Body workouts in between. I would say this is the one we are most serious about. Exercise = calm.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) 2020 52 lists quarantine https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/5/52-lists-for-calm Fri, 01 May 2020 11:00:00 GMT
Pink Moon https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/4/pink-moon The pink moon the other night was gorgeous. The clouds were drifting past creating all kinds of neat shapes and shadows. I was trying to capture the halo and the moon, which is super hard! I managed one shot that wasn't blown out. It is the little things like this that is keeping my sanity in check.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) 2020 lifestyle moon quarantine https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/4/pink-moon Mon, 27 Apr 2020 11:00:00 GMT
Sam G Land https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/4/sam-g-land Found this on Roadside America and I could not believe it was so close to my house. We figured we would just pull over to the side of the road and peek onto the property but as luck would have it Sam was outside creating art and invited us to walk the trails on his property. He usually gives out hugs but for obvious reasons that did not happen. I really can't wait to go back and see what more he has created.

Sam took our picture and posted it over on his IG here.

I loved all these mannequins, especially with the shout out to Pasaquan, another Georgia favorite. I will own one of these one day.

The struggle is real

I took a million more pictures but I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone who wants to go here. I did get to tour inside his studio and picked up this awesome little piece for my curiosity cabinet. If all goes well he will have an art festival in June. Go check it out if you can.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) folk art roadside attractions Sam G Land travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/4/sam-g-land Wed, 22 Apr 2020 14:43:45 GMT
Spring Break in Quarantine https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/4/spring-break-in-quarantine We had a reservation for a cabin in the woods at one of the state parks. I was calling every day and when the shelter in place went into effect I thought for sure we were going to have to cancel. As luck would have it we were still able to go. The state parks remained open but with diminished facilities and lowered attendance allowed. We were able to check in and out contactless. Out of the  cabins we were the only ones there besides the game warden. It was even better than being sheltered in place at home. We were even able to bring Sirius with us. He was a little weirded out. He did not like walking out on the back deck. He was scared of the slats. So funny!

I was able to view the sunrise and sunset from the top of Black Rock Mountain with barely another soul around. It was glorious.

We were hoping to see a bear but had to settle with a few wild turkeys.

I feel like that tree was trying to morph into a hippo!

I dusted off the lensbaby and managed to get a few pictures in.

As I write this post our Governor is announcing plans to reopen some business starting next week. I am ready for a patio.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Black Rock Mountain State Park family hiking north Georgia mountains outdoors travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/4/spring-break-in-quarantine Mon, 20 Apr 2020 20:42:19 GMT
Warwoman Dell https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/4/warwoman-dell The weekend before St. Patrick's Day, aka my favorite holiday, we went up to the mountains for some social distancing. We did a short hike around a new to me trail, War Woman Dell. We only saw one other person on the trail. It was perfect.

My favorite part of hiking in the south is all the rhododendrons that flank the trails. They are just cool plants.

  The area was named to honor a venerated Cherokee woman, the Warwoman, who frequented the area and advised the Cherokee tribal council on war and peace. The hike takes you to Becky Branch Falls. It is a small waterfall.

 

I can't wait until we can get back on the trails!

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) family hiking mfer photography north Georgia mountains outdoors travel Warwoman Dell https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/4/warwoman-dell Fri, 03 Apr 2020 13:28:35 GMT
Home is where the Heart is https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/3/home-is-where-the-heart-is So many of us are quarantined at home and trying to keep positive and some sense of normalcy. I am very lucky to still have a job and be able to continue working from home. It is by no means a vacation. I am helping my son every moment I am not working and while and I am working with his digital learning. I have been getting up and showering, just not wearing makeup or work clothes. My son is up in time every morning to catch the food delivery bus and that is our cue to eat breakfast and get busy with his day. By this time I have been working for at least an hour or so. I would love to hear how your day has changed and you have adapted in the comments below.

 I am not going to post any doomsday covid 19 rants. I just thought I would take a moment to share some of the things around my house that bring me joy.

I recently bought this from Toadstoolpond on Etsy to store our daily vitamins and medications to get them off the counter and in a place that is much more cohesive to the look I am incorporating to the new house.

I saved one of my dads flannel shirts the night he passed away. I knew I wanted to do something with it and I trusted it in the hands of Teecycleshop on Etsy. I couldn't be more pleased with the way it turned out. She even made ornaments out of the scraps so I could share with my siblings. I am over the moon about this pillow. It also arrived on the 1 year anniversary of my dads death. I really needed it. If you have anything from a loved one you want to do something with please check out her shop. She also communicated with me every step of the way, from when it arrived in her hands, throughout the transformation and shipping. It was packaged carefully. I am so glad I used her to create this for me.

I seems I have a pillow fetish but I really don't. My friend Robin had a mug made from this company and I could not resist having a pillow made to show off all my dogs and cats from past and present. I really turned out perfect. That Goat pillow is just ridiculous and I had to have it. I spent way too much money on it but it really does make me smile every time I look at it and no better place to put both of those than on my new bench in my entry way.

My little office set up. This was actually supposed to be my sons homework nook. I have an office but I took over this spot while he sits at the kitchen table next to me on his laptop so we could do our work together. I really thought I was only going to be here for a week or so but I may be moving this into my office and redoing the whole set up so we both have space to work together. If I am not next to him he will never get his school work done. Work in progress but for now it is working out.

Amy and I took a class one night and made wood signs. I have been wanting one for the new house and I am pretty happy with how it turned out.

I have been searching for over a year to replace the comforter my dog chewed up. I loved my old one so much and I wasn't going to settle until I found the perfect one. I can't take credit for this. My niece actually picked this out at Target for herself and I snatched one up for me. I love it, it is so warm and cozy and feels durable. I also absolutely love the shelves my husband put up over the bed to show of some of my photographs and our favorite art. Below are the shelves he hung next to the TV to show even more off.

I sure am glad we went to Europe last year and not this year.

I have been wanting a snake plant for so long! My husband and son came home from Home Depot with this beauty. It is great but I will have to dissect the succulents out of it. One already died and one has already outgrown the pot and it has only been a month.

I fell in love with this husband and wife sculpture made from cow bone in Belize. My daughter bought it for me. Isn't it unique?

This painting was meant for my living room.

Everything in my Curiosity Cabinet inspired by Kaylah!

I knew I want to hang a map of Lake Lanier somewhere in the house. I have been scouring the internet to find the right one. This one by Fire and Pine was exactly what I wanted and our little neighborhood is even on the map!

I also love my Mayan Calendar purchased at Altun Ha In Belize...a Mayan ruin!

When the light hits it just right it glows like it is on fire.

My message board, that handmade vase that was only $3, Jack, an oil diffuser that lights up and my star lamp and of course me and my sweetie.

This print by Miller and Me now hangs on my Atlanta wall.

I framed our new piece from Chris Hamer of Urbnpop and an old favorite of Oakland Cemetery from my daughter.

Last but not least this print from Wander North Georgia

Sadly they had to close their Brick and Mortar store due to the coronavirus. I am happy we were able to visit the very weekend before and purchase a few things and throw some axes in their basement. I hope they recover from all this.

 

I hope you enjoyed a little tour of the new place. We are 6 months in and I can definitely say I am glad I am quarantined here.

 

 

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) lifestyle mfer photography https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/3/home-is-where-the-heart-is Tue, 24 Mar 2020 20:46:54 GMT
The Catfe https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/2/the-catfe A new little cat cafe opened up close to my office. My co-workers and I decided to go check it out for lunch.

There are 4 cats. They are confined to 2 rooms during business hours, with lots of little spaces and closets set up for activities along with access to 2 screened in porches. The menu is small but lets be real, we aren't here for the food. They do have some fancy meat and cheese boards along with beer and wine. If I wasn't going back to work I could see trying them out with a glass of wine.

I wish there would have been more cats. My friends and I left there dreaming of how we could open a place of our own up near the lake. #goals

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) animals catfe cats food https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/2/the-catfe Fri, 28 Feb 2020 16:03:55 GMT
My Boys https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/2/my-boys Playing around with lighting in my home office/studio has me looking at the men in my life. Feeling all the feels of joy and sadness. My youngest is not so young anymore. Life is complicated. I really envy the simplicity of youth in decades past. Technology is a blessing and a curse and I find myself dreaming more and more of living simpler. I am doing my best to be in the moment and savor this time where we are healthy and together. I know it won't always be like this and if I dwell too long thinking about that I will get teary. So for now, in the spirit of Zombieland, I will enjoy the little things.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) family lifestyle portraits https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/2/my-boys Wed, 26 Feb 2020 13:29:43 GMT
Snow Day https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/2/snow-day For the first time in years we had significant snowfall amounts in North Georgia. The area I live in was actually hit among the hardest. Snow is such a rare treat for us. We thoroughly enjoyed our snow day that seemed to come out of nowhere.

As you can see our house and streets were covered.

When the road got slushy enough that we could venture out we met up with my daughter and her climbing buddies to go sledding and then explored the nearby lake.

I was literally teary eyed when I saw the snow. It is pretty magical here in the south when we see it.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Atlanta lake Lanier snow winter https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/2/snow-day Wed, 12 Feb 2020 20:38:36 GMT
Rome if you want to. https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/2/rome-if-you-want-to Angela and I took our now teenage boys on a road trip to Rome. We planned on exploring caves but they were closed for the season. Instead we meandered around Myrtle Hill cemetery and downtown. We found a super cool book store full of really old books and I scored a couple of old MAD magazines from the early 80's (Garbage Pail kid and Indiana Jones editions) along with a signed copied of a book about Georgia place names. I learned that the town I now live in is the home to the Porter House steak. We enjoyed a fabulous late lunch at the Harvest Moon Cafe and ended the day at Berry College, the world's largest college campus.

The locals come to Cave Springs to fill their water bottles with the fresh clean water just outside the entrance to the cave. In the summer the spring is a popular swimming hole.

We will have to come back when the weather is warmer. Our next stop was a quick one off the side of the road to see the ancient aqueducts.

Next stop was Myrtle Hill, which was rumored to have the best view of downtown Rome, and it did not disappoint!

Berry College has a famous Blad Eagle nest that you can view live on camera here. We did not see the Eagles, momma was tending to the babies and we did not stick around long enough to see her pop her head up. We did see about 900 deer and that is not a joke! They are everywhere on this campus.

 

I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Rome, GA. I plan on touring a few more of the small towns in my home state.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) architecture books Cave Springs cemetery Georgia graveyard hiking mfer photography Myrtle Hill cemetery outdoors roadside America Rome rural travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/2/rome-if-you-want-to Tue, 11 Feb 2020 00:54:17 GMT
Caye Caulker https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/caye-caulker Well this tiny island and Belize is all over the news. I can say I am glad this happened after I visited but honestly I hope they get answers soon. After visiting the Belize Islands I can say that the people were kind and friendly and I never felt unsafe. I truly believe there was no foul play on the part of the Belize people. I do listen to enough true crime to know that anything can happen but I also know to trust your gut and my gut is not pointing at locals. Just my 2 cents.

Instead I would like to flood you with pictures of an amazing little island, where I had a real vacation. We listened to Christmas music while sipping Panty Rippers and Rum Punch. We ate the freshest seafood of my entire life. We were greeted by locals who remembered us as "peaches" (being from Georgia). I bought and was gifted incredible artwork. I made friends from Italy, Germany, Africa, Belgium and Canada as well as Belize. I watched all the Christmas movies with my daughter every night in our room. It was the perfect escape.

 

 

I would 100% go back.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) beach Belize Caye Caulker island mfer photography ocean travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/caye-caulker Thu, 23 Jan 2020 18:48:07 GMT
The Blue Hole https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/the-blue-hole Caye Caulker from the air!

The Blue Hole in Belize is what put the country on my radar to begin with. I could not even think about Belize without somehow figuring the Blue Hole into the trip. I knew Belize City was the gateway, and I also knew that was where I did not want to stay. I heard great things about the Belizean islands and I wanted to be as close to the barrier reef as possible. Caye Caulker was as good as it gets. You could see the reef from our balcony. The reef is one of the best snorkel spots in the world. It did not disappoint! I wanted to see the Blue Hole and the lighthouse reef. The area is unbelievably amazing. The only way to really grasp it is from a small 6 seater plane.

The blue is the bluest blue I have ever seen and so many shades!

Coming up on the hole...

The Great Blue Hole is a World Heritage Site. It is located 43 miles from Belize City and near the center of the Lighthouse Reef. It is 1043 ft (318M) wide and 407ft (124m) deep. A sinkhole created by glacial activity, it was made famous by Jacques Cousteau who declared it one of the top dive spots in the world.

Shipwreck on the east side of the atoll.

Due to the lack of air in the small plane, long length of the flight and the motion I recommend taking some dramamine before your flight. I was ok, but have been sick on long helicopter rides before, my daughter felt quite sick about halfway through. These scenic flights are not cheap or easy to get. We were on a list for a while to be matched up because they do not fly without a full plane unless you want to pay a ton of money to have a private flight. We used Tsunami Adventures. Our pilot was meh and didn't point anything out, we were kinda on our own. Regardless it was breathtaking.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) barrier reef Belize Blue Hole flying travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/the-blue-hole Wed, 15 Jan 2020 15:49:51 GMT
Baboon Sanctuary https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/baboon-sanctuary No real baboons inhabit Belize; but Belizeans use that name for the Yucatán black howler monkey (Alouatta pigra), an endangered species that exists only in Belize, northern Guatemala and southern Mexico and is one of the largest monkeys in the Americas.

We visited the sanctuary and were led on a guided hike through the jungle. Our guide pointed out black orchids, Gibnuts, holistic plants that bleed red and cure ring worm called Vismia macrophylla. We were also treated to Guarumo that can be smoked like a cigarette or used as incense.

We found a termite nest and a line of leaf cutter ants doing their thing.

We were able to spot a howler monkey family. Momma came down first to greet us followed by her baby. Daddy, however did not come down but instead howled at us to let us know he was watching.

Watching my daughters face while listening to a Howler Monkey for the first time was worth the trip in itself. There is something about the jungle that draws me in. It is no secret that I love hiking just about any environment, but the jungles of Central America call to me in a way I can't quite describe.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) ants Belize flora howler monkey insects jungle monkey outdoors plants rain forest travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/baboon-sanctuary Thu, 09 Jan 2020 16:16:10 GMT
Altun Ha https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/altun-ha

Altun Ha is a Mayan Ruin that lies about 30 miles north of Belize City. It was discovered by local villagers when quarrying activity led to the discovery of Jade pendant. The Mayans occupied this 3 sq. mi. site from 900 B.C. to 1000 A.D.

We were able to climb 2 of the structures.

If you are visiting Belize you should visit one of the many Mayan sites around this small country. Seeing them in person is amazing. To think that they built these structures so long ago. Also to climb them will give you a much better perspective than any picture ever can.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) abandonded Altun Ha Belize Mayan ruins travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/altun-ha Wed, 08 Jan 2020 19:44:49 GMT
Go Slow https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/go-slow My daughter decided she wanted to do something special with her mother. Being a poor college student doesn't afford her much play room but she used her Southwest points to take me to anywhere I wanted to go that Southwest flies. I really wanted to go back to Costa Rica or Hawaii but both of those places I could not go in good conscience without the men in my life so I decide to tick a big bucket list item off of my list, Belize.

What attracted me to Belize were 2 things. It has the largest barrier reef this side of the globe and second only to the Great Barrier reef in Australia. The other was the Great Blue Hole. I just had to see it with my own 2 eyes.

We narrowed down a no frills AirBnB and Ariana booked it. She had grand plans to pay for the whole trip but I decided to take the pressure off and let her save her money and I took care of the fun and food. I wanted her to be able to enjoy the trip as much as I was going to.

Belize City is not the safest place from what I have heard and read. I did not find that to be necessarily true but since we we were 2 women traveling and not wanting to take chances we did not spend any amount of time there outside of flying into and using the water taxi terminal as a meeting point for trips to the Jungle and Mayan Ruins. 

There are 2 major Islands (known as cayes) that most people stay on. Ambergris is the bigger, fancier and more famous tourist option. Caye Caulker is the tinier, more laid back, less touristy option that still has access to everything we wanted to do. Naturally I chose Caye Caulker.

There are 2 ways to get to the island. Water Taxi and charter plane. After doing lots of research I opted to book the plane on Maya Island Air from Belize City. It was only $100 USD more for the 2 of us to fly round trip, and a ten minute flight vs a 25 minute taxi ride to the water taxi terminal, then another 45 minute boat ride to the island, plus add in waiting for taxi's and boats. I decided that $100 was well worth it. Plus...the views!

The island is only 1 mile wide and 5 miles long. In 1961 a hurricane split the island. On the split is a tourist trap called the Lazy Lizard. It looks cool and is worth a visit but save your money and eat and drink elsewhere on the island. We ate Lobster, fresh caught same day for $7.50 USD. You can find happy hour specials from 11am to 9 pm if you know where to go. Here are my tips.

Food:

  • Wish Willy's - Willy is both your waiter and your cook. The printed menu is not really the menu. Willy has daily specials depending on what was caught and available. The beer and drinks are in coolers next to the picnic tables by the hammocks. Grab a beer and use the bottle opener next to the cooler on the table to open it. Willy was busy one night and I was a makeshift waitress for him, showing the patrons how things worked. Don't let Willy scare ya. He is to the point, has a wicked sense of humor and was by far my favorite person I met on the island. We had a first meal, last meal and dare I said the best meal there.
  • Roy's - Another solid choice for food. Bonus Ariana got a free birthday shot and they have happy hour drinks specials during dinner hours. The snapper was on point. Ariana had fish and lobster, 2 drinks each with side and we spent $25 USD.
  • Crepe Dreams -  We almost ate here for breakfast on the first day, if we had I probably would have ate here almost every day. Try the Pierogi Crepe. Trust me.
  • Errolyn's House of Fryjacks. Do not get fryjacks anywhere else. This is a small house with just a porch to wait on for your food. The fryjacks are huge and cheap and the hands down best on the islands. Use the hot sauce sparingly but don't skip it.
  • Carribbean Colors Art Cafe. Another good, affordable spot for breakfast or lunch.
  • Axios Sun - best coffee. Namaste cafe has yoga and a cool vibe but you can't beat the coffee at Axios. Another first and last for our coffee.
  • Quan's had the best Ceviche.

Drinks/Bars

  • Margarita Mike - Best Happy Hour. 4-7 lots of 2 for $10 drinks specials ($5usd) and the drinks are good! They also have free filtered water. I did not find this anywhere else and they will fill your own bottle with water. Also Swings! Swings on the backside of the bar and along the beach front.
  • Swings - you guessed it, Swings lined the bar. Also got a free birthday drink of choice for Ariana. Family owned and operated from Belizean locals. Happy hour from 11-7!
  • Sports Bar - Live music and a more rowdy crowd. Really good margaritas. The party starts here but moves to the reggae bar around 10-11.
  • Reggae Cafe - This was by far the coolest bar. Order drinks on the bottom floor, then you hoist them up from a bucket on the bar through a hole in the roof to the rooftop...and more swings on the roof. This place is quiet until just before the sports bar closes. It stays open later but the party moves from here to the Island Sky bar (opens at 11pm) we never made it there.
  • Sip-N-Dip - The place has swings, hammocks, a slide and tables in the water. Great spot when the weather is nice. Saw a puffer fish and a starfish while sipping drinks here. Also watched a seagull land on a Pelican's head.

There has been lots of scares about tainted alcohol. I have not read anything about Belize having a problem with it but that being said, the alcohol for sale in the little grocery stores was super questionable. I would not buy anything there. If you need something get it at the airport. Believe it or not it is even cheaper there than the shops.

Getting around the island is easy. We caught a golf cart taxi from the tiny one room airport and quickly befriended our driver, Jun. He dropped us off, gave us a run down and then picked us up later to take us to dinner and show us what's what. We walked mostly and rented bikes one day and explored just about every inch. Renting a golf cart is not necessary. There are 3 main roads. Front street, Middle street and Back street. You can get anywhere in 15 minutes on foot. There are no cars on the island. There are also many many potholes so driving a cart in some places is not even an option. If you are looking for swanky digs or resort life, this is not your jam. There are a couple of really cool unique spots that will cost some coin but mostly it is very small places to stay with little amenities. Our place had free kayaks and rented bikes. They also stocked beer in the office for $2 USD. We had a microwave (never used) and a fridge. We had a balcony with a view that we got locked out on our first night and had to hollar for help. The maintenance man broke down our door since we had the chain on it to let us back in. That was terrifying.

We stayed at the Anchorage Beach Resort. I liked that we had a nice large beach area and long dock with hammocks. Lots of swim access and on the quieter side of the island, however the wind and rain on the tin roof made sleeping impossible, good thing we had all the movie channels (and Belize speaks English!)

If you have not been to Central America before note that you can't flush your toilet paper. Just something to keep in mind. Some places don't even supply toilet paper to prevent you from doing this. I never once felt unsafe. Every single local we met went out of their way to be nice and helpful. The island is not filled with locals pushing their wares on you. Yes there are people trying to make a living selling to tourists but they don't make you uncomfortable like I have felt in other places around the world. You can move on without being bombarded and browse without pressure. The motto of the island is "Go Slow" and it really is fitting.

 

As much as I wanted to swim in the Blue Hole I read that it is not the best snorkel spot and is better for divers. It is also a very long boat ride to access. We opted to fly over it and get an aerial tour of not just the Blue Hole but the entire barrier reef. To book this flight you need a minimum of 3 people and a max of 5. We only had 2 but emailed the tour company as was put on a list to be matched up. Luckily they found another couple and an additional person to fill the plane and bring the cost down to $185 USD per person. It is an hour long flight in a very small prop plane. I was fine but my daughter was air sick by the end. Take dramamine to be safe. We used Tsunami Adventures.

There are a million tour companies (well 57) that will take you snorkeling. The biggest are Caveman tours and Raggamuffin but the best is Stressless Tours. This is a husband and wife team that employs the BEST guides that will show you everything, without impacting the wildlife and reef and make you feel like you are not rushed in anyway. Do the full day tour. By the time we broke for lunch I thought we were done and we had four more stops to go. The lunch was great, the snacks were great. Afterwards they took us to their private beach on the other side of the split. We wanted to do this tour on Ariana's birthday but weather forced us to push it off a few days so they threw her a belated birthday bonfire anyway and we had lots of rum punch. Keith and Melissa are the best!

I was hard pressed to find online tours to the mainland to do what I wanted so I booked online ahead of time to see some ruins and visit the Baboon Sanctuary. After arriving I found I could pretty much have booked anything from the island. You just have to catch the early water taxi to Belize City and meet your tour guides there. We went to Altun Ha for ruins because they were the closest to Belize City and we would still be able to get back on the island with plenty of time to spare. The last boat leaves at 5.

If I ever go back I would do cave tubing and ATM (Actun Tunichil Muknal) on the mainland and pretty much any tour Stressless does. I would also stay at the Iguana Reef inn,  Island Magic Beach resort or I really loved Sea Dreams.

There aren't really beaches in the traditional sense but if you are looking for that you can go to KoKo King on the other side of the split (free ferry). We planned on doing this but never really found the ferry so we chilled on our side.

More in depth posts coming soon.

Our Hotel

Sea Dreams

Margarita Mike's

Jun!

Wish Willys

Willy!

Sip n Dip

Our View

Crepe Dreams

Namaste Cafe

Roy's Blue water Grill

Wish Willy's Red Snapper! My Fave

You can see all the stars!

Captain Keith and his wife!

The Water Taxi Terminal

If you plan a rip to Belize I hope this helps!

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) America Belize Caye Caulker Central travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/go-slow Mon, 06 Jan 2020 17:34:52 GMT
2020 Wishes https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/2020-wishes It feels so weird to be typing out 2020. I feel like my life changed more in the last 10 years than in my entire life. I honestly never thought I would make it this far. I really didn't.

I have a list of goals, as usual, some I will share and some I won't. I don't have anything huge planned. This past year has sucked so much out of us that I really don't want to make any lofty goals. My daughter should graduate college by the end of the year. I will be scrimping and saving to help her with school and hopefully make her graduation gift dreams come true. That won't be until 2021. There is a lot to do around the house and honestly I just want to hang home as much as possible.

I would however like to...

  • Get back to regularly exercising.
  • Drink more water. I mainly only drink water anyway but I need to drink much more of it. I did so well for a while.
  • Finish hiking all the canyons in Georgia. One left, my nemesis.
  • Day trip to Birmingham to knock off a couple of lingering bucket list items.
  • Keep trying to concentrate on the little things that bring me joy and stop comparing myself to others.
  • Kart-racing!
  • Shoot more film.
  • Nurse my shoulder back to health so I can use the kayak more often.
  • Family time. Keeping up our once a month family/framily dinners is super important. I had two fantastic visits this year with my niece and my sister. I am really enjoying the time I spend with my daughter these days. All of these things seem to be the things that bring me the truest joy. Life isn't about things, it is about relationships.

All of the stress I have been under the last couple of years really took a toll on me physically. My hair began to fall out. I decided it was time to stop all processes to my hair. No dye, no heat, no chemicals at all. It has taken a long time to get to the point I am now and I feel like a whole new person. My hair is healthier, and who knew I had such great curls! All my life I wished I did not have to style my hair. Now I don't do anything to it and I get more complements then ever. I guess gray really is the new blonde. I have been asked what color I use to dye my hair and if I have a perm. So funny. Of course even though I love my new silver locks, it does age me with the millennials. I guess you finally get to the age that you just don't care anymore. Not that I ever was big on approvals, seems all the kids these days are into all the things that we were into at their age. I hope to continue to feel more comfortable in my own, true, skin this year.

I hope all of you reading this have a great New Year. We can do this!

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) 2020 goals personal https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2020/1/2020-wishes Wed, 01 Jan 2020 12:00:00 GMT
2019 - Facts + Fails https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/2019---facts-fails 2019 was a complete sucker punch to the gut. There is no way I could have seen how completely my world would change this year. I set goals, like I have done since 2016, but once I lost my dad everything went out the window. I knew it was coming but I was not prepared. He was the toughest man I ever met and he went out that way. I f'n hate cancer. Also, my brother, despite it all, is a damn saint.

Since losing my dad I have looked for signs. I will come back to this. He was not a very overly affectionate man. Like I said, he was a tough guy. Like Clint Eastwood tough guy. He did however show us he loved us often by always being there. Always offering to help, even when he couldn't anymore. I spent most of my life living far away from him. I hate that. I hate that so much! When you lose a parent you go through the shoulda, woulda, coulda but I really haven't been able to dwell too much because not long after this we had another bomb drop in our lap and if that wasn't bad enough an even bigger one just after that. My husband and I lost sleep. I lost 12 lbs and some of my hair. I was a wreck. I could not live in a dangerous situation both at school, online and in our neighborhood. Needless to say when that 3rd bomb dropped we made hard fast decisions. In one week our entire life as we knew it, or every would know it, changed forever.

  So yeah...life has been pure crap this year. I feel like it is important to share the bad as much as the good because social media is such an illusion. We are much more connected yet feel so much more alone with it. With all of this strife hardcore changes had to be made.

So... we sold our house and moved. There were tears shed but the place is just a shadow of what used to be. The hardest part was leaving my animals that were buried in the yard. We had to move on...literally.

This is where I come back to the signs I was looking for.

I did a ghost hunt. Like a real one, if you believe in that stuff, I do. I learned a lot from that experience and I downloaded an app to search for paranormal activity. Yes there's an app for that! I looked for my dad but never did feel or find anything. I really didn't expect to. That would not have been his style. I did find him however the day we moved into our new house. You see, my parents had a chime clock. It played the Westminster chimes every hour on the hour. I remember it vividly. When my parents split my dad kept that clock. I had not thought about it in years until the Catholic Church near my new house played them. The Westminster church bells ring every hour on the hour and I can hear them clear as day on my front porch. My dad was still there for me when I need him the most. This is also where my faith in God was restored. I prayed, not for a miracle, but for him to get us through this dark time and for the first time in my left I felt like he listened. I did not ask or expect a miracle. I just could not see past the wall in front of me, but a miracle was exactly what I got. Everything fell into place. I did not realize how incredibly amazing our new home was until we moved into it. I mean it fit all the must haves, but I never dreamed of all the extra little things that would make me fall in love with it. My entire health has improved. I knew I was stressed but now I feel it in my body, my sleep and my attitude.

 Our yard is private and full of wildlife. Our dog is over the moon happy, and now so is my daughter's new puppy. There is plenty of room for them to run around. It seems like every person in our neighborhood has a dog. We have butterflies, praying mantis, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, snakes, frogs, hummingbirds, bats, owls and hawks and that is just what I have seen in the few months I have lived here! On Friday nights we can here the high school football games. We are super close to our downtown area that hosts events every weekend. There is little traffic! Though I live further from work my commute is better. I just keep finding more and more things I love. I feel like I have my son back, my life back, my time back! Moving is the best thing we ever did.

Now that we got all that out of the way let talk about goals. The goals I set were centered around self care so I can say without a doubt I nailed that. Maybe not the way I thought but the way I needed.

I got outside, everyday! Not the ways I outlined originally though. Another thing on my must have for my new house was a front porch. I sit on my front porch every single day and watch the sunset. We all do. It's the best family time of the day.

I visited at least 2 new cities. Dublin and Belfast. I also visited Beaumaris and Caernarfon, Wales. This was a trip of a lifetime and the best thing about this past year. Still... no solo trip though.

My old house got completely remodeled when we sold it. So that got done - ha! Now we are remodeling our new house to make it ours. New carpet, refinishing floors, new building, landscaping, paint, furniture and of course new pictures! I finally have my office/studio and I love love love it.

Half the year I was reading a ton. Joined 2 book clubs and then we moved. But I have really gotten into Podcasts. My son is getting into them too. Surprisingly he is more into reading now so maybe he will inspire me this next year. I splurged on a Black Friday deal and signed up for Audible. We shall see if I stick with it. I have already plowed through one book and I am impatiently waiting to listen to my next one. Not sure if this is for me or not yet.

 

So darn glad 2019 is almost over. It was our Phoenix year. We sure went down in flames but we are rising from the ashes.

 

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) 2019 goals https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/2019---facts-fails Fri, 27 Dec 2019 12:00:00 GMT
Merry Christmas! https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/merry-christmas Hope your Christmas is as fun as ours!

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) atlanta christmas portraits tfti https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/merry-christmas Wed, 25 Dec 2019 12:00:00 GMT
A Country Christmas https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/a-country-christmas These were just too cute not to share. I have been mainly posting personal stuff on the blog but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy with "work". Christmas is a busy time but many of my clients use the images for gifts and cards so I have to keep everything under wraps. I just couldn't keep these quiet any longer. I had so much fun at Prospect Farms.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) children christmas family portraits mfer photography portraits prospect farm https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/a-country-christmas Tue, 24 Dec 2019 12:00:00 GMT
Hower Autumn Portraits https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/hower-autumn-portraits

This second one cracks me up.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) children family mfer photography outdoors portraits https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/hower-autumn-portraits Thu, 19 Dec 2019 12:00:00 GMT
Outta Here! https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/outta-here My beautiful, thoughtful, hardworking, soon-to-be 25 year old daughter used all of her Southwest points to take me to Belize! We have a million adventures planned so if you would like to follow along in real time check out my instagram and IG Stories (if wi-fi is available) and follow Ariana as well.

Looking forward to a whole week of just me and my girl. We have never done this before and I am incredibly humbled that she wants to go on an adventure with just me. Somewhere I did something right.

Swimming with sharks, the Great Blue Hole, Mayan Ruins are just a few of our favorite things. Wish us luck as we have lots of tiny airplanes to board to get to our little island.

The motto is "go slow" and I sure will try! Looking forward to a white Christmas...white sand that is!

 

 

 

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Belize family travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/outta-here Wed, 18 Dec 2019 11:00:00 GMT
Europe in IR https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/europe-in-ir

One last post from Europe. I did drag along my IR camera and I feel like Europe was meant for this process. By far the best consistent subject matter of any trip I have taken.

 

"When I die Dublin will be written in my heart" - James Joyce

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Dublin Europe fine art infrared Ireland mfer photography Northern Ireland travel UK United Kingdom Wales https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/europe-in-ir Tue, 17 Dec 2019 18:48:10 GMT
Gracias W-2 https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/gracias-w-2

Looking back (these pictures will not always be great) the things that bring me joy are little traditions like leaving our shoes out for St. Nick (Krampusnacht)

Finally having a front porch to decorate!

This one is not glamorous but my husband is the best at cleaning up carpet accidents....I'm looking at you Storm!

Star Wars + Llamas + Parade = all the feels!

Getting not one but two hole-in-ones!

Bark Box day

un-wineding under the Christmas lights.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) gratitude personal https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/gracias-w-2 Thu, 12 Dec 2019 13:53:01 GMT
Autumn Portraits https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/autumn-portraits

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) family mfer photography portraits https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/autumn-portraits Wed, 11 Dec 2019 12:00:00 GMT
Birds of a Feather https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/birds-of-a-feather I looooovvveee these! For realz I wish I could hang out with these girls every week! Sunshine in my soul!

 

 

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Atlanta feathers friends mfer photography portraits TFTI https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/birds-of-a-feather Mon, 09 Dec 2019 12:00:00 GMT
Russell Fall family https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/russell-fall-family

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) children family mfer photography portraits https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/russell-fall-family Fri, 06 Dec 2019 12:00:00 GMT
Gratitude Week 1 https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/gratitude-week-1 Looking back at the things that I am thankful for this past week is at least entertaining. Some days it is hard to find stuff so I am trying to find little things that bring me joy.

The number one thing I am most grateful for is the fact that this man is still right by my side for the past 17 1/2 years!

Day 2 opting outside on Black Friday.

Day 3 Photo adventures with my photographer friends.

Day 4 The Harvest Hunt @ Oakland cemetery.

Day 5 finally getting my hands on the elusive Aldi Wine Advent calendar and opening it to find the wine is actually good!

Day 6 Participating in an online gift exchange and actually finding out it wasn't a scam and getting a surprise in the mail.

Day 7  These air pods are amazing and I wish I had found them years ago!

 

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) gratitude personal https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/gratitude-week-1 Thu, 05 Dec 2019 12:00:00 GMT
Harvest Hunt 2019 https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/harvest-hunt-2019 The wander woman hiking club decided this month to try something different. Instead of hiking a trail, we met up to do the Oakland Cemetery Harvest Hunt. The annual scavenger that has become my Thanksgiving weekend tradition. This time there was 3 levels of difficulty. We chose the medium and it was still tricky. We managed to hunt out all the answers in 2 and a half hours. A record for me. We also clocked in 3.2 miles so it was still a hike, or as Holly said, a mosey.

Pro Tips

#1 Sometimes there is more in the riddle than what is needed.

#2 They are always in the marked zones.

#3 The map sucks so get your bearings!

The cemetery is gorgeous no matter when you visit. I have been coming here since I was 18 and my high school photography teacher took us on a field trip here. I still have a framed photo that I developed the film and printed the picture in the darkroom from that very day hanging in my house. That photo won me a workshop at UGA and sparked my love of photography and cemeteries. I think I tend to take longer doing these scavenger hunts because I am constantly distracted by finding something I have not seen before and documenting it. Heck last years hunt we took a family photo and used it as a Christmas card. This place really holds a special place in my heart.

This is the very statue that I photographed 29 years ago that I mentioned above. The funny thing is, this is the first time I have seen it since!

Some fo the photographs in this post are part of the hunt and some are just things I stumbled upon while searching. Can you tell which ones are which?

I absolutely love my non-traditional traditions. If you missed the hunt this past week don't worry, they added one in the spring. I haven't done that one yet but honestly I don't need much of an excuse to come visit this place.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Atlanta cemetery Georgia graveyard harvest hunt hiking Oakland cemtery https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/harvest-hunt-2019 Tue, 03 Dec 2019 12:00:00 GMT
Optoutside https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/optoutside Another favorite tradition of ours is hiking Black Friday. I don't like crowds, traffic or shopping so this is a no brainer for me and one of the things my husband is most grateful for. We didn't go on an elaborate hike like years past because we had a family gathering to attend on the other side of Atlanta so time was short. We took the dogs on a hike to a park close to our house that has quickly become my favorite park for a myriad of reasons. It is just too darn pretty!

Sirius is not the best dog on a leash. He also has an issue with other dogs on a leash so it can be a challenge walking him on a nice day (it was 70!) in a popular park. Storm on the other hand is just a perfect angel on a leash and loves everybody and every dog she passes.

Looking forward to many more hikes with this crew!

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) dogs family hiking optoutside personal traditions https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/12/optoutside Mon, 02 Dec 2019 12:43:54 GMT
Gratitude Challenge https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/gratitude-challenge I am challenging myself to be more grateful. I am hoping this exercise will re-train my brain to be more positive and hopeful. This last year was the hardest year of my life so far. It takes every bit of will I have in me not to dwell on the negative impact the events of the last year has had on me.

I was given a gratitude journal a few years back but I wasn't consistent with it. The one thing in life that I can always count on to bring me joy is photography. I am challenging myself to take one picture every day for the next year of something I am thankful for. I am going to post a weekly recap here to hold myself accountable. I guess this is my own version of a 365 project but I am hoping it will help me focus on the little things that bring bits of sunshine to my life and help me become a happier and more positive person.

My goal is to literally stop and smell the flowers. Maybe I will start to see things through rose colored glasses. I have always been a glass half empty person and I don't want to be that anymore. Today is Thanksgiving. It is cliche but it is a reminder to actually stop and think about what you should be thankful for.

My plan was to have our new home unpacked, decorated, painted and ready for a house full of friends and family for Thanksgiving. The reality is it is not even half painted. Don't even look in my garage! Boxes of pictures, frames and TV's are still not hung and strewn about. The shed is up but not painted. Trees are trimmed but lay about the yard in piles. Kayaks are still on the rack on the trailer!

But......

I am thankful that I will have friends and family to fill my new house and who won't judge me for not having it done in time.

Happy Thanksgiving

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) gratitude personal Thanksgiving https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/gratitude-challenge Thu, 28 Nov 2019 12:00:00 GMT
Trwyn Du Lighthouse https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/trwyn-du-lighthouse

Our very last excursion in Wales was an unplanned one. The weather was especially good on our last day in Wales so Hayley and Els took us to this picturesque beach complete with lighthouse.

The lighthouse was built between 1835-1838 and has been unmanned since 1922. In 1996 is received an upgrade including solar lights.

And this would be the last group picture I would take. What a ride this was. I feel incredibly grateful to have been invited to take part in this trip and to be able to actually make it happen. It was a lot of planning and exceeded my expectations. I am warm with the friendships I have made.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) beach Europe hiking lighthouse mfer photography travel Trwyn Du Lighthouse Wales https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/trwyn-du-lighthouse Wed, 27 Nov 2019 12:00:00 GMT
Caernarfon Castle https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/caernarfon-castle Castell Caernarfon  is a medieval fortress in north-west Wales.  The Welsh Government's historic environment service, Cadw cares for the castle and grounds. Built in the late 11th century, in 1283 King Edward I of England began to replace it with its current stone structure. Prince Charles will be crowned King here one day.

We were able to explore in and around, up and down the entire Castle. Lots of steps!

 

The views from the top could not be any more breathtaking.

This was the highlight of our trip to wales for me. I have never been inside a castle and never dreamed I would be. Now all I want to do is go back and see more.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Caernarfon Caernarfon castle castle Europe mfer photography travel Wales https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/caernarfon-castle Mon, 25 Nov 2019 15:17:05 GMT
Palace Street, Caernarfon, Wales https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/palace-street-caernarfon-wales

This, by far was my favorite street in all of our European travels. There's over 170 umbrellas in different colours set to the back drop of the most amazing castle I ever laid eyes on.

This isn't a permanent installation. I am so happy we were able to stumble upon this while we were in Wales.

 

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) art Caernarfon Europe palace street travel umbrella street umbrellas Wales https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/palace-street-caernarfon-wales Wed, 20 Nov 2019 13:34:17 GMT
Film Friday Vol. 14 https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/film-friday-vol-14 It has been a while since I posted a film Friday. I finally caved and bought a Polariod One Step 2 after seeing the consistent quality of Kaylah's Pictures from her adventures. My biggest problem is when I bring it with me and I forget how many I have left in the camera and then it's empty :(

Every year my dear Greek friend and I pick a day during the fall to leaf peep up in the Mountains. This year we put his 4 wheel drive to the test and traveled down long dirt roads and steep inclines to explore one new-to-us swinging bridge and my second (his first) trip to the top of Bell Mountain.

First up was the Toccoa swing bridge. There are 2 ways to get here. The long dirt road followed by a short hike or the long hike off a paved road. We chose the 1st option so we could also drive the 1.5 hours further north to Bell Mtn after.

There is heavy Beaver activity in this area. This was the first time I had seen cartoon like signs of their work in progress.

How cool is this log? Do you see a frog? I do!

After hiking this trail we hit the road to Hiawassee and the infamous Bell Mountain. If you have been reading this blog for a minute then you would remember this post about it.

If you haven't been to bell Mountain it is well worth the drive. I would combine this with Brasstown Bald to make it worth it. I also recommend a strong transmission and good tires and brakes if you go.

 

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) Bell mountain film Friday hiking North Georgia Mountains outdoors https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/film-friday-vol-14 Fri, 15 Nov 2019 13:33:05 GMT
Beaumaris Gaol https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/beaumaris-gaol

We were able to self tour the old Beaumaris Gaol (Jail) in Wales. I was super stoked to not just get to explore one, but two prisons while in Europe! Of course these were the highlights for me. This jail was not near as creepy as the one in Ireland but had some really medieval punishment apparatus. The jaiL was built in 1829. It was expanded in 1867 to accommodate approximately 30 inmates but was closed just 11 years later. The building then became a police station until the 1950s when it became a children's clinic and lastly a museum in 1974.

Hayley and Els could not have been better hosts and tour guides. I hope to return the kindness this summer when they visit us in the US.

   

The crazy contraption above is for a prisoner to sit on the bench and use his legs to create a human powered mill.  

This is another place I could have spent a lot more time in but we got here an hour before closing. Probably a good thing.

Two hangings took place at Beaumaris. The first was that of William Griffith, in 1830, for the attempted murder of his first wife. On the morning of his execution he barricaded himself inside the cell. The door was eventually forced open and he was half dragged and half carried to the gallows. The second execution was that of Richard Rowlands in 1862, for murdering his father in law. He protested his innocence right up to the final moment and legend has it that he cursed the church clock from the gallows, saying that if he were innocent the four faces of the nearby church clock would never show the same time. Both men were buried in within the walls of the gaol in a lime pit, but the exact location of their burial is unknown. The only prisoner to escape from the gaol was John Morris, who escaped on 7 January 1859, using rope he had stolen whilst working with it. He broke his leg whilst escaping, but made out of the town, before being recaptured.

Check out this shank!

My Crew

Wales was full of adventures but not all were documented because we were too busy having fun, attending parties, riding mountain coasters and climbing the highest mountains in the UK in the rain, wind and cold.

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mferphotography@gmail.com (MFer Photography) gaol jail prison urbex Wales Beaumaris Gaol Europe. Beaumaris travel https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/beaumaris-gaol Wed, 13 Nov 2019 14:36:38 GMT
Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales https://www.mferphotography.com/blog/2019/11/beaumaris-anglesey-wales

Beaumaris Castle, built in 1295 as part of Edward I's campaign to conquer north Wales after 1282.