Yosemite National Park

I have been fortunate to see some amazing things in my life including The Twelve Apostles and the Great Ocean Road in Australia.  I have stood  atop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and strolled through the crater of an old volcano in Hawaii.  Nothing was as spectacular and beautiful as Yosemite National Park. … Continue reading

Falling Water

Falling Water
Falling Water

On July 1, 2013, I checked a major item off of my bucket list.

Frank Lloyd Wright June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959
Frank Lloyd Wright
June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959

My son and I were in Ohio doing some work, and we finished earlier than expected.  We were closer to my 96 year old grandfather in Pennsylvania than we were to home.  As I had not seen him in 10 years, we headed to Allentown.  The night before we left I recalled that Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Falling Water, was somewhere in Pennsylvania.  Looking at the map it was not far from our route, so we decided on a quick detour.

The following morning the weather was terrible, rain and more rain.  Really?  I get to go to Falling Water and I won’t even be able to take any pictures.  When we were about 30 minutes away, the rain gods heard my pleas; the rain stopped and the sun slowly came out.

 

 

Main house with stairs down to the water.
Main house with stairs down to the water.

Wanting to be an Architect since I was very young I was very familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright and Falling Water, but never thought my feet would ever touch the soil around it.  The home, built for Edgar Kaufman Sr., is probably the Architects most famous work.  It is listed among Smithsonian’s Life List of 28 places “to visit before you die.”

Construction began in April of 1936.  The house and property was eventually donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963 by Edgar Kaufmann Jr.  In 1964, it was opened to the public as a museum.

As we parked the car, I was still stunned that we were actually here.  Luckily, the day was not too busy and we were able to get a spot on the tour and our wait would only be a little over an hour.  With our tour ticket we had complete access to the property so we darted down the path to look at the house.

Now the sun was out, the humidity was up and I could hear the falling water in the distance.  We turned a corner and there it was.  I was surprised at how emotional this moment was.  My son thought I was nuts.  We walked around as much as we could around the exterior of the house until our tour was ready.

We started at the bridge with a brief lecture on the house and all the stuff I already knew and then proceeded inside.  To say I was in awe is an understatement.  The house was exactly as the Kaufmann’s had left it.  There were original Van Gogh’s on the wall.  The furniture Wright had designed, all still there.  I was quite surprised how ugly and boring the kitchen was in contrast to the rest of the house.

After the tour, I was still mesmerized, never thought I would see this with my own eyes.

Tallulah Gorge – Tallulah Falls, Georgia

Touristy gift store where I bought my new walking stick.
Touristy gift store where I bought my new walking stick.

I am not sure why I have not been here before this last weekend other than it is not something one would just go for the day unless you wanted to get a permit to hike to the bottom.  It is 1000 feet deep and I just said “No!”

The falls and gorge are part of the Tallulah Gorge State Park in north east Georgia. The town of Tallulah Falls is a quaint little area with the obligatory gift shops where I bought myself a walking stick that even has a fancy leather strap with beads.

The State Park has a very nice visitors center with exhibits.  The line to get permits to go into the gorge was empty although I was not doing that anyway.  That paths are actually made from recycled tires and was a great idea.  They provided great traction.

What goes down, must come up.  Just say no!
What goes down, must come up. Just say no!

We went to the one overlook where you could see the falls and just was not able to get a good picture.  There were 300 and some steps from that overlook to another one.  The picture I have of the steps only shoe about 20 or 25 steps.  I did the math and again said “No!”  Going down was not the problem, coming back was.

It is a very beautiful place and the gorge is quite impressive although unless you are very adventurous and willing to trek to the bottom, it is not worth going out of your way for.  If your in the area, definitely worth the stop.

 

Toccoa Falls, Georgia

Toccoa Falls
Toccoa Falls

Toccoa Falls is located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College in Stephens County, Georgia. It has a vertical drop of 186 feet. We were there very early and it was a very peaceful place.

I was not aware of the tragedy that occurred here in 1977 before I visited the falls.  I think that the visit would have been a bit different had I known.  It boggles the mind that something that provides such peace and tranquility was the source of such terror, death and destruction.

On November 6, 1977, in the early morning, the dam above the falls failed. 176 million gallons of water surged through the campus below in the space of a few minutes. Most of the college personnel who lived in the path of the flood were asleep at the time, and 39 of them were swept to their deaths in the raging waters of Toccoa Creek. The dam was not rebuilt.

tf destruction2
Destruction from dam failure 1977.
tf destruction
Destruction from dam failure 1977.

Smokey Mountain Trip: 11/30/13-12/1/13

Waterfall

I started taking picture of waterfalls in black and white years ago.  We took the kids to the North Georgia Mountains in October and I wanted to see if I could get similar results with the new camera.  This was actually shot from the shoulder of a busy mountain road.  The lighting was just right to get a longer shutter speed.  I need to order a neutral density filter for the camera so I can do this on bright days…  This turned out nice.  I did change the foliage colors slightly and added some saturation.

Trahlyta Falls, Vogel State Park - Blairsville, Georgia
Vogel State Park – Blairsville, Georgia