Life In Black & White -“Fancy Honey”

Today, I’m sharing with you another of my favorite sights along The Golden Isles Parkway (Hwy.341) in Georgia…”Fancy Honey – The Altamaha Apiaries.”  We must have passed it about hundred times on our journey back and forth to St. Simons and it wasn’t until our last trip that we finally stopped to take a few photos.


I couldn’t help but wonder about the history of this little, abandoned store, located in Gardi, GA.  So, I did a little research and quickly found out this is a very popular landmark to photograph.  Built around 1900, it was originally a post office and general store.  The Fore family purchased the building in 1941 to expand their honey business.

If you go back and look at earlier photographs (see Buzz Kill below), you can tell that the building is slowly fading away.  As we drove around the building you can see remnants of scattered hive boxes peering beneath overgrown vines and brush.

From what I have been able to find out it is still in the family.  Perhaps just like my earlier post about the neatly kept, but empty house with water tower and wind mill (For the Love of Photography – “Gone But Not Forgotten” ) the family has many memories handed down from generation to generation that they can not bear to part with it.   Whatever the reason may be, I’m glad it’s still around and thankful to have made the stop before it completely faded away.

For more information about this unique building, please visit these links below:

  1. Buzz Kill – Great photo series of other abandoned apiaries.
  2. Sleepy town called Gardi a haven from big-city bustle – Interesting interview with a family member who owns the building.
  3. Vanishing South Georgia – A wonderful blog by Brian Brown from Fitzgerald, Georgia.







The Magic Lantern – A Few Tips For Shooting in Manual Mode

I believe there is something magical about a camera.  Whether it be the light it captures and how it frames the subject, or  the way it translates what it sees to what is seen after the photo is taken……the camera in and of itself is magic.

A few months back, I challenged myself to 30 Days of Shooting in Manual Mode (TV and AV).  There were a few days when I was in a hurry and only had time to shoot a lamp or some books on a coffee table……but, I did it!  Some shots were similar from one day to the next, some I failed at and into the trash bin they went. But, others were different and magical because I took the time to stop and adjust my settings. Since then, I’ve been consumed with only shooting in manual mode.  So what did I learn?  A LOT!  And, I continue to learn every time I pick the camera up.

Here are a few things I have/am learning by taking control of my camera (note, my settings for each photo are included in the captions):

1. Use That Tripod —- Photos will be sharper….especially when shooting early morning sunrises or night time city lights.  In the photo on the left I was in a hurry and while I like what I captured with the settings, the city lights are not as crisp.  While, in the photo on the right I used the tripod and the clouds and buildings are a little more crisp.

2.  Change your perspective — The same subject can have multiple personalities…….move around a little to see what it tells you.  In these photos I played around with the exposure too!  I took these photos of the Sidney Lanier Bridge (Golden Isles in Georgia) from different angles, but on the same side of the bank.

3.    Keep that camera with you — Ok, so your family and friends may get a little irritated with you always schlepping your camera around, but trust me it’s worth it when those unexpected moments occur.  Plus, it’s a great way to practice shooting in Manual Mode.  My husband and I were out on a jeep ride when he spotted this Georgia Brown Eagle sitting on a rooftop.  If I didn’t have my camera (and the big lens) with me I wouldn’t have been able to catch this guy hunting and eventually eating his dinner.


4.  Magic Lantern — Use your camera to get the look you want instead of waiting to edit in Lightroom or Photoshop.  It’s truly amazing how you can control what your camera captures. With just a few adjustments up or down you can transform the visual completely.  Both photos below are nice, but with the one on the right I slowed down the shutter speed and opened up the aperture just slightly to show more of the city lights (and, yes I used my tripod)!


When you’re ready to try your hand at Manual Mode here’s a great Photography Cheat Sheet I found over on Pinterest.  It’s very easy to follow.



I’ll admit, shooting in Manual Mode can be daunting and it’s not something you want to try your hand with during a special event like weddings, birthday celebrations, etc.  But, you will find (just as I have) that understanding “manual mode” will open up a whole new world of photography.


Steeples I Have Chased

Growing up I spent a lot of time in church……..A LOT!!  In fact, throughout middle school and high school my best friends were from my church youth group.  So, I guess it isn’t surprising that years later as my interest in photography grew, I started a photography collection of churches.

Yet, way beyond the great memories of my youth there is something more that draws me to them. Every where my husband and I travel I’m always on the look-out for that unique church in a very unique setting. Perhaps it is the similar, yet distinct differences in their architecture, the spiritual beauty and place of worship they represent or the simple fact they have been the center of most communities for thousands of years.

I’ve often thought about taking my collection and publishing a booked filled with the images and the stories behind each church.  You know, one of those coffee table books neatly piled on top of a stack of other books waiting to be picked up and thumbed through. But, that is a project that will have to wait for another day when I have more time to devote to it.  In the meantime, instead of letting these photos sit endlessly on a hard drive, fading away into far too distant memory,  I thought what better place to begin building the book and sharing these photos (and a little bit of their history), than here?  And, since my current adventures are in the “Golden Isles of Georgia” why not start with the three (3) oldest churches on St. Simons Island.


Lovely Lane Chapel - located at Epworth by the Sea Methodist Center

IMG_1944 042415 Lovely Lane Church SSI copyright

This beautiful little building, “Lovely Lane Chapel” is located at Epworth by the Sea Methodist Center. Built in 1880 by Norman Dodge and designed by Atlanta architect, G.W. Laine.  It was originally known as the Union Church and was consecrated as St. James Episcopal. In 1949 it was re-consecrated Lovely Lane Chapel after the 1784 founding conference of American Methodism in Baltimore, MD.

I remember visiting Epworth by the Sea when I was in high school with my church youth group for some type of retreat.  While the exact memory of the event escapes me I  do recall the fun and happy feelings of the trip and the many names and faces of those who were with me.


Christ Church - St. Simons Island, GA

 IMG_2017 052215 Christ Church Pulpit

Quietly, tucked away on the North End of the island you will find Christ Church.  Originally built in 1820 it was damaged during the Civil War by Union Troops.  Anson Dodge Jr.  financed the new building of the present day church in honor of his wife, Ellen, who passed away while on their honeymoon in India.  Eventually, Anson became the first rector of the new church.    As you walk through the cemetery, you’ll also recognize many family names familiar to St. Simons Island.


IMG_2771 052515 St Ignatius Episciple Church



If you’re driving too fast on Demere Road you will miss this church.  I’m told this church also was erected by a member of the Dodge family and the inside is similar to Christ Church and Lovely Lane Chapel.   I haven’t been able to work my way inside, yet, so  I thought I would share a few photos from the exterior.

Credits: There is so much more to the history of these three (3) churches that I can’t possibly capture it all in this one blog.  If you’re interested in learning more about each of these I encourage you to start with Christ Chapel.  The Docents are wonderful and extremely knowledgeable about their history and their influence on St. Simons Island.   You can also find more information at​

A Hard Place to Leave….

We closed on SSI Casa de Playa in early January and there have been very few weekends we haven’t made the drive to the house.  We don’t need much persuading to go……all it takes is for one of us to throw the idea out there and within an hour we’re on the road, punching our way through Atlanta traffic.  We pretty much have the timing of the commute down, 4 1/2 hours door to door (when the traffic gods are on our side)…….and if we’re lucky we can make it without stopping. Knowing that the weekends pass by way too fast, we are very diligent about the time we spend on SSI.  Whether it’s completing our projects list for the weekend, exploring the island or taking long morning walks we make sure that every moment is purposely spent. While there is so much to do and see on the Island, it’s the walks on the beach I enjoy the most (well, the jeep rides do come in a very close second). During low tide the ocean resends so far out it opens up expansive sandbars to walk on and to take in all that it has left behind. Low Tide at Gould's Inlet Seagulls can be seen taking a dip in the pools of water left behind….. IMG_1059 032815 Walk on the Beach cropped Or taking flight……….IMG_1066 032815 Walk on the Beach cropped Shrimpers can also be seen dragging their nets offshore, working for their daily catch. Shrimp Boat off SSI When you live in a large city like Atlanta you become conditioned to crowded roads, the sounds of police and fire sirens and traffic helicopters hovering above. Which is why I especially appreciate how freeing walks on the beach can be and why SSI Casa de Playa is a hard place it is to leave.