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  • William Hunton

I Went for a Walk May 26

Keep moving. Something may be gaining on you.

My dad lived to his mid-eighties. He was one of the “Greatest Generation” as they are referred to. He was a teenager during the Great Depression, worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps, and he built roads and state parks in the north Georgia mountains. He kept alive his love of those hills until he died. I inherited the same love, as well as my white hair from him.

We do not get up there enough, but when we do, we ride along nicely paved roads that were not so nice during the 1930’s. We make our way up US 441 and 23, past Lakemont, through Tallulah Falls and on up to Clayton, finally settling in at the Dillard House and some fine Southern cooking. I love the eastern mountains of Georgia, but I also love the western mountains too, with Cloudland Canyon and on into north Alabama around Mentone and DeSoto Falls.

We usually make a drive up to Dillard this time of year, before Memorial Day and the Georgia heat drives us to air conditioned comfort and out of the woods.

This year though, things are different. This pandemic has broken everything. I like to photograph in the cities, but not as much as in the woods and on the trails, especially on those cool walks to waterfalls.

I had breakfast with a close friend a couple weeks ago. We struck up a conversation with the owner of The Red Eyed Mule Restaurant in Marietta. They serve breakfast and lunch, and they’ve been praised by the Food Network. That should be enough to recommend it, but hardly needed, because if you know anything about Southern restaurants, you know you can get a very accurate review by the number of cars in the parking lot. The Red Eyed Mule makes a great breakfast and lunch. I’m a breakfast fan, and I will tell you that even their grits will make the most die hard Yankee say “Ooo wee y’all!”

I took a quick snap of her. Great eyes.

Well, the photo is just a little red, but intentionally. I’m looking for good digital approximations of my favorite 35mm films and Jamie Windsor has some nice Kodachrome presets for Creative Cloud Lightroom. I used the 1961 version, and got the vibrant reds that National Geographic built it’s reputation around. Plus, the restaurant is the Red Eyed Mule, so the color is kind of assumed, not to mention her pandemic mask, jacket, and picnic table umbrella in the background all make an emphatically RED statement.

I used the incredibly inexpensive Sony A6000 in aperture priority mode, set at f8 with the Sigma 19mm f2.8 Art lens. Read the reviews on the A6000. It can focus extremely fast and accurately. The 19mm lens is also very sharp, and it is also inexpensive because it is not a popular focal length. Why? I do not know. On an APS-C (cropped) sensor, 19mm is about like a 28mm on a full frame camera. Well I am on a very tight budget and a $500 Zeiss lens is just not possible these days.

I shot this at ISO 100, but look at the “grain” in the photograph. I believe that comes from the Kodachrome preset. Not only did Mr. Windsor get the colors right, he got the feel and texture of the film in 35mm, as well. I miss Kodachrome.

Here are some other images from the walkabout.

I liked the dog, but its owner said it does not like its photograph taken. It would not look at me and it shut its eyes when I photographed it. Poor ol’ dawg. I won’t bite you or steal your dawg spirit.

Things are opening back up. Businesses are reopening, at least the ones that are not totally out of business now, thank you COVID-19. Soon we’ll go back to Dillard. I hope they are open, too. I could use some fried chicken.


#colorphotography #southerncooking #travel

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