It is hard to describe the feeling I had traveling to the South, to Charleston and Savannah, in late March. Just to remind you, March, even April, in Baltimore could be cruel, barren and cold, but in the Southern land, Spring is in the full bloom, already warm and humid, lush and colorful. I would say, when you travel to the South in this part of the year everything looks magic.
Charleston in South Carolina and Savannah in Georgia are places so unique, something that I have never experienced in my travels around U.S. Although I live on the East Coast, this is something far more exciting and beautiful. If these places are not visited by hurricanes (as someone who comes from Europe where the nature is less violent, I am terrified of them) I could move here easily.
This trip was a present for my birthday. On the trip, I got cold and there were many days with heavy rain, but nothing could stop me to enjoy it and take pictures as much as possible.
I decided to come to Charleston after watching the music video for Come Back Song of Darius Rucker, who used to be a singer for the band "Hootie & the Blowfish". Although there wasn't much to see of Charleston in that video, I was immediately attracted by mysterious, almost gothic feel of that city, so wanted to go there.
Charleston was even more beautiful than I expected. I was very impressed by old architecture, charming streets, small passages, colorful facades, amazing vegetation, although some plants were still leafless and flowerless, gorgeous private gardens and houses, everything looked worth to be captured by camera.
Is is funny, I have noticed this flower pot with number 25 on Rucker's video, on 20th second, although video was made years ago.
Food was good and even less expensive than in Baltimore. We ate all good stuff from the Southern cuisine, grits, shrimp&grits, jambalaya, biscuits, fried green tomatoes, etc. To be honest, I do cook them all the time at home so it was not something new and exciting to me. I loved the restaurants with simple decor, many rooms and cozy backyards.
We stayed at The Mills House hotel and loved its elegant old-times charm, it has fabulous lobby, where you can hear someone playing piano, and a very nice restaurant where we had a great breakfast.
Historic part of Charleston with residential area, on the tip of peninsula, was my favorite. It is hard to find such beautiful old houses with gorgeous gardens.
I was peeking from through iron gates to capture the beauty.
Savannah, although close to Charleston, is a pretty different city, but not less attractive. I love the way how it is designed, with so many squares and parks, fountains, beautiful villas, amazing southern oak trees with fern and hanging Spanish moss, including lively art scene, even huge cargo ships passing my high-rise hotel's room impressed me a lot.
There was one particular reason why I wanted to see this place, not original though, since it motivated many people to come here. Last winter I had seen movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I had discovered later on that it was based on a true story. On the next picture you can see Mercer-Williams house where the murder happened. The owner, Jim Williams, a preservationist and antiques dealers, famous for throwing elaborated parties, killed his young lover, and later on went through four trials to prove not guilty. He passed away six months after last trial, reportedly on the same exact spot in the house where murder took place.
Charleston was the city of cotton farmers and Savannah was the one of the cotton brokers. This is the building of Cotton Exchange.
Yes, Savannah is the home of Paula Deen, a food celebrity... I made so many southern dishes using her recipes. Her dishes and desserts have a ton of calories but they are truly delicious.
I feel sad I didn't stay longer in the Southern land, there are so many things to see and do, and I didn't have time for it. But, I plan to come back one day.
Sometimes looking for the best locations for photo shooting we often overlook great spots in our own closest neighborhood. Yes, parks and farms are great places to take pictures of people, especially in spring when trees are in full bloom, or in fall, when there is magic colorful foliage, but old gates, vintage walls and vibrant color doors can be beautiful background too.
I like walking, I do it everyday, that is why I love to live in the city. It helps me to notice many hidden beautiful places of Baltimore. Believe me, I know so well every corner of my neighborhood, simply because I passed it so many times. By the time I developed some kind of mental map of the best spots for potential photo shooting. Upper Fells Point, Fells Point and Butcher's Hill are my favorite neighborhoods for taking pictures, probably, because I am so familiar with them.
These pictures were taken in Fells Point and Upper Fells Point, and as you can see they are not include typical scenes by water. In my opinion they look more interesting and original. Also, you can feel that old Baltimore charm coming out.
Unfortunately, I almost have never seen any professional or amateur photographer using these places, people are so focused on Waterfront or Patterson park. No matter if you take individual or group pictures of people, remember, you can always get interesting detail, amazing colors and light out of street background, in any time of year.
Although it doesn't look that way, all pictures were taken no farther than an half mile in radius. Of course, there many spots left, however this is the good showcase how some parts of Baltimore can be exciting and beautiful places to take pictures of people.
Last but not least, special thanks to my dear Baltimorean friend who graciously agreed to model for these pictures. Her natural beauty and character were perfect complement to vibrant backgrounds of Charm City.
When in Rome, it is very tempting to start thinking "this is the place where I want to spend the rest of my life".
Beauty and sophistication are everywhere.
Even nuns wear stylish bags.
Richness of ancient architecture is overwhelming.
Number of tourists in Rome is overwhelming too.
Temple ruins, scattered stones and pillars, headless statues, gorgeous pine trees, loud crickets, burned grass, dust, heat, all of these make Roman Forum in the summer very unique place on Earth.
One of my favorite things in Rome are green balconies and rooftops, looking like little private oases.
During my visit to Roman Forum an American tourist said to me, almost complaining: "There is so much history, everywhere...". I guess at some point you do get tired of it.
And when you get tired of history, you are ready for hearty Italian food. I could eat antipasto all day long.
Italian men look so stylish, I mean ordinary men on the street. They are such a fashion lovers, even more then their women.
Piazza Navona was occupied by the wildest tourist crowd I have ever seen in my life.
After the rain, street vendors setting up their goods, while people taking stroll up and down the Spanish Steps.
I have always wondered what was the point of decorating Trajan's Column, when it's impossible to see all of its bas-relief scenes spiraling up all the way to the top. Emperor should have known better.
Strolling the backstreets of Rome, stopping by for a sandwich, espresso or cappuccino and seeing city's everyday life was a very pleasant experience.
Visit to Rome's biggest food market.
When in Rome do not miss Vatican.
Elbowing to get a good view.
And when you get a nice view, take the picture immediately.
View from the Vatican museum - just like Paradise.
In the Vatican museum we discovered the beauty of monochrome frescoes.
It was not allowed to take pictures of The Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by Michelangelo, but School of Athens by Raphael was available.
St. Peter's Basilica was finale of our visit to Rome.
Ciao, Roma, till the next visit!