Walking Dead Locations

The big annual business conference I go to was in Atlanta this year.  For a fan of The Walking Dead, what else is there to do in Atlanta besides trying to visit as many filming locations as possible?  My buddy found an app that overlays shooting locations onto Google Maps and works with your GPS to guide you to each of the spots.  I dare say he was even more enthusiastic about it than I was, and it turns out that many of the locations were fairly close to our hotel (the Omni Hotel/CNN Center).

It was on a lunch break when my coworkers and I decided we’d like to see Terminus.  It looked like it was just out of walking range, so the same aforementioned buddy flagged down a cab and asked him to take us to Terminus.  This went as you’d expect it to go when asking a cab driver who barely spoke English to take us to a fictional location for a TV show that he didn’t watch.  The buddy was undaunted, however, and navigated with his phone.  Eventually we started driving past some buildings that looked very familiar.  Then we crested a small hill and came around a corner to see this.

Fans of the show will immediately recognize this as it looks almost exactly like it did in the Season 4 and 5 episodes.  There were five of us on this particular sojourn.  Three of us casually walked out to see what we could see.  The buddy ran off down the hill, past the No Trespassing signs, into the heart of this dilapidated site.  The fifth guy was slow to exit the cab.  Suddenly the driver became chatty while he waited for us and informed the fifth person that this was no place to hang around.  He told us to be careful, not wander too far, and return quickly.  I’m not sure we followed any of that advice.  This was the first of many sketchy situations we put ourselves in.

You can still see, in the shots above, where the Terminus letters were once painted.  Did they pick this building because it has the right number of windows, or did they pick the name because it has the right number of letters?

On the way back from Terminus, we had the cab drop us off a few blocks from the hotel.  The plan was to hit as many downtown sites as possible.  We did see a number of shooting locations from the show, but none were really iconic.  We found the street where Rick got stuck in the tank and Glenn had to get him out.  I have a picture of that, but really, it’s just a downtown street in a city.  This next one, however, might be a bit more recognizable.  This is the alley where Glenn and Rick fled after the tank.  It really is right down the street from where the tank scenes were shot.  We also found the ladder they climbed up to safety.  It’s in this same alley, but visible from the other side.  I figured one image of an alley was enough to share, though, so we’ll move on.

Hopefully this next one is recognizable to any fan of The Walking Dead.  It is, of course, the freeway where Rick rides into Atlanta on his horse.  If you pull up the cover for Season 1, you can see that there was some movie magic applied here, but mostly it’s the same scene.

You have to stand on the Jackson Street Bridge to get this shot.  That is a fairly busy overpass that isn’t all that easy to get to.  My memories of getting this shot are mostly consumed with thoughts of our insane Uber driver.  Although the ride was way more exciting that it should have been, we did get there, and he waited for us to take some pictures.

Getting the above shot was kind of my white whale on this trip.  Once I had it, I finally relaxed a bit (as much as I ever do).  We saw many other shooting locations around Atlanta, but most just look like normal city places that even fans of the show might not get too excited about.  Also, most of the places we went were not in particularly good parts of town.  I might not have been so tense if I didn’t have the camera gear on my person at the time, but what would have been the point?  Because I can’t resist including just one more, here is the building where Rick, riding through the streets on his horse, sees a helicopter flying in the distance.

BONUS MATERIAL:  Toward the end of a particularly bad (scary, unsafe, ill-advised) walk we (enthusiastic buddy and I) found ourselves traversing the same foot-bridge Rick uses when he first enters the city.  My personal-safety meter was at DEF-CON 5 at the time, so we didn’t realize we were missing a photo op, but I did notice what looked like a shanty town assembled below the bridge.  As I was thinking it looked a little too perfect for an actual shanty town, I saw that it was, in fact, being put together by people who looked like they live in a regular town.  Since I wanted to salvage something from this walk I went ahead and assumed this would be the site of a future filming location.  Even if something will be filmed there eventually, we have no way of knowing if it’s related to The Walking Dead.  But just in case, you saw it here first.

I have other Walking Dead location pictures that I will probably never post because they’re just not that interesting.  However, I also have some non-Walking Dead images from Atlanta that will probably make their way here very soon.

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Icy Airplane Mode

It’s been awhile since I took some in-flight pictures from an airplane.  This is largely due to the fact that I’ve been sitting in the exit row for the last many flights, which is directly over the wing.  Nobody wants to see a bunch of shots of an airplane wing.  Wouldn’t we rather look down on winter landscapes?

For a couple of trips now, I’ve sacrificed the legroom of the exit row and sat a little further forward in the cabin, so I at least had a chance of getting some shots.  Still, it takes a relatively clean window (all of the several panes need to be free of gunk) and little or no cloud cover.  All of the images here were taken on the same flight from Seattle to Detroit.  These aren’t sunrise shots, but it was still morning light.  As usual, I was sitting on the port side of the aircraft which, since we were flying east, means the camera was pointing north.

I like this icy river image.  I like that it’s not quite totally frozen over.  I like the bends and the crags.  I like the juxtoposition of the man-made fields (the squares and circles) with the natural randomness of the river’s shape.  Before you ask, I do not know what river this is.  I can tell you that all of these images were taken over Montana or one of the Dakotas.  I think this one is over Montana.  If it looks familiar to you, please send me a note and let me know what the name of it is.

This scene I like because the physical features look like veins to me.  Perhaps “veiny” is not the first adjective a landscape photographer wants to hear when someone describes their work, but, whatever.  There’s a joke about having ice in one’s veins in here somewhere, so that’s good enough for me.

This might not be the strongest image ever, but there is a chance that the line in the upper third is the actual border between North and South Dakota.  Go ahead, look at a map; this is what the border looks like.  I’m basing this on what the in-flight map was showing me at the time.  The little picture of our plane was directly over the border, and, sure enough, when I looked outside the window this is what I saw.

As you can see, the clouds started rolling in toward the end of our flight.  Before they completely obscured the view, I got this one that shows clouds, clear sky and the shadow from a different bank of clouds that’s off-camera.  The depth of field here (shot at f/8) gives almost a miniature look to the scene.  If you follow the link and view it as big as your monitor will allow, it might almost look like an optical illusion.  This look could probably be achieved with Photoshop trickery, but this particular image is pretty much what things looked like at the time.

BONUS IMAGE:  As most of you know, my destination is almost always Indianapolis, Indiana.  As luck would have it, on the day I departed Indy to return home, a fairly famous person flew in for a couple hours to talk about education or something.  Normally I would never publicly show such a shakey image, but I figure I probably won’t have very many opportunities to even see this thing, let alone take a picture of it.  It was parked way out there at the Indianapolis airport.  When the PA system told us there might be an interruption in services while a special guest arrived, I made my way to the end of the terminal.  A small group had gathered with their iPhones to snap some pictures when I said, “Excuse me while I whip this out.”  I had my 70-200mm lens hooked up to a 2x teleconverter for a total of 400mm of focal length.  Even then, this image is severley cropped (I told you it was parked WAY out there).  400mm is tripod-distance, especially when shooting through thick airport-glass, but I was one tripod short at the time.  So, those are my excuses for showing this somewhat blurry image.

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My Favorite Photos from 2014

When I thought back to the pictures I’d taken in 2014 it seemed like a slow year.  I’m not sure why that is because I still made a few thousand images more this past year than in the previous, and it wasn’t easy to cull my favorites down to the 17 below (what an odd number to land on).  So I guess it wasn’t such a bad year, photographically at all.  I have some very good memories associated with these pictures.

They are placed in order of the date they were taken.

A corner of the Cascade Mountains as seen from an airplane

An above-ground cemetery in New Orleans

A strange encounter in the French Quarter

Sunrise with contrail over Tramp Harbor

A business park near Indianapolis

The Empress hotel in Victoria, BC

A rainbow over Tramp Haror

Austin fire truck at night

Jimmie Vaughan performing for us

At the Butchart Gardens

Fourth of July fireworks at Vashon Island

A wild chicken on Kaua’i

Bethany Hamilton just hanging out

My first successful image of the Milky Way

A covered bridge in New Hampshire

The Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth, NH and Kittery, ME

Gordon and Rich at a rehearsal for Inspecting Carol

We’re headed up to Whidbey Island later today, so here’s hoping that 2015 starts off . . . sumptuously.

Cheers.

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Inspecting Carol

Inspecting Carol is the title of the latest play I’m in that opens the week before Christmas.  I play a character (Larry) who plays Ebeneezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, which takes place within the play.

This is from the Vashon Allied Arts website:

Inspecting Carol portrays a subpar theatre company preparing to mount its umpteenth production of everyone’s favorite holiday cash cow, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Long-time Seattle Repertory Artistic Director Daniel Sullivan wrote the play, with the initial 1992 production at the Rep featuring a cadre of popular Seattle actors. This play-within-a-play was said to have some basis in prominent local actors and certainly many well-known theatre types.

Inspecting Carol tells the story of a theater on the brink of financial collapse while awaiting the imminent arrival of an inspector from the National Endowment for the Arts. The inspector’s visit is expected to result in an infusion of desperately needed cash… or the demise of the floundering company

In all honesty, this is the funniest play I’ve ever been in or even heard of.  It’s a bit risque in parts, but how could I pass up the opportunity to say lines like, “Don’t you think Tiny Tim ever had a wet dream?”  Another character gets to declare, “I’m not playing some stereotypical Third World baby!”  That last one comes from one of the ghosts that visits Scrooge.

Although intense and time-consuming, rehearsals have be quite fun.

Aren’t you at least a little curious about why this is necessary?

Would you like to know why one character enthusiastically recites the Now is the winter of our discontent speech from Richard III.  Or why Scrooge feels the need to deliver one of the monologues in Spanish?

If you needed an excuse to come out to Vashon Island, this is your chance.  Tickets are available here.

UPDATE:  Here’s another link (with a picture!) about the show:  http://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/entertainment/286142901.html

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New Hampshire In Fall

I recently had the opportunity to visit my work buddy in New Hampshire.  The trip was kind of thrown together in spite of all sensible reasons against it, and another couple from San Diego even met us there.  If you knew all of us, you would find the story funny, but you don’t so I’ll spare you the details.

We arrived at Boston Logan late.  Here’s the view from my friend’s street early the next morning.

Chasing the fall foliage in New England was a more involved process than I was expecting.  There is, apparently, a very small window of opportunity for us “Leaf Peepers” to see the “peak” colors.  And the peak moves across the area, not returning until the following year.  We were supposed to be in the Derry, New Hampshire area at the correct time for that location, but my friend explained to me that the dry summer meant that the peak window was even tighter this year.

Our first big activity was taking The Cog railway to the top of Mt. Washington.  As we were leaving the Bretton Woods area, we stopped by the side of the road to go check out a part of the Ammonoosuc River.

The next day we headed to Portsmouth.  But before we got there, we stopped to see one of the official covered bridges in New Hampshire.

We then went to Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  This was our only gray, rainy day, but it felt perfect for the area.  Below is the Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine.  That’s my work buddy, by the way.  He was feeling sad and lonely at the time and was listening to Lionel Richie when I took this image.

The next day was sunny, and we spent it in Boston.  Although that was a great day too, I think I prefer the smaller towns and scenery experienced in New Hampshire.  I think, at this point, I can finally remember that my friend doesn’t live in Vermont.

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