Monday, August 8, 2016

Downtown Savannah on Thanksgiving Day

Originally posted November 29, 2014

A view from River Street along the Savannah River.
** I shot more of my Wharf district visit in another blog entry, but I'm a little out of chronological order in recovering former blogs.

I awoke quite early, yesterday, to the sound of gunfire. Keep in mind that I’m 1,000 miles away from St. Louis, but that puts me in range of deer hunters. Hunting season was indeed in full swing with numerous nearby participants. Some of those guys had semi-automatic rifles and high-powered ones at that. By their sound, they were fairly close to the campground in the deep woods behind. I had mental visions of a loose round whizzing through my travel trailer sleeping bunk from 1/2 mile away, but none did. What’s wrong with having domesticated turkey for Thanksgiving??

I had planned to get up early anyway, but zero-dark-thirty was just too early. Hunting continued until around 10:30 or so. I suppose the hunters in the area had their limit (whatever that is) and were busy field-dressing and transporting their game to the local tagging station and butcher shops. It was only after the firing stopped, did I feel somewhat comfortable enough to get naked to get into the shower.

After lunch, I programmed my Garvin GPS navigator and took off in the direction of sight-seeing around Historic Savannah, Georgia. The idea was to take advantage of Thanksgiving Day and that most folks would be enjoying dinner with family and downtown parking and crowds of people would be limited, thereby making unencumbered photo-taking easier.

My first stop was Forsyth Park, which is probably the largest of the parks in Old Historic Savannah. To say that it was beautiful, would be a gross understatement. Magnificent would be closer to the reality.

I entered the park from the south and walked northward along this wide avenue toward the monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers lost in the war between the states. Coming from an area where trees are deciduous, these trees never lose their “green” until new leaves push their way out, replacing those of last season. Spanish moss grows freely and gray squirrels stay busy foraging.

Walking into Forsyth Park, Savannah, Georgia.
This little guy was pretty friendly, but kept his distance. I got the impression that he would take food from my hand if I, indeed, had any to offer. I wish I had because he had five other friends who would have enjoyed a Thanksgiving Day feast. Since the little guys don’t know what day it is by a calendar, perhaps I can retrace my steps and create a different feast day – just for them.

This friendly little guy wasn't disappointed, but I sure was.
I should have thought ahead and bought some corn or unsalted peanuts to spread around. He and his friends could have had a better Thanksgiving.

Arriving at the famous fountain in the center of the park, I passed a lone guitar player sitting on a park bench singing a blues song. His hat was upside down on the pavement. It was unfortunate that about 50 yards before I happened upon him, there was a sign encouraging park patrons to NOT encourage panhandling. Being a tourist area, there was plenty of that, unfortunately.

One view of the famous and beautiful fountain centerpiece of Forsyth Park.
Concentrating on the fountain, I started taking photos, but as I walked around it, and being a little out of practice, I began to examine the best way to photograph it. What was the light direction? How about the possibility of dragging the shutter in order to get that special water flow appearance? Wishing to travel light, I intentionally left my tripod in the rear of the car. There is another reason to return to Forsyth Park. Try as I might, I just couldn’t find that perfect solution or remove the other folks enjoying the fountain with their cell phone photography. I’m just another tourist, so I did the best I could.

After a respectful amount of waiting and trying various shots, I decided that the light might be better from a lower angle in the sky. That would have to wait about an hour under Daylight Savings Time rules. It gets dark, pretty early, these days.

I continued northward to Gaston Street and the northern end of the park. The Savannah Marine Corps League erected this monument/memorial and I had to get some shots. I took several, but I liked this one the best because I got the central fountain in the background – breaking the rules of one-subject, one-photo. These days, we’re publishing photos for the Facebook crowd.

A monument to the U.S. Marine Corps leads the eye toward the fountain through the canopy of Live Oak Trees.
Moving forward, I crossed paths with a personal carriage (Surrey with the fringe on top) also giving guided tours of Old Savannah. It was cool to see, but I’m allergic to horse dander, so I can only enjoy this view from afar.

Private carriage rides are offered which further put the visitor in the historic mood of Old Savannah.
In Monterey Park, another of Savannah’s many square parks, is a Revolutionary War era monument. But due to tree cover, I couldn’t get a photo of the entire thing in one shot. It was a fitting monument to American General Casimir Pulaski – a Polish immigrant, patriot and cavalry officer who was shot down in a cavalry charge against British forces in a 1779 battle at the location where a nearby fort bearing his name now stands.

This statue tops the monument erected to Revolutionary War General Casimir Pulaski.
There was so much more to see – the old homes, churches, parks and green spaces were all specia l places – frozen in time, but not lost in the present. On the downward leg of my walking tour back to my car, I couldn’t help but take a photo of this elegant home on Whitaker Street visible from Forsyth Park. A true “charmer”, but I can’t imagine the cost of upkeep and maintenance for this old and historic home.

This lovely Old South home overlooking Forsyth Park is a beauty and one-of-a-kind.
The wind was chilling my bones and blowing through each of the layers of clothing I had on. I had taken nearly 200 photos, but many just for me to enjoy as close-ups of statuary, sculpted faces in honor to their leadership in the Civil War. Many not very interesting to the general audience at large, but something else to remind me of my visit today.

As I walked, I thought I should try one more attempt at getting another shot of the fountain. The crowds around the fountain had dissipated, so less interference. I got this shot and flagged it within my camera, before I noticed the man sleeping on the park bench in the shadows. If I hadn’t told you about him, you wouldn’t have looked for him, but there he is … sure enough. I had to edit him out since I knew he was there.

Yet another view of the fountain. A photographer's duty is to "find the light" - a moving target.
Now, it was definitely time to make a move to another area of town. I had about an hour or two of daylight left for pictures. I also needed time to warm-up my toes under the car heater for a bit as I drove farther northward.

I drove around the little parks or squares so that I could see each one along the way by driving around them. It became like a game. I ended up parking near River Street, which is the subject of another blog. Until then,

Thanks for your visit.



  1. loved the monument shot with the water feature behind it, the lovely Victorian home, and those creepy mossy trees! :)

    1. Those creepy mossy trees are called Live Oak Trees. I guess because aren't deciduous. Their trunks do create that "creepy" feel, but I understand that walking through this park at night with the park lights going, it can be magical. I wish I had that shot!! The Spanish Moss that grows on them is everywhere. The homes in that area are nearly 200 years old, by now. The Victorian homes are the new kids on the block. Very big, roomy and very expensive to maintain.