My name is Rob, and I enjoy business trips. I spent most of the previous week in Atlanta training for my new adventure as a photographer. It started out as most business trips generally do - right at the brink of catastrophe. I knew I was to be in Atlanta Tuesday morning. I wasn't sure where, exactly, nor what time I should leave my hotel. That was ok, though. I knew I could wake up early and figure it all out.
How did I prepare for this? By arriving at my hotel at 2:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, of course!
Miraculously, I woke up on time, ate breakfast, showered, and figured out where I needed to be before the time I thought I needed to leave the hotel.
The thing I didn't account for was that Atlanta's traffic is roughly 256,000 times worse than my home town. I showed up 40 minutes late to my very first photo-shoot.
Remember me and my no-parallax-point? Yeah, it's still there. Try as I might to screw things up, I just can't do it.
I didn't know if the guy training me is just as laid-back as I am, or he could tell that I was ready to pull all my hair out about my miscalculation, but my apology was met with:
"Dude, don't worry about it. Atlanta traffic is disgusting. It's gonna happen."
The rest of the day went off without a hitch. I watched him work and filed every word he said away in my brain.
That evening I had a mission. A good friend had recommended that I find The Vortex while I was there in Atlanta. Fortunately, my hotel was no more than 20 minutes away from the
place. I didn't really have any idea what I was in store for, other than, supposedly, the food was good. When I arrived, the front door was a giant skull with swirly eyes.
I knew I was in for an experience, without regard to whatever food I consumed there.
On the inside, the place is your standard watering hole and burger joint.
Now, when I'm dining by myself, I'm generally not the most approachable person in the world. You can usually find me with my face buried in my phone texting, or surfing facebook, or what-have-you.
This place was different. I was seated at the bar perusing the menu with what appeared to be a bunch of regulars.
When the bartender asked if I had any questions about the menu, the only one I had was "What would you recommend?"
To my complete surprise, the entire bar burst into chatter about what I should try.
Being the adventurous type, I listened to one guy in particular, who was not particularly sober.
The two words that caught my attention out of his mostly incoherent recommendation were "Hell's Fury".
The two guys immediately surrounding me very nearly spewed beer out of their noses, as they couldn't try and steer me away from the suggestion quickly enough.
What better time to test my intestinal fortitude than right now?
There were a couple of 'good luck's bandied about when I placed my order. As I waited for my burger there was some idle chit-chat about what the "new guy" was in for, what I was doing in town, where I was from, etc.
Then Hell's Fury arrived.
OH MY GOD THIS WAS THE BEST BURGER I'VE EVER SHOVELED DOWN MY GULLET
It was hot. Damn hot. And damn good. I didn't care if my taste buds were burned into a perpetual state of malfunction, I was gonna finish it.
3 gigantic glasses of water later, the challenge had been defeated.
I hung around for a little while after dinner trying to stop sweating, and gathering information about where else I should visit while I'm in town.
Unfortunately, I didn't get to visit any of the places that I'd been told about. I still had family to visit, and playing with my camera to do.
The following night, trying to get lost in Atlanta I found this apartment building. The red hue of the apartment building really caught my eye. Plus, I'd never really tried to capture a long exposure with traffic entering the frame.
An hour or so later, being sufficiently lost and having a sufficient lack of inspiration, I turned my GPS back on and made my way back to the hotel knowing that tomorrow I'd get to navigate a photo-shoot all by myself, see some folks I consider family, and wander around Piedmont Park trying to capture the Atlanta skyline.
I'd heard about a lake where you can get an amazing view of the skyline from a photographer buddy in town. Much to my chagrin, I found it all but impossible to park within about a mile of the place I needed to be.
Determined not to be set back I found a parking garage on the other side of the park, and proceeded to see what I could discover. What I found was almost as impressive - another smaller pond behind a restaurant with the skyline in the background.
It was a hazy night, producing an almost aurora-like affect from the all the lights downtown.
Satisfied with what I found, I turned in for what was left of the night.
I feel I progressed a lot as a photographer this past week. The on-the-job training was a hoot for nerds like me. I learned a lot. I worked hard. I played even harder. I'm pretty sure this is how life is supposed to be.