Henry River Mill Village

I’ve been such a slacker keeping up with my blog. This one has sat in my drafts for a month! Yikes.

Mill Village, District 12 site.

So, anyway, my photografriend Sharon, her beautiful daughter, and I took a trip a couple of hours west to check out the Henry River Mill Village near Hickory, NC. There are so many reasons to love this place. If not for the movie buff in you, the history of the mill village is pretty interesting not to mention it’s a treasure trove of exploration for lovers of the abandoned.  The opening scenes of The (first) Hunger Games movie was filmed here serving as the set for District 12, the home of Katniss and Peta. I knew a lot of the movie had been filmed in North Carolina – the Asheville area specifically – but I had no idea this place even existed until I came across some photos online. Once I saw those first pictures, being a lover of the abandoned and all things historical, I knew I had to go. It was a cool bonus that it was used for the movie, which I loved.

It was a rainy, dreary day but it added to the atmosphere. Sharon’s daughter was a champ, braving the wet weather and our crazy whims, and a perfect mini Katniss for us.

Many of the houses, though dilapidated, stand with doors open begging for cautious exploration. I barely covered half of the village and didn’t even get down to the mill building and river. We thought it was safer not to with the mini Katniss in tow.

I can’t wait to go back to explore the rest! Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day (there are so many more I love!) I hope you enjoy.













Tell me about the cool places you’ve discovered in the comments, I’d love to hear about them!

I’ll be back sooner than this last round of unintended neglect. See ya!


Mayberry, RFD

Wally's Service.

Whether or not you’re a fan or have ever seen The Andy Griffith Show, you’ve probably heard of Mayberry, the fictitious North Carolina town in which the show is set. It is believed that the inspiration for the series and it’s many colorful characters was the birth place and home town of Andy Griffith, Mount Airy, NC.
I’ve lived in North Carolina for more than half my life and I’ve never been there even though I live just 2 hours away. Recently I was in Winston-Salem and decided I’d make the half hour trip north to Mount Airy to check it out. Mount Airy is a quaint little town with a population of about 10,000 where they fully embrace the idea of Mayberry and the fame of their favorite home town celebrity Andy Griffith.


It’s a quaint sleepy, friendly town reminiscent of days past. Shops and diners like The Snappy Lunch and Barney’s ice cream parlor on Main Street bring the fictitious town of Mayberry to life. Beautiful architecture and huge trees line residential streets. Among other attractions there is an Andy Griffith museum and a bronze statue of Andy & Opie in the middle of town.IMG_9073 IMG_8964Down the road from the historic center of town is a re-creation of the the sheriffs office, Emmet’s Fix-it Shop, and Wally’s Service where you can buy a tour around town in the ’60’s police cruiser complete with sirens. It’s a bit “touristy” but I did find it fun to explore.

IMG_9001 IMG_9006IMG_9033-PanoIMG_9056 IMG_9013 IMG_9021The highlight of my visit was meeting Russell Hiatt and his son, Bill. Russell, now 91, has owned and run the City Barber Shop on Main Street since 1946. It’s believed he was the inspiration for the character of Floyd the Barber. While Mr. Hiatt still goes to the shop daily he stopped giving haircuts and trims about a year ago due to failing health. Stereotypical Southern women and gentlemen stop by to say hello, and with a smooth southern drawl share their stories, and reminisce about growing up with Andy.
IMG_9075-EditIMG_8975IMG_8974barbershop original_8990 IMG_8968Among some of the other historic attractions in town is the Earle Theater built in 1938.

IMG_9079It’s curious to me that people from all over the world stop through to visit Mount Airy and Mayberry. Perhaps it’s nostalgia for a simpler time or just the chance to slow down and sit a spell.IMG_9060

The Artisan

I recently had the pleasure of shooting studio and product images for Cathy Burnham of Blue Heron Jewelry in Chapel Hill, NC. Working with artists is always fun and creative and I thank Cathy for trusting my skill and vision to portray her work in the best possible light.

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Full of texture, color, and interesting shapes her pieces were deserving of something other than the standard black or white background product shots and I wanted to convey the creativity of Cathy’s work. I found the tools of her trade fascinating and visually interesting so decided to use them as props to highlight her beautiful designs.

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All of Cathy’s work is skillfully hand crafted and unique, be sure to stop by her website to take a look.

Cathy in the studio at Blue Heron Jewelry.


The Catch

I like doing sequence composites and I had previously done one of this Bald Eagle fishing with 4 frames:IMG_6761-Edit-1

After watching a Photoshop Week segment with Jason Hoppe on Creative Live about making animated gif files, I decided to try it out. It’s pretty simplistic and crude, I know, but a fun start!IMG_6761-2

I’ve never tried any animation before and found it was fairly simple. I imported the 5 frames into Photoshop (I use Cs5) as layers, opened the animation frames, set the sequence and display time then in the “save for web” dialogue chose .gif and the settings I wanted. Easy peasy!