Drought Updates from Lake Purdy.

On November 4th, right before it was announced that we were in a Stage Four Drought Emergency, I took a trip to our water supply, Lake Purdy, to see what it was looking like.

November 4:


A few days later, I went back to take sunset pictures.

November 11:

161111e-Lake-Purdy-Drought-SunsetFor more of the sunset pictures, click here.

For reference, this is what Lake Purdy looked like in June:

June 10:


It finally started raining a little over a week ago, and has rained what has felt like quite a bit since. The rain let up yesterday, so the kids and I fled the house for an Alabama History field trip today. While we were out, I decided to take them to Lake Purdy to see how things were looking.

It was fairly disheartening at first – it didn’t look that different.

December 7:


November 4:


The “stream” seemed slightly wider, but not by much.

December 7:


November 4:


But the kids found the whole scene amazing. We pretended to find giant dinosaur bones,

December 7:


And they seriously enjoyed the challenge of “walking on the cracks:”

December 7:


We came upon a couple of delightful gentlemen who showed the kids arrowheads and 1800s pottery they’d found, and tried to give them pointers on what to look for.

December 7:


As we got further down the stream toward what is left of the lake, things definitely started to widen out. This looked much better than last time.

December 7:


November 4:


There were birds chirping and flying overhead,

December 7:


December 7:


and despite the giant expanses of dryness, life seemed to be coming back to the lake.

December 7:


November 4:


But the most exciting moment when we started back toward our car and noticed tiny, vibrant streams seeping up through the cracks.

December 7:


November 4:


The dry earth is slowly giving away, from the inside out.

These are Two Pieces of Important Information.

First piece of important information: I want to personally invite any local (or non-local, if you really love me) people to come see me next Saturday, November 19. I teamed up with the fantastically talented Sarah and Allen Woodall to present a pop-up shop at West Elm (at the Summit.) We’ll be there from 10-4 and will have all SORTS of amazing Christmas gifts. We are single-handedly (okay triple-handedly) saving you from the immense pain of Black Friday shopping, people.

2016 Holiday Popup

All of my Picture Birmingham proceeds are donated to The WellHouse to help rescue victims of human trafficking.

Second piece of VERY important information:

Along with my normal gift products that are perfect for your Christmas Shopping (coasters! pillows! prints! metal prints! note cards! a couple Christmas ornaments! and so much more!), I will have a very limited supply of an extremely special gift item….

Roadkill Note Cards.


They feature four different animal models found and posed in the Birmingham area. Each animal’s name is lovingly scripted on the bottom right hand corner inside the card, and half the cards also have captions to make your notes all the more special:




The note cards are printed on a gorgeous linen paper and are perfect for wedding thank yous, meaningful notes, baby shower cards, election condolences, and other such momentous occasions.

(And obviously your Dirty Santa game will be red hot if you show up with these cards.)

So come to the Pop-Up shop and claim one of your sets of these rare note card. 10-4 next Saturday, November 19. West Elm.

Oh. And if you can’t come to the pop-up shop or you need them SOONER THAN NEXT SATURDAY, you can order a set (or 10) from this super secret link.

BONUS third piece of very important information: I have two sets of these precious note cards set aside to GIVE AWAY to two of you. To win one of these sets, comment below with a short eulogy for one of the animal friends. It can be whatever you want it to be. The more you make me giggle, the higher the chances that I’ll send you a set of Sloppy the Squirrel, Sleepy the Chipmunk, Crunchy the ‘Possum, and Sunset the Armadillo. I’ll announce the winners in the comments section next Friday, November 18.

40 Spectacular Spots for Birmingham Photo Shoots

Best Photo Backdrops in Birmingham

It’s getting to be the season for family photos, and I often have photographers message me for new ideas on Birmingham backdrops for family or commercial photo shoots. We all know that the Botanical Gardens and Morris Avenue and Railroad Park are great, but people want new ideas.

And I like to give the people what they want.

As I tend to get around a bit as a Birmingham photographer, I have a few suggestions for you who are looking for unique backdrops to take photos in Birmingham. I’m sure you’ve heard of some of them, but maybe I’ll surprise you with a few. Some are seasonal and some take longer walks than others, so be sure and read the details for any disclaimers that you might want to know about. And feel free to ask follow-up questions in the comments or by email – I’m always willing (albeit sometimes a little slow) to help!

Also, if you just like shooting cool places in Birmingham, this is the list for you. As you can see, I don’t usually clog up my pictures with people, either.

But first, a disclaimer: Please use common sense. Just because I list a place here does not mean you can have a full two hour photo shoot there without permission. If in doubt, get prior approval.

Now. Let’s begin.

1. Urban/Artsy: The Blank Space Mural Projects near the Alabama Theatre. These are beautiful, bold, colorful works of art that can be found on the north side of 3rd Avenue South and 18th Street.



Details: They’re both in the backs of parking lots used by Alabama Theatre visitors and workday cars, so attempt to time your visits when the parking lots aren’t full for best access.

2. Urban/Graffiti: The “Graffiti building” on 1st Ave S by the Jones Valley Trail between 28th St S and 32nd St S – It’s a giant warehouse building at least two blocks long covered from one end to the other with Graffiti tags.

161014z Graffiti Building Panorama

If this is your thing, this is the place to find it. It’s currently uncovered because of construction going on next to it. There are some really fun, colorful, and unique tags on the building.






Details: There isn’t public parking right next to it, but you should be able to park fairly close by and walk down the walking trail to the graffiti wall.

3. City View: [Road name redacted at request of residents.] The ultimate city view, this street has a spectacular rock wall overlooking the city. The sunset is best here during the summer, but it’s a great place for family photos year-round.



Details: Park on Aberdeen and walk up Crest – there’s no parking on Crest. It is gated after 7pm, but it’s still a public road – you are not trespassing to walk around the gate.

4. Floral Gate: During Crepe Myrtle Season (July), the gate at the east end of the above mentioned road is like a fairytale.


…Even when boys photobomb you.


5. City View: [Road name redacted at request of residents.] – but the nice big yard that is city-facing is private property, so stay on the sidewalk or obtain proper permission before scheduling a photo shoot.

150430 Rose-Colored Glasses

6. Pastoral View: Tip Top Grill’s parking lot in Bluff Park. With their great gate and the unobstructed view of Oxmoor Valley, this is a spectacular place for a photo – of sunsets or people or both.



7. Night Funk: You’re not going to get fantastic detail of your subjects if you wait until dusk and go to the Light Rails, but hey – you’ll get some cool shots. And if you’re shooting somewhere close by, this might be a fun way to end the photo shoot.










…But even during they daytime, they’re cool tunnels.

130627 Birmingham's Tunnels

Details: There are three sets of light tunnels that run between north and south Birmingham – at 14th, 18th, 19th, and 20th Streets. I currently recommend 18th Street because the others have construction around them right now.

8. Rotary Trail: The Rotary Trail is a fun place to photograph, with or without people. There are so many fun angles, interesting benches and signs, underpasses and fences.






9. Morning Light: If you actually convince a client to meet you at sunrise, the Argyle Road area (near Stratford Road) has stunning sunbeams that provide an ethereal glow to the already lovely street. You could visit this road in conjunction with Stratford or Crest.

160710z Morning Beams

10. Manicured Lawns and Gardens: Samford University is a charming college with many superb buildings, yards, flowers, and stairs.

160618z Samford

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