A true Southern Gem
I often think of one of this great old song by Patsy Cline when I am still out taking photos after midnight in another new city that I can’t seem to get enough of.
I go out walkin’
Out in the moonlight
Just like we used to do
I’m always walkin’
searching for you
There’s no other American city like it
Walking in Savannah late at night was one of my all time favourite travel experiences. In the beautiful historic district of the city, time stands still… Especially after dark. It’s a quiet time, but there is a lot to see as the buildings, streets, and parks all transform into a scene out of an eerie suspense movie. Many of the majestic homes such as the Hamilton Turner Inn have been converted into unique hotels and B&Bs, while many of the other Federal, Neo-Gothic, English Regency, Steamboat Gothic and Victorian mansion interiors have been made available for the public to view… for a price. Some are even said to be haunted!
“Savannah is a lovely, gentle, sad old city. You can walk through the shadowy, cobbled streets of the town on a tranquil Sunday morning and feel the atmosphere heavy with the burden of lost greatness and relaxed by quiet decay”
Even the churches take on a rather creepy feel at night in Savannah. It seems to me that the way all of the buildings are lit up at night was done with the intent to add a rather uncanny feel to the historic district. No southern city represents the true feel of the American Old South more than beautiful Savannah. General Sherman spared it from the torch during the U.S. Civil war and I imagine it was at least partly because the city touched him in a visceral way, as it does to so many of the people who live in and visit this special place.
River Street… A perfect place for a midnight stroll
Less traffic and fewer people milling about at night make it easier for me not only to get my photos, but to also get absorbed in the historic atmosphere of a place. Only hours before I took the shots on River street, hundreds of people were walking by and dozens of cars, trucks and even streetcars would clutter the scene making it challenging to get that perfect shot. I was even lucky enough to have booked my hotel right on River street and had an incredible view!
The River street area reminds me a lot of De la Commune street in my hometown of Montreal. Both are near the port and are in the most historic parts of the city. They also have some great restaurants, historic attractions and art galleries and museums. Many of these new businesses are located in buildings that were once warehouses and factories… Oh how the times have changed. Both the Historic District of Savannah and Old Montreal are now the hippest and trendiest areas to live in these cities. You won’t be finding any warehouses in either of those areas any more.
Savannah is synonymous with art… Thanks to SCAD!
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, accredited and degree-granting university with locations in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, Hong Kong, and Lacoste, France. I didn’t realize what a big part of cultural and artistic life is influenced by having an art school in the city. SCAD is big in Savannah and rightfully so. The university has been responsible for the restoration of several historic buildings to be used for several of the university’s needs. By doing so they have been been recognized by the American Institute of Architects, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Historic Savannah Foundation and the Victorian Society of America. They even restored a couple of old 1950’s diners and run them. The Streamliner was one of the creepiest photos I was able to take in Savannah and that’s saying a lot for a city where most of the homes look like they could be haunted!
Two of the buildings that SCAD now runs are the Lucas Theatre and the Trustees Theatre. The buildings are a five minute walk from each other but have completely different styles, yet both fit perfectly in their respective areas of the Historic District. I wish that I would have had more time during my Savannah visit to photograph more of the beautiful buildings that SCAD has helped to restore, but something tells me that I’ll be back to photograph this stunning city one day when the magnolia trees are in bloom and Savannah is at it’s finest.
I received an email this morning from Meaghan (Walsh) Gerard who is the Managing Director, Lucas Theatre for the Arts. She was kind enough to point out an error in the above paragraph.
“We are not owned or managed by SCAD. The Lucas is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit with a separate board, etc. SCAD kindly donates to us as a nonprofit. In return for their sustaining donations, the Lucas is often a venue for some of their events.”
One of the things I’d suggest to anyone, and not just photographers, is to get out and walk around after dark, after the shops and restaurants have closed. This will open up a brand new way of looking at a place and it can be very peaceful. Do your research, be safe, and preferably don’t do it alone in places that you’re unsure of, but trust me, this is a great way to experience a city to get a different perspective.
While you’re at it… Why not take a few photos?
I’m out walkin’
Out in the moonlight
Just hoping you may be
Searching for me
Love these photos, especially the first (mansion pic), not to mention the song. I get Patsy stuck in my head various hours of the day but that one definitely…after midnight…and on a quiet, empty street.
Nomadic Samuel says
These are incredible shots Ken! My favourite is of the Candy Store.
Eurotrip Tips says
Wow, amazing! I especially like the Candy Store one, so lively and yet nobody in the picture. I didn’t know anything about Savannah before and now I definitely want to visit!
Nice work Ken
I love that song. It really suits Savanna. I’ve only seen the place via magazines (and your artwork) but it looks amazing. Another city added to my wish list!
I really enjoyed what you had to say about Savannah since I am fortunate enough to live here. However, I love your tips for enjoying a city and especially the lovely results of your “after midnight” walk through my city.
Gorgeous shots- though could have done without the color filters. Savannah doesn’t need it!
Beautiful photos of my favorite city….
Savannah is my favorite city and these photos make me want to go back now.
Andrew - The Unframed World says
Well done as usual. I almost transferred to SCAD as a sophomore in college on 3/4 scholarship. Ended up staying put because almost none of my credits would transfer and the students I talked to said that although the facilities and staff were top-notch, it was hard to get as much time with both as they wanted.
Nonetheless, the SCAD grads I’ve met generally have a pretty good sense of the business side of photography which is something I’m learning post-graduation.
A former co-worker of mine went to SCAD – he said that Savannah was famous for being the most haunted city in the US, and many of the buildings at SCAD were indeed haunted. I think you captured that eeriness for sure, Ken! Oh and walking around after midnight is one of the best things to do while travelling. London at 3am really is an entirely different experience!
Edith Levy says
Gorgeous shots Ken. Savannah does look like a great place.
Anne McKinnell says
Beautiful set of images Ken! I was there recently, but now I wish I had seen it after dark.
Camels & Chocolate says
Absolutely gorgeous. I’m going to Savannah in a month–this makes me extra stoked, plus is a virtual reminder to take my tripod ;-)
Jeremy Branham says
Born and raised in South Carolina but I’ve never been to Savannah! Have read and seen so much about it but (like all your stuff) really love your photos of the area.
Ken Kaminesky says
STEPHIEBUTTONS, It’s a great song isn’t it?
Samuel, I loved that Candy store… Went back twice to get the perfect shot :)
Marie-Eve, you will love Savannah. You really do have to go!
Lu, Savannah should be on everyone’s wish list.
Olivia, How lucky you are to live in one of my favourite cities! I hope that you do start taking some after midnight walks. It’s gorgeous… and creepy ;)
Sandra, There were no filters used. The colours are all from different colour temperature bulbs. Sodium vapour, incandescent and fluorescent lamps all are different shades. Our eyes adapt much better than film or digital capture.
Vicky, Say hi to all the ghosts for me the next time you’re back ;)
Andrew, I’d love to get a gig teaching photography at SCAD… When I do, you’re welcome to sit in :)
Irene, what a nice surprise to have a comment from you here. We’ll have to do an after midnight walk somewhere in L.A. when I visit… Maybe not Compton ;)
Edith, It is a great place. go!
Anne, Make a point to go back… and also make a point to take me with you!
Kristin, I’m jealous! I wanna go too. Great talking with you yesterday!
Jeremy, that’s unforgivable… Go to Savannah right now! ;)
Wow, the HDR process makes these photos look amazing! I love HDR images.. Thank you for sharing, Ken!
Kris Koeller says
Great shots. I had the chance to visit Savannah years ago and found it quite charming. Lots of amazing architecture to see there.
Lawrence Perkins says
Wonderful images, so full of color. The sweet shop is my favourite.
Amy Hutchinson says
These are fantastic! I’m so jealous. Savannah is my favorite city in the whole world. Great shots!
Jacy JoyPals says
Absolutely love your work; I recently shot Savannah and many of the same places, such a beautiful city and perfect for HDR-DRI photography and of course, the ambience of the old city and fabulous restaurants. Your attention to detail, color and composition is eye-salve for the photographer.
GORGEOUS. This city never fails to capture my heart. I’m thoroughly in love with Savannah. With all its sights and beautiful people.
Wow, these are some of the best night shots I’ve ever seen. What camera settings did you use?
Absolutely gorgeous. The city of romance…
Superb!!! I love them all!! After dark is my very favorite time to shoot. Such a lonesome feeling comes out at night that transforms the buildings and the streets. It’s like at night you can really see what exists.
I would love to purchase a print of first photo, which I believe is Hamilton Turner Inn? That was my great grandmother’s family’s home and I would love to be able to display such an amazing rendering of it. Please email me if you would sell a copy.