I started taking nature and landscape photographs several years ago as a complement to my other outdoor interests: hiking, climbing, and kayaking. It wasn't until I moved to the mountains of northeast Georgia in 2000 that photography became a pastime in and of itself. The southern Appalachian mountains offered such a wealth of photographic opportunities that I started hiking in order to take pictures rather than just carrying a camera while hiking. As time progressed, I realized that while I was on my way to places that are generally considered "good" for nature photography, I was bypassing many less well-known spots and small "extracted landscapes" that represented the area as well as the myriad waterfalls and mountain-top vistas did. Photography became a motivator for me to slow down and be more observant. I still count the more majestic features among my favorites, but I now try to display a more personal and intimate portrait of an area I've grown to love.

Mark Calcagni
LaughingTotem Photo