I met Amy Moorrees in the summer of 2019 hiking Caesars Head in South Carolina. I say hiking but it’s really just a walk up overview. Poised with my camera and waiting for the light we made small talk about our love for the outdoors and how we synthesize it into our everyday lives.
Amy hikes relentlessly on the weekends. With an unconditional love for the outdoors she brings the sights and sounds of the forest inside to her patients at the cancer institute. It’s a necessary but emotionally taxing job which brings her to the therapeutic forest at the end of each week. And well my job is this… what you’re reading and viewing, creating content in and about the Georgia outdoors.
As a visual storyteller I knew immediately her tale was one I eagerly wanted to tell. I messaged Amy several months later basically saying “hey, your story is incredible I would love to hear more of it and give you a platform to tell it. Lets hike and shoot an interview.” She was in from there. We decided on High Shoals Falls in Hiawassee GA as it was relatively easy hike and you can get within spitting distance of the falls. A 2 hour drive for each of us, we met early one March morning around 8 a.m., because I am obsessed with good light and nothing beats daybreak in the mountains.
We found a patch of good light on the forest floor to begin our interview. Positioned atop a mossy log, rays of light breaking through the trees, and a hot mic on Amy made light of being in front of the camera despite humbly prefacing me with “I’m not the best speaker…” But, as she soon found out, when you’re talking about what you love everything else just fades away.
Amy celebrates the more delicate parts of a trail. The small rock that looks like a heart -she calls them trail hearts -or the small bundle of ice that’s so thin it appears fibrous. These are the details she admires and scouts. I gravitated towards that energy and found myself sprawled out on the forest floor multiple time trying to capture these moments.
“OH and the SMELL” she says with wide eyes, “I love the smell of the forest.”
I wish I had a smell recorder…
Waterfall hikes always have this amazing crescendo of sound that happens along the trail that goes from white noise to roaring white waters. An hour in to our trek were moving out of the white noise into a more refined soundtrack.
The light in the forest follows its own set of rules because by 9 a.m. the sun is well and up but at the base of High Shoals its barely peeking through the tree line. This made for some truly ethereal footage, mist from the falls mixed with first light breaking through the trees. Filmmakers sublime. We took our time at the falls and I even put the camera down for a moment of micro meditation. Everything that morning was flowing so naturally it wasn’t long after the falls I had this gut feeling of “okay you got the shots, step away from the camera, live this moment.” And we did.
The Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Park Guide is a handy resource for planning a spring break, summer vacation or family reunion. The free booklet is filled with tips on the best hiking trails, fishing spots, cabins, wedding venues and campsites. Visit Website
Historic Banning Mills
Historic Banning Mills is an adventure resort with two Guinness World Records located just 45 minutes West of Atlanta. At this secluded nature escape you’ll find the world’s largest zip line course and climbing wall, as well as kayaking, horseback riding, summer camps, overnight lodging, team building, wildlife shows, and so much more!