Nature’s bounty is plentiful and there are plenty of ways to experience its beauty, with one of my favorites being photographing everything au naturel. I may not have a green thumb when it comes to keeping plants alive, but I’ve definitely picked up on a few great locations around Atlanta to satisfy my “point-and-shoot” desires. Whether you’re an avid photographer with a DSLR camera or a simple smartphone selfie shooter, you’ll find these five locations around Atlanta worth exploring and perhaps even possessing a breathtaking experience.

Lullwater Preserve – Emory University

A gem right in Emory’s backyard, Lullwater Preserve offers students a place to be mindful and reclusive. It’s the perfect spot to relax among sprawling green grounds. Picture being immersed in the bustling babble of the Candler Lake waterfall while the sun shines on a crisp spring morning; the trees glisten with fresh dew and the rippling waters look like shards of crystal straight from the movie “Frozen.” These spectacular views are definitely worth photographing. 

The abandoned octagonal powerhouse at Lullwater presents yet another unique photo opportunity, especially if you face your camera upward toward the sky, revealing through the rigid walls a view of cavernous windows and wisps of treetops against a sea of blue skies.

Stone Mountain Park – Stone Mountain, Ga.

The domed Stone Mountain summit is home to miles of winding terrain, including the “Cherokee Trail,” the “Walk-Up Trail” and the “Nature Gardens Trail.” Holding the Guinness World Record for the largest piece of exposed granite and the largest high relief sculpture in the world, Stone Mountain Park represents a paradise where nature lovers can escape for a run, walk, hike or stroll. The ultimate picturesque view at Stone Mountain is of the sunrise from the top of the summit when glancing across the beaming horizon serves as an effervescent and humbling reminder of Georgia’s humbling beauty.

Stone Mountain Park, located in Stone Mountain, Ga., boasts the largest piece of exposed granite and largest high relief sculpture in the world./Jackson Schneider, Asst. Photo Editor

Atlanta Botanical Garden – Midtown Atlanta

Themed sculptures carved from colorful plants, an escape into one’s childhood fantasy and a manifestation of a fascinating dream where one’s beloved animated characters come to life:   these are just some of the things one has to look forward to in the Atlanta Botanical Garden. In the garden, you can choose among different itineraries to venture into the park, based on whether you have a “Budding Romance,” are “Flying Solo” or have “Floral Expectations”. Indoor plant collections, sculptural wonders and blooming blossoms present a picture-perfect view wherever you look. The flora and fauna of the garden are best illustrated through the intricate plant sculptures which take the form of a mighty elephant, a charming peacock, an elegant frog and an exquisite dragon among many others. If you are looking to take some aesthetic Instagram pictures, the bright flowers and plant sculptures will make for a perfect background.

Morningside Nature Preserve – Morningside-Lenox Park, Atlanta

Yearning for a stretch of beachy sand around Atlanta? Missing your dog a little too much? Look no further, because you can hike or run the Morningside Nature Preserve to frolic with furry friends at “Atlanta’s popular dog beach.” A matrix of wooded trails winding through a forested canopy, Morningside Nature Preserve is a perfect location for a serene and unfettered interaction with nature. You can confer with the gentle and tranquil South Peachtree Creek, feel grounded on a wooden suspended bridge and connect with wildlife such as foxes, beavers, birds, turtles and raccoons.

Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area – Lithonia, Ga.

Arabia Mountain represents over 30 miles of adventure and an unlimited captivation linking the historical, ecological and cultural landmarks of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area. Home to an eternally barren landscape, Arabia Mountain symbolizes a treasure trove of ecological fascination encompassing large formations such as exposed granite, wetlands, pine and oak forests, multiple streams, and two lakes. Sprinkled throughout the park, the ruins of quarry buildings and the metal spikes that were once used to split the granite for construction purposes are still visible in the rock. In addition to experiencing the opportunity to photograph a unique awe-worthy and distinctive landscape, you can also bike the sprawling trails of Arabia Mountain. 

Conclusion 

The neverending midterms season takes a hefty toll on all of us. This weekend, choose to put mindfulness before procrastination and treat yourself to an interactive experience with nature. Recline in the myriad of natural locations around Emory and Atlanta and capture sublime moments and memories that will force you to reevaluate your decisions and prioritize your conscientiousness. You might even get some great content for your Instagram account.