One thing that sealed the deal for me about visiting the country of Georgia was this mountaintop church overlooking the town of Stepantsminda. It is roughly a three hour drive north of Tbilisi on the Georgia Military Road, about ten kilometers shy of the Russian border.
I tend to be drawn, photographically speaking, to the sweeping and panoramic, and it’s hard to picture a more dramatic setting than this, where most viewpoints offer a stunning alpine backdrop. This little church is perched on a steep mountain between taller ranges to both the east and west. I was determined to make the best of this opportunity.
Unfortunately, this required convincing my reluctant driver to pick me up very early. It took some back and forth, but on the appointed day we were leaving the capital at 4:20am so that I could get there for the golden hour. I hopped out on the outskirts of town, leaving him to drive up and wait for me outside of the church. I would climb the mountain on foot so that I wouldn’t miss a shot. This was a mistake, as the footpaths leading up the mountain offered few good vantage points. I had nothing to show for the trek but the satisfaction of having climbed 170 stories (according to my iPhone). Once at the peak, though, all thoughts of exhaustion fell away. For what it’s worth, I’ll let the pictures take it from here.