Winter Road Trip – Lowcountry Sea Islands
“Waccamaw River, South Carolina”
My road trip to the Lowcountry barrier islands of Georgia and South Carolina has come to an end. Thank you to all who took time to write me along the way. I enjoyed sharing the beauty experienced over the past two months. Many of you have taken advantage of the Winter Sale and purchased prints from this project already at half price. Any image you’ve admired from the blog is available at this special price until Sunday. If you can’t find it on the web site, just write or call. At some point this coming year there will be a Lowcountry exhibit at the gallery with a companion book. I hope to see you in Sugar Loaf this spring!
“Wave, Myrtle Beach State Park, SC”
“2nd Ave Pier, Myrtle Beach, SC”
“Pier Poles, Myrtle Beach State Park”
“Marsh Dock, Pawleys Island, SC”
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
“Botany Bay Beach, SC”
Spent this past week camping on Edisto Island, South Carolina, a remote barrier island one hour south of Charleston. The islands Open Land Trust has done an excellent job of preserving public beaches and establishing preserves. My time here was marked by changing spacious skies – wait two hours and the rain clouds would move out and then be back again a couple of hours later. I had to schedule an extra day here since it took me three visits to Botany Bay before I could get my shot. Persistance is a virtue. Now at my last stop, Myrtle Beach, and finishing the road trip in the lap of luxury at a friends condo. Last three days will visit Huntington Beach State Park, Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, and Pawleys Island, SC. Hopefully I will continue to be lucky with the weather.
“Sunrise, Edisto Island, SC”
“Talent is cheap; dedication is expensive. It will cost you your life.” – Irving Stone
“The Angel Oak, Johns Island, SC”
Thought to be possibly 1400 years old the “Angel Oak” derives its name from the estate of Justis and Martha Angel, and local folklore tells stories of ghosts of former slaves appearing as angels around the tree. I had goosebumps in it’s presence.
I’m now headed home along the coast from Savage Island, GA and will spend my last days on the road visiting South Carolina barrier islands. “Glamping” in my minivan has been an adventure. After many weeks, I worked out the kinks and have found it to be a practical vehicle for location photography. The best innovation was the retractable platform bed I built which left lots of room for camping and photo equipment as well as my bike.
“Sunrise, Savage Island, GA”
“Ogeechee River Bank, GA”
“Sand Bar & Night Sky, Savage Island, GA”
“In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.” – Aaron Rose
I’ve enjoyed my week camping at Skidaway Island State Park. Only 15 miles to the heart of historic Savannah, I was able to visit museums and galleries in the afternoons. The dedication of artists to their work is inspiring and helps drive me from my bed at unreasonable hours. I find that what I am drawn to looking at finds expression in my photos. We pick and choose influences but blend them to our own liking. Art does mirror life. Next stop Savage Island, Georgia.
“Into the Woods, Skidaway Island, GA”
“S Shack, Skidaway Island, GA”
“Tranquil Morning, Skidaway, Island, GA”
“Research Ship, Skidaway River, GA”
“Driftwood Sundown, Skidaway Island, GA”
“Ask yourself if you would do it if nobody would ever see it, if you would never be compensated for it, if nobody ever wanted it. If you come to a clear ‘yes’ in spite of it, then go ahead and don’t doubt it anymore.” – Ernst Haas
“Boat Dock, Isle of Hope, GA”
As a fine artist, I try to advance my career with personal projects. Projects create a clearer direction for and develop greater meaning in my life. My life would be unfulfilled without them. It brings clarity. It increases productivity. It produces tangible results. It brings personal growth. With two weeks left to explore the low country barrier islands, I reflect on these things. It was interesting how this new body of work began. Casey and I started out with no plan except to head south. The best plans aren’t written in stone! Projects can take weeks, months, or even years to complete. Some projects are ongoing and never end, as with my work on the Hudson Valley. I look forward to organizing and showing the photographs I’ve made here. Some of you have commented on the new “look” my images have taken and that too has been part of the joy of this new project.
“Mooring, Isle of Hope, GA”
“Bending Oak, Skidaway River, GA”
“Forest Light, Skidaway Island, GA”
“Egret Flight, Skidaway, River, GA”
“Turner Creek Marina, Cumberland Island, GA”
“Your work is to discover your work and then, with all your heart,
to give yourself to it.” – Buddha
“Fishing Shack, Hunting Island, SC”
I moved south of Savannah again this week, from Hunting Island to Skidaway Island State Park, Georgia. Without a boat, I’ve found it very difficult to access waterfront locations on the barrier islands – almost all of it is in private ownership. The importance of parks and a strong Land Trust organization advocating on the publics behalf cannot be overstated. I did have some luck and found a shack and trees stranded in the surf along an eroded beach; island “hammocks” filled with dense vegetation; more painted sky! This past week was marked by weather changes. 85 degrees one day and then a cold front visibly moved in (see scary photo below) and dropped it to 45 the next. It does keep the sky interesting. Next week images from around Skidaway Island.
“Cold Front, Hunting Island, SC”
“River Glow, Skidaway Island, GA”
“Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Moonrise, Hunting Island, SC”
Moved to the South Carolina islands just north of Savannah, Georgia. Have spent the past week camping on Hunting Island which is part of a chain of sea islands near Beaufort, SC. The entire island is a protected State Park and Pinckney Island a National Wildlife Refuge. Most of both islands consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks, but include maritime forest and grasslands. I start each morning and end the day at a beautiful site I’ve scouted by driving, hiking and biking around in the afternoon, checking maps and talking to the locals. Pretty fabulous.
Casey is traveling to Atlanta, Virginia and West Virginia to visit friends and family while I continue to obsess on my photo project along the coast.
“Salt Marsh Sunset, Hunting Island, SC”
“Mackay Creek, Pinckney Island, SC”
“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.” – Ansel Adams
“Cotton Exchange, Savannah, GA”
So impressed with the small city of Savannah. Although unseasonably cold here as well, we did get to do a bike tour of the historic district on the one sunny warm day we had this past week. Laid out in a grid of city blocks that run parallel to the Savannah River, there are architectural gems from simple wooden row homes to elaborate antebellum mansions arranged around parks with live oak draped in moss. The riverfront cotton warehouses which built the city’s wealth have been creatively converted into hotels and restaurants along with a pedestrian walkway.
“Forsyth Park Fountain, Savannah, GA”
More photos from Tybee Island posted here. I have gotten lots of emails about my ability to be at the right place at the right time.
I’ve been using TPE, a great free app on my smartphone that gives detailed map info on where and when the sun and moon, rises and sets. No landscape photographer should be without it. It got me right where I needed to be for the “Moonrise & Venus” photo posted here as well as all my sunrise and sunset images. Rainbows much harder to plan for!
“North Beach Rainbow. Tybee Island”
“Last Light, Tybee Creek”
“Moon and Venus Rising, Tybee Creek”
“Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning.”
– Thomas Alva Edison
“Symmertry, Tybee Pier”
We have been staying in a small cottage on Tybee Island this week. No wi-fi has been available except when I drive over to the town library. It’s a mixed blessing.
I have been lucky with getting beautiful skies in the morning and at sunset as these latest photos will attest. The fishing pier and lighthouse are the obvious subjects to photograph but hope to find the hidden treasures with more time available.
Unfortunately, until this past weekend, we have had freezing temps and high winds. Now looking at a week of rain here. Will be heading into Savannah and spending time at the museums.
“Fishing Pier, Tybee Island”
“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.” -George Eastman
We have doubled back to Hilton Head and decided to spend the rest of our time away from the Hudson Valley along the South Carolina and Georgia coast. The next two weeks will be spent at a beach cottage on Tybee Island. This is not only a great opportunity for me to photograph the island but gives us an easy twenty minute drive to Savannah. I continue to be inspired by all the visual beauty of the barrier islands, pouring over maps, watching the weather and getting up at 5:30 AM with camera in hand.
“Morning Sky, Hilton Head, SC”
Photographers FYI: I have been doing lots of HDR processing on the images posted in this blog. My new workflow makes use of the latest Adobe RAW converter which has been a complete game changer for me. Something that I shared at the last several Alumni Photo Workshops. Enjoying it immensely.
“Marsh Moss, Hilton Head, SC”
“Skull River, Hilton Head, SC”
“Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Over the past week we have continued to explore the barrier islands off the coast of Georgia. It’s only about 100 miles from Savannah to the St. Mary’s River at the Florida border. Most of the islands are developed with beachfront homes and hotels. These are great places to enjoy the surf and a seafood meal. Small historic towns lie protected on the labyrinth of inland rivers and are home to commercial fishing fleets. The winter freeze that’s plagued the north has been felt down here as well. We had a rare frost in St Mary’s, but once the sun comes up it’s been warm enough to ride our bikes on amazing trails through the low country forests during the day. The National Park Service administers Cumberland and Jekyll Islands and here the maritime forests are untouched with 300 year old oaks and a lush understory of low palms. I have found it to be magical and am excited to create a new body of work on this special place.
“Wild Horse, Cumberland, Island”
“Forest Road, Cumberland Island”
“Fishing Fleet, Darien, GA”
“Marsh Moorings, St Mary’s, GA”
“First Light, St Mary’s, GA”
“Ancient Oaks, Cumberland Island”
“Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island, GA”
Located on the southern part of Georgia’s scenic coastline, the Golden Isles are a world of serene, natural beauty. Sandy beaches, painted skies and miles of marshes rich in wildlife make up St. Simons Island, Sea Island, Jekyll Island and Little St. Simons Island.
“Blue Beach, Jekyll Island, GA”
“Morning Glow, Jekyll Island, GA”
“Fishing Pier, Golden Isles, GA”
“Maye River, Bluffton, SC”
Historic Bluffton is the first stop on our Road Trip. Located on the Maye River in South Carolina’s “low country”, it is a stone’s throw from Hilton Head. The small town is bustling with great new restaurants, boutiques and art galleries and has definitely been “discovered”. Temps are push into the 30’s at night but warm up to 7 0 during the day. The big oaks heavy with hanging moss and state tree, the palmetto palm, really create an exotic atmosphere.
I’ve gotten a lot of mail asking where we’re headed. Honestly, I have no idea except south along the coast road. I think the best road trips are free flowing and allow you to stop to smell the roses if you like. We could throw down in the right place for weeks or pop from one place to the next. I don’t know.
I do know that we have a list of all the diners, dives and drive-in’s seen on the food network show and will be sampling as much of that as possible. This may turn out to be a Dixie version of the Photo/Culinary Tour we’re planning in Italy this September. Stay in touch and see where it goes!
“Low Country Home”
“Loblolly Pines, Route 95, SC”
I started the road trip with a 14 hour strait run to Blufton, SC. Once into the Carolina’s along Route 95, stands of pine trees became a familiar part of the landscape. With the help of my GPS, I located a pond I would be passing along the interstate at sunset and pulled off to make these two shots. I wasn’t too surprised to find the pond ringed by the ubiquitous loblolly pines!