Exploring Rachel Carson Reserve

It’s getting to be R/V [Research Vessel] time again!

A few weeks ago, we had a perfect day to get out on the water, and blow the dust off of the boat and camera, to get ready for some upcoming projects, so I decided to put together a short behind the scenes video for anyone who wants to tag along on my adventures.

This particular exposed sand bar is part of the Rachel Carson Reserve, which is a preserved marine environment of about 2,300 acres, and is home to wild horses, migrating birds, all sorts of marine critters, and as you’ll see in this video; lots of cool sand bars, some of which are only exposed at low tide.

I was drawn to making this particular photograph by the spectacular thunder clouds in the distance reflecting off the surface of the water in each tide pool. It brought a contrast to the scene that would’ve otherwise been very flat and dull (like the pool closest to the camera in the final photograph, which leads you through the composition). The mottled highlights in the pools across the scene were just so unique and fleeting, and say so much about this fragile, but dramatic tidal environment.



Part of an ongoing series about some beach somewhere; Folly Beach, South Carolina is a tourist haven. Vacation rentals line both sides of the road that runs from end to end of the six mile long barrier island, which is a twenty-minute drive from Charleston. It is riddled with restaurants, gift shops, kayak rentals, and everything under the sun…that…you can do under the sun. Almost every square inch of this island’s dry land has been developed.

It feels like chaos every time I’m there.

But, there’s a beautiful calmness amongst all of the bustle and pastel-colored stilt homes, where the tide visits twice a day. The ocean's currents at Folly Beach shape sand bars and bare tidal pools, as the island constantly changes shape.

These photographs were made under harsh summer sun, where I used the sun’s specular highlights shimmering on the water’s surface to expand the contrast within what would ordinarily be a fairly low contrast scene. By doing this, I was able to assign the sand a much darker tone, which gives the resulting photographs a dramatic mood.

These delicate exposures took careful positioning of the camera, working with the changing tide and sun’s location throughout the day.


April VLOG

Took the big boys for an after school cruise in the RV (Research Vessel) on my birthday two weeks ago. We checked out a range marker that I've had my eye on for a while now, since the sun was in the right spot, and it was low tide. The camera and I were still in about four feet of water...

Then...an island hopping mission ensued. Enjoy the tour of a few waterways and islands in the Beaufort, NC area!!!

March VLOG

March was a challenging month, in that everywhere I was, it was relentlessly windy. Every day. That's the way it goes, I guess.

In the middle of the month, I drove to Charleston to drop off several pieces that Ella Richardson Fine Art had sold, and while I was there, I decided to check out a nearby island which has been slipping away into the sea. It's really an incredible sight, as you emerge from the tranquil woods, into this beach that is just littered with trees–live oaks, pines, and palm trees, all of which have been tackled by the unforgiving ocean.

Photographing this area proved to be quite a challenge, as trees are strewn about everywhere, and finding a pleasing composition never came easy. To top it off, the wind was whipping up the beach all day.

I was forced to wade across waist-deep lagoons to access a few areas, which got a bit hairy, because of the incoming tide, but luckily I wasn't stranded.

Enjoy the photographs, and the behind the scenes views of this vanishing landscape... 

February VLOG

Yeah, I VLOG now.

Not really, but I'm doing my best to do a little peering into what exactly it is I'm doing each month. Some months, it's a lot. Others, not so much so.

Anyway, this is like a feature-length movie for me...behind the scenes in the making of CYPRESS STUDIES.

I was originally intrigued by bald cypress, mainly because of their environment. They thrive under the perfect, but specific conditions; alongside the muddy waters of southern rivers and lakes. They almost stand guard over the shoreline, some of the lucky ones living for thousands of years. Each is unique, from its fluted trunk up to its often windswept branches.

Working with large format camera systems is a tedious, but methodical process on dry land. Add a boat, wind, water depths, and some general unknowns (SNAKES) into the equation, and things turn into a real, but fun challenge.

Anyway...I hope you enjoy this walk and boat ride through some beautiful cypress forests I've been exploring.