On Thursday evening and Friday morning I had the distinct pleasure of taking a client and new friend Tricia Booker out to photograph some of my favorite locations in and around Charleston.  We started off with a light dinner and discussion on filters and long exposures at one of Sullivan’s Island’s hot spots.  After some excellent food and conversation we ventured down to the beach to practice some long exposures and watch the sun set.

Smooth BluesAs the pelicans plunged into the cool waters fishing and the dolphin swam undoubtably looking for the same fish, we strolled the beach observing and looking for compositions.  Throw in a majestic sunrise and we had the makings of a great evening.  We ventured down the beach to a little step ladder boardwalk that I had scouted before.  A couple of unimaginably monstrous containerships came and went increasing the surging waves crashing over the retaining wall which made for some very interesting compositions and setup nicely for longer exposures.


We learned some valuable leasons that evening. Of primary importance is knowing your stuff technically, and getting setup fast, ready to shoot.  With the surging tides and falling light you don’t get many chances to get it right. Being ready to shoot when the light was right was paramount.  Secondly when shooting longer exposures make sure your setup is 100% stable.  The boardwalk was being buffetted by waves and wasn’t nearly sturdy enough.  Rocks are much more stable.  In addition to your footing a rock solid tripod is a must.  I’ve come to really love my RRS setup and especially the Arca-Swiss system and although the initial outlay is high, it has definitely paid for itself over time.

After lots of practice and managing to stay relatively dry we decided to head back to the car and get some much needed sleep for the morning trip out to Botany Bay.  We had stayed longer than expected and the tide had come in further than planned. Instead of going directly back to the road we had fun jumping over rocks and through some debris.  It was a good thing we did as the stars were beautiful and we had some more fun light painting the surging waves as the stars twinkled above.

The next morning we met really early and set out for Botany Bay.  Riding bikes in the dark out to the beach is definitely the most exciting way to arrive. Maybe it has something to do with an increased heart rate, but everytime I go I am floored by the raw beauty out on the beach. The tide was absolutely perfect and the weather was right on the bubble. A storm was coming in but there was a chance for spectacular light right at sunrise. While the color never quite happened we did get some amazing light and had a blast capturing the frothy sea in a series of long exposures from 1 second to 4 minutes. After a while we got more and more adventurous and managed to get quite wet in the surf. 🙂


On the way back we looped through the entire grounds and managed a glimpse of a Bald Eagle.  Tricia is an avid wildlife photographer and after the quick chase to capture this eagle, I can see why. It is loads of fun, and very addictive. We didn’t see many other birds and so capturing this one made it all the more special.


After a beautiful morning we wrapped it up with breakfast at the SeaCow and discussed  our processing workflows and talked through several captures from the morning.  What an awesome couple of days and thank you Tricia for allowing me to do what I love.  So far the images are looking fantastic and I can’t wait to see more going forward.

Tricia put together a wonderful blog post on the experience and has more images that she captured on sullivan’s Island, Botany Bay and points in between. Thanks Tricia!
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