Monthly Archives: April 2013

St. Augustine Public Market

An important location for 17th, 18th and 19th century St. Augustine commerce. The first St. Augustine public market place was established in this Plaza by Governor Mendez de Canzo in 1598. Here, for the first time a standard system of weights and measures was introduced in this country for the protection of the consumer.

St. Augustine’s public market was a vital part of the town’s original layout. The grid design of the central plaza and city streets adhered to King Phillip II’s royal decree of 1598, which put forth an official town plan for all Spanish colonial towns. The plaza included the public marketplace bordered by the cathedral and Government House, where the governor could oversee the market. The market provided a storefront for residents to offer goods for sale to the general public.

St. Augustine’s plaza has seen several versions of a public market facility. The current one is the first masonry structure, built in 1824 for a more sanitary environment to sell food. Originally, there was a bell in the cupola to call villagers to market day.

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Posted in art and entertainment, photography, St Augustine

Murrells Inlet Marshwalk

The spectacular Murrells Inlet Marshwalk takes a night out at the beach to a whole new level. Located just around the corner from Garden City and Surfside Beaches, the Marshwalk combines some of the area’s greatest views with truly spectacular dining for every taste. Take a walk and enjoy the wildlife and scenery, or stop in on one of the many decks and patios featuring live music. A quick look at the many menus found along the way will reveal that savory Lowcountry cuisine, fresh seafood, the finest steaks and a range of mouth-watering delicacies prepared by some of the region’s award-winning chefs are all bountiful here. Bring the family, and plan a day of fun and relaxation in this village known for its charm and Southern hospitality.


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Posted in marshwalk, murrells inlet, photography

A Trip To Middleton Place

Yesterday my wife and I joined with some other friends and took a short day trip to Middle Place, just outside Charleston, South Carolina.  Middleton Place is a National Historic Landmark and home to America’s Oldest Landscaped Gardens. The Garden Club of America has called the 65 acres “the most important and most interesting garden in America”.  Centuries-old camellias bloom in the winter months and azaleas blaze on the hillside above the Rice Mill Pond in the spring. In summer, kalmia, magnolias, crepe myrtles and roses accent a landscape magnificent throughout the year. The Gardens have been planned so that there is something blooming at Middleton Place year-round.

In the newly rejuvenated 18th and 19th century Plantation Stableyards costumed interpreters demonstrate the skills once performed by enslaved Africans. The Stableyards bring to life the sights and sounds of a Low Country rice plantation.  Craft artisans include a weaver, blacksmith, potter, and cooper/carpenter. Many heritage breeds are found in the living history Plantation Stableyards including Cashmere goats, Guinea Hogs, River Water Buffalo, Brown Swiss and Jersey cows, as well as Dominique and Rhode Island Red chickens. I think my favorite were the Gulf Coast sheep, which are pictured below.

The Gulf Coast flock of sheep that graze the Greensward is a reminder of former days when large numbers were raised for their meat and wool. The Gulf Coast breed is hardy and has thrived for centuries in the humid pinelands of the South. The sheep on the plantation are sheared in the spring shortly after the lambs are born.

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Posted in Charleston, outdoor

The Vereen House

This past Saturday, 4/13, along with a group of photog friends, I visited Hobcaw Barony and as part of that day visited The Vereen House.

The Vereen House, a two-story structure stands on the east side of Stable Road on Bellefield Plantation at Hobcaw Barony. Built c.1915, the house was first lived in by Joe Vereen, superintendent of the woods. A rear wing consisted of a kitchen/dining room and a small bedroom, porch and porch pump. A bathroom on the porch was added after 1936. A picket fence surrounds the grave of Jean Darthez, Belle Baruch’s stable manager who died in 1959.

An interesting sidenote – just this past March (2013) a surviving daughter of Jean Darthez visited Bellefield Plantation to lay roses on her fathers grave. They were still there when I visited on 4/13/13.

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Posted in art and entertainment, outdoor, photography

Friendfield Village

Friendfield Village is between Kings Highway and Hobcaw Road. It has five unused houses, a church and a dispensary. There are several antebellum slave cabins built prior to the Civil War. One is deteriorated. Two others were remodeled in 1905. The Friendfield Church, which was built between 1890 and 1900, is a rectangular building with board-and-batten siding, a gabled metal roof, and a pyramidal spire. This was remodeled under the direction of Bernard Baruch. It is typical of South Carolina lowcounty, freedmen’s chapels. The Friendfield Dispensary was built under the direction of Bernard Baruch as school on Bellefield Plantation for the children of white employees. About 1935, it was moved next to Fairfield Church. Two additional cottages in Friendfield Village were built around 1935.

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Posted in churchs, outdoor chapel, photography

New Facebook Group!

From my vantage point, there has been a recent renewed interest in creating and looking at orbs. I’ve blogged about them before, you’ve seen them in my gallery and you have no doubt seen orbs created by others scattered throughout the internet and art venues. So, with this seemingly resurgence of orb interest, yesterday I created a new Facebook Group dedicated to the creation of orbs. If you would like to join the group, or would just like to go look around, the group address is

At the time of this writing the group has only been alive for less than 24 hours, yet there is already a very active interest. Shown below are some orbs that some folks have posted thus far:

Jeff Averill created this beauty:

Jennifer Stockman submitted this creation:

Janine Briggs Showed her artistry with this submission:

Maye Schwartz always has an eye for beautiful creations:

And Maria Delaney exercised her skills by creating this wonderful orb:

Hope you enjoyed the artistic endeavors of these fine artists. Check out the Facebook Group to see more!

Posted in photography

Orbs in the forefront again!

Yesterday I received a very nice email from a lady in Charleston, South Carolina. She had been to my website (this one) and found the tutorial on How to Make Orbs and was very pleased with the results she had achieved. Her email was to say “thanks” and to show me some of the orbs she had created.  What a great feeling to know that something you have done has actually inspired someone else!

After reading her email and viewing some of the orbs she had created, I realized that it had been a while since I had done any myself. So….. More orbs were created! Two actually, both of which can be seen below and are also included in the orb gallery on this website.

OH – If you like orbs, don’t for that my new Orb E-Book is still available with special introductory pricing! Check it out

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Posted in abstract, orbs, photography

Komodo Dragon

The Komodo dragon live only on a few islands in Indonesia. The area is known for volcanic activity and the islands themselves were created by volcanoes. In the dry and arid climate the Komodo dragon usually digs burrows for a home or just hangs out in grassy and bushy terrain. As it has turned out, the Komodo dragon habitat is easily simulated and this will ultimately save it from extinction and make it possible to see live Komodo dragons at your local zoo.

The Komodo dragon is the largest living lizard in the world. It can become at least 10 feet (3 meters) long and weigh up to 300 pounds (160 kg). Although it’s big, it can run as fast as 13 mph (20 km/h), almost as fast as a dog. It can also swim between the islands it inhabits without any problems.

Although the Komodo dragon usually is mistaken for a scavenger, a Komodo dragon fact is that it’s also a predator, attacking and eating wild pigs, goats and even water buffaloes. Another Komodo dragon fact is that it is a cannibal, eating smaller and younger Komodo dragons.

In the wild, due to the fact that Komodo dragons eat their young, baby-Komodo dragons prefer to stay up in trees for their earlier years. Because of the later years of invasion by tourists the Komodo dragon habitat has changed. Restaurants, picnics and trashcans has been introduced into the Komodo dragon habitat and all of which has made some of the Komodo dragons less of a hunter and more of an opportunitist, living of the trash and leftovers thrown away by careless tourists and employees. This makes it a very easy target for poachers who infiltrate and hunt in the Komodo dragon habitat for the Komodo dragon’s skin.

You have already seen several shots from a recent trip I made to St. Augustine. The Komodo Dragon shown below is also an image I shot on that trip. Enjoy!

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Posted in outdoor, photography, St Augustine

Albino Alligator

While in St. Augustine last weekend I visited the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park. One of their star attractions are some Albino Alligators!

Albino alligators are alligators that lack the ability to produce melanin in their skin. This genetic defect gives their skin a yellowish white appearance and the eyes generally cast a pinkish hue due to the visible blood vessels in the colorless irises.  This lack of pigment, though viewed as beautiful, has its downside.  Most albino alligators rarely make it to adulthood because they are not able to camouflage themselves making them an easy target in the wild.  Their skin is said to be extremely sensitive to sunlight in which too much sun will burn their skin.  Leucism (LOO-sism) is often confused with Albinism, in which Leucistic animals produce small amounts of melanin which gives their eyes a rich blue cast and their skin a creamy porcelain white color. Myth has it that if you look into the eyes of an albino alligator it will bring you good luck.

Below are a couple of these ‘gators I shot while at the Alligator Farm. I hope you enjoy them.

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Posted in art and entertainment, outdoor, photography, St Augustine

White Peacock – Pavo cristatus

Contrary to popular belief, the white peacock is not an albino mutant, but a natural variation of the more common blue and green peacock. Because of its rarity, catching a glimpse of the white peacock is believed by many in southeastern Asia to bring eternal happiness.

Peacocks are native to India, but can live in many parts of the world in captivity. There are many different kinds of peacocks including the Indian Blue, Black Shouldered,Congo, Green, and White peacocks. White peacocks are the same as the Indian Blue in size and behavior, but are white.

In the wild, male Peacocks generally accumulate a harem of 2 – 5 females. However, in captivity, they are usually satisfied with one. The male has an extremely long train (commonly called his tail) which is NOT actually his tail. The train serves as a cover for the actual tail, which is brown. The train actually sprouts from the center of the back.Peacocks grow to 7′ from tip of beak to end of train.

Males are called Peacocks and females are called Peahens. The collective term for both male and female is Peafowl. Peacocks need a great amount of companionship. If you are interested in purchasing one, you will want to get two unless you want a very unhappy bird.

The main purpose of the male’s train is to entrance the female to get her to mate with him. He spreads his train and displays an incredible fan of beautiful blues, greens, violets, reds, oranges and yellows. Every area of the train changes color when struck by different angles of light. The male vibrates his tail rapidly at the female in an attempt to impress her. He shakes his wings and turns from left to right. However, even with this awesome display, it is very rare that we ever see them mate. The female usually pretends not to notice the male. When she is ready to lay eggs, she will decide to mate with the male. Later, an egg fairly larger than a chicken egg is layed. After 28 days of incubation, the egg hatches. There is no fixed amount of eggs that the peahen will lay. She will also sometimes lay decoy eggs away from the nest to distract predators. 

After the 28 (sometimes shorter) days of incubation, the chick hatches and looks somewhat disgusting. It is still covered with substances from the inside of the egg. 

When the chick is not even one day old, it can walk, eat and drink on it’s own. Baby peacocks are born with flight feathers already on their wings and can fly by the time they are one week old. They need to be able to do this to fly into trees at night.

The White Peacock below was shot in St Augustine, Florida, at the Fountain of Youth Exhibit.

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Posted in bird, photography, St Augustine