Monthly Archives: August 2013

Bulls Island

Bulls Island, at 5000 acres, is the largest of four barrier islands found within the Cape Romain NWR. The island consists of maritime forest, fresh and brackish water impoundments, salt marsh and sandy beaches. Live oaks, Sabal palmettos, cedar, loblolly pines and magnolias are the dominant trees found on the island. Bulls Island is home for deer, alligators, raccoons, and black fox squirrels, but the bird life is what Bulls Island is known for throughout the world. Over 293 species of birds have been recorded on the refuge with most being found on or near Bulls. During the fall and winter seasons, black ducks, canvasback, scaup and wigeon can be found in the impoundments. Yellowlegs, dunlins and sanderlings are viewed on the mud flats and beaches. Waders such as blue herons and American and snowy egrets are plentiful. Warblers, woodpeckers and raptors abound in the lush forest on Bulls Island.

Since the early settlements, Bulls Island has been the scene of much historical activity. Bulls Bay and the creeks behind Bulls Island were reputed hideouts for pirates plundering ships along the coast. The remains of the “Old Fort” are believed to have been a martello or lookout tower built in the
early 1700’s. During the Revolutionary War, British warships used the islandto replenish supplies.

For 240 years, 36 parties claimed ownership of Bulls Island. In 1925, New York banker and broker Gayer Dominick purchased the island. An avid outdoorsman, Dominick built a large vacation home and developed the island into a hunting preserve. In 1936, Dominick conveyed the island to the U.S. Government and Bulls Island became part of the Cape Romain NWR.

Perhaps the most photographed location on Bulls Island is Boneyard Beach. Here, hundreds of oaks, cedars and pines are strewn along a three mile stretch of beach on the northeast corner of the island; all the result of an ever-changing beach in constant battle with the in-coming surf. Boneyard Beach gets its name from all the downed trees that have been bleached by the sun and salt water.

Below is an image I captured at the Boneyard Beach on Bulls Island at sunrise. Hope you enjoy it!

Click on image for larger view:


Boneyard Beach

Posted in art and entertainment, outdoor, photography, South Carolina

What Makes A Photo “Work”? | Kate Silvia Photography

Kate Silvia is a professional photographer that I am honored to call “friend”. She does some amazing stuff with a camera! I invite you to see more of her work at Kate Silvia Photography.

Today, enjoy a “reblog” of an article Kate posted to her own blog just recently.


What Makes A Photo “Work”?

If you’ve been a fan of photography for a while, you’ve probably subscribed to a few photo sharing sites, you appreciate a great image, you may have even purchased a favorite print. When you’re appreciating all this great art, did you ever stop to ask yourself why? Why is it I’m drawn to this image? What about it makes me want to keep staring at it? At times, this can be crystal clear. An eagle feeding it’s young is pretty self explanatory…fantastic to witness and difficult to document, but self explanatory. When it comes to landscape photography, it’s not so clear cut. Many aspects of an image can help hold our attention…contrasting colors, strong subject matter, a majestic icon. Take a look at the image below. It may not be the most phenomenal image you’ve ever seen, but it does “work”. So ask yourself, Why? Try not to skip below and peek…just take a moment to let it saturate. Is it the subject? Is it the light? The answer would be yes to both…but that’s not all.


There’s a placement of elements here that may not be immediately obvious, but it’s something I look for in nature. I like to call it, the “Zig Zag”! Leading lines, visual tension, it has many names. I’d like you to try to see the zig zag I’m talking about. If it’s not jumping out at you, scroll down and look at the image below.

I used the brush tool to draw a simple line between the elements in this scene. Starting at the bottom right, we have a reflection of the sun…a visually inviting object. Zig over to the Folly Pier, another element. Zag up to the sun peeking from behind the cloud, then zig back up to the upper left corner following the ray of light created by the sun and clouds. Can you see it now? Arranging the items in such a way invites the viewer to move through the photo, back and forth, absorbing the different elements within it.

So what’s the point of all this? The next time you’re out photographing nature, pay attention to how the elements in a scene relate to each other, how they compliment each other, and how they either enhance or take away from the image, then arrange them accordingly. I easily could have just focused on the sky. I could have zoomed in on the reflection and the clouds with the rising sun. Would these have been good images? Sure they would…but not at inviting as this one…at least IMHO!

Have a wonderful week everybody! And thanks for your support.

via What Makes A Photo “Work”? | Kate Silvia Photography.

Posted in photography

Flower of The Day | Four Deer Oak

Anne-Camille recently wrote a blog post titled “Flower of the Day”. Anne describes herself as a photographer, Reader, Writer, Thinker and Dreamer. She blogged about using my Sketch Effect which you can find in my tutorials. Take a look at her post, I believe you will find it interesting.


Flower of The Day | Four Deer Oak.



Posted in cameras, flowers, Fun Stuff

Huntington Beach State Park

The 2500 acres of Huntington Beach State Park hold a rich bounty of Grand Strand treasures. The park is only fifteen miles from downtown Myrtle Beach but is a world away from the hustle and bustle of the beaches to its north. Some do visit Huntington Beach State Park just to enjoy the beautiful and uncrowded beach. You can also camp, tour Atalaya, fish, and explore nature. You have a chance to see alligators or view some of the few hundred bird species that have been sighted in Huntington Beach park.

The park’s Education Center contains an exhibit hall, featuring a touch tank, several aquariums, a number of live animal exhibits (including a baby alligator), and a variety of interactive exhibits. The Education Center also contains a classroom with a number of compound and dissecting microscopes and audio-visual equipment, a Wet Lab with a dozen aquariums and variety of living and preserved marine organisms, and a new Eco Lab with a plankton farm and biotope aquariums representing the different wetland habitats of the park.

You can learn more about this South Carolina State Park at this link.

Here is last nights sunset as seen from the causeway at HBSP and also a shot from last night of a diverse group of feeding birds (Wood Storks, Egrets and a Spoonbill).

Click on image for larger view.


Group Feeding

Posted in art and entertainment, bird, causeway, huntington beach, murrells inlet, photography, South Carolina

Roseate Spoonbill

A bizarre wading bird of the southern coasts, the Roseate Spoonbill uses its odd bill to strain small food items out of the water. Its bright pink coloring leads many tourists to think they have seen a flamingo.

The adult Roseate Spoonbill is among the most striking North American birds. Nearly three feet tall, adults have long reddish legs, a pink body, and pink wings with deep red highlights. The neck and breast are mostly white, and there are touches of orange on the rump, face, and shoulders. Most unusual is the unfeathered head, which can be yellow or greenish, and the long, spatulate bill, for which the species is named. With a wingspan of about 50 inches, adult spoonbills weigh over three pounds. Immature birds are paler overall, with feathered white heads.

The Roseate Spoonbill is at once beautiful and bizarre. Its rose-colored plumage is striking even from a distance. Viewed more closely, the bald greenish head and unusual spoon-shaped bill of this elegantly plumed bird are apparent. Thanks to conservation efforts, the species has recovered significantly from near-decimation during the plume-hunting era.

Here are a couple of images of a Roseate Spoonbill that I took at Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina:

Click on image for larger view.




Posted in bird, huntington beach, murrells inlet


Sold this image today – not once but TWICE! Once as a Metal Print, and again as a Canvas Wrap! Both were 30 x 24 prints!

Click on image for larger view:


Posted in art and entertainment, scripture art

Topaz ReStyle Released!

Topaz Labs is very happy to announce the release of our newest product, Topaz ReStyle. With Topaz ReStyle you can explore new artistic and creative possibilities, helping you achieve looks you might have not thought of before. Transform your photos with just one click with 1,000+ looks that are easily searchable within the program. Achieve a new vision, gain inspiration and explore unending possibilities with Topaz ReStyle.


1. Breakthrough Mapping Technology. ReStyle introduces a cutting-edge process of mapping color and tone statistics from a selected style to a target image.  This new technology creates high-quality transformations, even for dramatic styles and looks.

2. New Style/Preset Creation Method.  Reading your source image’s colors and tones, ReStyle creates a preset with this information and allows for you to save your own unique styles for later application.

3. Blending Modes.  With ReStyle, we have incorporated blending modes for the adjustment modules, essentially showing eight different looks for each style preset.

4. HSL Technology in 5-Color Style Sliders.  Easily enhance your selected style’s 5 dominant colors using the unique hue, saturation and luminance controls.

5. Advanced Masking Workflow.  The masking module, attached to each adjustment tab, contains a comprehensive set of tools including an edge-aware brush, gradient mask, smart feather tool, color aware tool and more.

6. User Interface Design.  With ReStyle, we have continued to develop a cleaner, more modern and efficient interface to improve usability, workflow and overall aesthetics.

A Special Offer for You!

Purchase Topaz ReStyle for 50% off retail price through August 31, 2013 using the discount code: ‘restyleit‘

Here are two images I took and processed through Topaz ReStyle:  Click on image for larger view.

Christmas Cactus

ReStyled Leaves

Posted in photography


Well, last night was another round of fireworks at the Marshwalk here in Murrells Inlet. A group of eateries along the Marshwalk got together this summer and sponsored firework displays every Monday night, through August.  Here are some shots from last nights edition!

As always, you can click on each photo to get a larger view!


FW1-web FW2-web FW3-web FW4-web FW5-web FW6-web FW7-web FW8-web FW9-web

Posted in art and entertainment, Fireworks, murrells inlet, Night photography, photography

Bridge of Lions

The Bridge of Lions is a Mediterranean-style bascule draw bridge that serves as the eastern gateway to the National Historic Landmark District of St. Augustine, Florida, the nations oldest continuously occupied European settlement.  Built in 1926 at the end of the Florida Land Boom, it symbolizes the optimism of the time.  

Hailed as “the Most Beautiful Bridge in Dixie” with graceful arches, tile-roofed towers and ornate metalwork, this quarter-mile span is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1976 it was recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the most significant bridges in Florida.  

The bridge is part of the state highway system and is an important contributing element to the 72-mile stretch of Florida’s designated A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway.

For over two decades the bridge was threatened with replacement as the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) considered replacing the bridge with a larger new structure.  As a result, in 1997 it was placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Structures”.

Years of mounting advocacy and efforts to save the Bridge of Lions matched the ever-building case to tear it down and after a long battle preservation prevailed and after a 5 year extensive rehabilitation the bridge opened to traffic in Spring, 2010.

Click image for larger view:



Posted in Florida, outdoor, photography, St Augustine