Morris Island Lighthouse

What was once a beacon to ships out to sea now juts out of the Atlantic Ocean as a reminder of days gone by.

The Morris Island Lighthouse, a defunct lighthouse just north of Folly Beach on Morris Island at the entrance of the Charleston Harbor, stands just a few hundred feet off the coast. Its light never shines, but it remains a beloved historical site for both locals and vacationers.

The 161 foot lighthouse tower was completed in 1876 for $149, 993. A Fresnel lens powered by lard oil shone light out over the water to guide ships safely to shore. Although the sole function of the lighthouse was to provide safer navigation for ships and vessels, the lighthouse itself was frequently at risk.
During its run as a working lighthouse, it was partially destroyed by a cyclone in 1885. In 1886, an earthquake shook the lens of the main light out of position and cracked the tower. Though these incidents provided blows to the lighthouse, nothing threatened the structure as much as the rapidly encroaching water.

In 1876 the lighthouse stood 1,200 feet from the coast, but when jetties were created in 1889 to protect shipping lanes, natural erosion was intensified and the ocean crept closer and closer. By 1938, the erosion was so great that the lighthouse became automated. Less than 30 years later in 1962 the lighthouse was too close to the shore and state officials ordered it to close.

The Morris Island Lighthouse was replaced by Charleston Light on the north side of nearby Sullivan’s Island. Now the lighthouse is preserved by the State of South Carolina and is under a 99-year contract with Save the Light, Inc. to preserve the historical structure through stabilization, erosion, and restoration. Save the Light also hosts events to raise funds for the preservation of the relic. Currently, a cement barrier is being constructed to help further preserve the tower.

Posted in Charleston, Folly Beach, lighthouse, Morris Island Lighthouse, photography Tagged , , , , |

Golden Eagle

A few months ago I was able to spend some time with my eldest daughter in Statesboro, GA. She is faculty at Georgia Southern University. The University has a Center for Wildlife Education where (among other things) they provide a home for injured birds that would not be able to survive in the wild. When I visited they had a beautiful Golden Eagle. This gorgeous bird caused me to do a little research and here is what I found.

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

This powerful eagle is North America’s largest bird of prey and the national bird of Mexico. These birds are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their heads and necks. They are extremely swift, and can dive upon their quarry at speeds of more than 150 miles (241 kilometers) per hour.

Golden eagles use their speed and sharp talons to snatch up rabbits, marmots, and ground squirrels. They also eat carrion, reptiles, birds, fish, and smaller fare such as large insects. They have even been known to attack full grown deer. Ranchers once killed many of these birds for fear that they would prey on their livestock, but studies showed that the animal’s impact was minimal. Today, golden eagles are protected by law.

Golden eagle pairs maintain territories that may be as large as 60 square miles (155 square kilometers). They are monogamous and may remain with their mate for several years or possibly for life. Golden eagles nest in high places including cliffs, trees, or human structures such as telephone poles. They build huge nests to which they may return for several breeding years. Females lay from one to four eggs, and both parents incubate them for 40 to 45 days. Typically, one or two young survive to fledge in about three months.

These majestic birds range from Mexico through much of western North America as far north as Alaska; they also appear in the east but are uncommon. Golden eagles are also found in Asia, northern Africa, and Europe.

Some golden eagles migrate, but others do not—depending on the conditions of their geographic location. Alaskan and Canadian eagles typically fly south in the fall, for example, while birds that live in the western continental U.S. tend to remain in their ranges year-round.

Posted in Birds of Prey, Eagle, outdoor, photography Tagged , , , |

Introducing Mary Presson Roberts

I would like to make you (my readers) aware of a relatively new website/gallery/blog started by my good friend Mary Presson Roberts. Mary is a fine art photographer living and working in the Carolinas. She is fortunate to be located on the border of North and South Carolina which places her in perfect location for exploring the wonders of both Carolinas. Mary has a list of well deserved awards longer than my arm and has a true love and passion for her photography.

I want to encourage each of you to visit her site and while there subscribe to her blog. Here is the link to her blog. You will be glad you visited her site.




Posted in art and entertainment

A Trip to Ripley’s Aquarium

This morning I decided to make a visit to the aquarium up in Myrtle Beach. The times I had been there before were during tourist season and of course the place was packed with little munchkins everywhere. Now I like little munchkins as much as the next person, but for getting photographs in an aquarium it is a lot easier with not too many people around.

Here are a few images from todays visit.

Bronze Frog

Bronze Frog

Pair of eels

Pair of eels

Jelly Fish

Jelly Fish

Lion Fish

Lion Fish

Parrot Fish

Parrot Fish

Parrot Fish

Parrot Fish


Posted in photography

Taking Better Photos

Here’s a nice post from Petapixel on taking better photos.

40 Tips to Taking Better Photos

Honeysuckle-web Black-Browned-Night-Heron-web Crotons-web

Posted in photography

Brilliant Macaws

The past several days here in Murrells Inlet, SC, like most of the USA East Coast, has been very uncomfortable COLD! OK, I know that cold and uncomfortable are relative terms and while we are bundled up in 20-40 degree weather there are probably folks somewhere in the world that are running around in shorts. Yikes!  Anyway, most of us considered the past few days cold and uncomfortable.

In an effort to help folks feel a little warmer (at least mentally) I pulled up a couple of images from the files of some Macaws. One was a Scarlet macaw and the other a Blue-Gold macaw. I posted these on Facebook. Here are these two macaws for everyone to enjoy!

Blue-Gold-Macaw-web Scarlet-Macaw-Profile-web

Macaws are beautiful, brilliantly colored members of the parrot family.

Many macaws have vibrant plumage. The coloring is suited to life in Central and South American rain forests, with their green canopies and colorful fruits and flowers. The birds boast large, powerful beaks that easily crack nuts and seeds, while their dry, scaly tongues have a bone inside them that makes them an effective tool for tapping into fruits.

Macaws also have gripping toes that they use to latch onto branches and to grab, hold, and examine items. The birds sport graceful tails that are typically very long.

Macaws are intelligent, social birds that often gather in flocks of 10 to 30 individuals. Their loud calls, squawks, and screams echo through the forest canopy. Macaws vocalize to communicate within the flock, mark territory, and identify one another. Some species can even mimic human speech.

Posted in bird, outdoor, St Augustine

Marshwalk Sunset

Yesterday I decided to capture sunset. It didn’t look like the sky would cooperate, it was almost too clear. I decided to go to the Marshwalk here in Murrells Inlet and see what the view from Veterans Pier would offer. As soon as I got there I thought “this was a mistake”, but I walked on out the pier anyway. Facing the marina, with the sunset in the background, it didn’t look very promising. A group of old pillings offered a nice reflection. Then I turned around, looking towards Goat Island and saw what you see in the second image below. There was a tinge of pink in the sky and I thought I could maybe bring that out by using a Grad ND Filter. Then, just for the heck of it, I turned the filter upside down. I took the resulting image into Topaz Adjust and the third image you see is that result of that!

After shooting Goat Island I was ready to get in out of the cold, but as I readied to leave I saw that sunset was not quite the “bust” I thought. The fourth image is last nights (1/11/2016) sunset as seen over Crazy Sister Marina.


Marshwalk-Pilings-web Goat-Island-No-Filter-web Goat-Island-Sunset-Filter-web Sunset-Over-Crazy-Sister-web

Posted in art and entertainment, inlet images, marshwalk, murrells inlet Tagged , , |

Tips for Shooting Fireworks

Tonight, New Years Eve, lots of folks will be photographing fireworks. This post is a re-do of one I posted a couple of years ago and provides some tips for shooting fireworks. HAPPY NEW YEARS!


It’s time to get ready for Fourth of July celebrations and the amazing fireworks show that accompany the barbeques and other events. Want to get some amazing images? You can capture some spectacular scenes if you take a few tips with you before you begin shooting. Taking photos of fireworks is not very difficult, and you don’t need the nicest gear to create great photos. Really all you need to take photos of fireworks is a camera and a tripod. (Or anything else that is stable to set the camera on) you will want to take long exposures where there is no hope of handholding and getting clear images.fireworks

Scout Your Spot: If at all possible, get the event early and take a look around. See if you can get an unobstructed view or if you can position yourself where other onlookers’ heads won’t be in the way. You should also be deciding on whether your photos are going to have just the fireworks bursts in them, or if you are going to include a foreground or background. Sometimes adding the extra dimension of having the ground, water, trees or buildings can really make your photos spectacular. This is where it’s great to have a zoom lens so you can change your field of view easier. Plan your composition, but be prepared: once the fireworks begin, often times they are higher or larger than you expect and you will need to adjust to accommodate it. I have a pick-up truck and set up my camera/tripod and a folding chair in the back. This way, even if people are standing all around me (which they usually are) I am shooting above their heads!

Focusing: Switch your Lens to Manual Focus. Cameras will rarely be able to find focus on fireworks itself. To focus, use your camera’s live view if it has it, and zoom in to where the fireworks are. You can then manually adjust to see when your focus is correct. If you don’t have live view, just set your lens focus right at infinity and take some test images to make sure they are sharp. After you have the focus set, you shouldn’t have to change it as long as you don’t bump the lens.
Add a Remote Release: A remote release can free you up to focus on your images and keep your eye on the sky. They are inexpensive and many photographers find them to be an invaluable accessory. AND – if your lens was Image Stabilization (IS) or Vibration Reduction (VR) – TURN IT OFF!

Exposure:In Manual Mode, Set your camera to f8, and a 5 second shutter speed. Start at ISO 200 and see if the fireworks are exposing correctly. If you need to go brighter or darker, adjust your ISO accordingly. If you expose too bright, the colors of the fireworks will start clipping. You can use your camera’s histogram to make sure the data is not hitting the right side of the graph. Most of the images you see on this post were taken between F/8 and F/16 with a shutter speed of 1 to 2 seconds.
Since Fireworks are a fast light source that is moving, it’s similar to a flash where changing the shutter speed doesn’t change the brightness of the bursts. So here’s where your personal preference comes in a lot- Adjust the shutter speed to match how many bursts you want in the photo. A longer speed, like 10 seconds, will have lots of fireworks, where a shorter speed, like 2-5 seconds will have less. Be careful not to have too many, as they can overlap and be too bright for the sensor to capture causing the colors will blow out. You can also do even shorter speeds for a different look. Shooting under a second will capture less of the bursts, and the fireworks will not trace the same patterns across the photo. Have fun with it and experiment to see what you like!fireworks

Forget the Flash: Your flash can be more of a hindrance in this case because it may signal to your camera that you need a shorter exposure time. The flash only helps when your object is a few feet away, so in this case, even though it’s dark, keep the flash turned off.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!
One final note: Don’t get so involved taking photos that you miss the firework show! I was pretty bad with this so now I usually get set up, take some photos for a few minutes, watch for a few minutes, take some more shots. It is a celebration – Have Fun!



Posted in art and entertainment, Fireworks, Night photography, outdoor

Sabattier Effect – again

I first wrote about the Sabattier Effect about 9 years ago and since then have revisited the subject several times. This is not a rehash of the effect, if you want to learn about it just click on “Tutorials” in the menu bar above and you can get written and video instructions.

Every once in a while, I still apply the effect to different images. Just this afternoon I tried it and really liked the result I got. Below is both the “before” and “after”.  Hope you enjoy!






Posted in abstract

American White Ibis

One of the most numerous wading birds in Florida, and common elsewhere in the southeast. Highly sociable at all seasons, roosting and feeding in flocks, nesting in large colonies. When groups wade through shallows, probing with their long bills, other wading birds such as egrets may follow them to catch prey stirred up by the ibises.

Florida population much lower than historical levels, and has continued to decline in recent decades. Total range in United States has increased somewhat, with northward spread on Atlantic Coast. Vulnerable to loss of feeding and nesting habitat.

Around their colonies, ibises eat crabs and crayfish, which in turn devour quantities of fish eggs. By keeping down the numbers of crayfish, the birds help increase fish populations.
The main conservation concerns for white ibis are hunting and habitat loss. Birds and eggs are hunted for food. When the colony is disturbed by hunting, adults will leave their nests and the young may die.
When feeding, White Ibis often give a soft, grunting croo, croo, croo as they forage. They may fly up to 15 miles a day in search of food.
A group of ibises has many collective nouns, including a “congregation”, “stand”, and “wedge” of ibises.

American White Ibis

American White Ibis

#ibis #bird #carolina #shorebird #murrellsinlet #southcarolina

Posted in bird, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography, South Carolina