Category Archives: huntington beach

Along the Causeway

The causeway at Huntington Beach State Park is a great place even if you don’t have a lot of time. Today was another rainy, grey, dreary kind of day and I took advantage in a break in the rain to make a run to the causeway. It was also low tide so I was hopeful that there would be a lot of feeding activity from the local birds. I was also hopeful that I would see a Rosette Spoonbill as one has been seen the past several days.

Much to my disappointment there was not a lot of activity AND the Spoonbill had not made an appearance, at least not while I was there. I was able to get a few shots and thought I would share them with you.

swimming gator gator head observation deck egret ibis orb spider

Also posted in art and entertainment, inlet images, murrells inlet, outdoor, South Carolina, state park

The Egret and The Eel

This morning along the causeway at Huntington Beach State Park was dark and stormy. I had gone over to check out the wildlife action. Approaching storms kept action to a minimum. This afternoon after the storms moved on I went back. When I first got there, there was a Great Egret patiently watching for a late lunch. All of a sudden the Egret struck and came up with an Eel. Nice Catch! Well Mr. Eel was not going to go down the hatch so easily. It was a struggle. In fact at one point Mr. Eel had himself wrapped around the Egrets bill! But the Egret was determined and eventually had his lunch!

Egret-and-Eel-web Egret-and-Eel-2-web Egret-no-Eel-web

Also posted in bird, causeway, outdoor, photography

Tips for Beach Photos

The following is a repeat of a an article I posted almost four years ago. With beach season now upon us , I thought it might be a good time to kick it back to the forefront.

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Are your holiday snaps by-the-sea often disappointing? Beach images can seem repetitive, with little more than the water’s edge and shore, or people on the beach. With a change of focus, your beach photos can be turned into unique and original images. This article highlights the most important steps to follow when taking seaside photographs.

1. Take a look at your surroundings and look for a focal point. While the seaside as a whole is beautiful to the naked eye when you’re actually on the beach, it is less interesting as a photograph because the viewer sees only a wide, open space featuring blue sky, blue sea, and yellow sand – a fairly predictable scene. To provide something on which the eye immediately comes to rest within a photograph, find a “focal point” – this is the art of focusing on something out of the ordinary to bring the beach shot to life:

  • Find the focal point of interest – a shoe, a beach umbrella, a fish and chip wrapper, your child’s toes, prints across the sand, a sandcastle, etc. Good focal points are often brightly coloured, or vary in hue from the other colours in the picture.
  • Find natural features of interest – some pebbles, rippling sand, the wave breaking at the water’s edge, palm trees, shells, seaweed, etc.
  • Find something out at sea of interest – perhaps a boat with bright sails, seals playing, or a jumping dolphin.
  • Note that anything moving across water can create interesting ripples (a bird, sea creature, boat, or wind, can all create this effect), and movement in the water will distort anything reflecting in the sea water, which can heighten interest of the photograph in good light.
2. Avoid putting the horizon in the center. Centering the horizon can give the viewer a sensation that the photo has been sliced in half, which can be disorienting, as long, unbroken horizons contain little of interest in a photo. Instead, break down the image into thirds (the “rule of thirds”), both horizontally and vertically, to create nine equal parts to your image. Keep the horizon square to the framing of your shot, in order to avoid a sloping effect.
When imagining the division of the image, focus on where the lines intersect – according to this classical rule of composition, these intersections create the optimum positions for the main subjects of your image.
3. Frame your picture. Look around you. Ask yourself what points of interest you can include in the photo. For example, are there any rocks, trees, beach houses, piers, etc., that you can use to add a natural frame to the picture? If so, use them. For example, framing a sea shot through trees can be particularly effective if you have a focal point out at sea, such as a boat.
4. Use differing levels and angles. Don’t just shoot straight on, mix the angles up a bit. Aim for something kooky, funky and interesting. Get down low to photograph children and their beach activities, stand up high to take a tree, or lie down under a pier.
5. Use colour to break up the blues and yellows of a beach scene. Blue, more blue, perhaps some yellow: beaches aren’t the most imaginative places colour-wise. This makes it important to capitalise on any splashes of colour. Vibrant colours will really stand out, and make your photo look doubly attractive.
  • For a DSLR, consider using a UV filter. This will reduce the atmospheric haze that is increased by the blueness of the sea.
  • Again for a DSLR lens, use a polarizing filter to reduce reflections and boost the contrasting shades. This can help to improve skies and ocean water by making them a darker blue.
6. Choose the best times of day to take beach photos. When the sun’s riding high it might be a nice time for sunbathing, but it’s the worst time of day for decent photos as the light is too strong and bright. The best times of day for beach photos are at the beginning and end of the day, especially around sunrise and sunset. The sun resting on the horizon looks brilliant, and it’s hard not to take a decent snap at these times. As an added bonus, you will have less people on the beach at these times of day.

 

  • Morning air is usually still and the light is quiet, delicate and diffuse until the sun rises. Early morning light changes rapidly with the sun rising, so expect your exposure times to change rapidly and to move quickly to capture the special moments.
  • Evening light often has a warm glow that provides intense gold and rose colours. Haze and shadows are common features that you can draw on as the day draws to an end.
  • Take care not to include your own shadow when taking photographs early and late in the day when the sun’s shadows are at their longest; check around the whole frame to make sure you’re not forming a part of the picture! You can easily rectify this by moving to a different position.
7. Make the most of non-sunny days. Windswept, threatening weather can create incredible, mood-infused photos at the beach. With nobody about, you can take uninterrupted views and dramatic views of dark clouds and stormy seas.
  • Mist, fogs, and haze can all work to your advantage in creating interesting features.

  • Try shooting in black and white, or flip it to black and white using a photo program such as Photoshop when you get home to cover the overcast, cloudy, sky and make things look a whole lot more atmospheric.
  • Just after a storm moves through can produce dramatic light contrasts.
8. HAVE FUN!
HBSP-Beach-web Barbados-Beach-Near-Bathsheba-web Barbados-near-Bathsheba-web
Also posted in outdoor, photography, South Carolina

Great Egret

Formerly known as the “American Egret,” “Common Egret,” “Large Egret,” “White Egret,” “Great White Egret,” and “Great White Heron,” this bird’s official name in North America is now Great Egret. One of the most magnificent of our herons, it has fortunately recovered from historic persecution by plume hunters. But it is still not out of danger: The destruction of wetlands, especially in the West where colonies are few and widely scattered, poses a current threat to these majestic birds. Like the Great Blue Heron, it usually feeds alone, stalking fish, frogs, snakes, and crayfish in shallow water. Each summer many individuals, especially young ones, wander far north of the breeding grounds.

While making a quick run through Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, this afternoon, I spotted a Great Egret who had just caught a fingerling mullet. I was able to get a quick shot off and capture the event before the little mullet disappeared “down the hatch”.

Click on image for larger view.

Egret-with-fish-web

Also posted in bird, causeway, murrells inlet, outdoor, South Carolina, state park Tagged , , , , , |

Wood Storks and Ibis

Late yesterday afternoon I went to the causeway at Huntington Beach State Park to shoot the sunset. I went a little early with the hope of being able to shoot some of the many birds and ‘gators that frequent the area. Tucked back away off to the side I spotted these Wood Storks looking for their dinner. A close look showed that the Wood Storks had been joined by two Ibis!

Click image for larger view:

Wood-Storks-and-2-Ibis-web

Also posted in bird, causeway, inlet images, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography Tagged , , , , , , |

Birds in Flight

I often admire beautiful shots others take of birds in flight. To me, an image of a bird flying is much more interesting than a bird standing around in muck. However, photographing birds in flight takes a lot of skill developed from a lot of practice. I need a lot of practice. My skills at catching birds in flight suck.

This evening I ventured over to Huntington Beach State Park. At the time I was there, there was not a lot of bird activity, but I was able to practice some Bird in Flight shots. Below are a few that didn’t turn out too poorly, but as you can see I still need a LOT of practice with this genre.

Click on each image for larger view:

Bird-in-Flight-web Egret-on-Patrol-web Heron-in-Flight-web Wood-Stork-in-Flight2-web Wood-Stork-in-Flight-webIbis-in-flight-web

Also posted in bird, causeway, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography, South Carolina

Grand Strand Magazine

About a month ago, representatives from the Grand Strand Magazine contacted me asking for permission to use one of my images in their publication. The image they wanted was a sunset taken on New Years Eve 2013 – the last sunset of the year. We did the paperwork, giving them permission to publish the image. They told me that the image would be in the Aug/Sep issue, in their “Vistas” section.

Well, the Aug/Sep issue hit the newsstands yesterday and although i was expecting the picture to be in the magazine I DID NOT expect it to be a FULL TWO PAGES!

WOW! Knowing the picture would be there was kinda anti-climatic but seeing it as a TWO PAGE entry was exciting all over again!

Since many of you live out of area and will not see the magazine, here is the shot that was printed!  Click on image for larger view.

Last-Sunset-web

Also posted in art and entertainment, causeway, murrells inlet, outdoor

“D” is for

D is for DUCKS!

I have been tending to a very bad knee the past week or so and have not been able to get out and shoot for this project. Managed to get out briefly this morning and i think you will like the results!

As you know from previous posts, Huntington Beach State Park is not far from the house and provides a plethora of photographic opportunities. All week as I was “nursing” my knee, I watched with jealousy as photographer friends were having fun shooting ducks and pelicans and swans and sunsets and eagles. I made a quick and only slightly painful trip to the park this morning and was greeted by Redhead Ducks, Hooded Mergansers and Bufflehead ducks. The Buffleheads alluded my camera but I did get a few shots that you can see below. I have included some “duck facts” to go along with them. Hope you enjoy!

Click on image for larger view.

hoodedMerganser1-web

The hooded merganser (seen above) is the smallest of the three merganser species occurring in North America. Male hooded mergansers have a large white crest surrounded by black. The top of the head, neck and back are all black, and the chest, breast and belly are white. Wavy black lines can be seen on the tawny sides and flanks. The hindback, rump and tail are dark brown. The long, narrow, serrated bill is black. The iris is bright yellow and the legs and feet are dull yellow. Female hooded mergansers have a gray-brown head and neck with a reddish-brown crest. Gray pervades their neck, chest, sides and flanks, and brownish-black dominates their back, rump and tail. The upper bill is black-edged with orange and the lower bill is yellow. The legs and feet are greenish in color and the iris is brown.

 

redhead2-web redhead-duck-pair-3a-webThe two images above are Redhead Ducks. Male redheads have a reddish head and upper neck with a black lower neck, foreback and breast. The remaining back is a dark grayish color. The hind back and tail are brownish-black. A broad band of light gray extends across the dusky gray wing and out onto the primaries, which helps distinguish it from scaup. The legs and feet are gray, and the bill is light blue-gray with a whitish band behind a relatively wide black tip. The male call resembles the “meow” of a cat. Female redheads have a reddish-brown head, neck and breast, with a buff white chin and throat and an indistinct eye ring and stripe behind the eye. The flanks are warm brown, contrasting little with the breast, but with buffer fringes. The upper parts are darker and duller brown, with the upper-wing-coverts browner than on the male; otherwise the wing is similar to that of the male. The bill is duller than the male’s, but similar in pattern.

OK, “E” is next – stay tuned!

Also posted in causeway, murrells inlet, outdoor, Project A-Z

Last Sunset

This is the last sunset of 2013. Although the clouds were abundant I decided to try to capture this momentous occasion. Went to the causeway at Huntington Beach State Park. The clouds kept rolling in, so I actually shot this just a bit before actual sunset. Hope you enjoy!

Watch for my posts on my A-Z project!

Click image for larger view.

 

Last-Sunset-web

Also posted in art and entertainment, causeway, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography, South Carolina

Featured Photographer – Terry Shoemaker

Todays Featured Photographer is Murrells Inlet artist Terry Shoemaker moved to Murrells Inlet in 2007 from Pennsylvania.  He really enjoys the wildlife at Huntington Beach State Park and it became his main photographic interest. In the last couple years he also found a lot of the natural beauty in the area from the historic tobacco barns and related farm buildings to plantations and seascapes. Terry is an active member of the Carolinas’ Nature Photography Association where he is quick to share his skills and knowledge with others.

More of his images can be seen at:

His Fine Art Site: http://cameranut68.artistwebsites.com/

His Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/archer01/

His Charleston Art Shop page: https://www.charlestonartshop.com/artist-terry-shoemaker?page=1

Here are some images that Terry has shared with you.

Click on image for larger view:

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Also posted in art and entertainment, causeway, CNPA, Featured Photographer, murrells inlet, Night photography, outdoor