Category Archives: South Carolina

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, huntington beach, inlet images, murrells inlet, outdoor, state park

Belin Memorial UMC Garden

I am a member of Belin (pronounced Blaine) Memorial United Methodist Church. It sits right on the inlet of Murrells Inlet and is quite a famous landmark. There is a garden area between the Family Life Center and the cemetery and this garden is tended to by a group of volunteers. These gardening volunteers do a wonderful job year round. 

Although it is still February I was surprised with all the color in our garden. Several different varieties of daffodils, gerbia daisys, and other assorted colorful blooms. 

Pictured below are some of the Gerbia Daisys I found there. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

(click on image for larger view)

yellow gerbias


#murrellsinlet, #belin, #discoversc, #southcarolina, #canon, #myrtlebeach, #mymyrtlebeach, 

Also posted in Belin, flowers, garden, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography, UMC

Full Moon Calendar 2017

Yesterday, January 12th, was the first full moon of 2017. Yesterday was also the first time this year I was asked “When is the next full moon?” 

Many cultures have given distinct names to each recurring full moon. The names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. The Farmer’s Almanac lists several names that are commonly used in the United States. The almanac explains that there were some variations in the moon names, but in general, the same ones were used among the Algonquin tribes from New England on west to Lake Superior. European settlers followed their own customs and created some of their own names.

This is when full moons will occur in 2017, according to NASA:

Date Name U.S. East UTC
Jan. 12 Wolf Moon 6:34 a.m. 11:34
Feb. 10 Snow Moon 7:33 p.m. 00:33 (2/11)
Mar. 12 Worm Moon 10:54 a.m. 15:54
Apr. 11 Pink Moon 2:08 a.m. 07:08
May 10 Flower Moon 5:43 p.m. 22:43
June 9 Strawberry Moon 9:10 a.m. 14:10
July 9 Buck Moon 12:07 a.m. 05:07
Aug. 7 Sturgeon Moon 2:11 p.m. 19:11
Sept. 6 Harvest Moon 3:03 a.m. 08:03
Oct. 5 Hunter’s Moon 2:40 p.m. 19:40
Nov. 4 Beaver Moon 12:23 a.m. 05:23
Dec. 3 Cold Moon 10:47 a.m. 15:47


Other Native American people had different names. In the book “This Day in North American Indian History” (Da Capo Press, 2002), author Phil Konstantin lists more than 50 native peoples and their names for full moons. He also lists them on his website,

Full moon names often correspond to seasonal markers, so a Harvest Moon occurs at the end of the growing season, in September, and the Cold Moon occurs in frosty December. At least, that’s how it works in the Northern Hemisphere.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are switched, the Harvest Moon occurs in March and the Cold Moon is in June. According to, these are common names for full moons south of the equator.

January: Hay Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon, Mead Moon
February (mid-summer): Grain Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Wyrt Moon, Corn Moon, Dog Moon, Barley Moon
March: Harvest Moon, Corn Moon
April: Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon
May: Hunter’s Moon, Beaver Moon, Frost Moon
June: Oak Moon, Cold Moon, Long Night’s Moon
July: Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Ice Moon
August: Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Wolf Moon
September: Worm Moon, Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Sugar Moon, Chaste Moon, Sap Moon
October: Egg Moon, Fish Moon, Seed Moon, Pink Moon, Waking Moon
November: Corn Moon, Milk Moon, Flower Moon, Hare Moon
December: Strawberry Moon, Honey Moon, Rose Moon

Here is a shot I took of last nights Wolf Moon – Aooooooooo

Wolf Moon

Wolf Moon, 1/12/17

Also posted in moon, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography

Super Moon

Step outside on December 14, and take a look at the moon. Not only will the moon be full, but on that day, the moon will be at its closest point to our planet as it orbits Earth. This makes the December full moon a supermoon.

The term supermoon has entered popular consciousness in recent years. Originally a term from modern astrology for a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit, supermoon now refers more broadly to a full moon that is closer to Earth than average. But why is the moon closer to Earth at some times but not others?

Since the moon’s orbit is elliptical, one side (perigee) is about 30,000 miles (50,000 km) closer to Earth than the other (apogee). The word syzygy, in addition to being useful in word games, is the scientific name for when the Earth, sun, and moon line up as the moon orbits Earth. When perigee-syzygy of the Earth-moon-sun system occurs and the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun, we get a perigee moon or more commonly, a supermoon!

This coincidence happens three times in 2016. On October 16 and December 14, the moon becomes full on the same day as perigee. On November 14, it becomes full within about two hours of perigee—arguably making it an extra-super moon.

The full moon of November 14 was not only the closest full moon of 2016 but also the closest full moon to date in the 21st century. The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until November 25, 2034.

The supermoon of December 14 is remarkable for a different reason: it’s going to wipe out the view of the Geminid meteor shower. Bright moonlight will reduce the visibility of faint meteors five to ten fold, transforming the usually fantastic Geminids into an astronomical footnote. Sky watchers will be lucky to see a dozen Geminids per hour when the shower peaks. Oh well, at least the moon will be remarkable.

How remarkable?

A supermoon, or perigee full moon can be as much as 14% bigger and 30% brighter than an apogee full moon. However it’s not always easy to tell the difference. A 30% difference in brightness can easily be masked by clouds or the competing glare of urban lights. Also, there are no rulers floating in the sky to measure lunar diameters. Hanging high overhead with no reference points to provide a sense of scale, one full moon looks much like any other.

Low-hanging moons, on the other hand, can create what’s called a “moon illusion.” When the moon is near the horizon it can look unnaturally large when viewed through trees, buildings, or other foreground objects. The effect is an optical illusion, but that fact doesn’t take away from the experience.

A supermoon is undeniably beautiful as we saw on October 16 and this week November 14. We can see that beauty again on December 14: mark your calendar and enjoy the super moonlight.

super moon above princess super moon over crazy sister marina

Also posted in art and entertainment, marshwalk, murrells inlet, Night photography, outdoor

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

Also posted in bird, murrells inlet, 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.


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.
HBSP-Beach-web Barbados-Beach-Near-Bathsheba-web Barbados-near-Bathsheba-web
Also posted in huntington beach, outdoor, photography

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.


Also posted in bird, causeway, huntington beach, murrells inlet, outdoor, state park Tagged , , , , , |

Pineapple Fountain – A different look

One of the most eye-catching fountains in the whole city, Charleston’s famous Pineapple Fountain stands in Waterfront Park, in the downtown district. The Pineapple Fountain has become one of the city’s most photographed landmarks and symbolizes hospitality.

I have posted this image previously, but this time have taken a different “look” at it. Hope you enjoy it!

Click on image for larger view



Also posted in abstract, art and entertainment, Charleston, Digital Art, outdoor, photography

Cirrocumulus Sunset

Yesterday evening, just before sunset, I walked outside and saw some amazing cloud formations. I instinctively knew that a spectacular sunset was awaiting and I quickly jumped in the car and headed toward Hunting Beach State Park, one of my favorite sunset spots. Along the way I convinced myself that I would not make it in time. So, instead I stopped at the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk and walked out onto Veterans Pier.

The clouds I saw are called Cirrocumulus. Cirrocumulus is one of the three main genus-types of high-altitude tropospheric clouds, which also includes cirrus and cirrostratus. They usually occur at an altitude of 16,000 ft to 39,000 ft. They are small rounded puffs that usually appear in long rows. Cirrocumulus are usually white, but sometimes appear gray. Cirrocumulus clouds are the same size or smaller than the width of your littlest finger when you hold up your hand at arm’s length.

When these clouds cover a lot of the sky, it is called a “mackerel sky” because the sky looks like the scales of a fish. Cirrocumulus are usually seen in the winter time and indicate fair, but cold weather.

I think they made for a spectacular sunset. Check out the images below and tell me what you think!

(click on image for larger view)

Sunset-from-Veterans-Pier-web Sunset-from-Veterans-Pier-with-pier-web

Also posted in art and entertainment, marshwalk, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography, sunset 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, huntington beach, murrells inlet, outdoor, photography