Category Archives: South Carolina

Featured Photographer – Jason Bennett

Today’s Featured Photographer is Jason Bennett. Jason and his wife, Erica, own a small video and photography company called Docent Prodigy in Charleston, SC.  The historic surroundings and southern charm of the area provide an easy and inviting canvas on which to paint a photographer’s vision.  Jason has worked in the TV industry for 15 years and branched out into fine art photography as well as portraiture as a way to expand his skills and express himself in new and exciting ways.

To see more about Jason, you can catch him at these links: 

Here are some images that Jason has shared with us. Click on image for larger view:
Docent Prodigy - Diamonds Sunset Docent Prodigy - IOP Pier Docent Prodigy - Pass Time Docent Prodigy - Pineapple Doecnt Prodigy - Morris Island Lighthouse

Featured Photographer – Maria Delaney

WOW! It’s October already! Where has this year gone? Our Featured Photographer today is Maria Delaney! Here’s what Maria has to say about herself –

Sharing my images and some of my once in a lifetime shots with everyone has become one of my passions. I enjoy capturing the intense colors just before the sun peeks out and brightens the beach and marshes as well as the beautiful sunrises.
I am a published and an award winning photographer who calls Pawleys Island, SC home. My photographs depict glorious nature scenes, beach residents, wildlife, and city scenes that are viewed around the world. My husband and I are S.C.U.T.E. volunteers dedicated to sea turtle conservation. A portion of the sale proceeds from turtle images are used to educate people about these endangered species and to support the adoption of an injured sea turtle.

Four of my photos, Breach, Frolicking, Lunch Time, and Volcano were selected and are being immortalized on the cruise ship, The Royal Princess.
I am a member of the Carolina’s Nature Photographers Association and am on the Board of Directors for Seacoast Artist Guild and the Seacoast Mall Gallery Director at Murrells Inlet.

Here are a few images Maria has chosen to share with us:

Click on image for larger view.

Volcano Pink Glory Lunch Time Frolicking Breach


Featured Photographer – Kenny McKeithan

My Featured Photographer today is Kenny McKeithan!

Kenny’s interest in photography began when his parents bought him his first box camera while he was still a kid. He taught himself photography in those early years, and when he was old enough, began working in local camera shops, learning all he could about the many different aspects of photography. Kenny is an award-winning photographer whose portfolio includes fashion and glamour images, portraits, and aviation images. His favorite work is wildlife and nature photography. He is an instructor at the Charleston Center for Photography, a Regional Co-Coordinator for the Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association, and leads photography workshops throughout the southeast.

Kenny’s work can be seen at his website and on his
FaceBook page:

Here are some images that Kenny has shared with us.
Click on image for larger view:

ACE Basin Forest Abstract IMG_2964-4-Edit-Edit Strike View from the Summit KMP_4245

Featured Photographer – Donna Allen Fiocca

Over the next month or so I will be featuring other photographers for you. Some are strictly hobbyists who simply enjoy creating photographic images and sharing them with others. Some will be seasoned professionals whom I have asked to showcase some of their work here for your pleasure. If it applies, I will include links to websites or other venues where you can see more of an artists work. I hope you will enjoy these “features” and if you have the chance, let the artists know you saw their work here and enjoyed it!

FIRST FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER (drum roll please)……….



Donna is a dedicated hobbyist who loves trying new and different techniques. Although a yankee by birth, she has found her true home in South Carolina and you can see that love reflected in her photography. Donna is an active member of the Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association where her images have often won praise and awards.  

Here are some of her favorite images. Click on image for larger view:

FioccaD_Atalya FioccaD_FlightOfTheBubmleBee FioccaD_MiddletonHouse FioccaD_MooreFarmsPond FioccaD_PawleysIslandBeach

Shrimp Boats

The commercial fishery in South Carolina is dominated by shrimp boats (trawlers), which may range in length from 17 to 85 feet. The larger boats are the most recognizable and account for most of the shrimp caught in the fishery. Trawling is allowed only in the ocean, except for limited periods during fall when trawlers may work in the lower areas of Winyah and North Santee Bays. Most shrimpers work within three or four miles of the beach.

The commercial shrimp trawling fishery has three basic seasons. The first is the so-called roe shrimp season in May or June.This season is opened when management biologists determine that an adequate supply of eggs has been spawned. The roe shrimp season is usually less than a month in duration and landings are dependent upon the severity of the previous winter. Following mild winters, heads-off landings are often 400 to 600 thousand pounds. Following severe winters, landings of roe shrimp are usually less than 50 thousand pounds and often zero.

The second season is for brown shrimp. This fishery usually begins in June and ends in August, although significant quantities of brown shrimp have been landed in October when stock abundance was very high. Good years for brown shrimp have landings of 1.3 to 2.0 million pounds (heads off).

The fall white shrimp season is typically the largest except in years following severe winters. These shrimp are the offspring of the spring spawn. Landings of young white shrimp by the commercial fleet usually begin in August and peak in September and October. The season usually lasts through December and into January in some years.

You can learn more about the South Carolina shrimping industry when you follow this link!

Shown below is an image I captured of the Miss Nichole, ready to go get some more shrimp!

Click on image for larger view:

shrimp boat

Belin Memorial United Methodist Church

Belin Memorial United Methodist Church, named for the Reverend James L. Belin, Methodist Minister and benefactor to the entire Waccamaw Neck, was built in 1925 with materials salvaged from the dismantling of the Oatland Methodist Church near Pawleys Island. Mrs. W.L. Oliver was instrumental in having the building literally moved piece by piece to the present site. The work was done during the ministry of the Reverend W.T. Bedenbaugh who lived at Cedar Hill parsonage. The church sanctuary was first renovated in 1955 during the ministry of the Reverend J. H. Armburst. In 1967, an education and administration building was completed during  the pastorate of the Reverend Needham Williamson. In 1977, the sanctuary was moved approximately 75 ft. to the center of the Cedar Hill location and more than doubled in size. This ambitious project was completed in  the spring of 1978 during the pastorate of the Reverend Wesley Farr.

In 1991, during the ministry of the Reverend W. Robert Morris, the Belin Church family approved plans for the construction of a new sanctuary to be designed to mirror the older structure. The first worship service was held in the new sanctuary on September 6, 1992, by the Reverend Harold P. Lewis, newly appointed pastor of Belin. On May 2, 1993, a Belin church conference voted to donate the original Belin sanctuary to the Joseph B. Bethea United Methodist Church located off Highway 501, west of Myrtle Beach. The indebtedness on the new sanctuary was quickly and gracefully paid off, and the church was dedicated on March 29, 1998, by Bishop J. Lawrence

Almost immediately, the Belin family of faith determined to build a state-of-the-art Family Life Center, and it was completed and consecrated on December 12, 1999, under the leadership of the Reverend Harold P. Lewis.
Belin Memorial United Methodist Church is now a congregation of more than 2,000 members with an ongoing vision for both the present and the future.

Shown below is the present day (September 2013) Belin Memorial UMC Sanctuary as it appears at night.

Click on image for larger view:

Belin Memorial UMC

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

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

Pitcher Plants

As mentioned in earlier posts, I am a member of the Carolinas’ Nature Photographers Association (CNPA). Just the other day some of us were lucky enough to be invited to a private botanical garden not far from home. One type of plant found there is something you don’t see everyday – the Pitcher Plant! Specifically Sarracenia! There are several species of Sarracenia, nine I believe, as well as hybrids.

Most of the species have erect and tubular pitchers. The pitchers are modified leaves. Insects are attracted to the pitchers because they mimic flowers—the pitchers are brightly colored, and are endowed with sugar-exuding glands called extrafloral nectaries (i.e. nectar sites that are not in flowers). It is significant that the pitcher coloration and distribution of nectaries are usually strongest near the pitcher opening—a dangerous place for incoming insects!

Crawling insects make their way from the ground up to the pitcher opening, where they greedily dine on the large number of sugary secretions on the pitcher lip. Having reached the pitcher mouth, creeping animals are at great risk of falling into the pitcher, and this is of course what happens to a certain, small fraction of the visitors. Meanwhile, flying insects usually land on either the pitcher lip or, very frequently, on the pitcher lid. The nectar glands on the top surface of the lid are most densely distributed along its edge, tempting the foraging insects to the lid’s circumference. There are even more nectar glands on the underside of the lid, so soon the insects find themselves dining in a most precarious and dangerous place—hanging upside down, directly over the plant’s maw.

Despite common misperception, the lid on erect species does not slap closed on prey. The lid functions as a landing pad and probably also as a rain shield to protect the pitcher from being overfilled by rainwater.

Bugs that fall into the pitchers are in serious trouble, as the inner surface of the pitcher is extremely slippery. Furthermore, it is a narrow, erect tube so flying insects (most of which do the majority of their flying laterally, instead of hovering) crash back and forth into the pitcher walls and, loosing control, they career into the pitcher depths. Deeper into the pitcher, downward-pointing hairs on the pitcher walls prevent escape by those prey that try to climb to freedom. The bottom of the pitchers is filled with fluid (sometimes lacking in plants cultivated in less-ideal conditions). These fluids are filled with digestive enzymes. Obviously I have only given you an introduction to what is a much more complicated situation.

Shown below are three different types of Sarracenia that I was able to shoot. I hope you enjoy these amazing plants!

Great Egrets

This long-legged, S-necked white bird is found throughout the Americas and around much of the world. It is typically the largest white egret occurring anywhere in its range (only the white-colored form of the great blue heron is larger).

Great egrets are found near water, salt or fresh, and feed in wetlands, streams, ponds, tidal flats, and other areas. They snare prey by walking slowly or standing still for long periods, waiting for an animal to come within range of their long necks and blade-like bills. The deathblow is delivered with a quick thrust of the sharp bill, and the prey is swallowed whole. Fish are a dietary staple, but great egrets use similar techniques to eat amphibians, reptiles, mice, and other small animals.

These birds nest in trees, near water and gather in groups called colonies, which may include other heron or egret species. They are monogamous, and both parents incubate their three to four eggs. Young egrets are aggressive towards one another in the nest, and stronger siblings often kill their weaker kin so that not all survive to fledge in two to three weeks.

The great egret is the symbol of the National Audubon Society and represents a conservation success story. The snowy white bird’s beautiful plumage made it far too popular in 19th-century North America. Great egrets were decimated by plume hunters who supplied purveyors of the latest ladies’ fashions. Their populations plunged by some 95 percent. Today the outlook is much brighter. The birds have enjoyed legal protection over the last century, and their numbers have increased substantially.

This image was captured at Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. Enjoy!

Click on image for larger view: