Run Away to Edisto Beach State Park, South Carolina

A boardwalk over the salt marsh in Edisto Beach State Park. This was on the Scott Creek Trail.

A boardwalk over the salt marsh in Edisto Beach State Park. This was on the Scott Creek Trail.

In early March we took our inaugural camper trip to Edisto Beach, SC. We chose Edisto Beach (pronounced EH-dis-toe) because it was relatively close, the campground was only about half-full and had received good reviews, and the surrounding area seemed to present some interesting opportunities for photography. It was a terrific choice!  I’ll write in more detail about the camper experience in a future blog post, but for now, I’ll focus on reviewing the Edisto Beach State Park campground.  We chose to stay in the Live Oak Campground section as opposed to the beach front campground section because we wanted space and privacy—and I think we’ve been spoiled for future campgrounds!

Looking up from our campsite into the trees covered in moss with a blue sky background.

Looking up from our campsite into the trees covered in moss with a blue sky background.

Our site was lovely and shaded and HUGE! It was almost perfectly level and overlooked the salt marsh, giving us a beautiful view of the sunset each night. The site was surrounded by palm trees and vegetation making it feel like our own private oasis.  And we could still hear the ocean!  We stayed in site 118, but there were several near us that looked nearly as private—117, 122, and 124, especially.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we needed to rely on their bathhouse facilities, and thankfully they were very clean and just a short walk away.  The garbage and recycling were on the way to the bathhouse and the dump station was just a short drive from the campground.  The atmosphere was quiet and peaceful and surrounded by nature.

Cardinal

A cardinal that I kept stalking on the trails around out campsite.

We took advantage of some of the trails from the campground that took us through the marshes and out to a boardwalk along the river.  We only passed two people on bikes and a number of cardinals, bluejays, and other birds. We explored the salt marshes and the beach and the park via quiet, well-maintained, and serene paths—most of which took us through or near the campground.  There was not a lot of activity or people—just the way we like it.  For a few days, life moved along at a different time, perfect if you are looking for a relaxed, slow-paced time away from it all.  We also explored Botany Bay Plantation and the beach there—just gorgeous.  See Dave’s blog on Botany-Bay for more on that magical, pristine, other-worldly location!

Michelle being spooky in one of the trees at Botany Bay Plantation, SC.

Michelle being spooky in one of the trees at Botany Bay Plantation, SC.

Our eldest Brittany, Marduk taking advantage of some off leash time at the beach. The sign said dogs could not be off leash in peak season: yet another reason to plan trips in the off season!

Our eldest Brittany, Marduk taking advantage of some off leash time at the beach. The sign said dogs could not be off leash in peak season: yet another reason to plan trips in the off season!

I should add the disclaimer that we like the beach best when it is deserted and a little chilly! Edisto Beach, SC is a lovely little area and we appreciated the general lack of commercialization.  Our dogs were able to run off-leash on the beach and had a blast (dogs must be on-leash May-October)! Most of the time we had the place to ourselves, except for the occasional kayaker or sea gull. We even had one night out for seafood at a fun little restaurant called Seacow Eatery—great pie and friendly staff!

Golden Hour at the Big Bay Creek at Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina. This was taken on the boardwalk that crosses the salt marsh.

Golden Hour at the Big Bay Creek at Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina. This was taken on the boardwalk that crosses the salt marsh. Print Available.

Botany Bay? Botany Bay! … Oh no!

On our first trip in the camper to Edisto Beach, SC, Michelle mentioned going to Botany Bay Plantation. I knew I had heard that name somewhere before, and I kept racking my brain to figure it out. Turns out, that SS Botany Bay is the name of Kahn’s ship in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (and later in Star Trek: Into Darkness). Of course that name came from the original Botany Bay in Australia, which was a penal colony. After discovering the geeky nature of my recollection, I repeatedly quoted this line from Pavel Chekov when he discovers the identity of the mysterious marooned ship.

When Michelle showed me pictures of the old trees on the beach, I couldn’t wait to get there to capture the sunrise. Of course, the weather didn’t cooperate very well … or maybe it did. A dense layer of fog blanketed the sun. This gave a certain mystical and lonely quality to the shots that I had not anticipated, but that I thoroughly enjoyed. The fog was like a giant softbox, giving even lighting over the trees and lightly shrouding the other objects in a distance. This really helped me isolate my subjects and also gave me an interesting canvas in the background to use various processing techniques and textures. I processed all of the following shots with a combination of MacPhun’s Tonality Pro and Karen Hutton‘s and Tanya Wallis’ forthcoming texture pack.

We have several more images from the Botany Bay Plantation shoot on the way, but I am grouping them in different blog posts. The area has so many types of landscapes: bogs, marshes, ponds, streams, dense forest, farmland, and beaches. It really was a great place to practice a variety of landscape and nature shots.

This was one of my telephoto images with the a6000. I used a basic black and white conversion in Tonality Pro and added the Bursty Blur texture from the texture pack.

This was one of my telephoto images with the a6000. I used a basic black and white conversion in Tonality Pro and added the Bursty Blur texture from the texture pack. Print Available.

i had some fun with the wide angle distortion on this one! I liked the effect that the Sandy Cool texture had on it. It seemed to fit the beach theme.

i had some fun with the wide angle distortion on this one! I liked the effect that the Sandy Cool texture had on it. It seemed to fit the beach theme. Print Available.

I went for an authentic Ceti Alpha 5 look to this one, with the reddish goodness. To add texture, I used "Face it - Scratched" from the texture pack.

I went for a Ceti Alpha 5 look to this one, with the reddish goodness. To add texture, I used “Face it – Scratched” from the texture pack. Print Available.

Since I saw the name "Alien Skin Burn" in the texture pack, I've always wanted to use it. It seemed to fit the mood of this photo very well.

Since I saw the name “Alien Skin Burn” in the texture pack, I’ve always wanted to use it. It seemed to fit the mood of this photo well. Print Available.

After the split tone processing in Tonality Pro, I added the "Cold Skin" texture to this photo. It enhanced the blue tones and added a cool vignette.

After the split tone processing in Tonality Pro, I added the “Cold Skin” texture to this photo. It enhanced the blue tones and added a cool vignette. Print Available.

One of my favorite split-tone presets in Tonality Pro is "Blue Morning." Split-toning involves taking a black and white image and adding two different tints to the shadows and the highlights. In this case, the shadows get a blue tint, and the highlights get a golden tint. I decided not to use a texture on this one.

One of my favorite split-tone presets in Tonality Pro is “Blue Morning.” Split-toning involves taking a black and white image and adding two different tints to the shadows and the highlights. In this case, the shadows get a blue tint, and the highlights get a golden tint. I decided not to use a texture on this one because I liked the contrast between the textured ocean and the smooth sky. Print Available.

All images © 2015 Garber Geektography

2014 Fall Fun Fest Chronicles Chapter Two: Conasauga Falls and Family Photo Shoot

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Some crazy fun chaos on a blanket!

The Fall 2014 adventures of Garber Geektography continued last weekend with a family shoot and a “quick” two mile hike. We started off the weekend with a fun shoot with our friends Carra and Brian at Alexander Park in Gwinnett County, GA. The light was great to work with in the fields of tall grass. It was a crazy fun shoot, since Carra and Brian have one-year old twins, a toddler, and a four-year-old. They have such a great family.

Walking towards the sunset.

Walking towards the sunset.

The deceptively easy trail.

The deceptively easy trail.

We spent most of the weekend indoors with my family cheering on Duke, Baylor, and Texas A&M. Yes, that is an eclectic mix. Our cousin, David Helton, plays linebacker for Duke, so there is one connection. I graduated from Baylor, and, oh my, was that a great comeback, or what? My sister and her husband are Aggies, so we pulled for them despite the loss.

A detail shot of the Falls that Michelle directed. We had to put up one camera since it isn't weather sealed.

A detail shot of the Falls that Michelle directed. We had to put up one camera since it isn’t weather sealed.

On our way home from the Knoxville area, we stopped off at Conasauga Falls for what we thought was going to be quick two-mile, in-and-back hike. The first part of the hike was deceptively easy, with a gradual downhill slope and some switchbacks.

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The cascades of Conasauga Falls with some hints of autumn color.

The golden light at the end of the tunnel?

The golden light at the end of the tunnel?

 

It got a little more slippery as we approached the falls at the bottom. But the hike was definitely worth it when we got there.

Of course, we need to remember that when you hike down to the bottom of the falls, it means you need to hike back up. We stopped along the way for a few shots to catch our breath. One lesson we learned is that when the hiking trail fairies provide you with walking sticks, you should take them up on their offer. It might have lessened the burden.

On the way back up, Michelle pointed out the cool textures in these wooden waves.

Waves in the wood.

Waves in the wood.