Middleton Meander

It was a beautiful day and I didn’t have much that I had to do so I decided to do it at Middleton Place, one of my favorite low country plantation properties. I bought a very expensive lens (Sigma 135mm F1.8) that I was not sure that I wanted to keep. Running out of my return window time, I ran it through its paces in an effort to make a decision. I think I am going to keep it.

Wintery day in Bryson City, NC

We chose this week to spend some time in the Smoky Mountains, and so far we haven’t seen much of the mountains. I chose to explore the “Road to No-Where” (see sign in last image)! In the 30’s and 40’s Swain County gave up the majority of its private land to the US government for the creation of Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hundreds of families were forced to leave those small mountain communities. Not only were their homes gone, but also the roads leading to those communities. The US government promised to create a new road. Lakeview Drive was to have stretched 30 miles along the north shore of Fontana Lake, from Bryson City to Fontana; providing access to the old family cemeteries. But Lakeview Drive fell victim to an environmental issue and construction was stopped at the tunnel about six miles into the Park. Swain County citizens gave the unfinished Lakeview Drive its popular, but unofficial name, “The Road to Nowhere”. Here are a couple of photos taken along the way.

Battle of Aiken Reenactment

While cleaning up my hard drives recently, I came across a folder containing photos taken in February of 2016 at Powell Pond Road in Aiken, SC. Quoting from the www.battleofaiken.com website:

Since 1995, thousands of spectators travel to Aiken each year to see hundreds of soldiers, and living historians recreate one of the last Confederate victories of the war: The Battle of Aiken. The event commemorates battles that were typical of the engagements during Sherman’s march through Georgia and the Carolinas. The rare Confederate victory in Aiken saved the town from being burned in 1865.

This annual weekend event has been awarded the SC Parks, Recreation, and Tourism’s Governor’s award for Best South Carolina Event. In addition, The Battle was also awarded the Dr. James Butler National Award for being the nation’s Best Living History Program. In addition, Reenactment Guide selected the Battle of Aiken as one of the top 10 Reenactments in America!”

The next one will be held on February 24th – 26th, 2023

Nights of a Thousand Candles

I have wanted to visit Brookgreen Gardens during the Christmas season to view these lights for many years, and I finally made it last evening. Magical doesn’t even adequately describe the experience. Of course I took my camera, but tripods were not allowed, so it wasn’t possible to use it. Sometimes, you are better off taking in the experience with your senses fully engaged, instead of fussing with the technical aspects of photography, so I switched to my trusty Samsung S10 and documented some of the displays. This event sells out well ahead of time, and by now it is pretty much over. Put it on your holiday list of things to do for 2023!

Somebody’s getting a Puppy for Christmas

Blustery Day at the Beach

I had some free time this afternoon and since we are still under a high surf advisory in Charleston, I thought I would take a ride out to see if the surfers were all doing their thing at the Folly Washout. Since there was hardly anyone there, I figured the waves were probably not ideal for surfing, so I headed towards the County Park thinking that I might find some kite surfers there. Sure enough, the beach was pretty much deserted except for a few crazy folks out there defiantly taking on the elements. This guy was having a blast. I could hear him hooping and hollering out to sea as he rode the wind and waves like a wild man. He sure got a workout.

North Carolina in the Fall

Every year I go back to North Carolina at least once during the fall season. It’s definitely my prime “happy place”. This year, a few of us girlfriends rented a house on Lake Summit for a week, near Flat Rock / Zirconia. What a great getaway it was. We explored the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, Brevard, Caesar’s Head State Park, Pearson’s Falls, the Sky Top Orchard for apples, apple pie, apple cider donuts … We took long walks to try and atone for all the food we ate. Just a really good time with good friends.

Bottlenose Dolphin Strand Feeding

This phenomenon occurs most frequently in the fall when the mullet are plentiful in the Kiawah River, and within two hours of low tide either way. It is a practice that has become fairly well known among the locals, and is exciting, fascinating and awe-inspiring to watch. To quote from Kiawah.com’s webpage:

“During low tide, the dolphins will herd a school fish, gradually pushing them closer and closer to the shore of the Kiawah River. As they chase the fish up the bank, they create a wave that then throws them out of the water. The dolphins then push themselves up onto the sand and eat as many fish as they can before sliding back into the water. 

Keep in mind that not all Kiawah Island dolphins know how to strand, however. It seems that this behavior is passed from mother to calf. For reasons unknown to scientists, adult dolphins are not able to learn the feeding technique once they reach a certain age. Because of this, a little less than half of the Island’s dolphin population can perform strand feeding.”

Here are a few pictures of these amazing mammals in action.

The St. Helena Sound, SC

In the heart of the Ace Basin, where the Ashepoo, Combahee, and Edisto Rivers empty into the ocean is where you will find the St. Helena Sound. This is classic low country shoreline, where migrating shore birds gather on fragile sandbars, and where the shrimp trawlers ply the waters, attended by expectant gulls, pelicans, and dolphin. These images were taken yesterday morning as we set off from a Harbor River landing before dawn.

The First Day of Fall

The temperature was no indication that anything was different this morning, no obvious sign that the Northern Hemisphere had quietly drifted into the fall season, but there was fog, the first fog of the season. There’s something mysterious and beautiful about the way fog rises and dips among the trees and across the marshes and creeks. Although not strikingly obvious in these photos, the fog softened the landscape and the distant views of marsh and trees.