Last month my wife and I spent a number of weeks in the eastern portion of South Carolina with Garden City Beach acting as our home base. In the summer the Grand Strand area of the state is a renowned ‘sun and sand’ destination. In February, with temperatures often hovering in the 35 to 55 degree Fahrenheit range many days (2-13 degrees Celsius) – sun and sand isn’t on most people’s minds! I spent some time at Murrells Inlet photographing pelicans and other birds, and my wife and I did some exploration south of Myrtle Beach during our stay.
Within about a two hour drive of Myrtle Beach there are some interesting places to visit and this article shares a few images from four specific locations: historic Charleston, Beider Forest, Brookgreen Gardens, and the Center for Birds of Prey.
While I have visited Brookgreen Gardens in the past I spent quite a bit more time there during this visit, specifically focusing on landscape image opportunities. The affordable admission fee of $15 allows for repeat visits for 7 days which allowed us to spend more in-depth time exploring different areas of the grounds.
There are over 1,400 pieces of sculpture on display throughout the grounds and in the various buildings at Brookgreen Gardens. Staffed by dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers the facility provides visitors with a wide range of photographic opportunities. Landscape image opportunities are plentiful at Brookgreen Gardens…
Incorporating some of the brick structures and walkways can add a period feel to photographs.
If you love the appearance of stately oaks adorned with Spanish moss, Brookgreen Gardens has some beautiful examples.
We spent a few hours at Beider Forest which is located in Four Holes Swamp in the Harleyville area of South Carolina.
It is an eerily silent place during the winter months. My wife and I strolled along the entire 1.75 mile (2.8 km) length of the boardwalk, stopping at the various information signs and reading through the laminated reference material we borrowed at the information centre. After Hurricane Hugo ripped through the area on September 21, 1989 much of the boardwalk had to be rebuilt. At various times of the year tours of Beider Forest can be arranged including experiencing the swamp from the surface of the water while in kayaks and canoes.
We learned that swamps are not the insect-ridden, smelly, muddy places we thought they were.
The water in a swamp flows much of the time so mosquitos tend to avoid laying their eggs in these locations. Rather than having muddy bottoms like marshes, swamps tend to have bottoms made of hard-packed sand. And, frequent flooding tends to cleanse the swamp by washing debris away.
While at Beider Forest I was lucky enough to get some useable images of a ruby crowned kinglet. My wife spotted him in a tree less than 10 feet (3m) away while we were sitting in the Goodson Lake observation tower. Luckily my 1 Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom has a comparatively short minimum focusing distance and I was able to capture about a half dozen images as the tiny bird flitted constantly from branch to branch for a minute or two before he flew off.
Just north of Charleston you’ll find the Center for Birds of Prey. This is another informative and educational place to visit.
There are 15 display buildings at the facility, 12 of which are currently housing almost 60 species of birds of prey. The bird collection has specimens from North American, South American, Africa and Asia so there is an interesting selection to view. The two buildings in the above image contain the owl exhibits.
Well-informed volunteers conduct tours of part of the facility and provide information about various species of birds.
A flying demonstration is done with a small selection of birds including a vulture, hawk, falcon, kite and an owl.
The birds are equipped with radio trackers which are sometimes needed to locate the birds since they are flying completely free of any enclosures during the demonstration.
Since the birds are flying in the open their licensed handlers needed to keep an eye out for wild red-tailed hawks and bald eagles which have been known to swoop down to try to attack the birds used in the demonstrations.
Photographing the captive birds is a bit of a challenge since it is not possible to get right up to the mesh of the enclosures. Unless the birds are at the right distance it is difficult not to have some residual effects of the mesh appear in images.
One of the last things we did during our recent trip to South Carolina was visit the historic area of Charleston.
We took about 3 hours and did a leisurely walking tour of the area which allowed my wife to experience the various gardens and stately mansions up close, while affording me more image opportunities.
Unfortunately it clouded over during our brief time in Charleston, but at least we were able to complete our walking tour before it began to rain.
I loved not only the grandeur of the architecture, but also all of the wonderful, historic details that can be photographed.
The next time you visit the eastern portion of South Carolina from Myrtle Beach south to Charleston be sure to set aside some time to explore some of the sights situated away from the beaches, and take advantage of the many opportunities to capture some images. There is a such a wide variety of subject matter that most photographers will find something of interest.
Article and all images Copyright Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication of any kind, or adaptation is allowed without written consent.
Any news on Nikon 1 v update? I wish they’d continue this system.It’s soo good…
Haven’t heard anything for a while. I wouldn’t think we’ll see anything until at least September this year…
Nice article and excellent photos revealing the capability of Nikon 1 system which is a good travel gear.
Thanks Mohan! Glad you liked them!
Great article and great images, it looks like a nice place to visit.
You really “bring out the best”, in the Nikon 1 system.
Glad you enjoyed the article and images John! Thanks for the Nikon 1 comment…much appreciated. I’ve been shooting with the Nikon 1 system for a while now which really helps understanding how to shoot with it, and how to post process RAW files. It is a lot different than what I used to do with my D800 RAWs!
I enjoy reading your posts, and viewing your photographs! They ooze with humility, simplicity, and artistry.
Thank you for your most generous comment Kam!
I have to say I’m impressed by the quality of that camera. Nice shots !
Thanks Braj! Glad you enjoyed the images!
Looks like you may be a snow bird, try out Georgia at Jekyll Island (a state park) a great place to winter, you will never put your camera down for no two days are the same all day or all night. Get around by electric Red Bug or bike deep into woods or along the critter filled beaches.
even a campground for a base camp,
Where only when the weather turns bad do you have the time to post process your captures!
Not to advertise but it would be nice to meet up with some other photographers that feel the call to get on a bike at 4 or 5 in the morning to get a sunrise or milky way capture or skip dinner to get a wonderful sunset or stay out all night in June or July for 10 to 15 day stretches going from place to place in a Red Bug following the milky way around the island. The turtles, the birds, the driftwood, the moon – just bring a lot of Skin So Soft for the no see me’s and clear plastic bags to change your lenses in. You would think I live there but no I also just visit! Not trying to twist your arm or anything!! Hope to meet you sometime!
Our most recent trip was a ‘snowbird experiment’. My wife and I both came to the same conclusion…we’re just not snowbird material! We like to be far too active to settle into one location for any length of time. Thanks for sharing the images and your thoughts on Jekyll Island…looks like a place we may like to visit, perhaps as part of a Florida tour.
Thank You Thomas. Great pictures with reasonable equipment.
I’m glad you enjoyed them Bengt!
P.S. I am wondering if you have any plans to test the new Olympus Zuiko 300mm Pro on an OMD EM1, as a comparison to what you can achieve with your Nikon 1 V2.
I don’t have any access to Olympus gear so this isn’t something that I have any plans to do. I’m not sure whether someone else on the Photography Life team may be planning on doing a review of that particular lens.
It looks like a promising and reasonable alternative to reach 600mm.
Great pictures Thomas!
What kind of camera and lens did you use?
I’m glad you enjoyed the images! All photographs were taken with a Nikon 1 V2. Many of the images in the article were taken with the 1 Nikon 10-100mm f/4-5.6. The bird images were captured with a 1 Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6. The 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm f/3.5-5.6 was also used for a couple of images. The EXIF data on each image identifies specific gear used.
You are welcome!
Thanks for the information. I meant more (because I didn’t know that kind of camera), it is a mirrorless camera ?
What are the advantage to Nikon FX (I own the D750)?
The Nikon 1 V2 is a mirrorless camera body. You’ll find that the sensor in your D750 would blow the doors off my V2’s any day of the week in terms of image quality. Since choice of camera gear is an intensely personal one I would be the first person to say that the Nikon 1 system may not be the best choice for a lot of people. It is my system of choice and the following article provides some insights: tomstirrphotography.com/why-i…th-nikon-1
Great shots. I love your eye! Thanks for taking us along…
Glad you could come along for the ride Duffy!
Outstanding photography, Thomas. As usual. Always a pleasure reading your articles.
Thanks for the positive words Ditcho – much appreciated!