Saturday, September 15, 2012

From now on  the third week of each month I will be posting the upcoming  monthly schedule for  open boats (with seats available) for my seasonal "Lowcountry Wildlife Photo Safaris"and for any upcoming photo adventures/workshops. Notice this month we only have a couple left but do watch for October's schedule soon. Or contact me today to schedule a trip for you group. Always looking forward.....Eric

Subject: Florida Photo Adventure Nov 15-18 (4 spaces left), & Lowcountry Wildlife Photo Tours-open seats-Sept
Hi all,

Marvin Bouknight are again teaming up and co-leading another series of wildlife photo workshops and adventures this year and the next one is coming up soon to the Space Coast of Florida, our 2nd annual. We hope you will consider joining us November 15-18 for an action packed three days of avian photography, learning field technique, equipment expertise, critique & sharing with other passionate photographers @ Merritt Island and Viera Wetlands. The Downloadable brochure is @ my website under the "Eric's Blog & Photo Tours" tab.


Each month I book many photo safaris for groups or privates, but I also recieve a ton of calls by individuals who want to join a mixed group. Below is a list of the two different photo tours I lead in late August thru September with open seats. Reserve your seat now an take advantage of these great photo opportunities.  To see some images from past tours click the LowcountryPhotoSafaris facebook links-  Shrimp boats -Dolphin

Take a look at these available trips to see if you'd like to join an open boat. When you contact me to make your reservation I will send you a list of "things to consider bringing on the boat". If you have a group of three or more people (see discounts below) please call 843-524-3037 or email to schedule a day that suites your party. NOTE: If you are just one or two people and want to go but can't find a date that suites your schedule, I will try to find one or two more to join YOUR group if the day(s) you choose are open (the more lead time the better) (call or email). All of the open boats listed below started in just this way, one or two of you contacted me to go out this coming month : )

Trip #1  Shrimp boats & seabirds & dolphin that follow + Fall Shorebird Migrations : This trip, will run through the end on December. Birds include: Black Skimmer, Oyster Catcher, Brown Pelican, Royal Tern, Sandwich Tern and Laughing Gulls,Willit. Marbled Godwit, Yellow-legs, Dowitcher, Red Knot, + many sandpiper & plover + egret and heron. (email for full list).
3 seats  on the SEP 24th boat @ 4 PM -  Departure Landing Pending (either Port Royal Or St Helena Sound)
4 seats  on the SEP 28th boat @ 7 AM -  Departure Landing Pending (either Port Royal Or St Helena Sound)
Trip #2  Back waters Dolphin Behavioral Tours, includes wading birds, gulls, tern, pelican, osprey and much more: This trip combines dolphin feeding in the small creeks + wading birds and shorebirds doing the same, sometimes in feeding frenzy fashion for an action packed wildlife experience and photo opportunity.
3 seats  on the SEP 21st boat @ 7 AM -  Departure Landing : All Joy Boat Landing or  Bluffton, SC
Make your plans now, Collect your photography friends to join you and receive the following discounts: Regular rate is: $130 per person. Bring two friends for a 10% discount ($116 per person). Bring three friends for a 20%  discount ($104 per person). Privates for one & two people  are $300 for one, and only $175 each if there are two of you. (Advantages: me and the boat to yourselves + fully customizable trips any time of year and anywhere from Tybee to Bull Island north of Charleston)

Notes: For those of you who have done trips with me in the past may notice the interior of the boat has been re-configured to accommodate 4 photographers comfortably. I moved the wheel house to the back and all the photo seats forward.

Late summer and the fall is a great time to be on the water in the Lowcountry salt marshes and I hope you can make one of these trips.

Always looking forward,


Eric Horan Photographer
Lowcountry Wildlife Photo Safaris
PO Box 456, Beaufort, SC 29901
843-524-3037 /

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Seabird Rookerys of Charleston Harbor

I have been leading my "Lowcountry Wildlife Photo Safaris" in the Charleston Harbor for the last three seasons during the Month of June. We do just 8 trips timed for the best tides and light. Beside this being the prime time to visit the nesting seabirds my wife and I can also enjoy some of the Spoleto festival : ) It is amazing to me how quickly the realities of nature can change and example, this year there are no Brown Pelicans nesting on Castle Pinckney where they have been for the last several years.  Photographer / friend Vannessa Kauffman shared an aerial photo she had taken recently from a helicopter and the foliage that  has covered the top of the castle is now gone. It looks like an aftermath image of a hurricane or war! Because of this, Crab Bank this year, is like a cramped seabird housing project. Birds on top of birds, forced to nest very close to one another -  Brown Pelican, Royal & Sandwich Tern, Laughing Gulls, Oyster Catchers and Black Skimmers. So far we have done a few trips and have just a few more mid month. Here are a few images from these trips. To see more follow the link to my Facebook gallery. Find out more about these tours at my website. And to join a photo safari send me an email or call 843-524-3037

Castle Pinckney

Brown Pelican Rest, Shem Creek

 Laughing Gull wanting in

 Black Skimmer Jousting

Royal with dinner

 Semipalmated Plover on old Dock piling

 Royal Tern and Spartina Grass

 Crab Bank and Container Ship leaving the port

 Royal delivery

Skimmer Chase

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bottlenose Dolphin active in the Lowcountry

Last Wednesday, three of us headed to Deveaux Bank to photograph nesting seabirds (first image). In the mouth of the Edisto River, we ran into a large pod of bottlenose dolphin feeding at the tide line.  Here where the river and ocean currents meet, the food chain is rich with big fish feeding on the smaller ones...dolphin being one of the biggest around.  Dolphin activity this time of year and through November is at its highest because of the amount of food in the water.  Take a look at some images from this time of the year and plan to join us on a future trip.
Speaking of food, as the food moves around the sea, so do dolphin. We find dolphin up in the small creeks feeding on schooling bait fish and other times in the inlets or open ocean.
 Dolphin are playful and curious and will warm your heart with that smile.
  Since 1972 Marine Mammal Protection Act, all mammals are protected.  It is illegal to harm, harass, touch, feed or restrain them.  I think some still come around to see if you are a rule breaker. We are not and ask others to respect the natural order.
This display illustrates a dolphin feeding method where they direct fish with their flukes.
When no fish are in front of the dolphin.. I have to think this is just for fun.
Teamwork may be their best approach to feeding. They use numerous methods for finding and feeding on fish but most involve the dolphin working together to herd, corral and confuse the fish. My favorite technique to watch and photograph is called Strand Feeding (last three images). 
Dorsal fins often show the wear and tear of the life they lead - some scrapes come by fighting and some by the hand of man.
 Bottlenose dolphin have good vision out of the water and will surface often to check out their surroundings. They do this just before strand feeding to see if the surroundings are safe and the banks are clear of obstacles, especially oysters.  
This dolphin is checking us out as well as looking for the perfect place to land dinner.  Dolphin are quick to determine  whether you are friend or foe. You are not going to get close unless they allow it.
 When in the creeks on the low tide cycle, we are always watching the bird activity to find where
the dolphin are strand feeding. They locate, corral and blast through the middle of schooling fish, in a matter of seconds, and end up feeding on the banks with the birds
 Strand feeding is just one feeding method dolphin use to catch fish and is only common in South Carolina and to a lesser degree in Georgia.  Experts say that not all dolphin use strand feeding, only local dolphin.  Studies show that the young have learned it from their parents and will carry on the technique by teaching their own offspring.
No they are not stuck in the mud.  This shot was captured seconds before they wiggled their way back down this slippery slope home to sea....E
P.S. It does take some practice shooting dolphin in the wild and it can feel like all you get is dorsal fins until you've had a little practice with a technique which I teach in the boat. Before long you are able to capture much more of what you are seeing : )

Contributing photographers: Karin Brown, Ross Peebles, Sherri Winarski, Brian Simuro, Vanessa Kauffman, Eric Horan, Art Brown, Naomi Elderfield

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Savannah Tall Ships Challenge 2012

I  recently received an email from a friend and past photo tour guest, Vanessa Kauffman asking me if I was planning on running any tours for the Savannah Tall Ships Challenge during their visit May 3-7.  Although the thought had crossed my mind when I first heard about the event, her call was a nice reminder. After reviewing their schedule, I decided to run one photo tour on the day the ships were planning their departure parade out the Savannah shipping channel toward their next destination in New York Harbor. A few of us visited Tybee Island to watch their planned arrival at sunrise on  Thursday, May 3rd.  But the only boat trip would be to see the parade of ships leaving the Savannah River on Tuesday May 7th. Long story short the response to my email announcing the trip was overwhelming and I ended up having two of my photographer/ boat captain friends @ Hilton Head Island (John Brackett Jim Harkins) help me run the trips in order to handle the 16 people who wanted to go. A few of these images were made at Tybee Island and downtown Savannah  on Thursday morning but the rest were taken on Monday during the exit parade. The consensus was "great times had by all" including the boat drivers : )
I want to thank all of you who came on the tour and especially thank all of you who sent these images to share! ---Eric Horan


Bounty (2)


 Pride of Baltimore

 Pride of Baltimore's arrival