Eric & Randy - I enjoy taking my photos and putting together a slide show as a way of sharing with others. This link should take you to YouTube and my “Ossabaw Island “ slide show. This is the first time I have uploaded to YouTube and it seems to run fine on Internet Explores but has problems on Google Chrome. Click on full screen to get the full effect. Let me know how it works for you. I enjoyed spending the weekend with all of you and the food was great, Thank to the cooks! - Ron Selby
Hello Eric - I know they are a long time coming but, here ar some pictures from our trip. We all has a great time - Greg
It's unusual to see Clappers in the marsh from a powerboat, but we were following dolphin in the creek at the time and under electric trolling motor power so we were very quiet and there she was - Eric
Hi Eric - It sure was nice meeting you also and going out with you. It was a lovely morning and as you say it is wonderful just being out there. I have attached 3 images I thought showed some of the highlights for me. - I will be updating my blog and will mention you along with a hyperlink to your blog. - All the best, Nancy
T’is the season for autumn shorebird migrations.More than five billion birds take flight across North America at rates of tens of millions a day. Here in the lowcountry, it is not unusual to see several hundred birds overhead and navigating with a synchronicity that boggles the mind. Experts say their aerodynamic maneuvering is partly done as protection from predators, but it is also ergonomic. Flying close together allow birds to take advantage of wingtip vortices that provide lift from the wings of the birds ahead.It is similar to how the bicycle peloton works its magic in road racing competitions, when it catches and passes the break away leaders.Group velocity is simply faster than any individual rider. It takes less effort working together and in migration, efficiency is a life and death matter. There is also a theory that bird communications are only possible or at least improved when flying in close proximity to one another.Whatever the reasons for this dramatic aerobatics, it is amazing to witness and a challenge to photograph. The medium sized sandpiper can reach speeds up to 40 mph.
During the shorebird migrations, I spend a lot of time on the water exploring where different birds are congregating. I scan high oyster banks and sand spits above the water line around high tide. Birds have their favorite rest stops, even though they look relatively the same to us.I also keep a close eye on the weather and the tides to determine when will be the best lighting and water levels. I was able to capture the image of this flock of Dunlin and Sandpipers in my kayak using a 300mm lens. I like to keep a 300 or 400mm, fixed focal length lens handy.They are lightweight with quick focus capabilities, however a long zoom lens is also useful when trying to frame and compose a subject matter that is constantly in flux. Remember when shooting wildlife images no two trips will be the same but being prepared allows you to remain in the moment with the ever changing natural world.
See the 2011 Lowcountry, South Carolina Wall Calendar (shipping only $3.00 till Dec 15th)
We really enjoyed our photo tour with you this past Saturday. I was not feeling well (Not sea sick or anything) at all but still managed to get some decent shots I think, at least. I clicked the "Like" button on your facebook page and also visited your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about you on your blog and viewing your photography! Your work is exceptional! l was curious if you had any dolphin photo tours available for the afternoon/eve of Aug 21.
The dolphin strand feeding was fascinating! I have a attached a couple more photos's to go with the few others that I sent from the previous photo tour. I personally am very pleased with the dolphin image that I have attached as well as the shrimp boats that I got on the previous tour. Definately amoung my favorites of all of my images thus far. Anyways, we definately will book more tours with you in the future.
I just think all the images you sent are great! And again, I think it is so neat to see what others see when we are all in the same boat, so to speak : )
I really enjoyed our photo excursion on the river in Low Country. I come to Hilton Head almost every year and this was the first that I really did any exploring the wild life of the area. I didn't know what I was Missing. Thanks for your introduction to the beautiful Low Country and it's wildlife. i will certainly be back to visit and participate in your excursions. All Images were shot with Pentax K20D and 50mm to 200mm zoom. a little small for the task but it worked out OK. Again Thanks. It was a great experience.
Awesome job George! It is always so interesting seeing what others capture after a photo tour. I mean I was there too : ) We all have our own vision and come away with our own images. I love leading these trips! I hope yo will come back again, maybe in a different season? - Eric
Randy Thompson is committed elsewhere so I will be leading this April photo adventure with naturalist and photographer Marvin Bouknight. Marvin has just published his first coffee-table book: South Carolina's Lowcountry Naturally, he is a good friend and I am thrilled to have him as a co-leader. You can find out more about Marvin by reading this article recently in Bluffton Today.
Eric - "I could have gone on and on submitting pictures because your tour was fantastic and you afforded me wonderful opportunities to shoot". - Carmody
Eric dropped me off on this island and I took pictures of these birds. I cropped in tight.
a baby pelican learning to fly
3 birds on the dock. I love the colors, helped with nik and cloned out the power lines:)
Not great but my best egret shot.
This was a photo of a shrimp boat at the dock. It was nothing special so I cropped it tight
and then went into Topaz4 to bring out the colors.
My favorite. We were at the dock and I kept my lens focused on the eye of this shrimp boat captain ( hard to do in the boat with a heavy hand held 100-400 lens) he looked up to tell us that a shrimp boat was coming in and I got the shot.
Shrimp boat at sunset. I could only get this shot because Eric kept moving his boat so that the boat was aligned with the setting sun. Edited in NIK.
I photographed this pair of mergansers while shooting at Widgeon Point on Lemon Island - located just across the bridge from my home base in Beaufort, SC. My drive to the island includes a beautiful span of intracoastal water views alongside marshy wetlands, often busy with wading bird action -- an easy distraction from my planned destination … cramped, plastic, photo blind. I set up a portable blind the night before knowing these are dues I pay for capturing unencumbered wildlife behavior. I captured this couple en route to their fishing grounds. They are known for their expert diving, practiced daily at mealtimes when they feed on small fish including crayfish and other crustaceans and aquatic insects. This pair exemplifies the dashing plumage of the male and relatively plain, brown female version. Both sexes have a bushy crest of head feathers forming the distinctive ‘hood’ which by the way, can be flattened or fanned out depending on their mood. The male’s dense black crest displays a white spot and sports a yellow eye; the female’s crest is smaller, looser and all brown, even the eye. It is reported that pair bonds will last from winter to incubation, but it is unclear whether the bonds reform the following year or if pairing begins anew. Widgeon Point is owned and managed by Lowcountry Open Land Trust. For more information on them visit www.lolt.org.
Photo Tip: Working in a photo blind can be cold, wet, buggy, lonely and an entry challenge in pitch black as I did this morning. By entering pre-dawn, I sneak in with minimal impact on natural behavior. A photo blind can be used similarly any time of day or night, but when approaching & entering during daylight hours, it takes more time (sitting in blind) before the wildlife will relax or ideally, forget you’re there. Depending on where and when you use your blind, you may want to invest in rubber boots, chest waders or insulated clothing and you will want to dress in layers. A cold, wet morning turns steamy hot once the sun takes hold of your small space. A sturdy tripod is a must when using 200 mm lens or larger. Also note, challenging lenses on the tripod inside a blind is maddening. My solution is to attach the longest lens to the tripod and bring along a second camera body with a shorter focal length ready for hand-held shooting.
Hooded Merganser Pair is the title of this image and it is the featured photograph for month of November in my 2010 Lowcountry Calendar. You can view a larger image of this photograph and others at my picture galleries online at www.southernlight.biz.
Everything about my venture onto Hunting Island appeared dark and ominous on this morning. I walked under a black-cloud ceiling with wet sand under foot and following a heavy rainfall. From the beach-front, I watched this lone shrimp boat defy the threatening skies with nets dragging while running at full steam. I had to work quickly to take advantage of this silhouette image of the working ship. The autumn colored strip of clear sky above the horizon was a nice backdrop while the black cloud cover filling the remainder of the sky added tension and a nice frame.
The weather forecast called for the clearing skies and by 9:00 am, not a cloud remained. I left the park as this early morning drama vanished into blue sky. I gave a cheer for the shrimpers working the ocean waters that morning, wishing them and all local fisherman much success in an increasingly difficult marketplace.
Photo Tip: Photographing wildlife around the coastal waters requires careful consideration of local tides. Tides are influenced by the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun to the earth. They come and go approximately an hour later each day washing the banks with differing water depths. The high and low tides provide important information about the natural environment that will serve you when making plans to photograph, whether on foot or at sea. It is why I labor over inclusion of the tides and moon phases in my Lowcountry Calendar each year. On this Hunting Island walk for example, I planned to arrive just after high tide so that by the time I made the beach, there would be sand to walk on (not the case at high tide) yet still wet. I like to have the option of using the residual tide pools as compositional elements.
Eric - Having never been to Hilton Head before, my excitement about our visit built once I found you on the 101 things to do in Hilton Head web site. I knew that wildlife was bountiful on the Island, but I can not thank you enough for truly putting my wife and I in full contact with it. Juggling 3 bodies and 5 lens (thank you Sandy for helping me) you gave me more opportunities for photos in 3 hours then I get when shooting a Carolina Panther's game. Choosing 3-5 photos to show case our trip is IMPOSSIBLE. Hopefully you can post all I have sent (I have dozens more) . What a great trip, I hope I get the chance to experience another, truly an experience of a life time.
Brown Pelican - on the wing
exceptional access to brown pelicans, all w/300 2.8, 40D
Sharing a Perch
Great Egret in Live Oak
Egret posing w/300 2.8 and 1.4x, Mark II
Great Blue Jumping
300 2.8 w/1.4x, Mark II
Sunrise in Mouth of Port Royal Sound
Sunrise, heading out 24-70 2.8 circular polarizer, Mark II
Spartina and Puffy Whites @ Fish Haul Creek
24-70 circular polarizer, Mark II
Stan is a professional sports photographer who freelances with the likes of Carolina Panther football team in Charlotte. This is great experience for shooting wildlife! As you can see he was on his toes -
This is the time of year to observe dolphin behavior. As long as the schooling bait fish are up in the smaller creeks (into Dec) - we can find and observe these magnificent mammals at play and work. Their work is to feed themselves and their new calves. In the open water it is difficult to follow and to predict their movements and where their next breach will be, but in the creeks their movement is much easier to anticipate once you've had some time on the water to study their behavior and learn how to read the signs. I've had this experience and invite you to join me. Come witness the excitement of dolphins feeding in the small creeks at low tide and photograph the drama with your own camera. The dolphin of South Carolina and Georgia are known for a feeding technique called 'strand feeding. Stranding is just what they do. A team of at least two and up to several dolphin corral and blast through a school of fish sliding up on the mud bank with the school fish in front of them. When you add the attentive heron, egrets and gulls trying to get their share, you have a real feeding frenzy. For as many times as I've seen this amazing process, I cannot imagine getting tired of watching the Bottlenose Dolphin of the Lowcountry!
the following images were taken by myself or one of my guests in the few weeks during one of my tours
The shrimping industry is a hard business. While US shrimpers are somewhat better off now than 2009 when gas prices were edging up to $5.00/ gallon, our dependence on oil from foreign sources remains unstable. Additionally, farm raised shrimp is flooding the market with inferior and cheaper shrimp. The levels of hormones and antibiotic injections are unknown. The Marketing Association for the shrimp industry has helped by rolling out an ad campaign promoting the purchase of local shrimp harvested wild from our oceans but the threat for survival of the commercial shrimping industry. Support your local fishermen and women.
I live and also work in the heart of this struggling industry. I am a dual recipient of their hard work. I love the shrimp but also photographing the shrimpers daily adventures and the natural beauty of their working presence along the intra-coastal waters of South Carolina. I would like to help raise awareness by asking photographers and other interested persons to join me for a close-up look, to witness the shrimpers work first hand. My trips take us alongside their dramatic trawlers ranging from 17' to 85' and seen in the best available light as the crew go about daily harvesting. I know photographers will share their dramatic images with others which all helps to educate the public at large. As a added bonus when they haul their nets, the seabirds and dolphin swarm around creating an incredible photogenic feeding frenzy.
Call Eric @ 843-524-3037 or email: email@example.com for dates, more info or to register