Tuesday, March 29, 2011

April 2011 "Photo of the Month"

I was paddling my kayak to a high, shell bank in the Cooper River to check on a nesting pair of Oyster Catchers I had been watching.  I heard rustling in the nearby Spartina grasses so I backed away from the oyster bank to see what was stirring in the salt marsh.   As I rounded the bank, I caught a glimpse of the mink as she was ferrying her pups to high ground.  The full-moon tide had apparently flooded her home forcing her to relocate her brood. I watched as she carried them in her mouth, one by one, through the grassy water passage and then landing them onto a pile of soft detritus at the other end.  In less than a foot of water she could disappear and then resurface in a flash with another pup.  At one point she must have sensed my presence because she paused for a split second to look my way.  I heard my camera fire away four images.  Again she disappeared to return with yet another.  I backed away to allow her peace to finish her chores.  I will never forget the grace and efficiency she displayed that morning as she transported her family through the flood tide to safety.
PHOTO TIP:  This image is an excellent reminder to me how important it is to pay attention, not only visually but to the sound clues offered you when working in the natural world.  If I had not been sitting quietly, listening and following the rustling sound midst the grasses, I would have missed this amazing experience completely.  While the image itself is special to me, the total experience is a treasured memory I’ll never forget.  NOTE: When approaching wildlife, I move extremely slow, stop for a spell, listen and look for any changes, then  move again only if I have not threatened or interfered with the natural behavior of my subject. 

To view more of Eric's work or to learn more about his Lowcountry Wildlife Photo Safaris, please visit us at www.southernlight.biz. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

March 2011 "Photo of the Month"

Great Egret Stalking on Lemon Island

I captured this image while staying overnight on Pritchards Island back when an overnight bunkhouse facility was maintained for environmental and scientific education.  This is no longer the case.  I found this ocean view was a short distance from the front door with only nesting loggerhead turtles as neighbors.  From this view to the left and right are two neighboring barrier islands: the residential Fripp Island to the east and Capers Island, a natural preserve managed by the SC Department of Natural Resources, to the west.  Unfortunately, public access to Pritchards is no longer possible, however there are other barrier islands off the coast of South Carolina and Georgia remaining in their natural state with public access.   
This image was also taken in the springtime when we often experience abrupt weather changes.  Temperatures fluctuate from warm spring breezes, short sleeve weather to winter storm fronts and then back again.  This, at times, creates dense morning and evening fog.  On the coast, these low hovering clouds move with the sea breeze. When the fog starts to thin or burn off during daylight hours is the time to grab the camera and head out. The challenge is to be in a spot where you can capture good images when it does.  

PHOTO TIP:  When photographing seascapes or anything where movement is part of the scene, like these rolling waves, a useful technique can be blurring that motion.  I enjoy playing with this because I like how it adds a kinetic feel to a still image. It also serves as a design element in the composition. Blurring is done by slowing down the shutter speed. And, if you study the movement you are shooting, you can better anticipate its direction so that you can place it where you want it in the composition.  A tripod is a must in eliminate camera movement.  

To view additional images of Eric Horan or to learn more about his Lowcountry Wildlife Photo Safaris, please visit us at www.southernlight.biz.