Monday, June 6, 2011

Ossabaw Weekend Photo Adventure, April 28th-May1-Michael Short

Death Throes
 Eric's Buoy
Golden Sunrise
 Hey Buddy, Come Here..
 I Was Here First
 In Search of the Golden Moment
 MMMMM, Sushi
 Mossy Tree
 Out for Breakfast
Rocky Racoon
Sunset Fire
 The Promise Still Holds
 Tied but not Moored
Your Clear for Takeoff
Opportunity knocked once again and I knew there was no way that I could let it pass me by.  I had been on one little photo jaunt with Eric Horan and loved it and now the chance for a whole weekend expedition to Ossabaw Island.  The only thought was what and where is Ossabaw Island?  I started with a little research on the island and found that it sits just south of Savannah and it is a Heritage Preserve owned by the state of Georgia.  Access to the island is by boat only, no roads, no bridges, very few people.  I was stoked, an opportunity to capture a few photos that you might find in a book or museum or some other collection.  How could I not go?

The weather for the trip was spectacular save the first day, but even it was not a loss.  I was able to capture a few nice frames of a raccoon that was startled to see me and had to check me out as I shot his picture.  Once the front that caused the rain had passed we were treated to a nice sunset and an opportunity to capture a rainbow. 

The beaches of the island offer wonderful things to see and take pictures of.  My personal take away from the island was not the wildlife but rather the lines and patterns the trees and vegetation made both alive and dead.  The moss hung in the oaks almost like snow and the light made the moss appear whiter than any I can ever remember seeing.  The birds were plentiful and did their part as grand models for our craft.  The islands’ use and history also provided wonderful props for compositions that for me is not only captured in bits and bytes but in memories that will live in my mind for the rest of my life.

Our hosts Eric and Marvin provided all of us with an awesome place.  Their knowledge of photography and their love of nature were on full display and for this photographer made for a great trip.  But as great as Eric and Marvin were I have to tip my hat and say job well done to two very wonderful people, Jan and Jill.  Their efforts provided for the nourishment of the entire group and was done with great skill and a lot of love.  They were the ones up early so we could have a bite before we met the sun and would have lunch ready when we returned and dinner was prepared with the thought of time for the evening’s golden hour.  If you love photography and you love nature you could not ask for a better group of people to go on a trip with.  Take a Low Country Safari, you won’t be sorry.

--Michael Short

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ossabaw Weekend Photo Adventure, April 28th-May1-Margaret Smith

 Boneyard Beach l
 Boneyard Beach ll
 Evening on Ossabaw
 Jelly in Tidal Pool
 Palmetto Trunk
 Palms on Ossabaw
 Resurrection Fern
 Spanish Moss
Tidal Pool

Eric - Since many of us came away with similar images, I decided to process mine in black and white. I think that sometimes, when the subject we are photographing is colorful, looking at it with different eyes, with the color removed, reveals things about it that we might otherwise overlook.  The old live oaks with their Spanish moss and the boneyard beach seem to cry out for black and white. 

Thanks so much for a great weekend! - Margaret

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ossabaw Weekend Photo Adventure, April 28th-May1-Rebecca Bass

 “The Road Not Taken”

“Listen, do you want to know a secret? Do you promise not to tell?”
“Casting Brownies Before Swine”

 “Lonely Nun”
“Devalued Dollar”
“Cody Lost in Thought”

“Hard Day at the Office”

Spending the weekend on Ossabaw Island was truly magical. It was a fantastic experience to be in this beautiful place, make new friends, and learn from Eric, Marvin, and fellow photographers.--- Rebecca

Ossabaw Weekend Photo Adventure, April 28th-May1-Eric Horan

 Before heading out after the birds, like most of us I choose to walk around the deadfall and bone yard beach. Instead of singling out any one tree, I was after an image that captures natures ability to re-shape our world at will, a fact mankind has a hard time accepting.

  When we arrived Saturday morning @ Middle Beach I knew right away I wanted to do something with the Palmettos. They were so commanding, standing tall guarding over the water front. Maybe it's my photojournalism training but I  try to see things from  as many different perspectives as I can when shooting. I  first made the long lens silhouette, then with the same angle shot with a 12mm lens. Then I  turned around and shot using the same lens, using front light. Hopefully each image stands on it's own but as a collection they may be stronger, kind of a collective portrait.
 The Ossabaw Landscape: I think the South Carolina and Georgia Coast is second to none in terms of tidal marshes and raw beauty. It's hard to do it justice with a two dimensional photograph so I try to make them look less so, by using foreground elements to bring the eye into the background to give them more the feeling of depth.
Spoonbill flight
Great Egret
 Immature Black-crowned Night Heron
What could be more amazing than watching birds in flight. And what could be more challenging than trying to capture this with our cameras? Here are a few of my successes, the egret and the heron @ Middleplace and the Spoonbills, to everyone's surprise, at the Willows.

 Walking back into the maritime forest behind Middle Beach I was struck by the dense tangle of the trees, vines and Spanish Moss, almost fairy-tale like. The  challenge is to make sense of it all, I attempted to single out points of focus, something for the viewers eye to settle on and  not just be caught up in the tangled knot of it all.
 The Back Dunes

 Photographic Paradise: I was not the only one out there enjoying the challenge of getting some good shorebird  images. I made Michael Short part of this image. I think the image tells the story.
 Red Knot & Dunlin: Marvin & I were hoping to see the Red Knot, though it was a little early for the majority of birds to make it here from South America, their arrival always timed for the Horseshoe crabs laying their eggs at the beach. The eggs being the Knots primary food source, it is essential for them to be here after their 2,500 mile trek. Notice the Dunlins belly is just staring to turn black. Before they head north for the summer they'll look as if they just squatted down on and ink pad.
 Sand Dollar Sculpture
 Shorebird Brotherhood
Dowitcher Landing
  Brown & White
Photographing birds from a boat (3 images above): I am out on the water a few days each week, but I never really know what we'll encounter during the time we're out. Most of my trips are planned around a high tide when birds are congregating on the high ground for rest and relaxation. Because it is their resting time it is not good to pressure them too much, we can accomplish this by using long lenses from a good distance. We move slowly with a trolling motor or adrift or sometimes on anchor at a distance away and just experience the constant in and out of birds coming and going. At Ossabaw it was no different, we went on a rising high tide and were able to watch birds coming and going by trolling motor. The White Pelicans were the unexpected treat on Saturday. In Shorebird brotherhood you'll see Ring-billed Gulls, Laughing Gulls, Black Skimmers, Marbled Godwit, Willet and Short-billed Dowitchers.
 The song of the Red-winged tells me it's spring and I'm in the Lowcountry. When we saw these birds late in the day at the Willows it was an easy photo assignment. We had beautiful light, vivid colors and many choices of background to choose from. I picked my background by using camera position and lens choice; so all I had to do was compose and shoot when the bird was singing.
  It's funny to me, even though I was not treating this photo weekend as and assignment I ended up with a set of images, like the ones I  would have turned in as a travel photographer, where you are supposed to come back with "the essence of a place". To do this you really have to shoot wide and long, micro and macro. I guess it is ingrained at this point. Also shot @ Middle Beach the Sand Dollar and the back dunes.
 Synchronicity of Flight: To me, there are not many things more amazing to see than watching shorebirds flying in mass going this way and that, turning almost literally on a dime and heading 180 degrees in the other direction. Science believes it is not one bird leading the others but a group decision, some kind of mass communication. With a camera, all we can do is try to keep them framed and watch for moments when you like the mass formation or gesture : ))
 The Willows
Willet Feeding: Photographing shorebirds afoot or on your belly is fun and takes patience, some stealth and the ability to blend. By that, I mean birds need time to accept you as non-threatening and it helps if you have a small profile (stay low) and move very slowly. Long lenses are imperative for bird photography (200-600mm), this image shot with 500mm lens, the bird is about 30 feet away a quit comfortable with my presence.