by Janis Borgueta
Sometimes I wonder what I love more: Travel? Or Photography? I love exploring less well known places and finding hidden gem or two on any journey. Major crowds can stifle a great time and touristy areas are not all that interesting to me. Too many people!
So while making plans for a trip to South Carolina, I came across a website for Charleston Photography Tours. It sounded like the perfect opportunity for Joe and me to see some less well known places and take photos. The bonus was that we could incorporate a photo tutorial. This was a new type of travel activity, that sounded perfect for us. It was a choice that changed the way I plan our trips and how I capture images forever.
Our experience from start to finish was amazing. Charming, southern hospitality was apparent while making the arrangements. Tiffany went over the details on the phone which culminated in a photo tour and tutorial with our local host Keith Briley. Not only did we have a guide that day, but a teacher. I gathered new information and skills that day that have changed photography for me.
My favorite place that Keith brought us to was Boneyard Beach. Up way before dawn, we traveled out of town to Botany Bay. In the dark with headlamps we ventured into a wooded areas being careful not to wake up the gators lurking in the swamp, and found our way to a quiet beach. Dead trees were laying on the beach, but we couldn’t really see much yet. As the predawn light came up we were able to see trees standing in the water. The moon was still awake and the different colors of the sky started to put on a magic show. A rare opportunity to be on the shore that morning with nothing more than the three of us our cameras and our thoughts. It was a spiritual moment, and breathtakingly beautiful. All I could think of was how lucky I was to be experiencing this moment.
The time we spent went quickly as we began to set up tripods and take I started clicking away. I learned about composing photos and trying to capture as much as possible while the lighting was changing so quickly. Pinks and purples and blues were my friends until the sun came over the horizon and changed everything. I wanted it to last, but the sun kept rising in the sky and the peak moments of the best lighting were gone. It was time to pack up and move on. As we were walking back to the car I mentioned to Keith that the beach must look different with every visit. Sadly, I knew the beach and trees could disappear in the blink of an eye.
I learned two things that day. Owning a tripod is essential for shooting sunrise and sunset and anything with low light. The second thing Keith taught me was about shooting my files in a RAW format. I was so uninformed about the what, why and where of that and how that could be a game changer for me. While not really a secret, the understanding and moving forward has been a significant change for me.
I am thankful for that beautiful morning on a very special beach, on a warm morning in June of 2016. Only a few months after our visit, two major hurricanes took out all the trees that were standing the day we were there. I had been hoping to return, but the trees and most of the beach is already gone. I belong to a small club of lucky people to have seen it and captured a few most cherished photos of an amazing beach called “The Boneyard”.