I have been spending some time down along the South Carolina coast photographing several properties for a project that I'm currently involved with. One of my absolute favorite places to visit is the Francis Beilder Forest which is a very accessible portion of the Four-Hole Swamp; the largest remaining tract of virgin bald-cypress/tupelo gum swamp in the world. Some of the trees at the preserve are estimated to be around 1,000 years old which means that they were standing long before Columbus arrived in the New World. Incredible when you consider how much has changed since some of these old giants were just seedlings.The swamp is a haven for bird life, reptiles, amphibians and some really great plants. During my 4 hour visit I saw and heard several birds including prothonotary warblers and a barred owl. Four-Hole Swamp is an amazing place to photograph snakes and I was pleased to have an opportunity to photograph this little red-bellied watersnake. I also saw several five-lined skinks sunning themselves on uprooted trees.
One nice surprise was this fairly large fawn sitting quietly just beyond the trail's edge. You really never know what you'll see there; especially if you arrive early.