Monday, September 1, 2008

Blackwater, sunburns and (no) gopher tortoises in Aiken, South Carolina

On Sunday a friend and I –photographer Greg Kiniry– had a chance to spend the day photographing a couple of different properties in the vicinity of Aiken, South Carolina. The shoot was for a book project that we are both involved with that will hopefully be completed later this year. After meeting up with Greg a little after 5:00 am (okay...I was late), we rode down on a very foggy morning to the southwestern midlands of our state.

It is amazing how coastal this area appears although the ocean is a few hours away. Longleaf pines and wire grass dominated much of the areas that we were focusing on. One of the spots that we visited was the Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve in hopes of finding and photographing one one of these amazing and threatened animals for the project. Unfortunately, the heat was very intense by the time that we made our way to the preserve and I'm sure that any tortoises in the vicinity were eight feet underground along by then.

One of the sites that we were able to photograph well was a small creek/beaver pond that flowed into the south fork of the Edisto river. This beautiful blackwater wetland reflected the clouds like an ebony mirror and really made it very easy for us to create some nice landscape images. The water was full of wildlife including an anhinga, turtles and warblers. Although early morning and late afternoon are typically best for landscapes, I have found that with an interesting sky early afternoon works really well for these types of wetlands.

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