Monochrome Monday, Hilton Head Island, pt 4

My next set of photos from the lovely Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

Bass Beach Dune Fence Composition 2
Salty Dog Café Deck Abstract
Salty Dog Café Deck Abstract
South Beach Marina Pier 1
South Beach Marina Pier 1
Live Oak, Reconstruction Fern, and Spanish Moss Composition 1
Live Oak, Reconstruction Fern, and Spanish Moss Composition 1
Large Leaf Tropical Ground Plant 1
Large Leaf Tropical Ground Plant 1

For the best viewing experience, click to see a high resolution version. Please stay safe.

Cheers!

C. S.

Hilton Head Island, pt 3

More beach and landscapes from Hilton Head Island. This series is the first deep dive into my new Nikon z7ii and Nikkor Z 28 – 70mm f2.8 lens. Thus far I have been impressed by the extended dynamic range, low noise and detail as compared to my D720. With the extra resolution, I’m retraining myself to not crop in as close. Not only does it provide more composition opportunities in post, but this also allows squeezing out a little more depth of field when desired.

Bass Beach Dune Fence Composition 1
Bass Beach Dune Fence Composition 1
Palmatto Composition 1
Palmatto Composition 1
Shipyard Dr Pond Composition 2
Shipyard Dr Pond Composition 2
Palmetto Tree and Beach Composition 2
Palmetto Tree and Beach Composition 2
Live Oak, Reconstruction Fern, and Spanish Moss Sculpture 1
Live Oak, Reconstruction Fern, and Spanish Moss Sculpture 1

If you’re viewing on a monitor, you can really appreciate the output of the Z7ii by clicking on an image to see a high resolution version. Thank you for taking time to visit, and please stay safe. The end of the pandemic is in sight!

Cheers,

C. S.

Monochrome Monday: Hilton Head Island

Last week my wife and I joined some friends for several days on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. This was my first visit to the island. I expected a commercially overdeveloped landscape, like many other popular beach destinations in North & South Carolina. To my surprise, local ordinances have subdued commercialization and preserved much of the island’s natural beauty.

Palmetto Tree and Beach Composition 1
Palmetto Tree and Beach Composition 1

When visiting a new location, I always take an interest in understanding the local history, culture and biodiversity. As my youngest son attends the University of South Carolina, I knew the SC was known as the Palmetto State. Before my trip, I would have identified the two trees below as two separate species. They are actually both Palmettos (Sabal Palm) trees. Palmettos loose their weaved “boot” barking once they mature.

Two Palmettos Composition
Two Palmettos Composition
Calibogue Sound Fog Composition 2
Calibogue Sound Fog Composition 2

The numerous stately live oaks, imbued with Spanish moss and reconstruction ferns, contribute to the island’s natural charm. The weather was overcast most of the week, but I’ve found such weather quite an opportunity for photography.

Live Oak and Spanish Moss Composition 1
Live Oak and Spanish Moss Composition 1
Calibogue Sound Fog Composition 3
Calibogue Sound Fog Composition 3
Live Oak and Reconstruction Fern Detail 1
Live Oak and Reconstruction Fern Detail 1

Thank you for visiting and please stay safe! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version.

Cheers,

C. S.

Cherokee Countryside

With the Thanksgiving Holiday, I hope to catch up on posts from my October trips to the North Carolina mountains.  I also look forward to catching up on posts from the bloggers I follow.  This post features several landscapes and vignettes from areas near the Oconaluftee River, just north of Cherokee.

Oconaluftee River Landscape 1
Oconaluftee River Landscape 1
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 3
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 3
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 2
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 2
Oconaluftee Elk Bull
Oconaluftee Elk Bull
Oconaluftee Elk Cow
Oconaluftee Elk Cow
Gourd Birdhouse Composition 1
Gourd Birdhouse Composition 1
Mingo Falls Composition 3
Mingo Falls Composition 3
Mingo Falls Composition 2
Mingo Falls Composition 2

I’m thankful for my followers and those who take time to visit my photo blog. And especially for this community of photo bloggers, I enjoy your work, insights and friendship.

Happy Thanksgiving!

C. S.

Monochrome Monday: Mingo Falls

At 120 ft (37 m), Mingo Falls is one of the tallest in the southern Appalachian Mountains.  As such, it was part of my October fall foliage expedition itinerary.  It located near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the town of Cherokee.  It is part of the Qualla Boundary, a land trust of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. My Tamron 15mm – 30mm wide-angle view doesn’t accurately represent the height of this spectacular water fall.

Mingo Falls Composition 1
Mingo Falls Composition 1

A long wooden stairway makes the falls fairly assessable, and a wooden bridge near it’s base offers an excellent view.  Shooting long exposures (15 – 20 sec) with a tripod and neutral density filter, it was quite challenging to a get sharp exposure with other spectators bouncing along the bridge.  While this composition was captured from the bridge, I also got some good shots setting up down in the creek.  For the best viewing experience, click on the image to view a high-resolution version.  Stay safe!

Cheers,

C. S.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail, pt 1

The Great Craggy Mountains are a subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains between Asheville and Mount Mitchell in North Carolina.  Craggy Gardens is an area of 16 km where the Blue Ridge Parkway follows the crest featuring a visitor center, picnic area, and several excellent hiking trails.  Craggy Gardens best known for its spectacular display of pink/purple blooms of the Catawba rhododendron creating a tunnel of foliage along much of it’s hiking trails. 

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Landscape 1
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Landscape 1

My afternoon hike along the Craggy Pinnacle Trail, in mid-October, featured equally impressive fall foliage color, gnarled mountain ash, rhododendron and beech, and small grassy rock balds.  The diverse opportunities for photo compositions were quite numerous. I crossed not one, but two separate wedding photo sessions.

Craggy Dome from Craggy Pinnacle
Craggy Dome from Craggy Pinnacle

This was one of my favorite locations during my two, Wednesday night through Saturday afternoon fall foliage expeditions into the Blue Ridge Mountains. I returned the following morning Craggy Knob, more on that in a future post.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Vignette 1
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Catawba Rhododendron Vignette 1
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Vignette 2
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Vignette 2

This unique tree is a popular photo stop on the Craggy Pinnacle Trail.

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Vignette 3
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Vignette 3

The view below is from Craggy Pinnacle looking towards Craggy Knob and the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center. The small grey square near the center of the image, is the large trail shelter near the Craggy Knob grassy bald.

Craggy Pinnacle Landscape 1
Craggy Pinnacle Landscape 1

For the best viewing experience, click on a photo to view a high resolution version. Or, view more scenes in my Blue Ridge Parkway gallery. Stay safe!

Cheers!

C. S.

Oh, here’s one of the wedding portrait sessions I came across:

Craggy Gardens Wedding Portraiture
Craggy Gardens Wedding Portraiture

Craggy Gardens Sunset

I felt this sunset from the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center deserved its own post. Setup on my tripod, over the course of 20 minutes, I shot 24, 3 stop bracketed sets, for a total of 72 images. Back during my film days, I obviously would have had to been a bit more judicious and disciplined in the number sets shot. Here I was afforded the benefit to pick the best image featuring the cloud and sun positions, and sun ray impacts streaming through the mountains into the valley.

Craggy Gardens Sunset 1
Craggy Gardens Sunset 1

Post processing includes some dehazing, a little HDR processing, and color correction. Much more to come in future posts of my wonderful visit to Craggy Gardens – so much to see! For the best viewing experience, click to see the high resolution version.

Everyone stay safe!

Cheers,

C. S.

Clingman’s Dome Astrophotography

As a young Boy Scout and backpacker, my friends and I proclaimed we would one day hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Georgia to Maine.  While that never happened, I knew back then Clingman’s Dome mountain was the highest point on the AT.  At 6,643 feet (2,025 m) Clingman’s Dome straddles the Tennessee, North Carolina boarder in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The location features an iconic 45-foot (14 m) spiral concrete observation tower offering a 360 degree view of the Smokies.

Clingman’s Dome Tower 1
Clingman’s Dome Tower 1

Clingman’s Dome was on my recent fall foliage expedition itinerary for both astrophotography and a sunset.  I first arrived on a Wednesday night around 9:00 PM ET.   Anticipating cold weather plus wind chill, I was prepared for the 25° F lower temperature.  From the parking lot, I slogged up the steep half mile paved trail to reach the observation tower.  Luckily, there was no one else at the tower.

Clingmans Dome Tower 3
Clingmans Dome Tower 3

I shot with my 15mm – 30mm Tamron ultra-wide lens and tripod at ISO 3200, f2.8, with exposures around 5 seconds.  Using a 20 second delay, I was able to use my Black Diamond head lamp to ‘light paint’ the tower during exposures. The Milky Way wasn’t quite as clear as I hoped, not sure if it was light pollution, regular pollution, weather related haze, or a combination of all.

Clingman’s Dome Tower 2
Clingman’s Dome Tower 2

Around 10:30 PM, moonrise began and I was able to capture a few shots before the moonlight washed out the night sky.

Clingmans Dome Tower Moonrise 1
Clingmans Dome Tower Moonrise 1

Thanks for stopping by today! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version. Everyone please stay safe!

Cheers,

C. S.