Day 1, Botany Bay Driving Tour
In late April, we drove down to the Edisto Beach State Park where we had rented a cabin for a week. The next several blog posts will effectively retrace our journey through the pieces I created while in that area. Without giving too much away, I can say that it was an excellent trip (both as a vacation and for the photographic opportunities). I came back with more than 1,200 images and a whole lot of wonderful memories.
With a late check-in time, not leaving here until after lunch, and a couple of hours needed to drive there, I don’t consider a travel day to be the first “official” day. By the time we got the car unloaded, picked up the groceries we needed, and scouted a few places, there really wasn’t any time left for photography. So, day one (which is where this post picks up the story) didn’t start until the next morning.
Unfortunately, after having relied on my watch alarm to wake me up (and foolishly not setting the clock radio for a backup), I woke up too late for creating images on Botany Bay Beach as I had planned. The watch was set correctly and likely went off, but the battery was apparently too low to produce an alarm loud enough to break me out of my sound vacation sleep. The good news is that I might not have missed much because the sun was pretty well choked out by the clouds. As quickly as possible, we got over to Botany Bay and started the six and a half mile driving tour. The Botany Bay Plantation is both a Heritage Preserve and a Wildlife Management Area that consists of 4,687 acres and has two plantations (Bleak Hall and Sea Cloud).
Out first photographic stop was the Bleak Ice House. It is quite ornate, and you can easily see how folks might mistake this building for a small church. Though it’s more like a barn on the inside, the outside has some pretty fancy woodwork. In addition to being an ice house, it was also used to air dry crops, a carriage house, and general storage. The grounds were nice and well kept, and there were a couple of nature trails that we eventually made our way down.
As soon as I came around the corner and saw these huge live oak trees, I pulled off the road and got the camera equipment out. This is area six on the driving tour map and it is described as: a stand of live oaks that border Ocella Creek on your right, offering great vistas of the coastal marsh that borders the property.
I love how the Spanish moss is draped all over the limbs of the massive live oak in my Botany Bay Live Oaks piece. The larger foreground palm tree tucked under the live oak creates additional visual interest with its short, choppy lines that break up the flow of the oak. I placed it almost on the right most one third line, using the rule of thirds, and then pushed it just a little left so that the foreground live oak wasn’t cut off by the edge of the frame. I also liked the smaller palm tree just behind it and the fronds coming into the frame.
The final behemoth of the stand was also quite impressive. Some of the limbs were bigger than most of the trees in our backyard. Once again, the veil of Spanish moss hangs from the limbs and is blown by the wind in my Moss Draped piece. I loved how the branches shot out in so many directions filing the frame with their fractal lines and angles.
Gigantor is close to being a vertical companion to Moss Draped since it is the same subject. From this angle, you can get a better sense of just how large the tree trunk is. You can also see a little bit of the marsh in the background as well as how the many branches sprawl out.