Tag Archives: South Carolina

On the Other Hand

Returning home from three months in a place warmer than home is always odd.  Three months is, it turns out, enough time to bond with a new place.  Did I mention that it was warmer?

So in reconciling myself to coming back to a place with ongoing snow flurries, I find it useful to think a bit on the things I liked as well as on the things that I didn’t like so much.  Because, you know, no place is perfect.

On the one hand . . .

sign - warm biscuits

On the other hand . . .

sign - livers and gizzards

On the other hand . . .

Sand dune with dark sky behind.

Huntington Beach State Park


“Hey!” I hear you objecting. “How many hands have you got?”

As many as it takes, I guess.  I figure that whatever works for Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof is good enough for me.  So let’s carry on, shall we?

On the other hand . . .

Sign on stairs - stairs! not steps! - to observation deck, Amicalola Falls

Sign on stairs – stairs! not steps! – to observation deck, Amicalola Falls

On the other hand . . .

Close-up of spring flower

On the other hand . . .

Snake repellent and fire ant killer

On the other hand . . .

Blue knobbed whelk embedded in sand

Knobbed whelk

On the other hand . . .

ag - grits

On the other hand . . .

Marshy area near beach in ealry morning light.

Bulls Island sand dunes, early morning

On the other hand . . .

Driftwood in surf; dark blue sunrise sky behind.

Bulls Island’s Boneyard Beach at sunrise


“Hey!” I hear you objecting again.  “Those last two were both good things!”

Yes, they were.  There were way more good things.  It may not be a perfect place, but it was a perfect winter.


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Filed under Through Space

Brown Pelican, Huntington Beach State Park SC

It’s possible that I have whined in these pages about the difficulty of getting good photographs of small birds.

Bigger birds are better.  Not good, necessarily, but better.

Brown pelican feeding, with neck pouch extended.

Brown pelican, extending neck pouch.

And sometimes, it just makes sense to adapt the medium to the subject.



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Filed under Photos of Fauna

Billboards, Boots, and Beans

Billboards adorn a stretch of road between Myrtle Beach and Florence SC.

Billboard - Biker Boots

sign - booty bros

OK, maybe “adorn” is too strong: maybe “abut” is better.

Having travelled this stretch of road a few times on our sojourn in Myrtle Beach, I was ready with my camera as we left town at the end of March, homeward bound.  I figured that these billboards would make an interesting photo essay.

Actually, I figured that they would make a best-selling sociological study of 21st century America. You know the sort of thing, I’m sure . . .

Signs of the Times:
American Heartland, American Billboards

Unable to convince the Big Guy that this was my chance for fame and fortune, I was also unable to persuade him to add a day or two to our  journey to find me safe places to stand along this highway, unabutted by sidewalk or shoulder as it was, so that I could get coffee-table-book quality photos.

No, once again I was reduced to shooting out the car window and to hoping that, one day, curators would see my output as folk photography, its technical deficiencies bestowing an authenticity sadly lacking in so much of the merely superb photography littering the internet.

Boots aside, most of the billboards advertise canned food.  Now, you might be wondering whether “canned food” is an oxymoron, and I understand, but let’s just see what’s on offer, shall we, and what it might mean.

Yes You Can!

Encouragement and puns both seem to be essential to marketing here, even when the word play isn’t real clear.  As easy as cabbage?

yes you can collage3


Unresolved Conflict

They seem conflicted about boiled peanuts: Do they represent treat, obsession, or danger?  I understand completely, and admire their willingness to acknowledge their confusion.

peanut collage

Strong Preferences

Yams, apparently, are big, especially in syrup.

yam collage

Inexplicable Preferences

Cooked leaves are popular, too:  mixed greens, turnip greens, and collard greens (regular and low-sodium).

greens collage

Completely Unacceptable Preferences

They like lima beans.

Billboard - Lima Beans


Honestly, there’s just nothing more to be said: They like lima beans.

I guess that’s it for my famous book.  Some cultural commentary evidently requires a cultural insider.


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Filed under Through Space

Alligators, Bull Island SC

Zooming and cropping always present an opportunity for a judgement call – often, more than one.  In the field, I’m driven by the knowledge that the closer my photo to the final cropping, the better the resolution.  But how close is close enough?  And how close is too close?

Multiple subjects offer an opportunity to experiment with different angles and degrees of zoom.  What works best?

The extreme zoom, clearly recognizable for what it is but invoking the mental activity of “completion” on the part of the viewer?

Close-up of alligator.

The face-on view, albeit avoiding the self-consciousness of eye contact?

Face-on view of alligator.

The angled side-on view, suggesting alertness and (OMG) movement?

Side-on view of alligator

Or the full profile, suggesting a mug shot?

Side view of alligator.

Fun, eh?

Here’s my favourite: The angled side-on view with just a touch more cropping.

Moderate close-up of alligator


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Filed under Photos of Fauna

Cottonmouth, Bull Island SC


Our guide’s inflection wasn’t the same as mine would have been, that’s for sure.  As she leapt out of the passenger side of the truck, she sounded, well, excited.


If I had spotted the Snake! first, I  might have sounded more agitated than excited.


We pulled up slowly and watched as it did that odd side-to-side wiggle to move.  As we stopped, it stopped, raised its head, opened its mouth, and did something ominous with its fangs.  A hiss?  Then it settled back a tad, and waited.


Brown and black cottonmouth snake coiled in grass.

Snake in the grass


Close-up of cottonmouth


Pressed, our other guide allowed as how a bite wouldn’t kill you, but it would sure enough ruin your day.  Me, I was happy to stay in the truck.

As it slithered under our vehicle and failed to emerge out the other side, I did wonder just a tad uneasily whether it was also a good climber.


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Filed under Photos of Fauna