Tag Archives: South Carolina

Wallpaper Two-Fer!

Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I was getting tired of my desktop wallpaper and decided it was time for something new.  But then I had two photos I really liked and couldn’t decide.  So guess what?  Two for the price of one! 🙂

Satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!

Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Island Time

Ela's Blue Water Grill, Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Ela’s Blue Water Grill, Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Kathy & I recently spent a week at the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Since we got back I’ve had so much going on that I haven’t had a chance to process and post any photos.  I didn’t take many photos on the beach proper, but did take my camera with me to dinner and other outings.  Here are a few picks from my first pass through the folder.

Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Shelter Cove, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Palmetto Dunes, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson's Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hudson’s Seafood, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

More Beach Impressions

Sunset on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunset on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

We’re getting ready for a return to Hilton Head in a few weeks, so for some inspiration I decided to work on some of the files from our last visit in February.  These are a few more of the “blurry” photos that always seem so popular.

Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Unless I get really motivated, it’s unlikely that I’ll do much of this type of shooting in late May, especially in the mornings.  Sunrise is a relatively inhospitable 6:19am, which means I would need to be up and on the beach by 5:15am.  And that is made unlikely by a sunset time of 8:20pm that tends to interfere with cocktail time and usually makes for a late dinner.  I am on vacation, after all! 😉

Sunset on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunset on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Branchville, SC Train Station

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

One of the things I love to do when we travel is seek out old railroad stations.  They are especially prevalent in rural areas of North and South Carolina, and I have found them in Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, as well.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

One of the stations we pass by on a regular basis is the station in Branchville, SC.  It’s on one of the “slow-cuts” we like to take when we are headed to Hilton Head and want to get off the freeway.  I’ve taken pictures there before, and have been particularly interested in the old freight depot that sits across the tracks.  It is in pretty sad shape, but a few years ago was given a new roof, and while I don’t know for sure I am hopeful that some funding will find its way there to complete the restoration.  Both buildings are beautiful and reflect the good old days of American railroading.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

According to one of the signs there, Branchville was on the first commercial railway, from Charleston to Hamburg, SC.  Construction began in Charleston in 1829 and was completed to Hamburg in 1833.  The distance was 136 miles and at the time was the longest railroad in the world and twice as long as any in the United States.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

The railroad branched out from Branchville to Orangeburg in 1840, and Branchville became the first railroad junction in the world.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

The Branchville Depot was built in 1877 and featured a dining room there trains would stop for breakfast and dinner.  It claims the distinction of having had three former US Presidents dine there: President William McKinley, President Theodore Roosevelt and President Howard Taft.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

The depot today is a symbol of Branchville’s rich railroad history and contains Branchville’s Railroad Shrine and Museum and a restaurant.  It seems that we have never been there when either was open, but at some point I will be sure to get inside and look around.

Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina
Train station in Branchville, South Carolina

It’s Just Beachy

Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

We’ve been home a week now, but Kathy & I recently spent a week on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.  It’s one of our favorite getaway destinations any time of year.  It was a little early in the season and we knew we ran the risk of cold weather, but we needed to get away.  So we went, it was nice and now we’re counting down to the next adventure.  In the meantime, there are photos!

Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The beach is one of the few places that calls my name so irresistibly that I have no problem hauling myself out of bed before sunrise. Because I don’t have to get in the car and drive anywhere, I can stumble out of the bed, dress, grab my gear and be out to the beach in about 15 minutes.

Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

One of my favorite things is taking advantage of the low light and great color to make motion blur photos.  They have become a bit of a “signature” for me, and interestingly the motion blur abstracts are the photos that have sold best recently.

Sunset on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunset on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

This is a mix of a few blurry and sharp photos from our week at the beach.  I’ve got a lot more work to do but was overdue for a post, so here it is!

Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunset on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunset on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Pictures of people taking pictures of the sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Pictures of people taking pictures of the sunrise on the beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Switches and Controls

Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

We live in an age of absolutes. We have political parties who won’t support another party’s position just because it isn’t theirs, even when it is right. If we choose to not support a given cause then we are considered to be against it, even though we might be generous contributors to some other cause. When we drive it seems we are either rushing down the road like we’re on our way to a fire, or sitting at a traffic light checking the messages on our phones that came since the last red light.

Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Our Subaru came with a gauge on the dashboard that gives a visual reference as to whether we are “using gas” or “saving gas.” “Using gas” goes all the way to the 6:00, or “minus” position, while “saving gas” goes to the 12:00 or “plus position. When I am driving down a level road at a reasonable speed, the needle is horizontal at the 9:00 position, which in goldilocks terms means “just right” territory. But the scale between all the way “plus” and all the way “minus” is a continuum. When we first bought the car I became fixated on that gauge, mostly because I was surprised at how often it was pegged to the “minus” position and how seldom it hovered in “plus” territory. Sometimes the gauge just has to go into the Minus zone, like when pulling away from a traffic light, merging onto a freeway or going up a hill. But other than that, I have adjusted how I use the accelerator in order to keep that needle from “hitting bottom” any more than necessary.

Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

This will sound silly, but in many ways that gauge has literally changed my life. That visual reference has taught me that the gas pedal is a control, and not an on/off switch.

Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

My son Kevin has a term for people who pay attention to things and people around us. He calls us “observers.” I like that term because it is descriptive but not a label. Being an observer is both a blessing and a curse. Being an observer lets us experience things around us that other people overlook, for all the various reasons that people overlook things. Being an observer also makes us see all the things that people do that make us angry. One of the things I observe is how often people appear to live their lives either “off” or “on.” And for me that often manifests itself in how people drive.

Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

I see that little needle as an analogy for the way I live my life, and I guess I project it on others as I imagine them running around with their personal needles pegged on Minus. This feeling is especially prevalent on my drive to work in the morning, as we move from one stop light to the next, all of us ending up in the same place, just in a somewhat different order. Some people race to get to the light sooner, and just have to wait longer for it to change. Others roll up to the light just as it is getting ready to change, but it’s the same cars each time. I guess in many ways I’m playing the role of the tortoise vs. the hare, but I learned long ago that no one gives out prizes for being the first person into the office in the morning. And they don’t serve cocktails to those who are still in the office at 6:00. When I leave for the day, I do so with the confidence that it will be there when I get back. Right where I left it the day before. It’s funny how that works.

Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

So where did the title come from? I was thinking about the fact that people seem to know only two settings on their cars – “go” and “stop.” I was thinking about the fact that I can choose how hard to press the gas pedal – that it is a control that allows me to add gas gradually instead of just mashing it to the floor, instead of an off/on switch with only two settings. And I choose to live my life somewhere between the Plus and Minus settings. Sometimes it’s OK to peg the needle one way or the other, but things seem to run more smoothly when I keep the needle in the middle. And I guess I just find myself happier when my personal needle spends more time on the Plus side of the scale than the Minus.

The Forgotten Camera

Brian Culbertson performs at the 2014 Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, South Carolina
Brian Culbertson performs at the 2014 Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, South Carolina

Kathy & I headed to Charleston, SC over the Labor Day weekend to attend the Lowcountry Jazz Festival there.  When I was packing up my photo gear I didn’t know if I would be permitted to take a camera to the concerts, so at the last minute I pulled out my Fuji X-10 and decided to toss it in the bag.

Oli Silk and Elan Trotman perform at the 2014 Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, South Carolina
Oli Silk and Elan Trotman perform at the 2014 Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, South Carolina

I hadn’t been using the Fuji in a while, in fact I’ve been on a “use the best camera all the time” kick and haven’t been carrying a point & shoot camera at all.  And I have never been happy with the  way Lightroom processes the RAW files I’ve gotten out of the Fuji, so I had sort of abandoned it.

Boney James performs at the 2014 Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, South Carolina
Boney James performs at the 2014 Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, South Carolina

I have read a lot of comments about how good Fuji’s JPEG processing is, so I set the camera up to shoot high quality JPEGs.  And although I could have taken the “big camera” to the concerts I decided to just take the Fuji.  In fact that was the only camera I used all weekend.  We went out and did some touristy stuff and the X-10 did the job.

Jazz Attack featuring Peter White, Euge Groove and Rick Braun perform at the 2014 Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, South Carolina
Jazz Attack featuring Peter White, Euge Groove and Rick Braun perform at the 2014 Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, South Carolina

It did a pretty good job all in all, especially considering that it is several years old.  The concert photos were taken at ISO 1600 or 3200 and came out pretty good for a small sensor.  I decided to post these with no processing at all.  A few are a little on the dark side, but that is mostly due to the fact that I was using negative exposure compensation at the concerts and kept forgetting to reset it when I went outside!

Nick Colionne looking much like Paul Lester, but in a nicer suit.
Nick Colionne looking much like Paul Lester, but in a nicer suit.

I’m pretty impressed with the results from this camera.  In fact, based on a lot of things I have been reading lately, I’ve just about decided to try out one of their newer offerings as a possible eventual replacement for the full frame beast that I’ve been carrying.  It’s tough to beat the files I’m getting from the 5D, but with results like these from a several-year-old point & shoot, I think I owe it to myself to at least rent a newer model and see how I like it.  No surprise that we have some upcoming travel plans 😉 , so I may need to check out the options.

Jazz Attack featuring Peter White, Euge Groove and Rick Braun perform at the 2014 Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, South Carolina
Jazz Attack featuring Peter White, Euge Groove and Rick Braun perform at the 2014 Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, South Carolina
Clemson University Energy Innovation Center, North Charleston, SC
Clemson University Energy Innovation Center, North Charleston, SC
Clemson University Energy Innovation Center, North Charleston, S
I added this photo for Monte – this is a single blade from a wind turbine. It was HUGE!
Tanger Outlets, North Charleston, South Carolina
Tanger Outlets, North Charleston, South Carolina
Tanger Outlets, North Charleston, South Carolina
Tanger Outlets, North Charleston, South Carolina

September 2014 Wallpaper

Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Evening on the Beach, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Back to the real abstracty stuff for September! Last month’s calendar photo was a little too literal to fit the “abstract” theme, but I like it and it works.

I really like this month’s photo for the pastel colors and the soft edge of the waterline against the sand. It fits into my idea of a quiet evening, which is one of the things I like best about being at the beach.