While I haven’t seen all of Charleston, most of my photos of the area have been of the bridge. Without natural elevation to influence the vantage point, I’ve also struck out on shooting an overview of the Lowcountry. That changed when a coupon for Holy City Helicopters appeared in my inbox.
In late August, I decided to give Pitt St another go-around. The week had been rainy but cleared as it neared Friday, leaving behind some clouds and making me hope the sunset would be a bombshell of color.
In my time here so far, my two favorite places to photograph in the Charleston area are the Ravenel Bridge and Botany Bay. The bridge is simply majestic, though I don’t feel like I’ve depicted its full grandeur yet. Botany Bay at sunrise is the closest definition of tranquility that I’ve found here. Naturally, it’s difficult to photograph the boneyard at Botany Bay from a place other than Botany Bay, but there’s plenty of vantage points for the bridge. One week ago, I decided to check out a new location to shoot the bridge at sunset.
I didn’t have a clear view of the sunrise when I went to Bear Island, but a few weeks prior I had scouted out Sunrise Park (now called the Melton Peter Demetre Park) to see what it could offer. From here, the sun actually rises and sets out of frame, but my biggest takeaway didn’t concern the sunrise itself.
During a bout of spring cleaning, I placed my scale mode 963D next to a scale model U4000 on my bookshelf, positioning it only in a feigned loading position but otherwise not paying much attention to the arrangement on the shelf or what else was on the shelf. When I looked more carefully at the placement, however, I realized that it captured nearly every interest or hobby I have.
I grew up outside of Chicago, where a “bad winter storm” typically meant at least a foot of snow followed by temperatures in the teens. Unless some heavy stuff is expected, in other words, nothing shuts down. In much of the South, even a forecast of 1/4″ of ice or 1″ of snow prompts school and business shutdowns. I scoffed at this initially, until I realized what it meant after the precipitation had finished.
Photography is typically about light or composition and how to portray the emotional juxtaposition of the two given some subject. A photograph is the result of some amount of planning and motivation; ideally, it evokes an emotional response. The ability to photograph comes differently to photographers: some nail technique with no issue, others find the perfect composition without much thought.
Regardless, photography takes time. The amount of time it takes to expose a photograph is typically orders of magnitude shorter than the amount of time it takes to prepare for a shoot. Sometimes it surprises me just how much I’ve let work consume my time here, so I decided to put together a few shots from over the past year. There are no mountains here: where I typically derive my inspiration from the large rock formations that border Seattle or Switzerland, I’ve finally begun to learn that the beauty is in the details in the Lowcountry.
I never thought I’d work in manufacturing and enjoy it, and none of my previous work would have suggested that I take final placement in a plant. But it’s incredibly fun, a bit chaotic, and a perpetual challenge. Every so often, on some Charleston-area beach I find a spot with footsteps untarnished that reminds me of where I’ve come from — and how little that can sometimes matter in where I’m going.
You’d think that I would be able to go to a beach or some other place on the coast to get pictures of sunsets and sunrises. I did it in Detroit — before work, even — so I should be able to do it here, too. Unfortunately, for the first two months of my current rotation I arrived at work before the sun rose and left long after the sun had set, and even now — when sunset is well after 7 PM — I’ve been leaving at least twice a week after it’s dark out. Only on one solitary Saturday did I get anything close to a sunset, but with the colors fading to black within a matter of minutes I once again came to the conclusion that there really isn’t such a thing as a sunset in Charleston.