Tag Archives: savannah

Relax and wait for the photo to cook – Tybee Island

It was a great morning, predawn with a chance to relax and wait for the photo to cook.  At least that’s what it feels like – baking an image.  Use the recipe .  Wait for the clock.  I had been planning this shot for weeks.  Tybee Island, Georgia’s North Beach is the perfect place; tranquil, cool, quiet, and a great jetty for creating wispy, foggy waves in long-exposure images.  Over the exposure the waves “stack” and create the illusion of fog, ice, or in some cases, glass.  The sea looks as if a fog machine has pumped its haze across the surface leaving stationary items like rocks, poles, sharp.  Everything is peaceful as I push the shutter button.  Small waves split as they reached the rocks. The occasional large swell crashes into the granite quay sending salt-water sheets into the air… but only a few inches or feet.  The calming scent of salt and sea water drifts by.

Pelican and Shrimp Boat at Sunrise

The Beckster’s Pelican and Shrimp Boat at Sunrise photo. I’m jealous, still.

The ocean is relatively calm on this edge of the Atlantic. Seabirds fly over.  Some land and peck the sand searching for a sea-washed breakfast morsel.  Others fly on toward Hilton Head Island across the sound.  A pelican roosts on a marker pole several-dozen yards out in the water.  At low tide the wooden perch stands high and dry.  At all times of the tide it welcomes winged visitors, usually pelicans and maybe this same bird.  It’s worth a photograph, but The Beckster beat me to the best one several years earlier.  She, Kate and Tare, our granddaughters, play in the sand a few yards away.  She gets shots when I’m not looking.  She did back then too.

While shooting a small wedding at sunrise I noticed she was missing.  She had spotted the photo unrelated to the bride and groom, ditched us and went for it.  I’ve been jealous ever since that time.  The sun had lifted from the edge of a cloud bank just above the water and was directly behind the bird.  In the distance a shrimp boat headed to deeper water, in just the right compositional place.  It’s a great shot and I give her the best compliment that any photographer can give another, “I wish I had taken that one.”  Leaving the wedding, however?  She can get away with it.  She’s The Beckster.

 

Jetty and Pelican Before Sunrise

The test shot of the jetty and pelican before sunrise. 60 second exposure at f11. I like it so I kept it.

This morning the old bird sits in the same spot, in the same position.  But that’s not why I’m here.  I’m here for long exposures and I haven’t made one in years… thirty-five years.  Back then I had a Toyo 4×5″ view camera that I carried to the bottom of a canyon to capture the North Fork of the Tuolumne River near Twain Harte, California.

Jim taking photos by Bec

A photo of me by The Beckster as I shoot the pre-dawn test images. She’s sneaky, but then, she’s The Beckster.

Long black and white exposures were not a problem in the shadow of the surrounding mountains.  The extended shutter opening captured the flowing stream as if it were ribbons of glass.  One second, two, three, four, I counted off the time.  Around four shots and I’m finished.  Sheet film isn’t cheap.  It wasn’t then either.  Afterward I developed and printed my favorite image and painstakingly oil tinted two.  One went to my Uncle Roy in Savannah.  It was a Christmas present.  The other I kept.  Over the years mine was destroyed while in storage.  Then later, sadly, my friend and uncle died.  The photo stayed with aunt Dot, his wife, until her death.  Now I have it back.  I cherish the copy and the memories that it represents.

Tuolumne River, 1982

This is the image I made in 1982. It took a bit more effort and I love it. But, boy, do I love digital!

Those cameras take more thought and preparation.  But today I still go down the checklist.  Tripod?  Check.  Filters?  Check.  Correct lenses?  Check.  Oh, yeah.  Camera?  Check.  Now, find the exposure and wait for the sun.  I have the filters that cut light, ND16 and ND8 stacked in front of the lens.  Boy, I love digital.  Good black and white images can’t be beaten.  But I do love the ease of computer aided photography.

Jetty And Pelican with Sun

The jetty and pelican as the sun breaks above the horizon, the color version.

I compose the image.  What’s the exposure?  It’s time.  The sun should be coming up, but I need a test.  I take one shot.  It’s overexposed so I stop the lens down to a smaller aperture to cut down the light.  Snap again.  One-minute exposure at f11.  Got it.

The first one is perfect.  All of the images made are perfect.  Did I say I love digital?

Not bad for thirty-five years in  long-exposure hibernation.

Now the dilemma.  Which one… and…  color or black and white?

Leave a note below or email me and tell me your think.

– Jim

Visit our main website at SoutheasternBound.net. We post history/travel every Tuesday, then occasional photos/photo tips on Thursday.  Please click the Follow button (right) for updates on Southeastern Bound.

© J.D. Byous 2018, All rights reserved.

 

 

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Doughnut Dreams and Maple-Bar Wishes

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To some the glow of the moon inspires. A glowing sunset beckons along the beach then fades slowly into the night.  So starts my obsession to find the holey grail – the perfect doughnut.  Not just glazed, or sprinkled or custard filled, but the best. For me it’s the neon moon – the yellow-orange, heart-stopping-full-of-love-and-warmth beacon that cries “HOT NOW” wrapped around those savory words, “Krispy Kreme”.  THE electric moon. The siren song of pulsing neon. The lady of the evening calling, “Hey sailor!” – hanging, winking at the vulnerable passing by. It grips the lobes of the brain like the talon-gripped digits of a Yankee tourist on a Paula Deen pork chop. There are other kingdoms our city, Savannah, Georgia.  Other vistas of white, sugar-glazed ridges… of golden brown islands floating in a sea of grease… of golden maple plains that crank a glucometer like a tac on a 450 supercharged engine. The best of the best… if there is such a thing to be found. Yes, Krispy Kreme is king. Later in the evening with the after-glow of heartburn, a Tums or two comforts as I’m tucked into my warm bed, visions of floating circles in mirror-rippled grease. My grin is steadfast. I fade into peaceful slumber.

But I awake… all a dream.  Gluten intolerant.  I cry myself to back to sleep.

The siren sign.  The solicitor of more pedestrians and driver than... well... nevermind.

The siren sign. The solicitor of more pedestrians and drivers than… well… nevermind.

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The Box

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Not long ago Becky (Rebecca Harrison Byous) and I had the opportunity to visit a friend here in Savannah who allowed us to view a family heirloom that has been passed down through four previous generations. It was a small leather-covered box about 12 inches by 9 inches by 4.5 inches deep. A small medallion highlighted the lid with an eagle and an inscription, “E Pluribus Unum.” The box served as a desk secretary for General Robert E. Lee and was carried by him through his early career and during the years he served and commanded troops during the War Between The States. It was a gift from his mother upon his graduation from West Point. I’d had the honor of viewing it once before late last year and was able to touch and handle it. But today it was an extra thrill for me to watch Georgia-girl, Becky as she was able to see, touch and feel history. For an Okie cowboy who grew up in history-sparse North-Central California, living here in Savannah has been exceptional and exciting experience… being the history nerd that I am. But watching others discover history is an equally fantastic event. Here, each footstep and conversation treads on and teaches of things historical. How cool is that?

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Gliding Through Savannah

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Recently I had the opportunity to glide around our beautiful city on a Segway tour from Segway of Savannah. Fantastic!  After a short safety video three novices – two young ladies from Delaware and me – climbed aboard.  Wobbly at first, it soon became second nature to glide, turn, stop and roll along the cobbled streets of Savannah.

Our tour guide, Kathie, was knowledgeable on our city’s history and made the day enjoyable.  Currently SoS is providing 1.5 hour tours of downtown along with a tour of Bonaventure Cemetery which is just outside of the Historic District.  Talk is they will be adding other tours in the future after moving to their new location at West Boundary Street and Oglethorpe.

      

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The Trustees’ Garden in the beginning

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If cotton was once king of the South, then the royal cradle was the sandy plot of land along Savannah’s eastern bluff called Trustees’ Garden.  The role of the Garden changed over the years following the modes of history along the currents and courses that progressed from agriculture to industry to tourism. Events there helped form the face and destiny of Savannah, of Georgia and of the world.

Cotton was first introduced to the New World in Virginia and Florida, but was first nurtured for the commercial market at Trustees’ Garden in 1734.  Joseph Fitzwalter, the caretaker of the Garden wrote James Oglethorpe in January 1735, “I have met with some cotton seeds from Guinea, which from it I have raised… [a] thousand plants, some of which have shot eight feet… and a second season will come to their bringing forth fruit [of] cotton to the Trustees’ use.”

From the beginning silk was the desired product to be produced in Georgia.  Modeled after London’s Chelsea Botanical Garden, silk production was the goal.  Cotton was seemingly a second thought for the Trustees and to founder James Oglethorpe.

Though the Garden fell into disuse after only a few years, the advancements achieved there were wide-sweeping.  The short time when cotton plants were nurtured at the end of Broughton Street was an instrumental step in the development of a product that shaped the politics, the culture and the events of a growing region, nation and an eventual world power.

The bluff at the Garden was more than an agricultural nursery.  It was situated with a strategic military overview of the Savannah River.  Multiple forts and cannon batteries occupied the spot that also served as an anchor spot for fortification walls that ringed and protected the city from advancing armies, real or projected. On a map entitled “Savanna Town” a diamond-buttressed fort just outside of the Garden area entitled “Castell” can be seen.  A battery of cannon was located on the bluff of the Garden.

The Gas Works Wall

The Gas Works wall at Trustees’ Garden is often mistaken as Old Fort Wayne because it stands on the same spot.

Later in 1759 Fort Halifax occupied the bluff.  The fort was named for the Earl of Halifax, the godfather of the second royal governor of the colony, Henry Ellis.  This was an emblematic location during the days before the Revolution. Demonstrations against the Stamp Act by the newly named “Sons of Liberty” erupted in the city in December, 1765 when two hundred protesters mustered around the fort to destroy the loathed papers.  Governor James Wright reported, “The Liberty Boys, as they call themselves, had assembled together to the Number of about 200 & were gathering fast and that Some of them had declared they were determined to go to the Fort & break open the Store & take out & destroy the Stamp’t Papers &c”.  The Governor and fifty-four Rangers moved in to protect the stamps.  When the crowd of protesters grew to three hundred Governor Wright spirited the stamps aboard the ship Speedwell that was docked at the base of the bluff.  They were then taken to Cockspur Island and the protection of Fort George at the mouth of the Savannah River.  Wright had reason to be concerned since the fort was in a state of disrepair from neglect over the years.

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