THE MAGIC LANDSCAPE OF EDISTO BEACH.
Three Hours. One Tree.
During a recent trip to South Carolina I was lucky to stumble across one of the most unique places that I have ever seen. Located next to the historic Botany Bay Plantation is an interesting and rare stretch of Atlantic Coastline that has been protected from the effects of man. But it’s not the beach that makes it interesting. It’s the trees.
Thanks to their deep root structure, a group of stubborn oak trees has managed to cling to the coastline for a number of decades. Surprisingly, they have withstood the daily pounding of the Atlantic tides as well as the crushing waves of countless storms that have hit the South Carolina coast. As I approached the area, technically referred to as Edisto Beach, I noticed the constant crunch of seashells beneath my feet. This is a protected area due to the historical value of the site and local government has prohibited the removal of any sort of artifact. Even the seashells are off limits.
In my 2+ decades of photography I can’t remember working a scene quite like this one. While it seemed simple, I ended up shooting one tree…….for close to three hours. The scene kept changing with the strengthening tide, making for interesting compositions throughout the shoot. Clouds were also cooperating for the most part, and I found myself waiting for the right moment to capture right balance.
I have always been drawn to scenes that depict a sense of isolation. Many can relate to this lonely tree getting bashed by the forces of nature on a daily basis. While I initially tried to follow some of the traditional “rules” of composition (like the rule of thirds), I decided to position this tree in the center of the frame. I felt this obnoxiously centered composition enhanced the feeling of solitude. The horizon was intentionally placed low in the frame to add tension to t he image. An 8 second exposure was used to show the movement in the tide, which created some subtle lines leading your eye to the tree.