by Carla Johannesmeyer
Hunting Island is a wild and primeval maritime forest on the coast of South Carolina. It is one of my favorite places to visit. It is deeply dark, haunting, mysterious and primitively gorgeous. A few months ago I explored these coastal wildscapes and once again left inspired. My recollection of that visit went like this:
The waves are gentle today. The tide is in. This time I am on a 5 mile hike along the lagoon and shoreline with my husband. I want to capture a few images to remind me of the sights, smells and sounds. He will go his own pace. He’s methodically precise, deliberate, and on stride. One speed. Cruise control. I’ve paused for just a few photos as the forest opens up to frame a beautiful view of the lagoon with pine, oak and palmetto reflections on the manganese blue water. I capture a few images very quickly. It doesn’t matter if they are in focus or not – I don’t need precise detail but environmental context, geometric massing, color, movement, a visual compare and contrast, like the ebb and flow of the tide.
Then I race to catch up with him – He’s 6’6 so his stride is long. But, there’s another view better than the last. I race ahead again. Colors, light and dark, shadows and reflections, sometimes composed, sometimes not – just capturing the moment.
It’s getting late. The sun is setting and the shadows are long and dense. I see a fringe of light creating a halo on the crowns of each palmetto tree. Salt laden oaks lie in the shadows underneath like gray and blurry ghosts waiting to come out. It’s my last glance thru the forest by the edge of the sea. I tell myself, “Catch the moment as fast as you can, quickly, the sun is setting. “
Some images are focused, others are dreamy blurs, I never know what captured glimpse of wildness will provide the creative spark. This time it was the last shot of the day.