A few more Edisto Churches and a post office.

An earlier post last week featured the Presbyterian Church on Edisto Island, but there are lots more churches there. Here is a sampling of some of the others, along with the Post Office at Adam’s Run, a tiny community on the way to Edisto.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage


On our way back…

On our way back from a business trip to Myrtle Beach, SC yesterday, we decided to go slightly out of our way to see Edisto Island, a place we had never been before. We were taken by the number of churches along the 20 mile road, so naturally I started pulling over and photographing them on the way back. They pretty much run the gamut of sizes and styles, and some are quite beautiful. Being Presbyterian ourselves, we naturally were attracted to the PresbyterianChurch on Edisto, formed in 1685, and the present building being finished in 1830



Beside the Church building is a tiny white building, now called the Prayer Chapel


Inside it is a small printed plaque, which we got a big kick out of, having served on several Sessions myself.

It reads, in part:

“This building was constructed in the 1800’s as a Session House for meetings of the Church’s governing body. Legend has it that some of their meetings in the sanctuary had become so heated that their resulting behavior was considered inappropriate for God’s House: hence, this separate building which was intentionally constructed too small to allow the traditional ten paces required between dueling antagonists. Today Session meetings are bland by comparison, and are no longer held in this building.”

If you are ever headed toward Charleston on Hwy 17, we recommend a short trip out this byway.

How to Give Your Images a Luminescent Feel « Nature’s Best by Don Smith Photography

How to Give Your Images a Luminescent Feel « Nature’s Best by Don Smith Photography.

This is a nice tutorial by Don Smith demonstrating some of the same techniques that I use with nature, as well as real estate photography to create a much more interesting image.

“is that photo HDR”? Why yes it is, thanks for asking!

In the relatively short history of digital photography, I can’t remember anything as revolutionary, trendsetting, and divisive,  as “high dynamic range”, better known as simply HDR. I remember well when i first saw it, and going, “Wow”. I knew it had real potential, but also lots of drawbacks. I immediately downloaded the original Photomatix Pro, and starting playing with it. I quickly discovered that people either loved it or hated it, and that is still the case. Some photographers still shun it, and others have made a career out of it, like Trey Ratcliff at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/. Essentially it overcomes a shortcoming of film or digital sensors, and gives the photograph a larger range, much as your eyes, in association with your brain” processor”, can see. It can take this original photo and turn it into a much more interesting and dynamic photo. My first attempts at this came up with some pretty weird looking images, which is fine for fine art, or for other purposes, but for the Real Estate brokers, they are not looking for weird. The secret is in knowing when to dial it back, and get the effect you and the client want, without going too far.

Before and after editing, with Nik HDR Efex Pro and Nik Color Efex Pro, as well as Adobe Lightroom 4
Dining Room Before and After
Dining Room

It goes without saying that all tastes are not the same, and some clients want more dramatic effects, and others want to play it straight. The following image shows just a little HDR effect, but still enough to bring out details otherwise left unseen. So while my clients don’t have to know the details, the name, or how it’s done, I want them to appreciate the change that it has on their end product. The time spent doing it is fairly significant, but the results are well worth it.

The “Live Oak”, Georgia’s State Tree

Click on any image for a larger version.

The Live Oak, genus Quercus, is a general term for a large number of species of Oaks that are still green during Winter when other Oaks, such as Red Oak, White Oak, Water Oak and others are bare and dead looking. They do shed their leaves periodically, especially in the spring, but are never totally bare. Thomasville's Big OakThe species virginiana, usually found in Georgia and the Southeastern US, is also Georgia’s State Tree. Some live to be several hundred years old, partially because they are both strong and flexible. Those qualities led to their use in shipbuilding, especially in keels and knees, where strong curves or angles were important. For that reason, the genus was almost depleted in Europe, so the new and abundant supply in Colonial America was important, before the widespread use of iron or steel.A big oak near Savannah’s two best known big oaks are the Majestic Oak, found in a residential area by the same name, off LaRoche Ave. near Savannah State University, and the Candler Oak on the property of the original Candler Hospital, a pre Civil War hospital located on Drayton St.Candler Oak shaded Civil War soldiers on both sides. Majestic Oak is over three hundred years old, and the Candler Oak is approaching three hundred years. It shaded both Confederate and Union Soldiers during the Civil War.On Georgia’s barrier islands, long a source for the big oaks, many were either harvested for the shipbuilding industry, or cleared for farm land. However, they are regenerating, and some of the large old trees remain. One of the best known, although easily missed in the heavily wooded setting, is Ossabaw Islands “Big Oak”. Estimated at around 850 years old, it is one of the oldest living oaks, but is in rapidly deteriorating health.The “granddaddy of all live oaks” is the Angel Oak on John’s Island, near Charleston SC. At an estimated 1500 years old, it is the oldest thing, living or man made east of the Mississippi. It has limbs 11 feet in circumference and the trunk is over 25 feet in circumference. It sustained heavy damage from Hurricane Hugo in 1989, but has recovered and is healthy again.In addition to the Spanish Moss and Resurrection Fern which are most often associated with the old oaks, they host little ecosystems of mosses, lichens, ferns, vines, insects, and animals. Some of the remaining Plantations have impressive canopies of live oaks lining their entrance drives. Some of these are now between 200 and 300 years old, and are very impressive. The most famous of Savannah’s such drives is at Wormsloe Plantation on Isle of Hope. The trees were planted in the mid 1700’s, and go on for more than a mile.The urban canopy for which Savannah is well known is also comprised mostly of live oaks. Some of our streets are long canopies of live oaks, and visitors from other parts of the country are astounded by our trees as well as our history.

The Cherokee Rose and “The Trail of Tears”

Georgia's State flower, the Cherokee RoseOne of the saddest stories of the European settlement of America is the removal of the native Americans, the Lower Creek, the Upper Creek, the Seminole, and finally, with the discovery of gold in North Georgia at Dahlonega, the Cherokee, were forced from their native lands, and removed to Oklahoma on the “Trail of Tears”.  The Cherokee had adapted to the newcomers, and many had adopted European dress, they had their own alphabet, and were farmers and ranchers by this time. They were also fond of a flower, now known as the Cherokee Rose. It was proclaimed the Georgia State flower in 1916, and named the Cherokee Rose because it had been widely distributed over the state by the Cherokee.