As the crow flies, Hunting Island State Park is only about 20 miles from where I live. But water makes things a bit more complicated. To reach it I have to drive something that looks like a circle and takes about an hour. It’s a shame because Hunting Island State Park is a real gem. Today I took my first trip out there and was quite impressed by the area. I first hit up the beach looking for wildlife. Some early shorebirds were around having ended their breeding season up in the Arctic. Kind of amazing to think that they have made their way down to South Carolina already. Ruddy Turnstones were one of the early migrants that were already down here.
As I walked along the beach I noticed that there were a LOT of Ghost Crab holes. Many more than I had been able to find near Hilton Head Island. With so many, I decided to get low to the sand and wait. Much of wildlife photography is spent waiting, and luckily this was a pretty short wait. In a short amount of time the crabs decided that they could tolerate my presence and came out of their burrows. Many of them spent some time fixing their burrows or chasing each other. I found that an image of one starting to come out of its burrow captured the half-subterranean life they lead.
While Hunting Island is a gorgeous location filled with pristine salt marsh and beach, it also have a few elements of human touch. The most dominant by far is a picturesque lighthouse that towers over the island. I had some clouds in the sky – a welcome addition – and some late light as I captured this image. To deal with the dynamic range of the scene, I opted for an HDR treatment that remained true to the way the scene looked.