Life has been full of changes lately. After many years in the Ann Arbor, Michigan area, I moved across the country to Bluffton, South Carolina. This puts me at the southern tip of South Carolina only a couple of hours from Florida. I had a bit of unpacking and settling in to do, but I was glad to be able to finally get out and photograph. There were several reasons for moving down to South Carolina, including proximity to my parents, but a big reason was my photography. I spent many summers down here during my childhood and am very familiar with the wildlife of the area, although not from a photographic perspective. It felt strange to finally be a “local” and try to capture some images of the wildlife of my new home.
It started off slow, real slow. I was visiting Savannah National Wildlife Refuge which in the past has been loaded with birds, alligators, and other animals. Today, I couldn’t find a feathered, scaled, or furred creature in a decent situation. Maybe an hour into my search, the weather took a quick turn. Immediately storm clouds gathered and the pressure and temperature dropped. I’ve seen a lot of big storms before, but this was one of the biggest I have seen and among the fastest to form. I desperately looked for some way to capture the amazing clouds and light that were coming in. I had a few minutes to capture some images before the deluge began. In this kind of situation the dynamic range is huge, and I used a 7-frame HDR exposure to capture it (like all my HDR photos, I used realistic processing). As I returned to my car soaked, I’m sure my face had a big grin at how I came looking for animals and was returning home early with some clouds. You have to go with what life gives you, whether in Michigan or South Carolina.