Charleston Atrophotography

Charleston Atrophotography

Dora and I just returned from an astrophotography workshop in Charleston, SC. The workshop was presented by Mountains to Sea Photography Workshops and presented by photographers Tommy White and Alistair Nichol. This is the third workshop we have participated in. The Milky Way is just starting to be visible again and we hoped to capture it.

Our first stop Friday evening was the Arthur Ravenel Bridge for sunset and night images. This is a beautiful bridge to photograph at night when it is lit up. If you plan on photographing this bridge plan on an evening shoot. The lights are turned off after midnight and an early morning session may be disappointing.

We grabbed some sleep before heading out at 3:00 AM for the Isle of Palms. This would be our first opportunity to capture the Milky Way. We weren't disappointed. The Milky Way appeared low on the horizon around 4:00 AM. We stayed on at Isle of Palms through sunrise to capture the Isle of Palms pier.

Saturday was a time to rest and participate in a classroom environment learning how to post process the Milky Way in Photoshop. After class fellow photographers Amy Little, Carrie Chiu, and I headed to Shem Creek to grab a few more images at sunset.

We grabbed a little more sleep Saturday evening before catching a 3:00 AM ferry to Bulls Island. Bulls Island is one of the barrier islands off the South Carolina Coast. Cloud cover prevented us from seeing the Milky Way. A few fortunate photographers managed to get elements of the Milky Way but most of us were not so lucky. 

Photography is a passion for me and when I need to unwind it is a retreat. I seldom get frustrated on a photography outing but for some reason Bulls Island was particularly frustrating. Maybe it was the cloud cover preventing us from photographing the Milky Way, maybe it was some initial problems getting set up, or maybe it was just a lack of sleep. Eventually things got sorted out and it was not a disappointing stop. We all know how elusive the Milky Way is. We did, however, manage some great photographs of the beach at night, along with a fantastic sunrise.

Bulls Island was the last stop for the workshop but photographers Amy Little, Carrie Chiu, Tommy White, and I stayed an extra day to photograph around Botany Bay. Botany Bay is similar to Bulls Island. There are wonderful old trees along the beach, tons of seashells, and lots of wildlife. Botany Bay is a wildlife management area and you should be aware that you are not permitted to collect seashells here. There is a heavy fine for doing so.

Botany Bay was our last stop before heading home. This was a fun and productive trip. Due to cloud cover we were only able to photograph the Milky Way one night but we did get visit some wonderful locations and were able to capture some amazing photographs.We are planning on attending another Mountains to Sea Photography Workshop in the Outer Banks in July.