My recent trip to Charleston, South Carolina began with somewhat difficult conditions: low tide, a high pressure system, clear skies, lots of sunshine and no clouds. It appeared that the famed Azaleas, which drove the trip to the Lowcountry in the first place, were deep in hiding after some shockingly low temperatures, including an overnight freeze warning. However, being on a trip planned specifically for capturing new seasonal photographs, nothing could dampen the desire to get out and about and put the lens onto something. Morning one my mother and I (she is also an avid photographer) were up and after it on Folly Beach, a barrier island about eight miles outside of downtown Charleston, South Carolina. Our destination: the “Washout” at Folly Beach.
The Washout got it’s name from the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 when the Atlantic Ocean washed over this low area and wiped out a row of homes along East Ashley Avenue. It’s my understanding that because of South Carolina laws, these damaged homes were not allowed to rebuild, leaving a rare open space from the Atlantic Ocean across the road to the marsh and the Folly River. It’s said that this changed geography post Hugo, as well as the open space for the winds to blow from the ocean over to the Folly River are what create such nice rolling waves at this location. And for those that are unaware like I was, Folly Beach’s “Washout” is often considered the second best surfing spot on the east coast behind only the barrier islands of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Washout is home to many notable east coast surfing competitions throughout the year.
Historically, it appears that this area was actually an inlet, passable only at low-tide. Maps from the Civil War times show Folly Beach not as a continuous strand, but two discontinuous islands–Big Folly and Little Folly–separated by an inlet at what is now known as the Washout. The inlet supposedly filled naturally over time, but the historical record certainly supports the shifting grounds and dynamics of this bend along Folly Beach’s coastline that continues to draw visitors to this area today.
When I took this photograph I didn’t have any of the above knowledge to be honest. After an average sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean (clear skies and bright light), I found myself walking back to the parked vehicle along East Ashley Avenue when I noticed these really great patterns along the beach’s tidal pool. During high tide it appeared that water from the ocean would wash into this pool and flow pretty heavy up and down the beach creating these great rippled patterns along the sand, and the retreating ocean pulling at the sand also provided some great lines at the top frame. So, blocking out much of the rising morning sun, I used the highlights and deep shadows from the low light to accentuate the textures along the ground in a bit of an abstract take. It was only later that I read up on the history of this location and realized that this shot spoke pretty well to the dynamic nature of the beach at this location, and for that reason, I thought it might make a neat post. I can’t wait to dig further into my archives from the trip–always daunting to come home with a mass of photos that need attention, but I know there’s some good stuff in there…somewhere 🙂
Have a wonderful week folks! Would love to hear your take on this one!
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