Charleston on My Mind – Middleton Place & Cypress Swamp
Just about this time last year, I decided to splurge on a photography workshop in Charleston, South Carolina. For the first time ever I entrusted my tripod to checked baggage, packed all my other gear in a carry-on bag, and headed off.
The day I arrived, I reached Charleston mid-day but I wasn’t scheduled to meet up with the group until around dinner time. So I decided to head to Middleton Place Plantation, which wasn’t on the group itinerary. The grand photo you see on their website must have been taken from an airplane – it’s stunning but I soon realized there was no way to replicate it as an earth-bound mortal. The mid-day sun was also a challenge. I finally settled for a shot or two of the garden areas not far from the house, where classic statuary dotted glades loaded with azaleas and Spanish moss-covered live oaks.
The next day, we set off early (by 6:30 for a stop at the local Dunkin’ Donuts, which seemed to be on every other corner, practically) for Cypress Gardens. Blessed with 3-1/2 miles of nature trails and what is called a “swamparium” on its website, Cypress Gardens offered lots of gorgeous azaleas in bloom and a chance to try out some abstract approaches to shooting the water (a challenge for me, who is the Queen of Realism when given a camera).
Our instructor, Tony Sweet, is a whiz at getting you to think outside the box a little. The photo above is one I probably never would have thought to take on my own. As I said, I’m a bit of a literalist when it comes to photographing gardens. But even though I would never frame it or enter it into a competition, I like this image.
Next stop for the tripod-toting group: Magnolia Plantation – look for it in the next post.
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