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The first stop for our Swamps and Marshes photo workshop is Jekyll Island, Georgia.  I love going there – unlike many of the coastal islands, it’s remarkably quiet.  The island is largely owned by the State of Georgia.  The small island has a wide range of photographic subjects – historic buildings, wildlife, coastal marsh, and quiet beaches.  That makes it perfect for photography and the reason for making it part of this week’s workshop.

 We’ve just got two days of photography but this is a place I could easily spend a week or more.  The images will depend a lot on weather conditions.  I’m was hoping for some light clouds, but the weather upon arrival was a bit overcast with a chance of rain.

 Any time you get to a new location, the first thing to do is to do a quick assessment of conditions.  I’ve spent more than 30 days at Jekyll Island, so I know the area.  But I don’t know what has happened in the four months since my last visit.  At a coastal location – especially with marsh – the tides are important.  I scheduled this workshop based on the tides, but I still want to see for myself what might have changed at our sunrise and sunset locations.  My prime sunrise location is a beach covered with driftwood.  The nature of the location is that huge driftwood trees move with the tides and shifting sands.  So I’ve got to take a good look and consider the position of the sun.  For the sunset locations, we’ve got three good choices but only two sunsets, so I’m going to make sure there are no site issues and we are at the optimal locations.

 As we prepared for sunset, the island was completely covered with clouds, but we saw some clearing on the mainland.  We decided to go to an alternate location closer to the mainland.  As the light changed, the setting sun was blocked by clouds, but our view to the east provided this image.

The lesson – scout your locations and be prepared with a Plan B.

Contact Eric if you are interested in nature photography workshops.

The 2010 workshop schedule is as follows:

Swamps, Marsh and Shore – March 21-26, 2010
This workshop explores southeastern Georgia and northern Florida including Jekyll Island, the Okefenokee, and the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. The primary subjects are birds and landscapes.

Spring in the Smokies – April 19-23, 2010
This workshop places you in the Smokies at the peak of the wildflower season. We’ll visit the major areas of the park and all of the peak locations for spring wildflowers. Water levels in streams will be high making it the perfect time for photographing moving water and moss covered rocks.

Fall in the Smokies – October 25-29, 2010
Fall is the perfect time for the Smokies. Leaves turn into brilliant orange, yellow, and red turning the park into an explosion of color. Wildlife is active as the elk and deer search for mates and the bears fatten for winter. We’ll visit the best places at the best times for great fall photos.

One day workshops and photography instruction are available by request.