I’ve said it before, but my favorite assignments usually involve getting a call from an editor, asking me to go to place “x” for a few days and shooting “whatever.”
Luckily, this time place “x” was a private island off the coast of southeastern Georgia for a multiple page spread in Bay Magazine – a high-end lifestyle mag put out by the St. Petersburg Times. Little St. Simons Island is 10,000 acres of mostly untouched marshes and beaches with a little resort nestled right in it…but limited to only 32 guests a night. Pretty exclusive, not cheap, but far and away some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve seen in a while. Luckily it was, because it was a lot of landscape and nature photography during my 24-hour stay there crashing the vacations of a couple handfuls of people – one being that of a recent Secretary of Treasury and his lovely family.
Technically, shooting was interesting to say the least – I would have to bike a few miles on sandy paths through forests with my cameras dangling around my hips to points where people may or may not be. Most of the time they were not. Mosquitoes were some sort of unique, juice-up beasts I had never seen before. I took to jumping on the back of pick-up trucks with tour groups to grab compositional elements when need be. In travel photography, it just happens. It suits the way I usually shoot. I almost always find my backgrounds first, figure out where and when the light will be hitting what I want it to hit, then I leave. I’ll return hours later and just wait for a warm body to make a frame.
Unfortunately, on a private island with a dozen or so people, that perfect marriage of composition, light, and moment can prove to be hard when there’s not a soul around you for miles.
Alas, here’s what I came up with. Body or not.
For more work from Little St. Simons Island, please visit my Photoshelter archive: here.