In marketing, analytics measures the effectiveness of creativity; data are driven by imagination, not vice versa. I pride myself in blending creativity and analytical ability in business through the written word, the spoken word, and visuals, and I devote much of my free time to expressing myself creatively through blogging, music performance, public speaking, and photography.
The son of an artist and a native of Charleston, SC, I’ve been wandering one of the most beautiful parts of the world with a camera for much of my life. I’ve taken tens of thousands of photos over the years…these are just some of my favorites. Of note, I previously showcased some of my work on my landscape design business’s photos page, and I described some of my visual philosophies on the branding page of this site.
Photography is every bit as important to me as my other creative endeavors. As with the audio and video page, I’ll continue to add content to this page regularly.
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This is one of my favorite shots of all-time: a fiery summer sunset at Folly Beach County Park outside of Charleston. To me, this photo carries spiritual significance: The “burning bush”, which imparted knowledge in the Bible, enlightens us through the beauty of nature’s core elements: earth, wind (the windswept bush), water, and fire. Although I’m not a religious man, I do find spirituality through nature.
Sometimes, taking the road less-traveled leads one to some interesting places. Evacuating from Charleston to my Dad’s house in Columbia, South Carolina for a hurricane, I took backroads to avoid traffic. Doing so, I passed through some beautiful rural landscapes and came across an interesting scene of a single cow grazing in an open field. I like this shot for a number of reasons: 1) It demonstrates the appearance of unexpected beauty during uncertain times. 2) By looking at the camera, the cow poses as a defacto personified subject. 3) The image, divided into three vertical sections by the gate in the foreground and the treetops in the background, is an excellent example of the rule of thirds. 4) The use of black and white plays off of the simplicity of the rural environment and the solid black color of the subject.
Folly Beach offers beautiful sunsets year-round…I’ve taken photos of a countless number of them in all kinds of weather conditions. This scene from the Easter season is special to me because, in addition to being breathtaking, it contains an Easter egg. In the tech world, an “Easter egg” is an image, symbol, or message hidden in content. This shot contains a not-so-well-hidden heart, symbolizing love.
One of the many advantages of carrying around a smartphone with a decent camera in a naturally-beautiful environment is that you can grab a shot of a pretty landscape at nearly any time. For example, this seemingly-unremarkable saltwater pond near my mother’s house on James Island provides terrific vistas, especially at sunset during the fall. Clouds and haze make for great sunsets during the summer (see above and lower on this page), but clear, crisp autumn days can create some breathtaking scenes as well. I love how the position of the sun below the horizon outlines the wax myrtle on the right side of the image, and I like how the crescent moon (one of the two prominent features of the SC flag) can be seen clearly through the cool, dry air.
I have an unabashed affinity for cats, and I was lucky to have this guy in my life for several years. This is Mica, my seal point Siamese companion who loved to sit out on the porch and listen to the birds with me. I like this shot not only because it conjures fond memories of my late feline buddy, but also because it features interesting angles of sunlight and shadow as well as contrasts between dark and light lines and curves. Mica had a way of positioning himself to create interesting angles…on this occasion, he was sitting nearly perfectly parallel with the lines of light and dark with his head positioned nearly perfectly perpendicular to them. I also like the fact that the image shows a dirty floor, spider webs near the screen, and a pile of leaves in the background: The imperfect nature of the environment gives the shot character. Indeed, wabi-sabi–the concept of beauty through imperfection–is ingrained in Asian culture, the very culture that introduced the Siamese breed to the world.
This shot, like many of my sunset shots, violates the aforementioned rule-of-thirds, and for good reason: In order to show the contrast of colors, brightness, and hues in the sky at sunset, I have to place the horizon below the bottom third of the image and place the subject, the sun, in the bottom-center of the nine rule-of-thirds quadrants. As I note later on this page, the Charleston area is unique in that it offers sunset views over seawater. During the winter, when I took this shot, the sun was actually setting over the ocean. Notice how the water patterns on the sand parallel the radiant nature of the clouds in the sky.
My hometown of Charleston, SC, commonly known as the “Holy City”, is full of exquisite historic churches. The South Carolina Lowcountry’s natural beauty–including its crystal clear blue skies–makes a wonderful backdrop for this remarkable American city. I love how the monochrome steeple of this church reaches up into the brilliant azure “heavens”, and I like the nontraditional angle from which I took this shot because, to me, it represents the contrast between the rigid structure of organized religion and its unscientific nature. I’m usually a stickler for getting the horizon level, but I purposely made the horizontal lines delineating the sections of the steeple a little “off” to stress the dichotomy between the rigidity and disorganization depicted in this shot (again, “wabi-sabi”).
The value of this photo lies not in the artistic merit of the shot itself but rather in the artistic merit of the subject: It’s a church garden that I designed, and, like a lot of good photography (and marketing for that matter), it tells a story through aesthetics. As I noted in the description of the second sunset photo, I like symbolic Easter eggs; I incorporated two of them in this design: 1) The statue area in the foreground is roughly shaped like a heart, which symbolizes love. (I’m a big fan of subtlety in design…I didn’t want the bed to look exactly like a heart.) 2) The windows and lights above the church doors create an illuminated halo for the figure depicted by the sculpture (the Virgin Mary carrying child Jesus), which is lighted from the ground up to symbolize ascension. The hanging branches of the live oak tree in the background frame both the statue in the foreground and the church in the background as well as continue the rounded edges of the heart-shaped bed in which the statue stands.
I didn’t go to a big football school until I earned my M.B.A. at the University of Georgia, but I grew up a South Carolina Gamecocks fan because much of my family went to USC (the USC, as they call it). Severe erosion on the west end of Folly Beach killed several live oak trees during the late 1990s and early 2000s, including this one, which I dubbed the “Gamecock tree” because it resembled the Gamecocks football logo. I call this shot “I love the Gamecock tree” because the tree sits in a small gully that resembles a heart. I also like how the sun on the top of the photo, which I centered for effect, appears pink, which adds to the love theme. Unfortunately, Mother Nature, which created this scene through erosion from tropical storms, took it away during Hurricane Matthew.
There’s no symbolism in this photo of cumulus clouds during a sunset on Folly; it simply resembles an abstract painting. Airplane contrails often sully beautiful skyward scenes in this area, but on this occasion, the subtle linear contrail on the right side of the image made use of an empty area on the “canvas”. It also contrasted nicely with the fluffiness of the clouds.
Sometimes, the beauty of a photo is found in the questions it asks, not the story it tells. Why did this pelican allow me to approach it? Was it injured? Did it consider me the pelican whisperer? That’s the attraction: We’ll forever be left asking. I also like the irony displayed in this shot: The background objects, the tiny, inanimate grains of sand, show turbulent movement, but the subject, a large, sentient wild animal that usually soars in the sky, stands perfectly still on the ground. The probability of capturing such a scene in nature is astronomical. I was very lucky that day.
The forces of nature carve incredible beauty throughout the South Carolina Lowcountry. Here, the forces of wind and wave have sculpted the sand such that the early morning Folly sun reflected in an interesting way. The power of nature is exemplified here in the forms of movement, contrast, texture, and subject. It’s worth noting that I’m a strong advocate of continuous learning, and I took this shot before I had learned about f-stop.
With its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and deep culinary tradition, the South Carolina Lowcountry is a one-of-a-kind place in many respects. One of the ways in which it’s special is that it provides sunset views over Atlantic seawater, something that’s extremely rare on the East Coast. During the summer, windswept clouds over the Stono River boat landing in the Sol Legare community of James Island provide great opportunities for sunset shots. I love the contrasts of colors, hues, and tones in this shot as well as the reflection of the sun on the calm waters of the Stono after a thunderstorm. As a bonus, the boat landing is located in the heart of the area’s Gullah community; the drive is a historic and cultural marvel completely unique to the Charleston area.
Folly Beach (“Folly” or the “Edge of America”, as it’s known by Charleston natives like myself), is full of symbolism. On one of my morning walks, I literally stumbled across a personally-symbolic scene: bird tracks in bright, open sand mirroring the shadow of metal wire holding together a fence that cast an ominous, confining shadow on the other side. To me, the image represented the emancipation of nature: The bird walked freely in the sun outside of what resembles the bars and barbed wire of a prison fence.
This is another amazing sunset from the Stono River boat landing in the Sol Legare community of James Island, outside of Charleston, SC. Taken after a thunderstorm, the image features rays of sunlight towering over dark storm clouds, symbolizing brilliance in the wake of darkness. Like the previous sunset shot I took at this location, the calm post-storm water provided a beautiful reflection of the sun. Note how this photo shows the color spectrum in reverse order from top to bottom.
This is one of my favorite nature action shots. One day, while walking along the shore of the Folly River, two dolphins suddenly “shored” in front of me. A rare sight, dolphins in the area occasionally do this to scare fish in shallow water…catching them in the act is extremely difficult. I love how the subtle bluish hue of the marine life contrasts with the monochrome water and sand as well as how the rough churn of the water contrasts with the smooth flow of the sand. The fact that it appears that one of the dolphins is posing for the camera is a bonus.
This is another personally-symbolic photo: It shows the contrast between the confinement of the man-made world (the concrete wall, the dark room, the silhouette of the chain link fence in the lower-left corner and the power lines in the upper-right corner) and the liberation of nature (the brilliance of the sun and the silhouette of the camellia bush). This is an excellent example of found beauty: I took it in a restroom.
Often times, nature can be beautiful without being symbolic at all. This scene of a gulf fliterary butterfly resting on a Mexican petunia is just that. There’s nothing profound about it; it’s just a pretty scene from a gorgeous fall day on James Island. I like how the black patterns on the butterfly’s wings outline its color, which is very close to the color of the flower.
I took this photo of a hotel atrium in Atlanta because the building exhibits many of the qualities that make nature such a fascinating subject. I often tell my landscape design clients that there are no straight lines in nature; I like this architecture not only because it’s open and airy like Mother Nature’s designs, but also because it minimizes the use of straight lines. The curves and subtle lighting of the individual floors create a pattern reminiscent of the “carved sand” previously featured on this page.
Make sure to check back soon: I still have thousands of photos to go through, and I take new ones daily!