The Boneyard and the Backstory

I realize that photos should stand on their own merit without any back story, but in this case I am making an exception.

This island is called Bull Island, and is most well known for the dead tree trunks on the eastern shore that died from the assault of the Atlantic Ocean. Bleached white by the sun, salt, and sand, the beach area is called the boneyard because they look like bones.

I was organizing a trip to this island off the coast of SC which is only accessible by boat…so to the east of the island is the ocean and to the west is the mainland. We had gone once before during a regularly scheduled transport (10am), so knew the next time we would have to get them to make a special trip if we wanted any light.

Based on our estimated departure time and arrival on the west side of the island (you can’t dock at the ocean side), I suggested to all that they rent bikes in case we cut it close on sunrise…

So, we set off (already 20 minutes behind schedule due to one member tardy – total of 10 of us) in a skiff, because only one of us ended up bringing a bike. About halfway out to the island, the expert tour guide cuts the motor and stops in the murky light and stands up as if to get his bearings. We’re all cold, wrapped in jackets, with probably about $10 grand of gear (not to mention our lives) in this guys hands and he gets lost!

So, he finally gets his bearings, sits back down muttering something like “Sorry, never been out this early before – too dark.” So this has never been done before? Uh oh…
But, we arrive at the west side of the island without any major additional concerns…except light is rapidly gaining on us

As we dock, I realize I have a decision to make – do I stick with the group and probably lose any chance of catching sunrise on the east? Or do I mount my bike and take off like a bat outta hell? Given that this apparently had never been done before (and to my knowledge has not been done since) – this could be a once-in-a-lifetime chance. So, I take the latter and bail on the group.

I make it to the edge of the wooded paths, and have to ditch the bike (no riding on the beach), and start jogging through the heavy sand to reach the shore. As I pull into view of the ocean, I see the sun is already crested. Then, I see where the sun is, and realize it will cross between two “bones” as it rises. So, I set up the tripod to frame that and snap off probably 5-10 different comps before the sun gets too high.

About twenty minutes later the rest of the group shows up and asks “Did you make it in time?” I smiled…

Boneyard Beach

So, does the story help the image?  What about others?  Anyone else have any compelling images they have some backstory for?  Share yours in the comments!  In the meantime, happy shooting, and we’ll see you back here tomorrow with a multimedia filled Wednesday!  Until then, I hope all your shots are good ones!

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9 comments for “The Boneyard and the Backstory

  1. January 13, 2009 at 9:40 am

    This so reminds me of Jeckyl Island in GA.

    check it out……

    Yes, the back story is nice!

  2. January 13, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Eerie how similar they are – could be because they aren’t that far from one another. Is this facing east? The Boneyard beach in SC is kinda cool because everything really is bleach white!

  3. January 13, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    That trip was so fun, ridiculously long hike to get to the boat in time and all. I’m taking my stepdaughter there this summer. I wonder if I can convince my stepdad (we’re a mess of a family, obviously) that we need to be there for sunrise.

  4. January 13, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Outstanding image, made all the more so by knowing the pains it took to take it. I enjoy reading about all aspects of an image as much as the image itself. Even the EXIF data can be considered a chapter in the story of the shot. Thanks for sharing Jason.

  5. January 13, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Great shot, Jason!

    And thanks for the link in the comments over at John Nack’s blog about the interview!


  6. January 14, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Yes, It is east

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