Bull Island Sunrise Photography Tour (Part 1)

I recently had the privilege of joining a Sunrise Photography Tour at the Boneyard Beach on Bull Island with the fine folks from Coastal Expeditions. What a FANTASTIC experience!!!

For the ride out there, Captain Chris was exceptionally well organized, very professional, and incredibly personable. His sense of humor kept everyone smiling in spite of the cold, dark, pre-dawn hours at 6:00 AM. We arrived with the perfect amount of time to setup and begin photographing the beautiful pre-dawn light, and ensuing suunrise. The images turned out STUNNING! I’m sure several will end up in my “Favorites” collection!

After the sunrise, Chris explained all the options available to our group. Most headed back with him to the mainland as the sunrise was what they had come for. Others had the option of riding the vehicle with him back to the dock, but staying on Bull Island to explore the southern section, riding back on the Ferry at noon. I opted to strike out from Boneyard Beach to the northern tip of the island where Chris gave me excellent guidance on the best birding and avian photography locations. With the gorgeous early morning light, I got tons of wonderful images of a number of species of elegant birds. Plus I enjoyed the exercise of the lengthy hike as I explored the entire island.

After a nice repose and bag lunch at the lookout tower, I made my way to the southern end of this protected “gem” of Cape Romain NWR. While walking along a trail in search of my next image, I bumped into Captain Will, who had finished his duties on the ferry and was out to stretch his legs before the return trip at 4:00 PM. An avid birder and photographer himself, he was ready with camera in hand. I’ve never met a stranger with a camera! And this was no exception. We joined forces and enjoyed the remaining hike back to the boat, stopping to shoot together along the way. Will is so incredibly knowledgeable about the refuge, the island, and nature in general. I learned so much listening to him, and loved his enthusiasm for the great outdoors.

Back at the dock, folks who had come over on the morning or mid-day ferry were already starting to gather for the final shuttle off the island. Will and his crew brought us home safely, but not before sharing all kinds of insights about the ecosystem and the creatures that live there. We even paused to photograph a majestic immature bald eagle perched on a small tree overlooking the vast expanse of grassy marsh. What a great highlight to conclude an absolutely perfect adventure!!!

Many thanks to all the leaders, crew, and support team at Coastal Expeditions for all that they do to spread appreciation and conservation for this beautiful planet we live in!

* Images from the second half of the trip to come soon *

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