Awards Ceremony at The Ocean Course

Kiawah Island is such an amazing paradise! Whenever I have an assignment out there, I can feel my blood pressure dropping as I drive the scenic road out to the island. Then once I’m on the island, I love slowing down and looking for alligators, egrets, and osprey, which hang out in the many ponds and marshes.

A few weeks ago I had a fantastic time photographing a very special awards banquet at The Ocean Course. Cocktails took place on the back porch, overlooking the historic 18th hole where so many Ryder Cup and PGA moments have taken place. As the beautiful sunset faded into blue hour, everyone moved inside for dinner. Heartfelt speeches were made about each incredibly deserving award recipient. The room was truly filled with warmth and appreciation for their dedication and service!

For smaller events like this, I choose to wield my Nikon D5 + 24-70 f2.8, Nikon D500 + 105 f2.8, and Nikon SB-5000 Speedlights.Ā  Of course the DJI Mavic Pro 2 comes in handy for those hard-to-reach angles!

Allyson & Ron’s Kiawah Island Maternity Session

Last July, I had the incredible honor of photographing Ron’s surprise proposal to his beautiful girlfriend, Allyson!

Fast forward one year, and THIS July I was overjoyed when Ron & Allyson told me they were expecting their first child! We had so much fun photographing their maternity shoot at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, where it all started. Ron was so proud and couldn’t stop smiling. Allyson was beautiful in her elegant maternity gown with that radiant “new mom” glow about her. We had so much fun capturing this special moment in their lives!!!

Due to the pandemic, Allyson & Ron couldn’t have a big wedding this year. Hopefully next year when things settle down in their lives (I think getting married, having a baby, and building a house all in one year is enough), they’ll be able to plan a fun 1-year anniversary celebration. But in the meantime, help me shower these two amazing people with love and lots of CONTRATULATIONS!!! šŸ™‚

Holmes Family at Timbers Kiawah

It’s been a whole year since I saw the Holmes Family. I’m always AMAZED at how fast kids grow up!!!Ā  šŸ™‚

It was so much fun catching up with them at their home-away-from home. The Timbers on Kiawah Island is an absolutely breathtaking location. It has so many great backdrops and photo opportunities. Plus when you add three adorable kids, two proud parents, and two doting grandparents…it’s a recipe for beautiful family portraits!!!

Join me in wishing this wonderful family a Happy Thanksgiving as they spend this special time together…

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Kelsey and Alex are Engaged!!!

I’ve had so much fun over the last few weeks getting to know Alex via emails and phone calls.

We were working out the final plans for his surprise proposal at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island to his beautiful girlfriend, Kelsey. I loved how every detail was so important to him. He truly wanted this to be a special moment for Kelsey.

The funny thing is, that truly magical and spontaneous moment hit him when he and Kelsey were putting up Christmas decorations in their new house. With holiday music in the background, fond childhood memories flowing through their heads, a that feeling of being “in the moment” surrounding them…he knew the timing was right! So just a few days before their trip to Kiawah, Alex asked Kelsey to be his bride…and she said “YES”!!! šŸ™‚

The best part was, they still wanted to have their engagement photos with me on the beautiful sandy beach in front of The Ocean Course, just like Alex had originally planned. So it worked out PERFECTLY! We had so much fun together, and came away with some beautiful memories of this special time in their lives.Ā  They are such an amazing couple!!!

Help me in saying CONGRATULATIONS to Alex & Kelsey…

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Alex’ Secret Proposal to Bumi at The Ocean Course

I have a confession to make! Alex and I have been secretly going behind his girlfriend’s back to plan his surprise proposal at The Ocean Course on Kiawah Island. šŸ™‚

Alex loves tennis. And he’s really good at it! He plays in some amazing USTA open tournaments around the country. When he found out he’d be playing in one on Kiawah Island this weekend, he asked his girlfriend to come with him and make a fun vacation out of it. In fact, he thought it would be the perfect place to ask Bumi to marry him!!!

I was absolutely delighted that he called me to ask if I would do the honors of photographing this special occasion for them. It was an absolutely GORGEOUS fall day. Alex and Bumi couldn’t have been more amazing to work with. And getting to know them during our time together, I can tell they are absolutely PERFECT for each other!!!

CONGRATULATIONS Alex & Bumi! We wish you all the happiness in the world as you begin your new journey together…

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Moore Family Sunrise Shoot on Kiawah Island

As you all know, Cami and I love dogs!

So when the Moore Family asked us to photograph their family reunion on Kiawah Island, including all three of their family dogs, how could we say “no”?!? Izzy, the Havanese puppy, Otis, the Yorkie/Silkie rescue, and Milo, the Golden Doodle, were an absolute BLAST!!! šŸ™‚

Of course the entire family was fabulous as well. Diane did an amazing job of coordinating and organizing everyone.Ā  But the real star of the show was Julian! This adorable 9 year old is the latest addition to the family, and has clearly stolen the hearts of everyone who catches a glimpse of that adorable smile!!!

We met at Sunrise near The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island. With clear skies, a few clouds for the rising sun to light up, and a balmy 70-degrees, it was an absolutely perfect morning. I can’t thank the Moore Family enough for being such a kind, generous, and fun group to work with!!!

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Chapman Family on Kiawah Island

Is this not the most adorable family ever?!?

I had so much fun with the Chapman Family during their stay on Kiawah Island this week. We met at The Sanctuary on the most perfect evening imaginable. Calm winds, beautiful sunlight, low humidity, and 75-degrees…who could ask for anything more?

Well to top off the perfect conditions, I had the perfect family to work with. Shannon and Josh were the nicest couple in the world. And their girls were absolutely delightful!!!

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The Firestone Family on Kiawah Island

If there was ever “the perfect” family portrait session, this was it! The lighting was perfect. The weather was perfect (cool and dry after a hot and rainy summer). And the family was perfect!!!

I couldn’t have asked for a nicer, kinder, “funer” (I can make words up, right?), and more beautiful family to work with! Ian and Kim have been vacationing on Kiawah for many years now. They love it down here. In fact, Ian even contemplated a job transfer to the lowcountry so they could live here!Ā  It hasn’t happened yet…but they still come down to visit every chance they get.

We met up at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island about an hour before sunset. The warm summer sun was just entering golden hour.Ā  A few clouds hung like jewels decorating the clear blue sky. And the air was cool and calm.

I had so much fun getting to know this beautiful family. Their two boys were simultaneously super sweet, yet full of pep and energy!Ā  We laughed and played games, and came away with so many wonderful memories. Many thanks to The Firestones for being such a pleasure to work with!!!

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Russell Family at The Ocean Course

I did a little “rain dance” in my car on my way out to Kiawah Island last night. I was under a clearing in the sky. But all around me dark storm clouds threatened!

It must have worked because the rains held off just long enough for The Russell’s and I to squeeze in an AMAZING family portrait session at The Ocean Course! We may have had to dance around a few raindrops here and there. But the empty beach, the dramatic light, and the SPECTACULAR sunset was so worth it.

I had so much fun with the Russell Family! Their positive energy and adventurous spirit truly paid off. Lots of families would have walked away at the sight of those clouds. But they decided to go for it…and I’m so glad they did! We had an absolute BLAST and came away with some incredibly beautiful images to commemorate their time together this summer. šŸ™‚

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Cripe Family on Kiawah Island

It rained all day…gray and dreary. But just before it was time to meet up with the Cripe Family for their family portrait session on Kiawah Island, the rain moved off and the skies cleared up!Ā  šŸ™‚

Now living in Indianapolis, James had done his residency in Charleston at the Medical University of South Carolina years ago. So when they decided to take a little vacation, they decided to try Charleston!Ā  The whole family had a great time relaxing on Kiawah Island, where little Caden absolutely fell in love with the ocean. We could hardly keep him out of it!

I had so much fun hanging our with this beautiful family, and capturing these fond memories of their time together. I think we’ll be seeing more of the Cripes in the future!!!

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Evans Family on Kiawah Island

Last year was the first year we had missed our annual “Evans Family Sunrise Shoot” on Kiawah Island for half a decade. It’s been so much fun watching their kids grow into young adults over the years! Having that gap last year made me realize how quickly they grow. I could hardly believe how big Quinn had gotten!!!

In the wee predawn hours, a pocket of rain rolled up the coast. But luckily the storm moved on just in time for us to enjoy a really peaceful morning! Temperatures were mild, having been cooled off by the rain. And there was a quiet calmness on the beach I hadn’t experienced in a while…almost no wind at all!

As usual, Geraldine had everyone dressed in coordinating outfits, all lined up and ready to go on schedule! From blue-hour till breakfast, we had so much fun clowning around and capturing fun images of their amazing family.Ā  It was wonderful to experience another sunrise together!

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Nikkor 500mm f5.6E PF ED VR

My good friend and AMAZING photographer, David Archer (www.davidarcherimages.com), was kind enough to loan me his new Nikon Nikkor 500mm f5.6 PF ED VR lens for evaluation!

Unfortunately it was during a busy time of year. So I didn’t get to do a full review or a comparison video against it’s younger sibling, the 300mm f4.0E PF ED VR. Hopefully I’ll have time to get back and do that with David.

But for now, let me just say that I am VERY impressed!!! In fact, I’m probably even more impressed with this lens than when I bought the 300mm PF, which I thought was absolutely ground-breaking! This new technology Nikon is throwing into their ultra compact and light-weight Phase Fresnel series of lenses is just magnificent!!!

I really enjoyed shooting with this super lightweight, wickedly sharp, and extremely portable telephoto lens. Most of the time I used it on the Nikon D500, giving me an effective focal length of 750mm. I even tried some with the TC14eIII 1.4x converter, giving me 1050mm of reach!

300PF
300mm f4 = 420mm f5.6 with TC14eIII
300mm f4 = 450mm f4 on DX
300mm f4 = 630mm f5.6 with TC14eIII on DX

500PF
500mm f5.6 = 700mm f8 with TC14eIII
500mm f5.6 = 750mm on DX
500mm f5.6 = 1050mm f8 with TC14eIII on DX

All total, I probably only had about 90 minutes of actual shooting time with the 500mm PF in less-than-optimal lighting conditions. Here are some of the results. I can’t imagine what I’d be able to capture if this lens somehow found a permanent place in my bag…

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