Following in the footsteps of my photography peers and the landscape photographers that I look up to, it has become an obsession for me to capture the beauty of the stunning Spring azalea blooms in and around Charleston, SC. In these early stages of my photography “career” I find myself mimicking the shots of those that inspire me, because I guess, in my mind, I think that if I can nail that iconic shot (that everyone already has) that I’m finally good enough to call myself a “pro”. That’s super silly, I know. Previous attempts to “nail that shot” were epic failures. This year was looking like a repeat. I arrived in Charleston about a week too early (I’m always a week early or a week late, never fails). Because of my “day job” and my young children it is exceedingly difficult for me to just jump up and go when the time is right. When I arrived, on a Thursday, not only were the blooms not quite ready but the skies were so blah – clear as water and no nice clouds to be found. Needless to say, I was disappointed but was determined to shoot something nonetheless.
I took my little sister with me, and if nothing else, we would enjoy some good food and spend some much needed quality time together. As our departure on Sunday neared, I enjoyed showing my sister around the area – the usually photography spots. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, the iconic Angel Tree, the boneyard of Edisto Beach, etc.
Having visited Magnolia Plantation on Friday, the first full day of our trip, and seeing the premature stage of the azalea blooms, I set my sights on returning Sunday just before we left to return home. I was hoping that a couple of days would bring a few more blooms. Unfortunately not much had changed in the bloom situation. I decided to take a few shots anyway, just to have something to take back home and hone my post processing skills.
To say I was disappointed is an understatement. But as I was setting up, trying to compose the perfect frame of the “over-shot” lane of moss covered oaks, I notice a single male peacock just hanging out in one of the azalea bushes. As a tour “bus” approaches us I overhear the guide calling attention to the lone bird and stating that he has been affectionately dubbed “Gabriel” by the plantation staff. As she tells the story to the tour participants, Gabriel decides to leave his azalea cover and strut around in the lane for the guests. I couldn’t have been in a better place at a better time! While he never went into “full strut” he did strike many equally beautiful poses for me!
While I still came away without my “epic” shot, I had a blast processing the shots of Gabriel the peacock. I guess this means I have at least one more trip to Charleston in my future! I’m setting my sights on next year, where I hope to reunite with my new friend again!