Stories behind the photo: Early morning on the Saluda

“Early Morning on the Saluda” is along the Saluda River near Columbia.    South Carolina Electric and Gas assigned me to photograph a feature article on our local river environment.   My task was simple; obtain a dynamic photograph to show the beauty of the Saluda.

The Saluda and Broad Rivers converge within the city limits of Columbia.  Over the years, I  photographed kayakers, trout fishermen, spider lilies, and early mornings along these rivers.    The Saluda is a cold-water river whose headquarters start in North Carolina.  This cold water river often is a developing area for fog in warmer weather.  I planned to take advantage of this on my assignment.

“Early Morning on the Saluda was taken in late May.  Columbia was under a high pressure  weather system with calm winds.  This was a perfect time of year for warm air wafting over a cold-water river.  There would be a good opportunity for this temperature contrast to produce early morning fog.  Arriving at the river before dawn, I gave myself an opportunity to scout the river for suitable photographic spots.  Being careful not to fall in, I often left the trail beside the river in search of photos.   Over the years I’ve dunked almost every camera I owned in either a lake, pond, or river.   My digital camera is too expensive for such adventures.  I was in search of an area where I would stay dry and set up my tripod and camera.

When I found a dry spot for photos I then checked the river’s makeup to see if  all the elements blend together for a photo.  I was in search of rocks in the river, sunrise coming through fog, and a near-far aspect compositionally.  Some locations offered me two out  of three elements I desired.  There were plenty of spots where the rocks and fog came together, but the near-far aspect was missing.   What do I mean by near-far?  It is when the photographer can frame the photo with an element near to the camera contrasted with an elements further away from the camera.  This near-far effect gives a photo tremendous depth and dimension.  I kept walking on.

I found a spot where the rocks formed a small cascade close to the camera.  It was just off the ledge of a dry rock shelf.  Enough rocks were present in the river and there was a growing cloud of fog over the river; this might be the spot.  Setting up my camera and composition, I waited on the sun to rise higher in the sky to give the beam of light a stronger downward angle.  I needed to wait ten more minutes.

I don’t know which instincts of man are the strongest.  As I was waiting for the sun to burst through the fog and trees,  a feeling come over me that someone is watching what I am doing.  I knew it wasn’t my friend Jay Browne who was along with me on this photo shoot because Jay was photographing further upriver.  Something told me to turn around.  When I turned around I sort of snickered.  Staring at me were three solid black pigs standing in a small clearing.  I never thought in a million years I would see wild pigs within the city limits of Columbia.  These three pigs needed to be photographed!  I slowly turned my camera mounted on a tripod toward the pigs.  In unison they bolted quickly and I laughed at their speedy retreat.  I guess they never expected to see a human along the river at such a crazy hour.

Time to get back to the assignment.   In five more minutes, the sun broke through the trees in a perfect sun-beam.   All the elements I needed came together for the photo.  Using a slow shutter speed, the water’s surface took on a smooth blur and the fog through the trees highlighted the river.  Looking at this photo brings a certain peace of mind to me,  but then again I can’t help but think about those three wild pigs.   The perfect “beauty and the beasts” in reality.

About The Thinking Photographer

I have been a photographer for over 35 years. My photography interests include nature, architectural and interior design, and fine art imagery. I enjoy helping students learn about photography and the business of becoming a successful photographer. Currently I am the president of the ASMP South Carolina Chapter.
This entry was posted in fine art, photo, photography, Saluda River, south carolina and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Stories behind the photo: Early morning on the Saluda

  1. This doesn’t even look real, it’s so pretty!

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