Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Bike Taxi Rider at Night, King Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok
(Click on image for larger view)

A little bit of camera panning goes a loooooooooong way.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Misty Monday - Spanish Moss

Tidal Marsh, Daniel Island, SC  © Doug Hickok
(Click on image for larger view)

Heavy Live Oak branches
 draped with Spanish moss hang over this tidal marsh on a fogging winter morning. Spanish moss is not actually a moss or lichen, but an "air plant", an epiphyte, that gathers nutrients and moisture from the humid air of southeastern US climates. It has a fondness for Live Oaks and Bald Cypresses, because these trees have foliage that provide abundant mineral nutrients. Creatures such as birds, bats, snakes and spiders make their homes in the pendant air plant, because it's a "cool" place to "hang out".

Spanish moss is also closely associated with the imagery of Southern Gothic folk tales and literature.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Budapest and the Top 21

Saint Stephen's Cathedral, Budapest, Hungary  © Doug Hickok
(Velvia slide film)

Seen from the top of Castle Hill, through the columns of Fisherman's Bastion, the dome of Saint Stephen's Cathedral rises prominently above Budapest on a hazy summer day. Fodor's Travel recently gave Budapest the highest of praise when it listed the city among the Top 21 travel destinations in the world. A few other top spots included London, Paris, Milan, Belfast, South Korea and guess who else? Charleston, the only North American selection, made the list too, for the first time ever! I'll talk a little more on this in a follow-up post. In the meantime, congratulations to all the finalists!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Last of the Old Guard?

Old Truck, Danny's Classic Cars, Elko, South Carolina  © Doug Hickok

When life gets tough, sometimes you must put-up your guard and plow straight through. That seems to have been the philosophy of this old truck. Times have changed though, and life strategies have become more sophisticated... you can hire a life coach these days to help you survive the intricacies of the modern world, and achieve your goals. Outdated modes of thinking have become like this rusty relic from another era.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Single House Style

Single Houses, Colonial Lake, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

A distinctive form of Charleston's architectural style is the single house. Many of the original plots in colonial Charleston were long, narrow properties, running perpendicular to the streets. A house built on this land was typically one room wide (a single house), or sometimes two rooms wide (a double house). Entry to the house from the street was through a side door which opened onto a porch or piazza.
The two houses pictured above on Colonial Lake are examples of the single house style.

I'll leave you with some cool photography links for your weekend pleasure... hope you enjoy!

A photographer from Chicago took a picture everyday of the same hill for four years.
Another photographer composed portraits of identical twins.
13 famous photographers posed with their most iconic images.
Here are the winners of the 2012 Hasselblad Masters Award.
Lastly, see some amazing waves from Tasmania!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sea Turtles and Mermaids

Folly Beach Pier, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

Folly Beach Pier is one of the longest on the East Coast. I remember when it first opened, we walked along the high boardwalk to the very end, admiring the beautiful views. Peering down into the ocean waters, we glimpsed a Loggerhead sea turtle suddenly swim to the surface, poke its reptilian head above the waves, and quickly dive back into the mirky depths. It was a thrilling site to see!
I think about ancient mariners seeing creatures like sea turtles, sea lions and dugongs (sea cows), and imagining them to be human-like beings such as mermaids and sirens. These ancient people were ignorant, trying to make sense of their world without the benefit of modern day knowledge. Hence the invention of myths, legends and supernatural tales.

Yet, I wonder how often imaginations still rule our perceptions, when we are ignorant of truths... and how will future generations look back on our myths, legends, and supernatural tales?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bridge Wednesday - Triangle

Lamp Post, Ravenel Bridge, Mount Pleasant, SC  © Doug Hickok

I know that I am breaking some rules of composition with this unorthodox image, but I like the implied triangle shape within the frame. Whether it is an effective composition or not depends perhaps upon the viewer.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Life Savers

Life Savers, Folly Beach, SC  © Doug Hickok

Not only do life savers give life saving support to sailors lost at sea, but they also provide chic decor for landlubbers dining outdoors at this Folly Beach restaurant.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Misty and Mysterious Monday - Claws

Limbs of an Old Oak Tree, Wando River, Daniel Island, SC  © Doug Hickok

Hanging over a misty river on a wet and foggy day, the dead limbs of this ancient oak are like claws of a monstrous being from Middle Earth, ready to grab any unsuspecting souls that pass by.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter Churchyard

Old Headstones, Unitarian Churchyard, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

The lush appearance of the Unitarian Churchyard is just one of the attractions of this old Southern Gothic graveyard. 
Ironwork fences try to contain the luxuriant growth of ferns and grasses. Crepe Myrtle trees draped in Spanish moss overhang ancient headstones that tell brief stories of mysterious past lives. A walk among the rampant growth and slowly decaying graves, in the shadow of the Colonial era church, is like stepping back in time to a place completely isolated from the present.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Know Your Books

A Stack of Books in front of Blue Bicycle Books, King Street, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

Books, Books, Books!

On cold winter nights, what a joy it is curling-up with a good book. If you enjoy books, or just knowing all about books, take some time to explore Goodreads. T
his is the place for you, especially when looking for that next perfect book to read. A word of caution though... Goodreads can be habit forming.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Faux Pharaonic Mask, Antique Shop, Mount Pleasant, SC  © Doug Hickok
(Velvia slide film)
The word for the day is Pharaoh. It is a noun meaning "great house", and applies to the official title of the kings of ancient Egypt. The word dates from the reign of Akhenaten (about 3,500 years ago), but was made popular by its use in the Bible, especially in the Book of Exodus. Famous Pharaohs include Ramesses the Great, Tutankhamun and Steve Martin.

The phrase "Pharaoh's Chicken" refers to the Egyptian Vulture, the symbol of which appears commonly in hieroglyphics. A philosophical question that might be asked is, "Which came first, Pharaoh's Chicken or the road kill?"

Completely unrelated to today's word (but it rhymes) is the phrase "fair row", which is when Crew teams don't cheat during a race.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Vessels, Shem Creek, Mount Pleasant, SC  © Doug Hickok

The calmness of Shem Creek is momentarily disrupted by the passing of a pair of watercraft. The kayak and the motor boat, in conjunction with the docked shrimp boat, are examples of nautical conveyances typically found on Lowcountry tidewaters.

What you will not find in these waters is 
the infamous Yellow Submarine or Captain Ahab's Pequod.

(Oh... and Happy Birthday Bucko!)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Torch Light

Outdoor Dining Tent, Shem Creek, Mount Pleasant, SC  © Doug Hickok

Like a flaming torch light, the glow of a setting sun illuminates an outdoor dining tent near a seafood restaurant on Shem Creek. On cool winter evenings you can sit outside beneath the enclosed canopy and keep warm while watching the fading light of day... a pleasant way to enjoy your favorite fresh seafood.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Battery Promenade

East Battery and Waterfront, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok
(Velvia slide film. Click on image for larger view)

Perhaps Charleston's most iconic setting is the High Battery, perched on the waterfront and lined with antebellum mansions (built before the Civil War). A stroll along the promenade atop the seawall is ideal during the peacefulness of dawn or dusk. From here you experience the sights and sounds of this unique American vista, where waters from the sea and history converge.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Park Ramble

Pineapple Fountain, Waterfront Park, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

A lovely way to begin the day is a ramble in the park... Waterfront Park in Charleston offers beautiful fountains, shady lanes and pleasant views of the harbor, especially at sunrise.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Duomo of Florence

Northern Facade, Bascilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy  © Doug Hickok
(Velvia slide film)

Few man made structures dominate a city center like the Duomo of Florence. Begun in 1296 and finally completed in 1436 
by Brunelleschi, the famous Gothic cathedral towers above the 15th century Renaissance city, a symbol of Florence's religious and secular power. Centuries later, you still get a sense of its immense size with this view down a narrow street toward the Duomo's ornamental facade. The final step in construction was the making of the facade. Marble was quarried from various parts of Italy and transported to Florence to decorate the facade,... from Carrara, white stone, from Prato, green, and from Siena, red. This task was not completed until 1887. The Duomo was truly a long term project!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Deceptive Quietude

Ruins and Old Olive Tree, Roman Forum, Rome, Italy  © Doug Hickok
(Velvia slide film)

A peaceful moment in the Roman Forum inspires reflection upon the immense depth of history found here among the old olive trees and weathered ruins. Yet, it is a deceptive peace. Not only was the Forum a hubbub of activity in ancient times, but it still is during tourist season, when throngs of visitors file past the remains of the once vast and seemingly indestructible Empire of Rome.

Friday, January 13, 2012

La Serenissima

View from the Canale Della Giudecca toward the Fondamenta Zattere
 and the Bell Tower of Santa Maria dei Carmini, Venice, Italy  © Doug Hickok
(Velvia slide film. Click on image for larger view.)

The "Most Serene Republic" looks just that, serene, on a bright gem-like winter day. Perhaps Venice has seen more prosperous days, but in vivid light and glowing color, it is still a city of incomparable beauty.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Letters to Sala

Placards, Old Town, Krakow, Poland  © Doug Hickok
(Velvia slide film)

One of the amazing stories to come from Holocaust survivors is the story of Sala. Beginning as a 16 year old, she spent five years in seven different labor camps. Remarkably, she was able to hide over 300 letters, post cards and photographs from the authorities, documents that told the story of her young life.

If you would like to read further about her story, here is the link.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

X Factor

Balconies of the Fox Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia  © Doug Hickok
(Click on image for larger view)

When I visited the Fox Theatre in Atlanta last summer, my goal was to frame an image that illustrated the variety of brickwork on its facade. 
The X in the brickwork of this foreground balcony caught my eye, so I sought to make it the focus of my photograph. But, I also wanted to include the rounded Moorish arch over the window as a counter balance to the X.

 Just as I was thinking about my composition, the sun came out from behind the clouds, illuminating the X. This emphasized the X, while leaving the background window in shadow. Lastly, a tilt of the camera... just enough to make the horizontal lines slightly diagonal... made the image more dynamic.

Composing a photograph is sometimes like putting a puzzle together. When something unusual happens, like the burst of sunlight, then that extra twist, the X factor, puts the final piece in place.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Time Weathers All

Rusty Door, Savannah, Georgia  © Doug Hickok
(Velvia slide film)

More rust than door.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Misty Monday - Ageless Shores

Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada  © Doug Hickok

Some places have a timeless feeling, a sense that little has changed since the dawn of the earth. W
hile walking along the stretch of ancient shore seen above, I had this feeling. The rocky coast of Campobello Island has an ageless spirit... the scene above could be from the present or from a million years ago, before the age of man.

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
John Muir

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Transcendental Spirit

Sand Beach and Newport Cove Headland, Acadia National Park, Maine  © Doug Hickok

There are places in the great outdoors that exude an inspiring energy, a feeling of awe or wonderment or a transcendental spirit. For me such places are often ancient mountains, old forests and wild coastlines. These feelings are especially strong when the three ecosystems converge into one. Examples of this convergence in North America are the Big Sur of California, the wild coasts of Oregon and Washington state, and the Down East shores of Maritime Canada and Maine, such as the picture above from Acadia National Park.

"We are attracted by wilderness, the Otherness of it, the sense it is something inevitably outside of us."
Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Leaf that Wouldn't Fall

Dead Leaf and Window Curtains, Old Farm House, Lewisburg, Ohio  © Doug Hickok
(Click on image for larger view)

This leaf, miraculously clinging to the smooth surface of the front door glass, symbolizes the possibility of the "impossible". Many things once thought to be impossible have become reality... horseless carriages, telephones, television, exploring the depths of the sea, satellites photographing distant galaxies, the internet, laser surgery,
Doug having a photography blog...
What next!?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Eat the Rich

Lobby Table and Chairs, Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio  © Doug Hickok

A table for two at the

"Occupy Cafe".

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Universal Language?

Letters on a Gas Station Sign, South Carolina  © Doug Hickok
(Click on image for larger view)

Momeed higsoci) peasing unitHar nosserly carizink ffexte estembou, hunDica caliblab Aliter diapst. Slogreti eeklyisu roortic arfdi otikesp loogext:
 C0nfirm y0u aRe NoT a SpaMmer! setksh olocombesse misho radjhba ifformf 154, quigmaXe dradig asesses W0rd Ver!ficAtioN monvami varnum ingnu iggy sty?

CAPTCHA! Ha, ha, ha!


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Log Jam

Logs Washed Ashore near Elephant Rock, Seal Rock State Park, Oregon  © Doug Hickok
(Velvia Slide Film)

The above collection of wooden jazz musicians, known as "The Logs", have pilled-up together along the Oregon coast for a jam session. Rhythmic thudding and thumping have become a signature sound of this tree-mendous group. You can hear them "live" at Seal Rock State Park, especially on days when the tide is up-tempo, 

and the winds are blowing hard.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Joycean Twist

Shadow of Doug with a Passing Bicyclist, Wedding Gazebo, White Point Gardens, Charleston, SC  © Doug Hickok

A Portrait of the Artist...
not as a young man...
but as a tree trunk.

I came to the park to photograph the light of the dying sun I have something in my eye oh it is my camera did I remember to put my car keys in my pocket 
getting chilly spaghetti for dinner I hope I don't step in dog poop some people don't clean-up after their dogs here comes one now no it is a woman on a bike ooo lala look at my shadow gotta get this shot hot chocolate...

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Hike in the Highlands

View from the Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, Tennessee  © Doug Hickok
(Click on image for larger view)
Appalachian Trail and Chain of Balds, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

View from Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Dried Grasses, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Mountain Ash, Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Birch Grove, Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Spruce-Fir Forest, Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Star Moss with Snow, Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina 
 © Doug Hickok
 Trail through Spruce-Fir Forest, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok
Snow, Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Becky hiking Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, Tennessee/North Carolina  © Doug Hickok
Plank Bridge, Appalachian Trail, Roan Highlands, North Carolina  © Doug Hickok

Last fall we took a hike along part of the Appalachian Trail. We began on a high ridge, a treeless Appalachian bald, with 360 degree views of the Roan Highlands. As we progressed up a mountain side, through a spruce-fir forest, we hiked through a wonderland of snow.

The beautiful scenery and silence along this section of trail was invigorating, giving us the feeling that we could go on forever.
We enjoyed this hike so much that we want to return again another season.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012 !!!

Angel Oak at Sunrise, John's Island, SC  © Doug Hickok
(Velvia slide film)

Hail to a dawn of new beginnings.
May 2012 be a year of peace and beauty for all of us!

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