You guys have followed along on many a Southern journey with me over the years, but there’s one place I’ve kept quite quiet, as it has a sort of magic to it that has yet to find a parallel anywhere on my travels around the world. In starting to write this I tried to think back to how many beaches I had visited over the past six years, whether it be on a photo shoot or in search of suntanned skin. While each beach had its own unique feeling, the main attractions were quite simply sea and sand – not abnormal right? Well, a short drive for my family home in South Carolina, there is a beach where the sea and sand are beautiful, but the main attraction is another form of nature, one that is so breathtakingly beautiful that it feels as if you’ve entered another orbit entirely.
This, dear readers is North Beach on Hunting Island in South Carolina. Just a few words about the island itself. Hunting island is made up of 5,000 acres of protected land, including 5 miles of sandy beaches. You have seen its beauty featured in films such as Forrest Gump, G.I. Jane and The Jungle Book. You’ll also have seen a few pictures littered on my instagram feed (ok, not as cool as Forrest Gump, but you get what I’m laying down here). In short, it’s a popular place. But, North Beach, on Hunting Island, gets my vote for most photogenic – I mean, if this were a popularity contest and all.
The North Beach on Hunting Island is littered with fallen trees. It’s as simple as that really, only it isn’t. These aren’t just trees that have fallen and that’s the end of the story. These are trees that have fallen and have been beaten and battered by the elements of water – both rain and sea (and I’m sure more than a few hurricanes). The end result is a stretch of sand that looks like a scene out of an “end of days” movie. None of it feels real, only every single element of it is nature at its finest, at its most beautiful. So you see, that’s why I haven’t wanted to share it. I haven’t wanted to even try to photograph something so insanely beautiful because there truly isn’t any way to put onto film the reality of this situation.
Only, a few weeks ago, I decided to get up before the sun had risen and head over the beach to greet the day. As I’d just been taught at The Golden Door to take advantage of any opportunity to greet the sun, this felt like the right hike to take. And I took my camera, finally. Well, to be exact, I took my camera, my dad and a great big thermos of coffee, along with a giant blanket as it was near freezing when we arrived on the scene. I went with the sole purpose of photographing the moment. I took my camera out, had my dad snap a few of me in the early golden hour, turned the camera around to capture a few key moments, and then I put it away. I’ve recently learned the art of enjoying a moment – really enjoying it, not just loving the likes on instagram that can be had from the moment itself (thereby actually missing the whole point of “the moment”). So the camera got put back in the bag and the beach was enjoyed for what is – a natural beauty.
But, yes there were pictures… which I’ll share with you now. And I will say that there is a reason that Hunting Island continues to win awards as one of the best beaches in America. It is a thrilling place to visit and does offer a rather picturesque place to tan, wouldn’t you say? Without further ado, I present a favorite place of mine for life…. North Beach on Hunting Island, South Carolina.