From the Photographer Kathy Bishop
The story behind this image has become bittersweet in the last few weeks.
Hurricane Matthew came ashore on the island where I made this image and the
terrain is certainly very changed as a result. It is probably one of those
images that can never be made again. Botany Bay is a beautiful stretch of
wild and undeveloped beach on Edisto Island in South Carolina. The ocean
has gradually been eroding the sand around the trees and moving it further
south of this bay. As a result, the skeletons of dead trees stand as sentinels in the surf.
Depending on the tide, the trees can be completely surrounded by surf or
they can be reflected in glistening wet sand. The beach is now closed
indefinitely, having been assaulted by strong winds and an enormous storm
surge as Matthew descended on the mainland. I’m glad we found this lovely
beach while it was still there but also sad to feel the loss of such a
We were fortunate to visit Edisto for a few days last spring and I was
fascinated by this beach. We scouted the area one evening and stayed to
watch the light change at the end of the day. We returned for sunrise,
hoping for a broad swath of color across the ocean. Instead, we had a brief
moment of rosy color peeking through the horizon. Soon, the clouds
blanketed the sky and the scene became grey and sunrise was over. For this
shot, I had my camera on a tripod just at the edge of the water. I played
with various shutter speeds, trying to soften the ocean waves around the
Technical data: full frame camera, 4 seconds, f22, ISO 31. I don’t think there
was a filter on the lens but I can’t remember for sure. The image was not cropped, other than to straighten the horizon.