Sunrise 56: Fripp Island, South Carolina (East Coast Sunrise and Island Deer)
Looking out over the Atlantic Ocean
As our two week trip is coming to an end, I find myself hanging out with my family in Fripp Island, South Carolina. It seems oddly coincidental to find myself, within one week of being on the West Coast, looking out at the sunrise on the East Coast. The only other time that I’ve seen both coasts within a week was back in 2005 (2006?) when I took a road trip to Seattle and back to help move a friend for a spring co-op. If memory holds, we hit Seattle on the third day, stayed a full day, then headed home. The coming weekend I hopped back in the car with a different group of friends and visited some friends in New York City. An exhausting but memorable trip.
The first few pictures out of today’s post are actually of a sunrise from two days ago. We’ve had some late nights which meant getting up for the sunrise (6:20am here – later than Cincinnati because we’re so far south!) with only 2 or 3 hours of sleep. Needless to say, the sunrise mornings have been in moderation on this leg of the trip.
The pelicans fly over this coast of the island in groups of up to 20. They call it “Pelican Highway”. These birds are huge, they flap together as a group, and drop bombs the size of golf balls.
My brother (and his hair) looking out at the ocean. At this point we don’t really know where the sun is going to come up as this is our first sunrise.
As it turned out, the sun came up over to the left. Lesson learned, although this rocky shore picture turned out quit nice about 50 minutes after the official “sunrise”.
A non-widescreen version of the previous picture.
And a close up. Looking back on this picture two days later, I realize that the silhouetted shelter in the center of this picture is actually an absolutely ideal sunrise location.
There is a small population of deer on the island. This small group has been hanging around the house we’re staying in. They’re people friendly and don’t seem to have an ounce of aggression in their body. They’ll eat an apple out of your hand and then follow you around like lost puppies. At sunrise and sunset the typically can be seen making their rounds through the island.
The deer no doubt have been tamed as the island has become developed over the past 200 years. The history of the deer is probably interesting but a quick google search doesn’t give much information. Going back to the 1840s, I find a historical account of a hunting trip to Fripp Island. Back then the deer were no doubt feral and coveted as challenging game. As this post gets associated with “Fripp Island Deer” I hope that some future internet visitor can shed some light on any additional trivia or genetic anomalies.
I’m reminded of a study that I read several months ago about an island population of deer (I think in Alaska) that exploded in population before crashing entirely. The study was performed over several decades and one year the researches returned to the island to find that the deer had gone extinct. I don’t remember the exact details of the study but I believe there are some theories as to minimum deer size necessary for genetic diversity and what exactly caused the die-off of the deer. I’m guessing it had to do with how fast the local vegetation could re-grow in the cold Alaskan climate.
My favorite picture of the deer. The one in the foreground has interesting eyes and sets it out from the others. The other deer have all black eyes but this young buck has a white ring around the outside of the eye. I believe it would be the equivalent of “eye color” in humans.
Another one of the island deer.
I think he’s trying to play croquette.
Now, on to the sunrise.
This morning’s sunrise was beautiful! We recently had a pretty intense storm (although being so close to the island puts us at the advantage of having the ocean winds push back most of the storm so that it stays inland). Up until a day or two ago, there were winds so severe that you almost couldn’t talk without yelling. We thought this was normal, but as it turns out it was just the pressure system building up until the final thunderstorm that cleared the sky. The side effect of this is that the sun rose in a sky almost completely clear of clouds.
Due to the fact that my previous sunrise attempt was met with the realization that we’re not facing exactly east, I set off down the road to try and figure out if there was a location that I could see the sunrise from, without trekking about 400 yards down the rocky beach. I was successful in finding a little shelter that looks directly towards the sunrise. It certainly felt as if the shelter was built with a purpose, and that purpose is to watch the sunrise 🙂
It actually took a few minutes to find the sun. It came up through the haze oh-so-subtly. This boat was heading out for the morning but they must have forgot the beer because they came back about 40 minutes later. Check out the picture toward the end of this post to see the boat coming back in a complementary sunrise shot.
The deep red orange sun coming up over the Atlantic Ocean.
If you’re on the front page, click to continue to see this morning’s sunrise: —->
I spent more time than I realized trying to find the balance between dark and light so that the sun held onto a deep orange in the sky but the rocks were not over shadowed in darkness.
I took several sets of multiple-exposure pictures. Without a tripod it was hard to get them lined up perfectly. I’m hoping that when I get some more time I can figure out how to algorithmically blend them together (in a home-made High Dynamic Range photography style) to get a composite sunrise picture over the ocean that shows the light rocks with the darker sky.
As the sun rose out of the haze it took on a brighter and more yellow/orange appearance.
A closer shot of the sun over the ocean.
Playing with brightness. The few clouds in the sky were moving along at a leisurely pace.
A vertical shot showcasing the dark blue sky.
The symmetry in this picture satisfies my inner nerd.
The boat returns! This is the same boat from earlier. They left at dawn but returned about 50 minutes after sunrise.
A final shot of the orange/yellow sun.
One of the golf courses on the island. A beautiful green sprawling grassy field. I often wonder what archaeologists will think of when they uncover these green grassy sanctuaries. “We found another one of these fields. Several kinds of local species of grass and it looks like they were maintained with the utmost respect. Excavations of nearby ponds suggest some kind of ritual where small plastic balls are dropped to the bottom of the pit. Tied with the small wooden pegs we find inserted into the ground almost 300 yards away, we believe this to be some kind of garden worshiping society. The fact that these religious grounds are found all over the world suggest a global super power of unprecedented size”. Maybe one day I’ll write a book about it. heh.
Playing with the reflections across a small moat. Alligators live in here although I have yet to see any.
Thank you for reading along. I’m trying to keep these as far away from “hey check out my vacation pictures” as possible. I’ll be back in routine next week after the holiday vacation. I’m looking forward to some beautiful clear summer sunrises and the sky should get interesting as we approach tornado season. Now that we find ourselves on the other side of summer solstice, the sun should be making its way back to the right across the horizon. The Ault Park Pavilion and overlook will once again be aligned with the sun. Now that I know that the symmetry of the park might be aligned with the sunrise, I’m going to keep my eye out for any glimpse of a bizarro stone-henge type sun alignment.
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