BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - I took many pictures of the lighthouse this past week.
I love that historic structure that stands so proudly along the waterfront.
It is the most photographed site in the area.
The challenge is finding new and creative ways of taking pictures that capture its beauty and significance.
I especially love the red and white stripes that make the lighthouse so unique.
What's that you say?
Oh, you'll have to excuse me. I'm not talking about the Biloxi lighthouse.
Although I do love taking pictures of our impressive lighthouse on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, my mind is still in coastal South Carolina.
I was talking about taking pictures of the lighthouse at Harbor Town on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
You see, this is my first week back to work after a week's vacation in Hilton Head.
And the Harbor Town lighthouse was my favorite subject to photograph during our vacation stay.
Along with being picturesque in its own right, the Harbor Town lighthouse also stands amid beautiful scenery.
It sits at the front of a harbor that is home to some very high priced yachts and sail boats.
It is also next to the 18th green at Harbor Town golf course, which hosts a PGA tournament each year.
I did manage to find some new ways to take pictures of the lighthouse this year.
I snapped some from the 18th fairway (I didn't play golf, I simply walked out to take a picture between golf groups).
I also took a few shots from a little farther back during a kayak adventure.
Hilton Head Island is where I first started kayaking some 10 years ago. I had so much fun renting kayaks there, that I finally bought my own.
There are other things in coastal South Carolina that remind me of our own beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Both are tourist areas, both have impressive golf courses and beach areas, and both feature great restaurants and shopping opportunities.
I suppose the casino industry is the only thing that truly separates the coast from the Hilton Head Island area.
During past visits, we've taken a day trip to nearby Savannah, Georgia, which is a beautiful Southern city in its own right.
If you've never been to Savannah, I would highly suggest spending at least a long weekend there.
Southern hospitality, great food and great photo opportunities abound.
Speaking of photo opportunities, that's one of the things I looked forward to this vacation.
As many of you may already know, still photography is a growing hobby of mine.
In fact, I've started displaying and selling my work at area art festivals along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
I just love taking pictures, and our area is so beautiful there are countless opportunities for wonderful pictures.
Back to the South Carolina story for a moment.
We decided to take a day trip to nearby Bluffton, South Carolina.
It was truly enjoyable. It reminded me of my own hometown, Ocean Springs.
Bluffton is something of a haven for artistic endeavors. We found numerous galleries, a potter's studio and a thriving arts community.
Like Ocean Springs, Bluffton also sits on the waterfront. The May River was a beautiful spot to enjoy and take pictures.
There are also many historic structures in Bluffton, including a pre-civil war era church and a number of beautiful historic homes.
Needless to say, I got plenty of pictures. I probably took close to 100 pictures in Bluffton alone.
But here's the rest of the story, as the late, great Paul Harvey would say.
Before we left for Bluffton, I had somehow managed to accidentallyl change the ISO setting on my camera, which I normally leave on auto.
Well, it got set to ISO 1600.
That ISO setting has to do with the available light. I should have been on about ISO 80 on that bright, sunny day.
Suffice it to say, my photos didn't turn out very good.
The high ISO rating made them rather grainy. (I'm unable to make large prints of any of the shots, which I had planned on doing)
Live and learn. I won't make that mistake again.
Other than that photography mishap, the vacation in South Carolina was wonderful.
I recommend Hilton Head and Bluffton, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia to anyone looking for a getaway.