Star Fort National Historic Site ShootAbout

7 02 2012

I spent the afternoon at Star Fort and took dozens of pictures that I absolutely loved. Star Fort was the Crown Jewel of Ninety Six, SC and was the site of two major American Revolutionary War battles. My friends across the pond will be happy to hear it was a loyalist stronghold and despite a 28 day siege, the longest of the entire war, it was the last Loyalist fort in SC until July 1, 1781 when the British left of their own accord. History lesson aside, the site has beautiful scenery, some beautifully restored buildings, and many opportunities for pictures.

Shooting at the historic site was a lot of fun for me because I’ve brought numerous clients here to use the lush open grass and amazing patterns and textures of the old buildings. I was walking down the path past the restored Black Swan Tavern and the way the sun set behind one of the support beams caught my eye. During a client shoot I never would’ve (and never had) noticed this but the freedom of being out there just shooting for me really opened my eyes to the kind of picture I have grown accustomed to ignoring for sake of time and task.

It’s a shame we pass photo opportunities like this every day but I’m happy to say I’m looking for them again.

 

 

 

 

 

The site has an old wood fence around most of the entrance that made for a lot of interesting photos. The texture of the wood is very rugged and photographs really well. I particularly like the splintered pieces jutting off from the main body.

A little further along the fence line I found this leaf resting rather precariously beside one of the splinters. I tried this shot a little more backlit by the sun at first but it completely killed the detail so I reframed it with the sun higher behind the leaf and it turned out pretty well.

I wanted something that got far enough back from the fence to see how it was actually constructed. The interwoven wood strips had a really nice aesthetic so once I got to a nice green patch in the grass beside the fence I got down on my belly and shot the connection between two sections. I put the sun in the background to accent it. I kept a low f/stop, 2.8 and dialed my shutter in for a quick 1/2500th of a second to get crisp detail, short DOF, and a relatively dark image. The green grass really came out well and I couldn’t be happier with the shot.

I immediately recognized the potential for a shot focussing on the grass. I’ve found that a slight change in perspective, even if it’s just tilting the lens a few degrees and focusing somewhere else can really change an image. I like the above image for what it is, but I like the below image because it feels a little more surreal and the detail of the grass is really pleasing to the eye.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post and pictures. This only scratches the surface of what I did at Star Fort so keep your eyes open for more very soon. In my next post I’m going to talk a bit about adjusting the white balance on your camera and how it can help (or hurt) your pictures.

I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment below and be sure to hit me up on Twitter and Facebook, the links are in the sidebar over there –>

Thanks for stopping by and God Bless, see you again soon!

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51 responses

8 02 2012
Maggie L R

I really enjoyed reading your blog and the photos are amazing. I like the different perspective of the one where you focused on the grass… great idea.

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Maggie, I’m glad you liked it too :)

8 02 2012
weisserwatercolours

I also really enjoyed reading this account of the original where and when of these photos. Not only your friends ‘across the pond’ are interested in those Loyal to The Crown. Your friends North of the 49th are getting ready to celebrate their Monarch’s Diamond Jubilee Year (smile)

All that aside, these are so very thoughtfully presented. I would love to see you go to Gettysburg and record some sensitively-seen photo poems like these. Battlefields are places like none other and deserve a person behind the lense like you to help convey without speaking what happened there.

8 02 2012
96arley

That’s a great idea, I’m going to add Gettysburg to the wish list of places I want to go on a Shootabout. Thanks for the suggestion and the compliments

8 02 2012
Sonel

Wow! You have such a unique way of seeing things! Thanks for all the tips. What a great blog and post. Awesome photo’s! :)

8 02 2012
96arley

I’m glad you like it! Thanks for coming by

8 02 2012
takingsnaps

Fab, I have to work on my DOF for my photography homework…..Bet I won’t get any this good!!

8 02 2012
96arley

Just stop down to f/2.8 or lower and get in close to something at an angle, like a wall or a fence, and put a lot of color and light in the background :)

8 02 2012
Rob

The last two pictures are fantastic. I love the sharpness of the light and the lens flare.

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Rob, those were my favorites too

8 02 2012
Inga

Love the light in these photos. They are really beautiful.

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Inga, the sun was really working with me. I’ll be sharing some more soon with an amazing sunset behind wrought iron. I can’t wait to get that post ready :)

8 02 2012
lomocub

Great set of photos. It’s hard to even choose a “favorite”, but I’d have to say it’s the last two photos in this set. The scene and lighting are just perfect.

8 02 2012
96arley

Thank You, glad you liked them. I really liked the last two also

8 02 2012
stephanielane2012

Great photos. Thank you for showing a side of the fort that is often forgotten. I second weisserwatercolours comments. I’m not a writer, but his words touch home. Thanks again :)

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Stephanie, I’m glad you liked them

8 02 2012
Mary Jane E Clark

WONDER-ful!!!!!! Can’t wait to see more.

8 02 2012
96arley

Thank You! Hopefully I’ll be able to do the next batch tonight after church

8 02 2012
Kris Kennedy

I love that you bring to us the beauty in the simplicity…very cool

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Kris, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it!

8 02 2012
Andra Watkins

I love that place. MTM and I did a Revolutionary War tour of the state for the 4th several years ago. Ninety Six was our last stop. We got there right before sunset, and the light slanting on the outlines of the old fort and the grasses in the fields made the place alive.

As always, your pictures are lovely.

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Andra, I grew up about a mile from here. I have many fond memories of light-saber battles in the star. Ahhh to be 19 again :D

As always it’s wonderful to hear from you

8 02 2012
Tommy Hendrick

When I took you there as a toddler, you saw massive trees teeming with birds and squirrels; As a young child you saw open fields with honey bees and butterflies, and lush grass begging to be trampled; As a growing boy you saw a forest playground full of secret hide-aways and magical forts; As a budding young man you began to see men who lived long ago in a seemingly far-away world, and fought and died for what they believed in. It was fun and exciting for me to experience the wonders of Star Fort through your eyes… and it still is.

Dad

8 02 2012
96arley

Now I see tiny splinters and blades of grass :)

8 02 2012
Pablo Buitrago

Nice post, I enjoyed reading it!
Love the last photo!, all of them are great, but the last one is so breathtaking!

8 02 2012
cyn

i agree with pablo above — the last photo really is stunning. you have a wonderful eye — but i am sure you know that already! ;)

take care!

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks cyn, it’s always great to hear someone appreciates a shot I took!

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, the last two were my favorites, don’t know if I could pick between them :)

8 02 2012
Ian Harris

I really dig these man! Great work! My favorite was the one with the fence and the sun in the background. There’s just enough light to see each piece of wood but not so much as to completly over power the shot altogether. Again, great work! I’m really looking forward to more posts!

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Ian, I might have to get you to share some guest work. :)

8 02 2012
Ian Harris

I would be honored! Just say the word!

8 02 2012
96arley

I’m going to try to throw together an NC trip soon anyways. If I can do it in the next month or so, let’s do a collaborative on that old barn series I’ve been dreaming about. Would be interesting to see it through two different photographers perspectives.

8 02 2012
uribg

hi Arley, thanks for “liking” my post on http://uribotanicalgardens.wordpress.com/
I really love your picture (number four) of the sun coming through the fence!
very nice work.
uribg

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

8 02 2012
Stuart Hyde

Really interesting shots…

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Stuart, I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog

8 02 2012
Annie Smith

Arley,

This is a unique work of art. I really liked the history lesson. I remember when you took me to this sight. It is a lovely place to be. Your photos are so good.

Keep up the good work.
Annie

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Annie, I’m glad you stopped by!

8 02 2012
victoriaaphotography

Love that thrid image – to me, that has perfect composition and light.

8 02 2012
96arley

Thank you, I’m glad you liked it

8 02 2012
~mimo~

very interesting blog and great photos! I look forward to more :)

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, I look forward to seeing you again

8 02 2012
misty maples farm

I like the way the light is creeping through the fence….pretty.

8 02 2012
96arley

Thank you, I’m glad you liked it. I did several shots to get the framing right. I’m really pleased with how it worked out

8 02 2012
inspirationparachute

I really enjoyed your fourth image. The fence reminds me of my family’s farm. Lovely light!

8 02 2012
96arley

Thanks! Glad you connected with it :)

9 02 2012
untilinfinity

I absolutely LOVE the natural light in your last two pictures! Nicely done.

9 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, I’m a big fan of natural light. I use next to no added light in my pictures.

11 02 2012
BermudaOnion

I don’t live too far from Ninety Six but I’ve never been there. Your pictures are gorgeous and make me think I need to make a visit.

23 02 2012
VagueMemories

The first photo of the fence is amazing! The light fits right in. (And thanks for following my blog :) )

27 02 2012
Old Fences, Bridges, and Stumps. Star Fort Part 2 « ShootAbout

[...] going to pick up here where the last post left off. A ways further down the path I decided I wanted to shoot the fence line. It had a really [...]

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