Category Archives: Hilton Head Island

Photography Published in New Book

I am pleased and honored to have several of my nature and landscape images published in the new book release, “South: What it Means to be Here in Heart or in Spirit.” The photographs selected were those captured in South Carolina, North Carolina and Texas. “South” also includes the work of several other well known photographers and essays from some of the best known authors and essayists throughout the Southern United States including Pat Conroy.  “South” is published by Lydia Inglett Ltd. Publishing of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

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Prints Recognized with Awards at Professional Photographers of Ohio Conference

I’m honored and thankful to have all six of my print entries juried and scored high enough to be shown in the print display at last weekend’s annual conference of the Professional Photographers of Ohio, held in Lewis Center, just north of Columbus. Five of the entries were additionally recognized with awards including Award of Achievement and Honorable Mentions.

Four of the images were captured in and around my home and farm in Beavercreek Township, Ohio. Another was a favorite from my time living on Hilton Head Island, SC and one image was captured this past February in Hocking Hills, Ohio.

The juried competition at the PPO conference is particularly strict in scoring methods. All judges are accomplished professional photographers.

There is an emphasis on attention to detail as well as artistic merit.
Showing an impressive image on a mobile device or other screen is one thing but producing a true, fine art print is another. I am thankful to the help and support of one of the best pro print labs in the Dayton area, TI Graphics.

Chloe by Jim Crotty Frozen Light by Jim Crotty In the Light of November by Jim Crotty On the Morning of Your Departure by Jim Crotty Storm Sky at Sunset by Jim Crotty Treasure by Jim Crotty

True and Original | The Coen Brothers and the Art of Expression

“Like something out of a Coen Brothers movie.” There’s a fine line between inspiration and imitation and I suppose that’s why I find my best sources of inspiration in other mediums than still photography. I admire the work of the masters such as Adams and Weston, but I never want to imitate it. And that can be a challenge sometimes. But to be inspired by prose and poetry, music, film, design, sculpture . . . that’s where energy in the art of expression is renewed, again and again.

For example, the films of Joel and Ethan Coen. They don’t bend to popular whims nor do they film to please this particular group or that particular audience. They hold true to their own creative vision and all else falls into place. They also stay true to those components or pieces that best serve their vision, whether it be the musical genius of T. Bone Burnett or the understated performances of John Goodman.

The Coen’s nail it every time because they have the courage to be who they are and not mold themselves to the expectations of a fickle audience, and the studios come to them. Sure their best work often gets snubbed but there’s no mistaking one of their films from those of a sea of other filmmakers.

The universal connection found in the art of creative expression that is unique to each soul is life and light set to a harmonious interludes of wonder and joy. To be true, even it means long stretches of hanging out there by your lonesome, that’s the place to be. Life was never meant to be a popularity contest. The posturing and posing and pandering leaves everyone wanting. I’ve seen a lot of that in my life. There have been many times I’ve been guilty of falling into that trap as well. It served as a painful reminder of the importance of being true to self, always humble and thankful to a higher power and love without conditions or false intentions.

Life is meant to be lived in the courage of your own convictions and expressed through the work of your own hands. Talent fully utilized may on the surface be seen as selfish but when serving the higher purpose of inspiring others (and always in gratefulness) it is actually quite the opposite, and beautiful to behold.

Making the Camera Sing | Coming Home

I wanted to share some of the incredible experiences I had upon returning to the Hocking Hills of Ohio, from April 17 – 23. I love returning to this region because it is where my love for nature photography first got started, many years ago. It’s also where I teach best because I am so familiar with the landscape and subject matter. For me Hocking has become more of an old, best friend versus just another location to visit and photograph. The added plus last week was the opportunity to once again serve on the judging panel for Shoot the Hills and have the opportunity to speak and present my work to the public in attendance at the weekend event. This was the 10th year for Shoot the Hills. It’s growing in popularity every year, drawing photographers from all over Ohio and the surrounding states. Funds raised go to support educational and preservation efforts within Hocking Hills State Park through Friends of Hocking Hills. Friends and fellow Photographers Barb and Jerry Jividen play a big role in both Friends of Hocking Hills and Shoot the Hills along with a dedicated group of hardworking volunteers, many of whom are also long time friends.

The biggest project spearheaded by Friends of Hocking Hills was in working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in rerouting the section of State Highway 664 to the far side of the parking area for Old Man’s Cave. This was a HUGE improvement and highly beneficial, not only in terms of pedestrian safety but in eliminating the road noise issue down in the gorge and the run-off/deterioration from the almost constant traffic.

This year’s entries during Shoot the Hills were just as impressive as those of years past. The winning images have been posted on the Friends of Hocking Hills Facebook page for Shoot the Hills. It was also a blast to be included in the list of guest speakers on Sunday morning. I’ve uploaded the PDF version of my slide show presentation – “Photography as Personal Journey” – for online viewing. The images I showed and talked about were mostly captured during the last two years with landscape imagery of coastal South Carolina and Hilton Head Island well represented. It was interesting to note the number of email messages I received following my presentation from Ohioans planning summer trips to Hilton Head and wanting tips on where to photograph nature and landscape subjects on and near the Island. I partially joke that I should be on some sort of commission/recognition program with the Hilton Head Chamber of Commerce based on how often I answer such emails and how my images of Hilton Head are encouraging visitors to look beyond golf and restaurants as a reason to visit and vacation. I am happy to play some small roll in perhaps preserving the natural beauty of the area and to help others see that is well worth protecting.

The other very rewarding experience of my recent trip back to Hocking Hills was in presenting another fun-filled workshop on nature photography, based at my home in Hocking, The Inn at Cedar Falls. I hosted a great group of energetic and talented photographers, many of whom were new to Hocking Hills. We had the opportunity to explore perfect spring conditions with wildflowers and waterfalls. This time around it was just a one-day workshop but still a ton of material and time teaching in the field resulted in more than a full day of nature photography. I am happy to announce that I have already reserved the meeting space at The Inn for two weekend workshops, one in August and the other in October. The dates are August 16 – 18 and October 25 – 27, at The Inn in Hocking Hills. I’m also working on arranging for a one-day workshop in Dayton – most likely Cox Arboretum – prior to the August program in Hocking Hills. Please email me if you would like to be added to my early reservation list. The cost of the weekend programs is $325 per person which includes guided instruction in the field and on the trails, classroom instruction on my favorite techniques for digital editing workflow, most meals and a complete workshop handbook. I anticipate both weekend programs in Hocking Hills to fill-up fast. Usually about half of my attendees are repeat workshop participants (and great friends too!).

Following my recent April workshop and Shoot the Hills last week I made time for a full day on my own out on the trails, capturing and composing the landscape that I’ve come to know so well. I do this because I make a point not to shoot on my own when teaching workshops. When I teach, I teach. When I shoot on my own, I shoot on my own. Just to have one day alone on the trails does amazing things in revitalizing my spirit and energizing my creative soul. It’s what I love to do best and I am always, always thankful for the opportunity. Below are just a few of the images I captured during my spring visit back “home” in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Enjoy !

Grace Be This Day | Lanscape Photography by Jim Crotty First Light by Jim Crotty Trillium in Conkles Hollow by Jim Crotty Spring Vine on Fallen Tree Trunk in Conkles Hollow by Jim Crotty Sunset sky over Hocking Hills Ohio in April by Jim Crotty SpringinConklesHollowbyJimCrottyFW April in Conkle's Hollow State Nature Preserve by Jim Crotty April in Conkle's Hollow State Nature Preserve by Jim Crotty DeepinthePeaceofthisPlaceFW CedarFallsBlackandWhitebyJimCrottyFW MorningatCedarFallsbyJimCrottyFW  RomanceRue Anemone wildflower in Conkles Hollow in Hocking Hills Ohio by Jim Crotty Spring Beauty wildflowers near Ash Cave in Hocking Hills Ohio by Jim Crotty

January Sunset and Moonrise | Hilton Head Island

Wolf Moon and Sunset | January 26 2013 by Jim Crotty 9Wolf Moon and Sunset | January 26 2013 by Jim Crotty 8Wolf Moon and Sunset | January 26 2013 by Jim Crotty 7Wolf Moon and Sunset | January 26 2013 by Jim Crotty 6Wolf Moon and Sunset | January 26 2013 by Jim Crotty 5Wolf Moon and Sunset | January 26 2013 by Jim Crotty 4
Wolf Moon and Sunset | January 26 2013 by Jim Crotty 3Wolf Moon and Sunset | January 26 2013 by Jim Crotty 2Wolf Moon and Sunset | January 26 2013 by Jim Crotty 1Wayfarer on a Wolf Moon | Photography by Jim CrottyPrayers | Be Not Afraid

Via Flickr:
The rising of the full ‘Wolf Moon” on the evening of January 26 2013 from Burke’s Beach Park on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. This is my favorite public beach access on the Island. I shot a lot of family beach portraits during the summer tourist season at this location. It was fun going back this past Saturday night. Relatively warm out with beautiful sunset and moonrise.

A Year Living in the Light | Meaning and Milestones

Milestones are important. These are the moments in life when we pause, reflect and are made aware of the beauty and mystery that is both grace and life. At the beginning of each year there’s always the question – “what will the next 12 months hold in store for me?” And then always on December 31st the answers that surprise.

In no way could I have predicted the experiences during 2012 that would lead me to where I am now, but without a doubt I can now look back with nothing but thankfulness.

As a photographer I have the added blessing of visually recording those times and experiences when I become completely lost within the light and the spirit of my subject. At the end of each year I try to make a “top 10” list of those images that truly reflect who I am as an artist while telling the story of my life experiences. It can be tough to narrow-down the selections. The temptation is always there to include those images that received the most “likes” and shares on Facebook or the ones that resulted in the most print sales on my storefront. But in these end-of-the-year lists I try to emphasize those few images that have more depth of personal story behind them, the ones that are infused with deeper meaning and reflect what I was feeling and thinking at the moment and in the place where the camera shutter was released.

Sure I could just simply include the technical data involved with each of the following photographs (and that’s available if anyone would like to know – email me and I’ll be happy to answer) but I’d rather share the story, the meaning, of what was happening and changing within my life and my style of photography at the moment of the image.

Indeed what an amazing year of discovery, emotion, reawakening and ultimately a turning in the right direction. All of it means even more to me now that I see my time on Hilton Head Island coming to an end and a new chapter opening westward, in Texas and beyond. The previous year and this place (Hilton Head) was a time and location of reflection and learning, more of a crossroads than anything else. Many new friends and the haunting beauty of the tidelands. I am thankful for the lessons both have taught me and the opportunity to capture and share the unique light and character of coastal South Carolina. But also during 2012 I was fortunate to have a few initial previews of what is in store for me during 2013.

In marking the conclusion of 2012 here are my top 12 photographs –

Blessed in Morning Light | Hilton Head Island

The crabbing dock behind the building where I rent my apartment. March 17, 2012. The sunrises over the marshland that borders Broad Creek have a calm beauty and peacefulness that endures despite the development of the Island and the hustle and flow of visitor traffic. To experience sunrise from this location is a living prayer set to light. This is a place to go and meet the incoming tide with peaceful reflection. The time I’ve been fortunate enough to be blessed with here on Hilton Head has for the most part been a period of contemplation, prayer and redirection. There is a reason why I was moved in this direction at this point in my life, perhaps to come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of what truly matters, through perhaps one or two painful lessons but mostly quiet observation.

January Moonrise | Hilton Head Island

To appreciate the true beauty of the nature of the area you HAVE to get out on the water, whether by boat or paddle board. This where the spirit of the Lowcountry is met on an intimate level. The water, the water, the water. Sunlight dances but moonlight enthralls. I am very thankful for the opportunity to own a boat and explore the local creeks, sounds and offshore ocean. This is the source of all positive energy that flows over and through the islands. In preparing for my move to Texas – and to gather the funds for the move – I had to sell my boat. That was the first time in my life that I found it hard to part with something material but the fact is that boat – a 23′ Century – was my access to the water, from swimming and tubing with my daughters and son to cruising out alone to the open waters of Port Royal Sound at sunrise and coming back in at nightfall under the light of a rising Moon. It was freedom and an investment in memories for a lifetime.

May Rain at Cedar Falls | Hocking Hills, Ohio

I’m thankful for the opportunity to return to Hocking Hills, Ohio at least twice each year, to teach weekend workshops on photography at The Inn at Cedar Falls. On the Sunday afternoon portion of the program last May I took my group out in the rain to demonstrate how wet weather often can be a benefit with spring landscape photography in this area. The lady with the umbrella was not part of our group nor was she asked to stand in that location. I was just sitting up on a ledge under a rock overhang, talking with one of my students, when she just appeared with this purple/pink umbrella. I thought to myself “this is too good to be true.” She also stood still long enough for the longer exposure I needed to capture the flow of the water off of Cedar Falls. Every year my top 10 list includes at least one image from Hocking Hills. The place has become a part of who I am and for good reason. It is home.