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16 Favorite Moments From 2016

Standing on a beach surrounded by lightning, struggling against gusting winds on the Mile High Swinging Bridge, watching epic sunsets and battling elk, almost getting stranded on a tiny island for the night, and embarking on the most amazing road trip I’ve taken yet. 2016 was a great year for travel. And it just so happens I have the photos to prove it.

Taking the Long Way Around

I took the train into Chicago rather than drive just so I could say I’d done it. I got lost on curvy mountain roads in North Carolina just because I wanted to find a spectacular waterfall. I watched a sunset in the middle of a cornfield in Ohio even though I still had three hours still to drive to a very exciting place. It would be so much easier on me if I just simply drove from Point A to Point B, but instead I always find myself taking the long way around. And I never regret it.

The Morris Island Lighthouse in Folly Beach, South Carolina

The Morris Island Lighthouse stands tall above the ocean waters completely surrounding the base just off the north shore in Folly Beach, South Carolina. This now-defunct lighthouse used to stand on Morris Island, but after decades of erosion (especially from the nearby mouth of the Cooper River) the island is all but gone, leaving the lighthouse precariously surrounded by at least a few feet of water at all times. Visitors are not allowed to visit or climb the lighthouse, but you can still enjoy the view from the nearby beach.

7 Smaller Destinations for Labor Day Weekend in the Southeast

This year over 16 million people are expected to fly in the United States for the Labor Day holiday weekend, and even more are expected to drive. Popular destinations like Charlotte, North Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina beckon weekend travelers with package deals and special rates, but they also come with the caveat of long lines and heavy traffic. But where could you book a last-minute trip that would keep you entertained, fed, and happy for the holiday weekend?

The Thrill of Spontaneous Travel

I’m laying inside my tent listening to a light rain fall outside, mixed with the melody of a hundred tree frogs and crickets. Just thirty-six hours ago I was checking out of a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina with plans to take a short drive to the North Carolina Brunswick Islands. Instead tonight I’m camping on Chincoteague Island, Virginia. This is not the trip I had planned, but rather a thrilling spontaneous travel moment. Having a plan for travel is a good thing. In fact I recommend it. It’s nice to know where you will eat, sleep, and play.

The Hidden Angel Oak (and Restaurant) in Johns Island, South Carolina

Standing seventy feet tall and covering 17,000 square feet with the shade of it’s leaves, the five-hundred year old Angel Oak is one of the top hidden places in Charleston. And now I just told you about it. But don’t stop reading just yet because there is more to do than just see a tree that nearly ten feet in diameter.

Top 5 South Carolina Beaches

Waves crash on the beach ahead of you. The ebb and flow of the water stretches out of sight to the horizon. Seagulls fly overhead. A strong wind blows off the ocean, knocking back the hot and humid summer air. Beaches have long been a favorite tourism destination as people seek sand, sun, and smiles for a pleasant distraction from life.

6 Things I Love About Knoxville, Tennessee

I was shopping at a locally owned used bookstore when I turned around and knocked several books off the shelf. I have been to used bookstores in other cities where I would have been scolded, even told to pay for those covers I accidentally folded, and I might have even been flogged. But in Knoxville, Tennessee, a kind gentleman immediately helped me pick them up and when an employee walked over she was more concerned if I was alright than the books. This city had won my heart.

Hidden in South Carolina: The Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

Called the “Forgotten Founder”, this national historic site is almost a forgotten part of the Charleston Lowcountry. Tucked away in a small corner of nearby Mt. Pleasant, the historic site is centered around Charles Pinckney’s coastal plantation. But who exactly was Charles Pinckney, and what can you do at this historic site?

30 Times in 2013 My Photography Career Was Amazing

1 year. 365 days. 8,760 hours. 525,600 minutes. Looking at numbers like that would make you think you have all the time in the world to get work done. But as I write this on the last day of 2013 I realize, with a very heavy heart, that I did not have enough time this year. I could have used a Super Leap Year that includes an extra 31 days, but then I probably would have just spent that time shooting more photos instead of processing what I already had! This year I drove more, shot more, met more