It doesn’t take those visiting Daufuskie Island long to discover just how picturesque this South Carolina barrier island is. Between our overgrown dirt roads, the seemingly countless live oaks, our teeming salt marshes, and the island’s serene beaches, it’s almost overwhelming for someone to try and photograph each and every bit of the island. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite photo-worthy locations, followed by some tips and tricks that we recommend trying out during your trip to Daufuskie Island!
Avenue of Oaks: Avenue of Oaks is the main stretch of road in Melrose, beginning once you turn from Haig Point Road, taking you all the way back to Melrose on the Beach, one of Daufuskie’s restaurants. While the whole road is beautiful from start to finish, there is one specific portion of the road that we find particularly stunning. Lined by live oaks, the stretch of road from the roundabout until the Melrose rookery is the perfect backdrop for any picture. The overarching trees that practically drip with spanish moss can make any picture just that much better.
Melrose rookery: If you’re interested in capturing photos of wildlife, this is the place to do it. Consisting of two ponds located in Melrose, the Melrose rookery is a part-time home to many, many migrational bird species. Not only are you bound to see birds here, but alligators as well, (and plenty of them!) A suggestion for those wishing to take the ultimate ‘gator picture: Instead of feeding the alligators to attract them, try playing an alligator call on your phone, such as this one. This is much healthier for the alligators, and much safer for people. A word of caution: don’t get too close to the water’s edge! Alligators are wild animals and can be hard to predict, so keep a safe distance
Melrose cottages: For those looking for a more colorful backdrop, the beach cottages back in Melrose can provide just that. From blue, to yellow, to purple, to gray, and perhaps a bit of red or pink, the Melrose cottages are where it’s at. They can brighten any picture, giving them a more fun, playful feeling.
School Road boat: For those of you intrigued by all things unexplained, this is a fun, easy stop that feels more or less like a game of eye spy. While driving along School Road, an overgrown dirt road back in our historic district, keep an eye out for the old boat surrounded by trees. Who’s to say when this boat was left in its current location, however, it must have been some time ago! Trees have grown up around the boat, encasing it, leaving it completely and totally trapped. It’s eerie to say the least, but photo-worthy, nonetheless
Live Oaks: One of the more popular subjects for those taking photos of Daufuskie Island is our live oaks. Across the island, there are a select few that really stand out from the rest. All of the properties listed below have trees that are believed to be 300 plus years old! These oaks are prime examples of those picture-perfect live oaks that one can find in just about any low country travel brochure. A quick tip: try taking a picture of these oaks from a ground-level angle. This allows you to really capture the sheer size of these giants.
Turtle Beach Road: This road is bound to make those who travel it feel as if they’re a part of the Jurassic Park universe. A skinny dirt road lined with palms, ferns, and butterfly bushes, Turtle Beach Road is perfect for picture taking. A suggestion: try taking photos here on a cloudy day. This will eradicate those splotchy sun patches and random shadows that have the potential to ruin pictures.
Turtle beach: What happens to be at the end of Turtle Beach Road? Why Turtle Beach, of course! Turtle beach is quite different from the other beaches one can find on Daufuskie island. Scattered on the shores of Turtle Beach is a number of fallen trees, plenty of driftwood, and some beautiful, beautiful shells. This beach is simply begging to have its picture taken.
Sand dunes: It’s in the sand dunes, (the section of land that lies behind the part of the beach affected by tides), that we often find the best subjects for picture taking. Butterflies! Because most butterfly bushes and flowering plants are able to thrive in a sand dune habitat, it’s more often than not that butterflies can be found in and around the dunes. A word of caution: Sandburs! These pesky products of our dune grasses are always looking for something to latch on to. Clothes, hair, a foot. They’re fairly spikey and would love nothing more than to poke you. How can you avoid them? For one thing, wear shoes. This is a very easy way to avoid them. Another way to avoid them is to stay on the existent paths that lead down to the beaches. Walking on non-designated paths can actually damage the already fragile sand dune habitats, and in some areas is considered illegal.
County Dock: Located at the southern end of the island, county dock appears at first to have nothing to offer. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s from county dock that the most beautiful sunsets can be seen. There’s nothing quite like watching the sun dip below the horizon, bathing Daufuskie in its golden light just before it completely disappears. Taking a photo that does a Daufuskie sunset justice can be difficult, luckily, county dock is here to make that possible.
Other things to keep in mind:
Climate: Year round, Daufuskie has the potential to be humid. A suggestion: to keep your camera from fogging up (which can happen when taking your camera from a cooled indoor climate to a hot, humid outdoor climate), give it time to adjust to the humidity of the lowcountry. Setting it outside before you plan to use it is a good way to let your camera adjust.
Sand: Sand is everywhere. It’s inescapable! We suggest bringing something to put your camera in while you’re not actively using it. This will prevent sand from getting behind your lense or in your focus ring.
Rain: Be prepared for rain! In the lowcountry, it’s hard to predict when rain is going to hit. Again, bringing something in which to place your camera will prevent both panic and water damage.
Asking permission: We understand that sometimes the person in the frame is what makes the picture. However asking permission from the subject of the image is very very important! Whether that person is a local or a fellow tourist, ask, ask, ask! It never hurts to ask, and is much better than getting caught in a sticky post-picture situation.
Looking to learn more about photography? Check out this website aimed towards educating beginners on the basics of photography – https://expertphotography.com/a-beginners-guide-to-photography
Interested in taking one of our tours with hopes of snapping the ultimate history or wildlife photograph? Check out either our Daufuskie Island History and Artisan Tour or Wild Daufuskie Island Eco Tour!