Online webinar will focus on birdwatching along the Hammock Coast
A special online webinar will offer a bird’s-eye view of photographing feathered beauties along South Carolina’s Hammock Coast.
The Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce will host “Bird Watching and Photography along South Carolina’s Hammock Coast” Tuesday, March 9, from noon-1 p.m. The webinar is free for Chamber members and $10 for non-members. Click here to register.
Murrells Inlet photographer Steve Ellwood will be the event’s featured speaker. He is the author of the recently published “In the Moment,” which features photos taken at key Georgetown County locations such as Huntington Beach State Park and Brookgreen Gardens.
In 2020, Southern Living magazine declared the Hammock Coast to be the best birding site on the East Coast,” and Ellwood would agree that the number of bird species found here is exceptional. He will share tips and experiences on capturing just the right shot.
South Carolina’s Hammock Coast is located in Georgetown County, South Carolina, and features the beach communities of Pawleys Island, Murrells Inlet, Litchfield Beach and southern Garden City, as well as the historic cities of Georgetown and Andrews. The Hammock Coast is located south of Myrtle Beach and north of Charleston.
“In the Moment” is Ellwood’s first book and the first time he faced the daunting task of narrowing the tens of thousands of photos he’s taken down to a few dozen for the book.
The 64-year-old grew up in Michigan, but he and his wife, Andrea, moved to the South Carolina coast in 1980. The first place he visited was Huntington Beach State Park. “That’s when,” Ellwood said, “I dove into bird photography.”
“I was so taken by it all — Atalaya, a castle on the beach; the abundance of birds; the large pond across the marsh on the causeway; just everything,” he said. “It was so different than any other park I’d ever seen anywhere.”
The state park truly became a “home away from home” for Ellwood, who’s employed as senior art director for LHWH, a marketing and public relations firm in Myrtle Beach.
During the webinar, Ellwood will discuss how he gets his extraordinary shots and offer tips that every photographer can use to enhance their own pictures.
He will also discuss his favorite places for shooting along the Hammock Coast, especially the state park.
“The park has so many different settings within it for a photographer,” Ellwood said. “You’ve got the causeway for the flight photographer and action photography and the sheer number of birds, including Bald Eagles and Osprey. You go up to the jetty for the shorebirds and birds that are migratory in cooler months that I’ve never seen anywhere else before. The park offers different sweet spots for backgrounds and species. There are just little areas that are remote, too, that will have species that are not seen at the causeway.”
For Ellwood, Huntington has been his weekend away from home for years. He joked that his wife knows if she needs him – be it on weekends, vacation days, holidays, even Christmas morning – that she’ll know to find him at the park.
“It’s one of my favorite places I’ve ever been in my lifetime on the planet,” he said. “There are places where you can sit in that park and find pure serenity. It’s always been a place that’s very therapeutic for me. I find great stress relief being grounded in nature. The park is a real gem for this area — that and Brookgreen Gardens. Those are two special places for our area and for South Carolina.”
Webinar attendees are certain to get valuable advice from a seasoned photographer, but they’ll also be entertained, as well.
“All my photos have stories to them,” Ellwood said. “Some of them are heartwarming, some are comical, some are shocking. Some move me emotionally because of something I’ve never seen anywhere before. … Birds are talking to us and telling us what we need to pay attention to. There’s just no shortage of awe in the bird world. I’m reminded of that often when I’m out there.”
Remember that registration is required for the free webinar. To sign up, click here.
— By Mark A. Stevens, director of tourism development, Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and South Carolina’s Hammock Coast