I recently spent a weekend with my dad at Lake Marion in Santee, South Carolina. Lake Marion (also known as The Upper Lake) is fed by rivers and runoff from the South Carolina Upstate. It flows through the Diversion Canal into Lake Moultrie (the Lower Lake), which then flows into the Tailrace Canal, and, finally ends up in the ocean. You can actually put your boat in somewhere a few miles Upstate and follow the rivers into the lakes, down into the Tailrace and on into the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway, which spans the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States.
Anyway, I wanted to travel light and took only the Ricoh GXR with both the A12 50 and 28 modules. I took photos like I normally do. It wasn't until I got the images home, edited them, let them stew for a couple of days and then reviewed them that the following photo essay came out of me. This wasn't hard to write and came as naturally as the first time I dove off the bow of dad's boat. It's the truth and I feel really good about it. I hope you'll enjoy what I've written and the images that accompany my words. As always, comments and critiques are welcomed and much appreciated.
Growing up in South Carolina meant that we typically spent our summer weekends at one of only a few places: the beach, the river, or the lake. I can remember being a kid and gingerly grabbing crickets to bait the hook of my very own rod and reel. Or watching dad drive the boat, hat backwards, Guns n' Roses blaring, American Flag whipping and engine roaring.
My dad had a job at the local shipyard so he was no stranger to nautical knots and he showed me (on multiple occasions) how to properly tie off a boat. Even now, at nearly thirty years old, he had to show me one more time. Between you and me, I think he sort of enjoys his ability to teach me something, even now as a married adult out on my own. I think that's a "dad" thing. And while I'm not a dad yet, I guess I sort of understand the satisfaction my own dad probably gets from knowing he's given me a skill I can use for the rest of my life. Or at least until I forget how to do it and he shows me again.
One of the coolest things about weekends at the lake was that everyone had a boat, and whether we met at the lake house (a 70's doublewide on a narrow lot at the end of a channel that may or may not get you home depending on the lake levels) or a sandbar, we always knew what the lake had in store for us. When we weren't lazily bobbing in the middle of the lake, taking turns jumping and diving from the bow of the boat or begging for dad to take us for one more spin around the lake on "The Tube" or kneeboard, we were trying our luck on a not-so-secret fishing spot near our favorite sandy beach. Our summers on the lake yielded coolers full of bream, which my dad showed me how to properly clean (although these days I prefer to purchase my fish ready-to-cook) and fry so that you didn't end up hacking up pin bones. There are few things in this world I enjoy more than fresh, hot fish right out of the fryer and (now) a cold beer. Pair that with an evening boat ride where it's just light enough to see, but dark enough that all the dock lights are on, and you've got yourself an evening at the lake.
We've vacationed all over the country. I've been North, South and West (we're about as far East as you can go before you hit ocean). I've been to more than a dozen states. I've seen the Grand Canyon (twice). I've seen countless windows in giant skyscrapers on the descent into New York Laguardia. I've been to the top of mountains and I've been diving on ship wrecks. But nothing quite brings me home like feeling the warm wind in my face, the sun from head to toe and the cool spray dashing over the bow of dad's boat as we race across the lake to get home in time to get our fresh catch on the cleaning board. Or at least to make it to the local watering hole in time for a hot plate of fish and fries. It's not New York City or Los Angeles. In fact, there's really nowhere to be, and there's something wholly satisfying about that. It's the lake, and I love it.