Driftwood

In December of 2019 I had the opportunity to travel to Brunswick, Georgia for a business trip for three weeks. While I was excited for the opportunity to travel for work, I was also excited to explore the town and it’s neighboring sites. Since I had to fly there, I couldn’t bring everything and the kitchen sink so I decided to bring three cameras: My Fuji X100F, Leica M4 and Polaroid SLR680.

Since my exploration time was limited to just Saturdays and Sundays, and because I was limited to Uber, I had to do some research to do. Prior to traveling to Brunswick I did some digging to plan where I’d go shooting, One of the most interesting sites I located was a place called Driftwood Beach, which is located on Jeykll Island.

The first free Saturday I got an Uber and took the 25 minute drive to Jekyll Island. During the drive there I learned that Jeykll Island is a state owned island meaning that all the residents that live there do not own the land they live on, but instead it is leased to them. The land is also patrolled by the Georgia State Patrol and not the local PD. After the long car ride my Uber driver dropped me off on the shoulder of the road in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t see the ocean as I was only surrounded by trees and shrubbery, the only indication that there was a beach was the sand paved path which led directly to Driftwood beach. I took the short walk to the beach and was amazed at the site. There were hundreds upon hundreds of decayed and petrified trees which had at one point been living hundreds of years ago had now eroded to white stone-like figures. This was a photographers dream, so many shapes and lines and textures it was hard to find a place to start.

With my Fuji, Leica and Polaroid I went crazy. I took a ton of long exposures with my Fuji x100F and a 10-stop ND filter and I intended on taking some long exposure shots with the Leica but I ran of of time. If there’s one thing I love about photography its the endless adventure that can take place when I find something I really enjoy photographing. I think it was in the moment that I realized that I needed to slow down and enjoy the landscape instead of just crafting photos, I think that’s were the Leica comes into play, or any film camera for that matter. The analogue journey can provide an experience of connecting with the place instead of being caught up in the image.

This place was so great I went back the following weekend to make some more shots but I had one idea in particular that I wanted to get. I wanted to make a Polaroid Mosaic of a solo standing tree on the beach. I had never done anything like this before and had no idea if it would work. After carefully planning my shot and picking the tree, I think it worked well.

Driftwood Beach is a must-stop location for any photographer. If you find yourself in the Brunswick, Georgia area check it out!