Steamed, not Fried (245th new thing).

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

When Patrick and I stayed at Folly Beach in May, we ate steamed oysters at hole-in-the-wall restaurant after our kayak adventure. They were so delicious that I vowed on our return I would consume an entire tray by myself. I accomplished this on Day Two Hundred Forty-Five.

We headed to Bowen’s Island restaurant with my parents in the evening and I originally intended to partake in the “all-you-can-eat” portion of steamed shellfish. However, after evaluating my hunger situation, I opted for the single large tray of the food. I’m glad I did, because frankly, it was a lot of seafood.

To stay true to my task on consuming the large platter of oysters alone, I did not share with Patrick. Fortunately, my parents were far more generous and less gluttonous than I, and Patrick was able to get some oyster eating in. I didn’t ever feel the aphrodisiac effect oysters are supposed to have on the system, but I did enjoy a tasty meal of freshly harvested South Carolina delights.


Family Scott, the Treasure Hunters (244th new thing).

January 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

I gave my dad a metal detector for Christmas last year. He’s always difficult to shop for, not really wanting anything except tacky ties (I jest). So when he mentioned in passing that he thought it could be fun to take a metal detector to the beach and search for lost change, I tackled the idea. Before we met up at the coastal town of Folly Beach, SC, he reminded me of this gift and mentioned it as a “new thing to do.” So on Day Two Hundred Forty-Four we headed out in the golf cart, metal detector in hand, to find our fortune.

The ingenious idea of searching along the parking line

Dad had the brilliant idea to stop at the washout, where surfers go to, well, surf, and check around the parallel parking spaces lining the curb. Surely as people excitedly stepped out of their Jeeps a few coins would tumble from their over-sized pockets.

Note the tongue out in concentration

We walked up and down the car-less curb, figuring out this crazy machine and finding a ton of rusted bottle caps along the way. I think we amassed $0.06 in our first round (a nickel and a penny), and took about twenty minutes. Not bad for beginners.

Next we headed to the beach, stopping by the pay parking machine, where we added a penny and bent nail to our wares. The coastline proved a bit more difficult. While the detector beeped every ten feet or so, our digging brought up little.

A little treasure

After collecting my mom from her sunbathing and making our way back along the parking line, we jumped into the golf cart to try another part of the coastline. We picked up Patrick and a few beers en route. My boyfriend and mother settled themselves in the sun with a beer and a heaping dose of skepticism while my dad and I headed off to find the treasure that awaited us.

Metal Detector Affici0nado

We caught some activity at a tide-pooled area and I dug down until we found our next dime. Score! Then we scouted along the dunes and a parking area, finding a couple more coins and countless bottle caps and nails. I can understand the bottle caps, but nails, really? Seems a bit dangerous in the vicinity of a parking area.

Finally we headed back to the jests of our non-believing fan club, treasure in hand. We had amassed $ 0.46, a piece of random aluminum, three washers, and four nails. And what had they done, really?

Even if we didn’t find our fortune that day, the time spent silently roaming the beach of South Carolina with my dad was priceless. Next we are going to check out old Civil War battlegrounds around Atlanta. And should we find our treasure, well, Mom and Patrick can sun themselves while we enjoy it.

HDR Photography (243rd new thing).

January 14, 2012 § 3 Comments

I’d first heard about HDR photography from my friend Jenny. She was showing us various pictures online where this technique was used, to eliminate parts of a photograph that were over exposed and bring out the parts that were underexposed. Except that it didn’t involve dodging and burning, but rather using an imaging editing software like Photoshop. The pictures were amazing, mostly landscape scenes with tonal variations based on the sun’s position.

I looked up how to create my own HDR picture, and the process was relatively simple. You bracket for the brightest and darkest parts of the image and take multiple shots of the same scene (trying very hard to keep the camera still). Then you load the images (two or more) into some fancy computer software and it merges the images together, creating a perfectly, although unaturally exposed final picture.

On Day Two Hundred Forty-Three I tried out the technique myself, photographing a sunset in the small harbor near where we stayed with my parents in Folly Beach.

I wasn’t able to create the final HDR image until I had the proper software. I used a downloadable software called Photomatrix for the tonal mapping process. Here is the result of a series of four images, over and under exposed, merged together.

It looked ok, but not nearly as awesome as some of the pictures I had seen online. I wondered if I hadn’t overexposed enough for the shadows.

I only discovered later that my iPhone was also capable of HDR images, without having to load pictures into computer software on my computer. I played around with those, but eventually downloaded an application called “HDR Pro.” And I haven’t looked back. Here are pictures I took the following day with the HDR Pro app:

The road to the beach

The path to the beach

The moon and the dunes

The sunset and the dunes

The moon and the beach. Full circle.

And now I understand HDR Photography. And more importantly, how awesome my iPhone can be.

Beach Gallop (242nd new thing).

January 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

Day Two Hundred Forty-Two found me with my family in Folly Beach, SC. Before Patrick and I have always visited the seaside location during peak tourist season, meaning Murphy (and all dogs) were only allowed on the beach before 10AM or after 6PM. November beach trips are different, and there are no restrictions as to when pups are allowed to be walked along the water. It was a blustery day, but I still headed out with my parents, Murphy, and their dogs for a chilly November jaunt. And because the beach was quite expansive and empty of fellow walkers, I decided to let Murphy off-leash on the beach, for the first time. I think he enjoyed himself, and apart from a brief diversion into the dunes, he was exceptionally well-behaved.

Murphy is ready to run free

Twas a blustery November morning

Oscar's great leap of faith

Mom, Dad, Chester, Oscar, and Murphy

Post-walk treat distribution pose

And finally…video proof of the fun we had.


Seventy-One. Folly Beach Sunrise.

June 5, 2011 § 3 Comments

Day Seventy-One was our last morning on Folly Beach. Determined to actually see a beach sunrise, I set my alarm for 545am and managed to shimmy out of bed to a quiet house and make my way down to the ocean. I brought along a cup of tea and my iPod. While I waited the twenty minutes for the ball of light to rise above the horizon I skimmed through the artists on my little music player to find something appropriate for the beginning of the day. I got to Jeff Buckley and figured Grace would be a suitable album to emphasize the beauty of a sunrise.

Unfortunately, the actual event was quite anticlimactic. I waited for twenty minutes, freezing in the cool morning air as the sky became more and more red. Finally the sun spread its rays through the clouds. Moments later, it was completely visible. The people walking their dog on the beach headed back from whence they came and I took a few pictures and returned to my warm bed for some extra shut-eye. It was pretty, but even Jeff Buckley couldn’t make it some emotionally cathartic moment. Perhaps my expectations had been to high.

Red Sky

Almost up

There you are. Halleluja.

Seventy. Sunset Kayak.

June 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

On Day Seventy, I went on a sunset kayaking tour of Folly Creek, on James Island near Charleston. Melissa managed to arrange for a whole crew of the EARL beach house group to participate, so the tour was even more fun. We saw dolphins (from afar) and slowly watched the sunset as we paddled against creek’s tide and possibly learned a little about the fragile ecosystem of the area.

And then, also for the first time, I ate steamed oysters. They were pretty awesome.

Sixty-Eight. Cup of Coconut.

June 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

Day Sixty-Eight found us heading to Folly Beach, just outside of Charleston for EARL‘s Christmas trip. In lieu of a holiday party at the close of the year, John rents a house on Folly for a week and allows half the staff to go the first part of the rental, and the other half the second. Pretty sweet, huh?

So Patrick and I arrived at the house (we were second halfers) to find Shane making a batch of pina coladas and serving them in half coconuts. The drink looked like tropical heaven. We were offered the sweet nectar and Shane went to make a “cup” for me. I planned on my new activity for the day to be eating a Low Country Boil in the Low Country, but with the opportunity to make my own cup coming up, I offered to whack the nut and make a custom beverage holder. So on Day Sixty-Eight I opened a coconut. With the blunt side of a kitchen knife. And the rim of my coconut cup turned out gorgeously even.

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