Yellow Bluff Marina and Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge - 12-12-15.

Another early morning start... My objective was to get to Midway, Georgia and drive east to Yellow Bluff Marina for some sunrise photography, then head over to Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge just after sunrise to hopefully get some wildlife photos. 

So, up at 4:00AM. This time I was picking up an old friend of mine, Frank Carter. Like myself, he is a retired Scoutmaster, also with alot of outdoor experience. He has the added experience of being a retired army tank military commander, so I always enjoy spending time with him. I was hoping to get him into the spirit of early morning photography. He and I are working on rebuilding a sailboat and hope to do some boating/photography adventures together in the future. Anyway, that's another topic for another blog another day.... Today, I just wanted to see if we could team up and get down to Midway in time for a sunrise and then on to Harris Neck Wildlife refuge for a half day of wildlife photography. 

I meet Frank at 5:00AM, and after a cup of coffee, we head out the door about 5:30AM. I figured if we got to Midway by 6:30AM, that would be plenty of time to see the sunrise. Before we get out of Savannah, we notice a MacDonald's open that early near the Savannah Mall. So we stop by and pick up some egg MacMuffins for the road. The drive to Midway was quicker than expected, so when we arrive it is still pitch black dark, and not only dark, but a blinding fog had set in as well. We couldn't see to much, so I pull over to set the navigator on my cell phone and we somehow manage to find Yellow Bluff Marina. It had been years since I was there last... My dad and I used this marina quite often when I was a kid to put the boat in and go fishing. Now, it was not a public marina like it used to be. It appeared to be more of a private neighborhood marina. Still in the dark and in the fog and not even sure if this was the right marina that we were looking for, I started to pull away, when Frank noticed someone walking out toward the truck. I was thinking "Great, now we're probably in trouble for tresspassing...". As it turned out, this was the guy in charge of the marina and he was there to operate the hoist for the day. I politely explained what we were doing and asked if we could take some pictures. Luckily he was very friendly and welcoming. So, after a few more minutes of setting up my photography gear and checking all my camera settings, the sun began to glow just beneath the horizon and the fog miraculously began to dissipate. Here are a few of the "before sunrise" photos:

And here's one after the sun peaked above the horizon:

There were not too many clouds, so after the sun came up it came out bright and hot. This is not too good for photography unless you have something in the foreground or a filter to block the direct sunlight. Sometimes the clouds will block some of the direct sunlight as well.

By this time the boaters and fishermen were lining up to use the hoist, get thier boat in the water, and head out for a day of fishing. My next objective was to get to Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge early, so we headed out. Only a 20 minute drive from there to Harris Neck. 

At Harris Neck Wildlife Refuge, I was suprised to see all of the wildlife still in abundance. This being mid December, the summer birds should have migrated further south by now and the reptiles, e.g. turtles and alligators, should be hibernating by now. The warm weather has persisted though, and we have not had too many cold days yet in the southeast. So, the animals being oblivious to our calendar, have decided to hang out in this area a little longer this fall:

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