Savannah, GA & Tybee Island

March 14th, 2011 | Posted by Steve in Forts | Georgia | National Monuments

Hi All,

Here are my latest photos with some additional commentary on one in particular.

I had been planning on driving to St. Simon Island, GA from Savannah on Saturday, March 5, but the high price of gasoline was a serious impediment to the thought of a 120+ mile round trip.  One of my fellow workers, Dick, mentioned he would like to visit Ft. Pulaski and had not yet seen downtown Savannah.  I didn’t mind the chance to get some back up photos for some I had already taken so I told Dick to be ready around 10 am & I would try to get a car.

By 10 we were off.  Our first stop was Ft. Pulaski National Monument.  During my first trip there I had purchased a lifetime Senior pass for all National Parks & Recreation Lands.  The pass includes any occupants of the vehicle so we both got in with no additional charge.

The day was mostly overcast with some blue sky showing here and there.  This type of weather means no shadows.  That can be very good, or not as the case may be.  I took lots of photos, all of which are ISO 200 using the 24-105mm lens.  Most did not impress me, but a few are good enough to show.

The first is just a snapshot, but gives and idea of place.  From the parking lot you walk along the moat then through the Demilune.  Near one of the outside powder magazines the walkway takes a right facing east.  This is what you see.

The flag is the secessionist flag of Georgia.  The original apparently flew above the fort from the time of the secession to the about the time Georgia was admitted to the Confederacy, just a matter of a few weeks.  Looking through the main entrance you can barely see a cannon pointing at the gate.

I got down on one knee and took a few shots of this cannon.  This is f14 at 1/100th second using a 47mm setting on the lens.  In the color shot the sky is a complete wash out.   The color curve of the sky can be adjusted in Photoshop to show the little color that is there.  When there is only a little color in a full color curve there are ways to bring it out, but I have found the color you ultimately get is often hard to believe.  With that in mind this became a candidate for a black & white conversion.

There are numerous ways to convert color photos in a computer to black & white. I do not like the desaturation method except in very small doses.  In Photoshop I prefer using the Channel Mixer and/or Nik Silver Efex Pro filters.  Sometimes I will use both.  This one (as with most of the individual photos here) is done using a single preset filter in Nik Silver Efex Pro.  With the filter the sky jumped out and the cannon became much more interesting.

While there I took advantage of the time to get a better photo of the Civil War damage to the east wall.  I converted this to black & white also.  This time I treated the sky separately to enhance the clouds.

One of the interesting things about Ft. Pulaski is the Confederate reenactors.  They have shows & talks every few hours or so.

Walking by I caught this fellow addressing a group of tourists.

It is just a snapshot and I wanted something better.  I was home between travels from the 10th to the 12th.  While paying bills, washing clothes, and going through accumulated mail I began to experiment with the photo.  First, I used one of Nik’s filters I gave it an antique look.

This seemed to be a good approach, but I wasn’t wholly satisfied as it severely lightened the cannons in the background and seemed to blow out the whole scene.  Using the picture above I laid over another filter to enhance contrast & structure.

Now it was getting where I wanted, but I liked the yellowed look of the first overlay which was totally lost with the second overlay.  I added a yellowing filter which also gave the photo a frayed or dried out frame look

Happy with this I handed a test print to Fran.  She looked at it and gave me a look as if to ask “where did you get this?”  I told her I had shot the photo 6 days before.  That only brought a look of disbelief and amazement to her face.  I explained it was originally in color, I had played around with it quite a bit in the computer, and this was the final result.  I think she was amazed.

I obviously wanted an image that appeared old and contemporary to the Civil War.  The background fits in very well with this illusion.  The pose of the actor is modern, but overall I think this is a very interesting image.   I was so happy with it that the next day I mailed a matted copy to the park ranger at the fort with the request that it be given to the reenactor.  Hopefully he will like it too.

[As a followup I did get a thank you from the actor.  He told me hundreds of tourists had taken his photo, but I was the first to sent him a print.]

From Ft. Pulaski Dick and I drove over to Tybee Island to see the lighthouse.  Unfortunately, there seemed to be preparations for a parade going on and getting to the lighthouse seemed impossible.  From there we began to drive to the touristy part of the island, but the preparations only intensified.  We beat a hasty retreat fearing we would get stuck for hours before we could leave the island.

From there we drove to downtown Savannah.  I already had many photos of downtown & the historic district so I didn’t add any except for the third time I tried to get a good outside photo of The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  And failed for the third time.  I guess that photo will have to wait for another trip to Savannah.

Dick wanted to walk along the waterfront on River St.  It is quite the tourist trap, but has some interesting places and at least one very good restaurant.  This mid Saturday afternoon had warm weather and was almost wall to wall people.  Moored at the dock was the ship Lynx, a reproduction of an American War of 1812 Privateer.  Info on the Lynx is at, which has better photos than any you will see here.  The Lynx is out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire and was on a tour docking in Savannah.

This is a stern view.  It is f 11, 1/50th second, 24mm lens setting.


This is a view of a small figurehead on the port side (not the bow) and the namesake of the ship.  It is f 14, 1/40th second, 105mm lens setting.  Despite the small aperture the close distance to the subject and the short telephoto setting make for a shallow depth of field.


This is a view of the bow.  This is f 14, 1/200th second, 32mm lens setting.

The sky was still overcast so for the two overall views I used the contrast & structure black & white filter to make for an interesting sky.

[Here I converted to B&W with a high contrast & structure filter in Nik Silver Efex Pro.  The color version again shows no sky. Whenever I shoot a color shot with an overcast sky I try black & white.  Often I will be rewarded with a dramatic, contrasty sky where the variations in the clouds were barely seen in color.]

I am in Fayetteville, NC until at least March 19, and probably until March 26.  I didn’t bring the camera on this trip so don’t expect any new postings until the next time I am out, probably April or May.  The internet is very slow here so I have cut down on the file sizes.  At one point I saw an outgoing email drop to .2 KB per second.  That is 200 bytes per second.  Most good internet connections are a few million bytes per second.  I could feel my hair turn gray waiting for that email to send. To anyone new to this list just let me know if you want off.  As usual I would appreciate any comments.

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