Mary Presson Roberts Photography

Camping on Capers Island, SC

“Never while anything is left of me shall this… camp be forgotten. It has fairly grown into me, not merely as memory pictures, but as part and parcel of mind and body alike.”
― John Muir

Tents, sleeping bags, campfires…oh my!

I have never been much of a camper.  The only camping I have ever done was when my son, Jeremy, was in Cub Scouts.  He needed to have a parent to go with him in order to participate.  I love my son more than anything, so I went.  I went until that magical time when he became a Boy Scout and no longer needed an adult to go with him.  I felt that my camping days were forever over at that time.

That was, until last weekend.  My life changed last weekend.

About five years ago, my husband, Randy, and I were on Rough Ridge awaiting sunrise.  My husband is such a great sport and has seen more sunrises than he cares to admit.  On this particular morning, someone asked if I would mind if he got on the rock in front of me for a minute to take a picture.  My response was that I wouldn’t mind as long as I could use him as foreground.  This moment was monumental as it introduced me to Alistair Nicol of Mountains to Sea Workshops.

After meeting Alistair on Rough Ridge, I ended up winning my first workshop experience with Alistair and Tommy White.  Since winning that first workshop, I have lost count of how many workshops I have attended with them.   I have found that Alistair, Tommy, and their summer teaching partner, Athena Carey,  have helped expand my horizons in ways I really never expected.  They have not only been incredible instructors, adventure leaders, but have also become wonderful friends who I value a great deal.

For the past couple of  years, a camping trip on Capers Island has been brought up.  Initially, I just automatically rejected the idea since I am not “the camping kind”.  This year, however, something changed and I started to think that I really wanted to do it.  I am primarily a nature photographer.  What nature photographer wouldn’t want to spend an entire weekend out in nature?

There was much discussion and debate about the camping trip with my family and friends.  Many couldn’t believe that I would even consider a primitive camping experience.  My brother, Paul, who has modeled for me seeking adventure at every turn throughout his life, thankfully, encouraged me to go.  I began to look at it as me on an episode of Survivor with my camera gear as my luxury items.  I approached the weekend with a combination of terror and excitement.  There were so many unknowns.  What I did know was that I trusted and cared about the people involved, so I asked my son to do a “Camping 101” session with me when he was home from college, borrowed much of his camping gear, purchased a few items of my own, and prepared for a new adventure.

Friday afternoon, last week, a boat from Barrier Island Eco Tours dropped my friends and me off on Capers Island with our gear.  Capers Island is a barrier island owned by the State of South Carolina.  It is located off  of the coast of Charleston, South Carolina.  This was a camping weekend… a primitive camping weekend.  The boat would pick us up Sunday morning.

I had been mentally preparing myself for the weekend for months.  What I had not really anticipated was how much freaking fun (best term I could come up with) it would be!  I think the best I can do to describe it would be to say that I have not felt so free since I was a child.  It was reminiscent of the days when I ran through the woods all day with sticks playing with my friends.  The pressures of everyday life were really nonexistent.

Oh, and the opportunities for photography were endless!
End of the Day
Reach for the Sky
Sunrise and Starfish
Looking Through
Last Light

I entered the camping experience with apprehension.  I left the weekend filled with great joy and confidence.

I will forever be thankful for Alistair, Tommy and all of my friends involved in the weekend!  Thank you for sharing of yourselves and giving me the confidence to enjoy the weekend more than I ever anticipated!  There are moments in your life that truly matter.  Last weekend really mattered to me!  Thank you so much for being a part of that experience!

My mentor, Les Saucier, teaches his students that real learning takes place outside of your comfort zone, but not so far outside of  your comfort zone that you end up in your panic zone.  I have never been happier stepping outside of my comfort zone.  I encourage you to take risks, step outside of your comfort zone, and see where the adventure takes  you!

Mary Presson Roberts

I am a travel and fine art photographer living and working in the Carolinas. My camera has taken me to places I never would have experienced and to people I never would have met. Photography has truly changed my life! Using my blog, I hope to share the joys of both travel and photography.


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  • Mary, these images from Capers Island are spectacular. I particularly like “Looking Through”; wonderful composition with that wide angle and slow shutter speed. What was the shutter speed, if I might ask?

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