South Carolina, USA by Alyce Bender

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Along some of the more rural areas of the South Carolina coast line there stand trees that have succumb to coastal erosion and the salinization of their water supply. Yet, a few continue to fight the elements and remain upright as large, defiant, twisted statues of driftwood. The "boneyards" are becoming rarer as the coast has seen an increase in damaging weather over the last several years which causes these last standing "survivors" to topple and wash out to sea, never to be seen again.

Here, this witness to so much of Nature's rawness, stands in the rising tide under overcast skies midday when this image was taken. I often wonder how much these old bones have seen, standing alone, as the forest that once surrounded it falls away into the sea. How many more storms can this individual weather? Or will it be the floods that wash away the sand from its roots that cause it to give up?

As it stands, the ebb and flow of the wind and water around this tree have the most impact on how much longer it will stand before it joins the rest of the forest in the sea. Because of this, I really wanted to capture that movement that surrounds such a stark sentry, and so I chose to use a circular polarizer and a four-stop neutral density filter to allow for a longer exposure. In the end, I walked away from this encounter with more questions and answers and more reflections than just what is captured in this single image.

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