Kiawah’s Magnificent Marsh – Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

 “What begins at the water shall end there, and what ends there shall once more begin.”  

Doug Dorst

(9 photos)



This week Brie Anne has offered us a most interesting challenge; to illustrate our personal “muse” – that to which we turn time after time for inspiration. For me, the answer is an easy one; the beautifully varied vistas of Kiawah’s marsh.  Above, in a shot taken from my back porch, I’ve captured its creeks reflecting the clouds immediately after a summer storm.



“Praised be my Lord, for our sister water.”

Francis of Assisi

One of the reasons I love the marsh is that it is ever-changing. It can be many things, depending on the season, the time of day, the weather, or the tide. Above, a second shot of the marsh during a beautiful tangerine-colored sunset. Below, on a crisp, clear, early summer’s day.



“The places where water comes together with other water. Those places stand out in my mind like holy places.”

Raymond Carver



“All water is holy water.”

Rajiv Joseph

Above, yet another sunset over the marsh. In this capture the sun’s rays remind me of the spreading fingers of God on the cover of my second grade catechism 😊. Does anyone else out there remember that?!



“Water belongs to us all. Nature did not make the sun one person’s property, nor air, nor water, cool and clear.”

Michael Simpson

Beyond the beauty of the marsh itself, the presence of some of the most interesting and often beautiful creatures within its boundaries creates a powerful draw for a nature-loving photographer. Above, an ibis launches from the marsh grasses, leaving its companion behind. Below, a somewhat more dangerous resident! Although our native alligators strongly prefer fresh water, they can tolerate the brackish water of our marshes for a short while, and often show themselves as local fishermen or crabbers haul in their catches.



“Water’s water and that’s why it’s beautiful.”

Alberto Caeiro

Of course the favorite creature found in the creeks of our marshes is the playful bottlenose dolphin. Often times as we kayak along with the current, the dolphins will come out “spy-hopping” to see who’s entered their realm. Here in South Carolina they have been studied by as illustrious an organization as National Geographic because of their strand-feeding behavior. Working together, they push bait fish to the shore, and then push themselves out of the water to dine on their prey. Scientists are interested in the activity because it is a learned behavior that the dolphins pass on to their young. I’ve observed it several times, and am fascinated and excited every time. Below, a quick capture I shot of a marsh visitor enjoying the dolphins up close and personal, followed by a capture of dolphin strand-feeding here on Kiawah.



“The next time you think you’re perfect, try walking on water.”

Ziad K. Abdelnour



“No water, no life. No blue, no green.”

Sylvia Earle

I’ll close with a capture of our lovely marsh as the full moon’s rise is reflected on its waters. As you can see, it has been a favorite subject throughout my time on Kiawah. Here in our backyard, we enjoy a beautiful beach, lagoons ripe with fishermen’s bounty and of course the glorious maritime forest complete with grand, moss-covered oaks . For me though, the marsh tops them all.  It grows on you like a good friend – the more time you spend with it, the better you know it. The better you know it, the more you love it.  How wonderful is that?!



 “What begins at the water shall end there, and what ends there shall once more begin.”  

Doug Dorst

To see what inspires some other bloggers, click here.

113 thoughts on “Kiawah’s Magnificent Marsh – Weekly Photo Challenge: Muse

    • Bummer you’re not back this year Ron. I suspect the lowcountry will be much the same next year when you get back to us LOL. You know the south, nothing much changes in the space of a few years! Appreciate your stopping by/

  1. Yes indeed, I can see how and why the vistas of Kiawah’s marsh are your muse. Something special about how attached we can get to a place, where no matter how different the scene/weather/lighting ~ it simply feels like the place we belong. I could sit out and gaze at the Tangerine Sunset forever. Beautiful shots Tina.

    • Thanks Randall – yes the marsh really has a special place in my heart and will always be with me wherever I go. As for the tangerine…..I waited and waited for a bird to fly by but alas, none that afternoon. Perhaps a bit of photoshop is in order? 😉

  2. How wonderful to look out from you back porch to such beauty Tina. It explains everything as it clearly inhabits your soul and spirit. Warmest wishes for a great week ahead 🙂

  3. It is truly magnificent, wonderful pics. No wonder it’s your muse. In Australia we’d call this wetlands, and they are lovely places that have all too often been drained and replaced with buildings – in fact where I live is a case in point, right on top of what was once a mangrove swamp.

    • Thanks so much Maamej. We call them wetlands here as well, and are working hard to preserve as much open land and marsh as we can. Very tough as the surrounding landscape is very valuable and the developers would like to be able to use it. Happily ours are very conscious of the value of the landscape and are careful to preserve.

  4. How was bailey,s      Sorry none of you cuzzins are attending the weddings. Hope all is well i,m doing very well and happy.   Luv  leex0x0

    Sent from Samsung tablet

    • Thanks Nick – I know you love wildlife. You should try to get to Kiawah some time. Other than an African safari I’ve never seen such variety and abundance anywhere in my travels!

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  6. Tina, your marvelous photos remind me once again what a beautiful place you call home. What a blessings and an inspiration, not just to you, but through your photos, to all of us.

    Your comment about the catechism reminds me that when I see light streaming from a rift in the clouds, it makes me think of the pictures portraying the glory of God. 🙂 Yes, I can identify!


    • Thanks Janet – especially for confirming my memory of the catechism! Yes, it’s a truly beautiful environment – I never hesitate to feel gratitude for being here.

  7. Each photo is so different and so beautiful it is hard to believe they are all of the same place. What an amazing place to live Tina and so inspirational I can see why it is your muse.

    • Thanks PP, yes the variety is one of the things I love the most about it. It’s tidal so it changes by the minute and depending on the position of the sun, the height and direction of the tide and the season it changes continually. Photos simply can’t do justice to it!

    • Thanks Judy – it really is a beautiful place – of which I’m reminded every time I return home from wherever I’ve traveled. As for the catechism, not only do I remember the cover, I remember the question/answer quizzes! Now ask me what I had for lunch yesterday and I’ll have a much harder time of it 😄

  8. Beautiful post, Tina. I absolutely love the rays of sunshine photo. Exquisite and it must have looked divine…and perhaps a thought a pot of gold might drop from the sky 😀 Lovely place that you live, surrounded by such wonders of nature. I’m with you on your closing words – the more we get to know a place, the more we see it in a different light and notice the subtle changes when we come back 🙂

    • Thank you Mabel – divine is a great descriptor for that one! It was a truly beautiful evening and I had to work really hard to get into the right position to capture the light just that way. If I weren’t so familiar with the territory I wouldn’t have been able to get in position for that angle. It’s a personal favorite so I’m glad you singled it out!

    • Thanks Jane – like your scenes of the bridge, I think when you truly love something it comes through in the images you create. It felt like good timing to pay homage as we begin packing for our next adventure.

    • Yes indeed – and our tide can swing as much as 7 feet per day so it will go from looking like a huge lake to looking like a small creek in the space of a few hours. As for kayaking with the dolphins, it never fails to give me a thrill. They come out to check us out almost every time, no matter where in the creeks we may be. An amazing feeling when one pops up right next to the kayak and looks you right in the eye!!

  9. So the marsh is literally at your backyard? How blessed! Wonderful post and I even learned something new because I didn’t know that the marsh is a habitat for dolphins. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yep, amazingly it literally IS my backyard Jeremy! I am blessed indeed. Sometimes the light is so beautiful I have to stop everything and just take a moment to absorb. It has a unique quality that i’ve not seen anywhere else in my travels; amazing really. As for the dolphins, I didn’t know it either until I moved here. We see them in the marsh creeks as well as in the river that feeds it and also along the coast. The little devils really get around!!

  10. Water is inspiring, calming, the best muse of all, you show it so generously with your exquisite photography. What a lovely post and We love your environment, Tina. ❤️ this gives me good hope for my next journey; going home to Norway to for a final goodbye from our summet house, next week it belongs to someone else. 😢 There wil always be times when we have to take decisions that hurt and yet they also open for great new possibilities. Life choices and life changes, thank you for this great reminder, Tina. X

    • “Life choices and life changes” – well said Dina. On to the next adventure. I haven’t been disappointed yet, and suspect the same can be said of you and yours!

  11. You have multi muses based on your beautifully sensitive photos and inspiration quotes…. I am so happy that our home marshes speak so loudly to you!, just lovely..

  12. That was a gorgeous selection of shots! I love when you dig through your inventory and show us such great things for the photo challenges (something you pointed out a while back).


    • Thanks Amy. The dolphins are incredible. My husband and I were out kayaking with my nieces during their visit a year ago. We were actually surrounded by a pod of them, who after checking us out then began their strand feeding behaviour. It was really thrilling to be in the very middle of it!

  13. A beautiful take on this week’s photo theme (as always). Your shots remind me of a place near and dear to my own heart – the marshes on St Simons Island.

  14. Tina, as always, these photos are beautiful! Especially meaningful to me as we share the same marsh and look across and see you.

    Would it be possible to email me the first photo so I can download and make a print? It would be a great gift for me to give to Jim on his “official” last day in September.


    How are you doing? I think of you often and what a monumental project you have in moving. So glad you have the burden of selling your house behind you!

    Love to you and Bailey. Toni

  15. T- With your permission, I would love to attempt to paint your image “After the Storm” … As you know, I am seduced by the marsh, take a fair number of my own photos which are not anywhere close to your quality but still make me happy!! Probably my favorites are the full moon rises!


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