Lens-Artists Challenge #145 – Getting to Know You

egrets, marsh, Kiawah Island

“Magic birds were dancing in the mystic marsh. The grass swayed with them, and the shallow waters, and the earth fluttered under them.”

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

This week our guest host Priscilla has invited us to illustrate a relationship with “a person, place, culture or object that has captured our attention, won our affection, and taught us a thing or two.” Many years ago when I told a friend in New Jersey that we were building a home on Kiawah’s marsh, he asked why anyone would want to live “on a swamp”. With a smile at the memory, I’d like to answer his question by inviting you to get to know one of my favorite places in the world, the lowcountry marsh of Kiawah Island.


“…to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.”

Rachel Carson

I have seen the marsh in all kinds of weather, at all times of day, and in every season. While I love the sea on which our island rests, to me it falls short of the beauty and variety of our salt marsh. Its colors change with the seasons, delivering magnificent sunrises and sunsets throughout the year. Its “pluff mud”, seen at low tide, is cultivated as an amazing balm for the skin. At high tide it can resemble a massive body of water with the occasional tree poking through.

marshland, deer, Seabrook Island

The marsh holds melody, the mystery of unknown waters, and the sweetness of Nature undisturbed by man.”

William Beebe

The marsh performs vital functions for our coastal world. It filters unwanted chemicals to improve water quality and provides an important habitat for organisms that feed our beautiful birds. It is home to fish, shrimp, crabs, turtles, otters, snails and many other creatures, and offers safe breeding grounds and nutrients for our winged residents. Often, the sight of fishermen casting nets to capture bait fish is a reminder of nostalgic days gone by.


“…you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes.”

Pat Conroy

The grasses of the marsh perfectly illustrate our changing seasons. A bright, verdant green announces the arrival of spring which deepens as the grasses grow longer in the heat of summer. The beautiful gold tones of autumn turn a sleepy beige as winter’s chill sets in. Marsh tides deliver ever-changing scenery which at their height fill the many creeks and streams until the grasses are nearly hidden. Low tides create a feeding ground for our many aquatic birds along with an opportunity for local photographers. Cloud formations reflect on the marsh waters below, which serve as both respite and meal ticket for our local river dolphins. It is an ever-changing miracle of nature that offers not only beauty but also a playground for boaters, fishermen, crabbers, kayakers and paddle boarders.


“Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free. Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea.

Sidney Lanier

I could go on forever about the beauty of our marshes, and their importance to our island and its wild inhabitants. Instead, I’ll share a few more images before closing, in the hopes that you might find it as beautiful as I do. What better way to celebrate the importance of this natural wonder than the week of Earth Day?!

King Tide, Kiawah Island, Marsh

“We need the tonic of the wilderness, to wade sometimes in the marsh where the bitten and the meadow hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snips; to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.”

Henry David Thoreau

Special thanks to Priscilla for joining us as Guest Host, and for a beautiful challenge which offered me a chance to share one of my favorite places. We look forward to getting to better know the people, places and/or things that are most special to you. Please remember to link your response to Priscilla’s original post here, and to use the Lens-Artists tag. Next week we’ll be back to our regular schedule with Patti leading the challenge on her Pilotfish blog inviting you to “Focus on the Details”. Until then, please continue to stay safe and be kind.

Note: With the exception of my third image in neighboring Seabrook Island, all of this week’s images were captured on Kiawah Island

119 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #145 – Getting to Know You

    • LOL, I’m not sure I want to sell more people on coming here Margaret – the pandemic has increased our population exponentially! We’re hoping the arrival of our summer heat drives at least some of them back to their northern roots 😊. But thanks for the lovely comment!

  1. Wonderful love for your Kiawah, Tina! In every piece of you it is reverberating…thank you for a love filled post of a piece of land so important for the planet!

  2. Kiawah is “a swamp???” What a comment!! Well, you’ve really showed us once again the stunning beauty of Kiawah and its wildlife. A swamp!! Bah humbug!! Besides, the marshes are one of nature’s the great epicenters, where so many creatures live and breed. Speaking of epicenters, did you see the movie “My Octopus Teacher”? It’s an amazing look at the aquatic life in South Africa and a videographer/photographer’s relationship with an octopus (strange, but true). I think you’d enjoy how he visualizes that undersea world. Enjoy the week.

    • Many thanks Patti – honestly I assume he was pulling my leg – at least I hope so! Someone else recommended the octopus movie. haven’t seen it yet but will for sure!

  3. Ah, the poor, ugly swamp life. They haven’t been to the Low Country! Although that summer humidity is the proverbial cut-with-a-knife, wet blanket, winter walking on beach and trails is balmy. The rough life. 😉

  4. I am not surprised why you love that place so much. I think it is like how I love my local wetlands too. One doesn’t have to go far to be attached to a certain location. That golden sunlight is my favourite!

  5. Inspirational and magical, I’m sure that your ability to see this “primordial soup” each and every day saved you during the last year’s and ongoing crises. Your vision of this lush and evergreen place makes me smile. Wonderful, wonderful……………

    • Thanks so much Sally – yes it has definitely been a frequent balm for our pandemic-withered spirits. Loved your “primordial soup” moniker. I shall steal that for future conversations on the subject! Glad to have brought you a smile, which you’ve definitely given me in return.

    • Well that is one of the most exquisite comments I’ve received in my many years of blogging I.J. I suppose it truly is a love story for me, thank you so much for commenting on it.

  6. You certainly have a perfect opportunity to fall in love with a unique and extravagantly beautiful environment. I can tell you are smitten…and well informed about the object of your affection! I have to admit that I have never been to that part of the country or any other salt marsh. Your amazing images enthrall me! Thanks for sharing them with your readers and showing that there’s so much more to a “swamp” than most people expect. I feel similarly about the “barren desert”! 🙂

    • Agree wholeheartedly about the “barren desert” Priscilla – especially having been there during a superbloom! Thanks for the fun and thoughtful challenge and for guest-hosting us this week. And of course for your lovely comment – much appreciated.

  7. Your images are beautiful Tina, and really show your love for Kiawah. Wetlands are absolutely vital to the planet’s survival, and I really hope that more people begin to understand that before it’s too late.

  8. Your marshes are so lovely, Tina. Ours are seasonal, though still a joy to behold. I’ve been reading a fascinating book: Tides, by Johnathan White. A fascinating exploration of our earths waters!

  9. Biologically, the marsh is an active place. Yet, I’ve got the feeling that it’s your ongoing view that truly brings out its glories and subtleties (that’s a word I always struggle with spelling). The gradual change in grass color is a good example – something that visitors would miss. Thanks for the tour – and love the last pic. 🙂

    • Thanks Frank – interestingly I’d not thought of the fact that visitors really only see the marsh at a single point in time. As for its subtleties, (thank goodness for spell check on that one!) while I appreciate the compliment it’s actually so much more beautiful in person, honest 😊

  10. Beautiful, indeed, both photos and words. I echo every comment here. Thank you so much for sharing your love for this special marsh. Love the last image especially! 🙂

  11. A very interesting post, Tina !

    The importance of marsh land has always been overlooked and it’s ecological role is not appreciated at all.

    In my place, I am part of a campaign to save a swathe of marsh land with mangrove formations …

    Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful images with informative notes…

  12. Tina, I can see your heart and soul captured so beautifully in your beloved Kiawah Island! The light and textures in the various images are delightful. As much as we love our alpine environment, I find myself missing the delta which is right on the river. A whiff of a breeze comes through and I hear the anticipation of a windy day for the windsurfers now so far away. I believe I can link my post today to lens artists today. Always lovely to see your amazing photography, Tina, have a fab week!

    • Many thanks Terri – yes I was happy to see you link to this week’s challenge; perfect fit. I can imagine how you’d miss the delta, but there is much to be said for the alpine world you’ve chosen! Nature offers us so much to love wherever we go if only our eyes and hearts are open to it.

  13. I really love the sunstar in the last image and the lonely white heron. But, the flock of wading ibises grabbed my attention most. Well done! You shared often images taken in your area. All of them were great. I guess, you’ve chosen right to move to that location 👍

  14. Beautiful collection, Tina! The positive effects of the marsh on our earth can’t be overstated. What a blessing to live in such a diverse and wondrous place, and have a steady supply of photography subjects!

    • I am not the least bit surprised to hear that Beth. I agree, it is indeed one of earth’s “most special places.” Glad to hear its one more thing we have in common.

  15. I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t want to live where you do – beautiful landscapes. I’ve never seen one of your photos that isn’t amazing, but ‘feeding time’ is perfect in my opinion. I love that photo! I hope to finish stitching the binding today on my fabric landscape based on one of your photos. It doesn’t do your photo justice, but I’ve enjoyed the process and enjoyed referring back to your beautiful photo as a reference. 🙂

  16. A person needs to love nature to know why you love the marshes. I see nothing, but beauty and loveliness in your pictures and it thrills me. I too could live in the marsh.

  17. Your photos make it abundantly clear why you love living here 😀 I’m a city girl but I could easily be seduced by the ever-changing charms of this spot! Wonderful post, and a quote from my favourite songwriter/singer thrown in too (Joni’s ‘Both Sides Now’) 💕

    • Thanks Sarah, couldn’t resist the quote for that one! There are pros and cons to both city living and being closer to nature. I do love to visit the city (Charleston is beautiful and close by and we have family in NYC so we spend time in both places) but am always happy to come home!

  18. Such a beautiful place… I can imagine how excited you might get when you notice a new bird, a change in the weather, a season beginning or ending..thank you 🙏😊

    • Thanks so much Cornelia – I appreciate the beauty around me every day, and count myself very fortunate to be here. Much as I love to travel, it’s always great to come home.

  19. When friends/coworkers heard I was leaving New Jersey for the Florida Panhandle, I was questioned, also. “It’s hurricane season six months out of the year! Why do you wanna live there?” Because for six months it’s not hurricane season and I love it here. So well captured, Tina.

  20. Lens-Artists Challenge #145 – Getting to Know You

    On Saturday, April 24, 2021, Travels and Trifles wrote:

    > Tina Schell posted: ” GOLDEN GRASSES, KIAWAH ISLAND “Magic birds were > dancing in the mystic marsh. The grass swayed with them, and the shallow > waters, and the earth fluttered under them.”Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings This > week our guest host Priscilla has invited us to illus” >

  21. Why would anyone not want to live by this marsh! I can see and understand why you love this place and wanted to live here. I like how your photographs offer us a glimpse of the expansive and intimate nature of this area.

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