South Carolina is home to a great number of State and private parks that allow you really enjoy nature in some of the most serene places we have to offer here in the palmetto state. One of those places is Myrtle Beach State Park. Just south of The Market Common and the end of Ocean Boulevard is a wonderful place to enjoy the beach in it's most natural state. No high rise hotels towering over one side or over crowded beaches, just great fun enjoying nature. There are great hiking and nature trails all throughout the property, not to mention the foliage and wildlife that you will see along the way. First of all, the most recognizable places on the property has to be the pier. Spanning hundreds of feet out in to the ocean, fisherman sit shoulder to shoulder every day out there enjoying the breeze and the sounds of crashing waves while trying to land the big one. Though this day was a pretty gloomy one, there were a few out on the pier enjoying what was left of the daylight. Under the pier is also pretty enjoyable as the pier sits high above the sand allowing you to enjoy some shade on the hot sand if the sun gets a little overwhelming. The nature trails are great as they giver you information about the property as well as the foliage that you come across. There are signs posted that point out certain species of plant life that make it an educational experience as well.
Throughout my little trek around the property, I wanted to be able to capture a lot of detail in a short space, so I packed only wide angle lenses: a Rokinon 8mm Fisheye lens and a Rokinon 14mm 2.8 wide angle. I love these two lenses for landscapes because of the tack sharp optics and perfect focal lengths to be adventurous in my composition. I didnt want to spend my day lugging around the D600 kit, which can get kind of heavy, so I decided to use the entry level Nikon D3200 DSLR which is the perfect match for use with the 8mm fisheye. It's light and balanced and just feels right in the hands. I dont mind the plastic feel of the lens barrel or the camera body because it matches very well. It really only ever bothers me if the lens feels like a different quality than the body ( A good example would be my d600 and the Nikkor 28mm 2.8d, the body feels hefty and the lens feels like a toy). Most of these shots were taken on a tripod which is a set I put together or generic sticks and a Manfrotto 3 way head. That has been an awesome cheap setup for me that I have used for a few years now. I could have hand held pretty much all of these shots, because the fisheye allows me to shoot at pretty low shutter speeds and not be affected my camera shake, but the problem lies with the camera body itself as it does not have automatic bracketing included in the software.
There are plenty of places to enjoy for the whole family throughout the day, as they give tours where the guides explain more about the animals what they mean to eco system here in the marsh lands. After a quick tour or a stroll down the beach, there are barbecue ares as well as shelters that can be rented for events and parties. There are plenty of memories in my childhood of spending a day down by the beach and ending it with a big cookout with friends and family huddled together enjoying our time together in one of those picnic shelters. If you are looking to extend your stay a little bit, you may want to think about setting up a tent in the campsite area which is the perfect place for the whole family to enjoy the magic of the outdoors.
Last but certainly not least, has to be one of my favorite parts of the property has to be the oak tree forest. There is a beautiful cluster of trees that have grown outward and flourished in to these amazing feats of nature. From the roots all the way to the farthest branches, you can see the intricate details they have developed over the years and it makes for a very memorable trip. If you are traveling to the Myrtle Beach area, I highly suggest taking a short drive out to Myrtle Beach state park to enjoy the day!
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