When a photographer goes on vacation there’s usually as much gear as there are clothes.
This trip I packed my bags, my Canon 5d Mark ii, the trusty 24-105mm 4.0, and the 70-200mm 2.8ii and set off to recharge.
I adore shooting people, but places…landscapes specifically…minister to my soul.
We chartered our course to the white sands and emerald waters of Panama City Beach, FL, and as usual it didn’t disappoint.
Though the initial start to the trip was a NIGHTMARE brought to us courtesy of Bookit.com, and Summit Condominiums, after THREE HOURS on the phone with “The Resort Collection”, and Bookit.com reps I FINALLY “lost my Jesus” on the rep who finally refunded the night we had to spend at The Summit, and put us up in the LOVELY Majestic Condominium we finished our stay in (the balcony from which most of these images were taken from).
I have videos and photos to prove just how DISGUSTING this particular unit at The Summit was, and initially they weren’t going to refund us the night we spent ON THE COUCH of the condo on brand new pillows we’d purchased from a 2am trip to Wal-Mart! Since the office was closed the only thing the Security guys could provide us with were clean sheets and blankets, and given what we found in the bed we were NOT touching those pillows.
We were told we’d have to wait until the office opened again at 8:00am…GREAT news to hear after we’d literally been driving alllll day, stuck in traffic, and way behind when we wanted to be there…which would’ve been long before the office closed. Oh well…lessons learned! It was now 2:30am when we got back from our trip to Wal-Mart for pillows…and to USE THE BATHROOM (that tells you how grotesque the two toilets were at the condo…Wal-Mart’s bathrooms were cleaner so we held it in!)
Word of advice for anyone renting anything, ever…go up to the unit BEFORE you unload ANYTHING, and make sure it’s clean. We didn’t heed that advice that time, and what a waste of energy 😦
7:45am came and our alarms went off. We were going to be at that office at 8:00am! We were greeted by Gabrielle…the rudest, most lying, callous employee I may have ever encountered….remember this Hotel/Condo employees…we’ll remember your name, and you won’t like what we have to say about on social media…or to your management 🙂 I won’t bore you with the lies she laid on us one after the other, BUT I’ll say after she realized we were NOT going away, and accepting “deep cleaning” after what we’d already seen wasn’t going to even come close to cutting it, she sent us to another “Resort Collection” property…The Majestic.
The Majestic employees were peaches! So sweet, and understanding. We were ushered up to our new room, and though we initially were unhappy being down graded from a one bedroom, bunk area, full kitchen, 1.5 bath Condo to a Studio Kitchenette Condo, we were just happy to somewhere CLEAN!
Looking out over the ocean before us from that balcony while fighting for that first “night” (i.e. 5 hours sitting upright on a couch!), my nerves started to calm…and eventually the lovely Mariah advised she’d go ahead and refund the “night”, and “fight it out” with the resort later. I emailed her the videos and images, and I assume all was right as we received our refund and never heard another peep from anyone.
Our wonderful week at the beach was finally starting off on a good foot…my blood pressure lowered as we started to don our swimsuits, and head for the reason we came….to sit our tails in the sand morning til eve, and only go out to eat at night! *Sigh* AHHHHH!
Sunsets, Sunrises, low and slow waves lapping at the shore line, a lightning show over the water, even a brief jelly fish invasion during the ONE day I opted to not take my equipment to the beach, were highlights to this much needed respite.
I used to think I loved Myrtle Beach…I was mistaken! I LOOOVE the gulf, though I wish hotels in Florida would get on board the “Lazy River” bandwagon that almost all Myrtle Beach hotels have.
The waters, as you’ll see, were so CALM that you can not only have floats in th ocean, but I could actually feel comfortable enough to take my camera out into the water in the mornings and early afternoons several days as there were NO waves! Plus the fact that I can still see my toes (read: any sharks, rays, etc…) on the ocean floor even out at my waist is a HUGE selling point. Those sugary white sandy beaches can’t be beaten either though!
We loved hitting local hot spots every night like Pineapple Willies, Saltwater Grill, Sharky’s, and J. Michael’s, and I had a brief photoshoot with some clients who were also vacationing from Tennessee at the same time we were. You can check out their Sunset Beach Family Session here.
Then on the last night I shot some images of my BFF/Partner in Crime for the week, Whitney, who we were “mistaken” for Mother and Daughter by some teenagers catching baby white fin sharks from the beach. She’s only 7 years younger than me LOL! We had a great laugh at that one!
After a week of toes in the water, bum in the sand, I dreaded leaving, but I’ll be back next summer…I’ll always come back…because to capture beauty like this within the coastal areas of the United States is something that must be witnessed as often as possible.
These images, and more from my BJP Fine Art Landscape and Nature Collection, are available for print and canvas purchase HERE.
See you in 2014 PCB!