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Jeffrey Byrnes Photographer Fashion + Portraits + Travel

Travel Photography: Hurricane Matthew

By now most of the developed world has heard about Hurricane Matthew. The weather people are spouting that it has already devastated parts of Haiti and is brutalizing Cuba. Matthew is rumored to be picking up momentum, as they say, and gearing up to hit the continental U.S., Florida to be exact. If this is not news to you, well, keep reading below. 

Just over a week ago my wife and I left Massachusetts with our two dogs and drove south. After a 22 hour trip with an over night in North Carolina, we arrived at Isle of Palms in South Carolina. Isle of P is part of Charleston, a fascinatingly beautiful city that we adore. We arrived to beautiful weather and I, personally, with hopes of creating some great images. The day before we left I purchased a Fuji X Pro2. I have been lusting after a X series camera for sometime now. I finally pulled the trigger and purchased one for the trip. 

In an extremely bold move, I only took the Fuji. Yes, I only took the Fuji, with a 35mm F 2.0 lens. My bag consisted of the camera, extra memory cards, extra battery, and my notebook with pens. When I travel I write. I keep notes for blog posts as well as for general stories of my travels, some times making notes of things to see in the future or recommendations for friends and family traveling to that area. I will get into the camera and note books later in a follow up post. This is a short and sweet post. Before I continue, full disclosure, I also brought a few GoPros, my DJI Phantom 4, and my Osmo. So, I guess in a way, I brought more than just my new Fuji. However, primarily being a still photographer, the Fuji X Pro was my only still camera of choice. 

I will fully discuss the Fuji in the next few blog posts, once we are back. But for now I will share 1 photograph from our trip. 

It is 11:39 and Sue just went to bed. I will be following her shortly. We are waking up and heading out at about 3 am. The Gov of the State of South Carolina has give an executive order, a mandatory evacuation of the coastal towns and cities. We are currently on an island, the wrong place to be during a hurricane of this magnitude. We were due to leave in 3 days, on Saturday. We are now being force out of our rental, again, more details when I do my full travel post. The night air is soft as the palmettos gently flex their tops in light wind. The roads are mostly empty, where as days ago there would be a steady stream of cars on both sides, zipping around the island. During the day golf carts would cruise by. Some with teenagers at the wheel, some with women and a dog as their navigator, some, just a group of guys out cruising around with a few drinks in hand. 

Beautiful houses that line the streets and the beaches are boarded up. Those who linger risk their lives, knowingly rejecting any form of emergency services. Almost all gas stations have been sucked dry of their precious fuels. Most stores have been cleaned out and people have been disembarking the area for hours. There was a round of people that left yesterday, fearing the need to evacuate very early. We chose to stay a day later after the captain of a boat tour we took suggested we let the first group leave. He thought it would serve us well to leave very early on Thursday morning. That is the plan and it is breaking our hearts. Like I said, I am going to be discussing our travels at length, so this sort of prologue severs as a vent to our frustration as well as a means to introduce the stories that I will be sharing when we arrive home. It has been a rather near tragic trip for us, for a verity of reasons, and as I prepare to shut my computer down and head to sleep for a few hours, I think of those who are already suffering due to the devastation that has occurred, and for those who have left their homes in haste to find shelter and safety. For us we are heading home, leaving behind someone else's home. It is not an easy thing to do, fee, and just turn a blind eye. At the moment we have no choice but to head home. In a few days from now, hundreds of thousands of people might not have homes to return to. That is very sad to know, that while you flee to your home, others are fleeing from theirs. Our hearts go out to those already affected and to those are will be affected. We love Charleston and the surrounding area and have hopes of returning in the Spring, hopefully to a city that has not been leveled or damaged to much. 

If you are evacuating, safe travels. If you are reading this from the comforts of your land locked home, keep us in your thoughts as we navigate out of the area.