The Society of Bluffton Artists

Scenes from the Lowcountry, Out of the Corner of My Eye

Rick Locke,  Photographer
Society of Bluffton Artists 
Exhibiting SOBA Gallery member since December 2016.


Exterior Light
Look Up
Looking Up
Lowcountry Sunset
Garden Bridge
Down the Garden Path
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I am a fine art photographer originally from Erie, PA and now residing in Bluffton, South Carolina. I became interested in photography in the early 1980’s and learned the fundamentals of exposure and artistic composition from photography magazines and adult education classes. But it was not until the early 2000’s that I had the time and opportunities to begin to pursue my artistic passion in earnest.

I have been legally blind since 2012 due to macular degeneration which has destroyed my central vision. I rely on my remaining peripheral vision to identify my subjects and frame my images. I literally create photos based on what I see “out of the corner of my eye“. 

I’d like to share some of my work that represent a few of my favorite subjects.  While travel has long been my muse, these images were taken right here in the South Carolina Lowcountry (specifically in Bluffton and Hilton Head Island).

Curb Appeal

Where do I find Subject Matter?

Doors and Windows

They are usually colorfully painted, frequently decorated with flower boxes or other adornments, and easy to find just by walking around places you visit.

Outdoor Markets, Street fairs and Retail stores

My portfolio includes a number of images that represent what I call “the art of the marketplace”. 

These market places offer bountiful photo opportunities with their interior or exterior decorations and artistically displayed merchandise. 


A Solitary Light

Both “A Solitary Light” and “A Call to Arms”  were taken in Bluffton, South Carolina

(Note, I usually ask sole proprietors for permission to photograph their merchandise.)

A Call to Arms

Be Ready

As a photographer, you always want to be ready for opportunities to get a great shot – so Rule #1 is “always have a camera”.  For me, a secondary rule is “always look up”.  I frequently find interesting subjects overhead, such as lighting fixtures and architectural details.


Filaments” and “Floating on Ceiling Waves” are examples of my habit of taking a peek upwards – in this case, at Chow Daddy’s Restaurant in Bluffton, South Carolina and at Nunzio’s Restaurant on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.


Floating on Ceiling Waves

Sunrises and Sunsets

Hilton Head Island is known for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets.  The dramatic colors in the sky can be enhanced by including water in the foreground to reflect the sky.  My two personal favorites are Goodnight, Hilton Head, taken over Skull Creek, Hilton Head, South Carolina and  “The Sky Is On Fire”, taken at Shelter Cove on Hilton Head Island, SC.

The Sky Is On Fire

Vibrantly Down the Garden Path

Goodnight, Hilton Head

Scenic Lowcountry Views

The South Carolina Lowcountry is also known for its wonderful scenery with beautiful blue skies, stately live oaks, beaches and water views, gardens, and wildlife.

Bridges Over Tranquil Waters

“Bridges Over Tranquil Waters” and “Vibrantly Down the Garden Path” were taken at Palmetto Bluff and Hampton Hall, Bluffton, South Carolina respectively.

Composition and Titles

I’d like to close this post by briefly discussing two aspects of my art to which I give the most thought: composition and titles.  Let’s use “Sisters Playing Barefoot in the Sand” as an example. 

The photo was taken at Coligny Beach on Hilton Head Island, SC in November 2017. These shoes were neatly arranged on the almost deserted beach on a breezy, cloudy, and cool afternoon.  The scene appealed to me as a photographer because of the colorful shoes, the texture of the sand as a background and the opportunity to compose the image exactly to my liking.  This allowed me to place the two pairs of shoes near the lower right-hand corner of the frame (not dead center!) and in such a way that their arrangement was slanted slightly upward, from left to right.  This gave the image the clean, simple, minimalist composition I was attempting to accomplish.


As to giving a title to the piece, I always attempt to make my image titles tell a story about the image rather than being just a straightforward description of what a viewer can see on their own.  It is also important to me that the title be concise – 6 words or less.  For this image, I imagined the two little girls to whom these shoes belonged were playing nearby on the beach.  Making the assumption that they were sisters gave me my title.

Thanks for reading – I hope you found this interesting.  You can find all of my work online at www.RickLocke.com .


  • Primary camera: Canon EOS 90D, a digital single lens reflex (SLR) upgraded in 2020.
  • Professional level Canon zoom lenses: With overlapping focal lengths spanning ultra-wide angle to long telephoto (16-35mm, 24-105mm and 70-300mm).  Most used lens is 24-105mm which has a convenient range of wide angle to short telephoto.
  • For Travel: iPhone, for excellent camera functionality and a Canon Powershot S120 full-function point-and-shoot camera.
  • Post-processing: Affinity Photo editor (similar to Photoshop) is a powerful tool that allows me to crop, sharpen and make adjustments to images.

2 Responses

  1. Rick, I enjoyed both reading your blog and seeing your photography. I really love your simple subjects and bold colors! I noticed your titles as catchy before I read about them in your blog! I hope you either teach a photography class or give a lecture at Soba.

  2. Thank you for your kind comments, Cynthia! I really enjoyed preparing this blog post and I hope to do additional ones in the future. As to teaching a class or giving a lecture at SOBA, I think I would enjoy that too!

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