In this series of photo essays, the Shoofly Magazine showcases the work of professional photographers. Their only instructions? Show us the coast through your lens. This month we feature the work of photographer P. Chris Christofferson.
P. Chris Christofferson: Nature photography was birthed as a new passion when I had the opportunity to call Waveland, Mississippi, home in 2012 and joyfully cast aside my previous life as a Louisiana medical malpractice attorney.
Exploring on foot or bike, my camera lens eagerly captures the kaleidoscope of imagery in the beckoning bay, wetlands and our own nurturing garden. Evocative statuary in our old cemeteries also draws my eye and heart. This vision translates into cards and canvases available at Gallery 220 (220 Main Street) in Bay St. Louis and my website, www.pchris.net.
The Bay, with its white sand beach, has a fresh vibrancy every day. It can be appreciated in no better a place than on the iconic swing at the foot of Nicholson Avenue in Waveland which has serenely absorbed the soul of that corner for decades.
The swing casts a benevolent eye on glorious sunsets, birds feeding and lazy, languid Sunday afternoon sailing.
From the shore one can gaze out and reflect on memories past.
Dropping into this niche are a stunning variety of birds which I eagerly photograph. A few of the year round denizens are Great Blue Herons, Brown and White Pelicans, gulls, terns, cormorants, Bald Eagles, and sandpipers like Sanderlings and Willets.
During the winter, I watch for the migrants; Killdeer, plovers, Black Skimmers, some gulls and ducks. During the summer, the exquisite Least Terns pick a Pass Christian beach spot to nest which the Audubon Society immediately ropes off. There I spend endless hours in photography heaven.
The Hancock county wetlands, especially behind the railroad tracks in Clermont Harbor, are teeming with wildlife. Here, patience is rewarded with images of exquisite beauty.
Alligators, turtles, Great Blue Herons, Little Blue Herons, Green Herons, Bald Eagles, several species of hawks, woodpeckers, egrets and blackbirds, as well as cormorants, Anhingas, Eastern Kingbirds, Eastern Phoebes, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Blue-grey Gnatcatchers, are just a few I’ve framed.
Our wetlands are also refuge for a long list of seasonal ducks and ibis which pose as if dreamscape paintings in mesmerizing fall and winter light.
A lovely dividend of Waveland coastal living is a home with flower gardens to attract bees, butterflies and birds, thus hour upon hour of blissful photography.
Our well-stocked feeders, suet bricks, and mealworm casts entice a wide variety of daily diners and migrants. Our yard alone hosts Downy, Red-headed, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.
And so many others; Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, Tufted Titmice, Carolina Chickadees, Carolina Wrens, sparrows, House Finches, Eastern Towhees, Eurasian Collared-doves, Mourning Doves, Northern Mockingbirds, American Robins, Brown Thrashers and Red-winged Blackbirds.
In the spring, with camera at the ready, I gleefully capture poses of Eastern Bluebirds, Prothonotary Warblers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo and Painted Buntings.
Every spring and fall our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds soar and fight amid our nectar-filled flowers, bottlebrush trees and feeders.
The gardens my husband and I plant focus on butterfly magnets with nectar-laden flowers and on hosts for their caterpillars. So far, I’ve memorialized for cards and canvas the following; Black, Giant, Spicebush and Eastern Swallowtail, Gulf Frittilary, Painted Lady, Clouded and Cloudless Sulphur, Common Buckeye and Monarch.
Old cemeteries on the coast, some long-forgotten, can hold statuary evoking powerful emotions. To capture the dignity, serenity and strength as memories of the sacred souls resting therein, is supremely gratifying. One such statue is in Bayou LaCroux Cemetery.
Another dominates in Log Town Cemetery.
Our coastal living feeds my heart.