Catching First Light: Beach Photography

driftwood photography

Heading out on dawn patrol with photographer Jordan Hill

Jordan Hill is a photographer and beachcomber from Guntown, Mississippi. Along with his wife and two daughters, Jordan loves to adventure, travel, hike, and observe wildlife. A few years ago, his love of the outdoors deepened when he became passionate about photography.

“Nothing is more inspiring to me than driving or hiking to a new location well before daylight, watching the world wake up before my eyes, and knowing I’ll capture that moment in a photograph,” says Jordan about his art.

photographs of driftwood on the beach

A favorite beach of Jordan’s is one of Georgia’s Golden Isles, Jekyll Island. Located on the north end of Jekyll Island is Driftwood Beach, with gnarled and weathered trees left behind by years of erosion. “It’s a photographer’s paradise, regardless of the weather conditions,” Jordan says. “As you enter this beach, you feel as if you’ve entered into something otherworldly.”

jordan hill photographer and family

Jordan says he and his family always make time to beachcomb, no matter what beach they’re at. His family also loves the beaches of Destin along Florida’s Emerald Coast, and they visit as often as they can. “We usually spend a weekend in the area to enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches and the emerald colored waters that the area is known for.”

sea turtle and pelican florida coast

“In the early morning, when the stars are still out, I get up to capture the beautiful sunrise.” Jordan then wakes up the family, and they play on the beach, build sandcastles, swim, and relax. “After the beach, we spend an hour or so at Fort Walton Pier to watch the fishermen, pelicans, and dolphins—and if we’re patient and lucky enough, sea turtles!” Jordan says. “After lunch, we head over to Destin Harbor Walk for sights and souvenirs, and then cap it off with a visit to the beautiful Gulf Islands National Seashore at sunset.”

photos of the florida coast at sunrise

The next day, Jordan is up at dawn, again, before anyone else arrives, usually at a spot he’d scouted the previous day, “I quickly set up my equipment, and I wait,” says Jordan. “In that moment when that first light begins to fight through the clouds, I take it all in and start snapping photographs.”

The early wake up times are worth it to Jordan. “Capturing these moments is why I do what I do."

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine May/June 2021 issue.

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