Landscape photography in coastal Alabama or Mississippi : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I'll be in the eastern Gulf Coast area during the first week of April for a meeting and am interested in photographing some of the coastal dunes on the islands off of Alabama and Mississippi. I would appreciate recommendations of possible locations, as well as sidebars concerning issues regarding access and environmental considerations.

Are there any reasons NOT to visit this area at this time, such as crowding due to local events, poor weather (frequent wind or rain), and the like.


-- Bruce M. Herman (, January 27, 2002


Bruce: I live in Alabama, and I shoot frequently on the coast of Alabama and Florida. No experience in Mississippi, though. April is beautiful on the Gulf Coast, but can't guarantee no rain. Unless there is a storm system in the Gulf, the rain won't last long. It should be a good time for shooting. One thing you will find that developers have pretty much paved most of the gulf coast. You can still find plenty of places to access the beaches, dunes, etc., especially on the islands. I would recommend you contact the chamber of commerce at Mobile and the parks departments in Ala. and Miss. for info on the area. There are areas set aside to protect the dunes. You may have to get a listing of what dunes are open to the public, as access to some are limited in order to protect them. There are still plenty open though. The Chambers of Commerce are very helpful to visitors and they have tons of handouts on the area. Don't know where you live, but the Gulf Coast can get pretty warm in April, so bring an assortment of clothes. Most days you will need long sleeves in the early morning and short sleeves afternoons. Hope you enjoy your visit. Lemme know if I can help further.


-- Doug Paramore (, January 27, 2002.

This may be too far away, but I just returned from the Florida Panhandle. There's a sublime state park called St. Joseph Peninsula south of Panama City. It was pretty much deserted in January. The dunes are bodacious - they look like big waves. A white sand beach about ten miles long without any development at all. If you go there, ask the ranger for a parking pass for one of the few spots at the very end of the road. Short hike from there out to the dunes and beach.

-- Sandy Sorlien (, January 28, 2002.

Bruce, I don't want to put a damper on your quest but the coastal areas of Alabama & Mississipi are pretty well saturated with commercial development. At Gulf Shores & Orange Beach AL, there are only two areas which are owned by the State Parks Dept that are set aside for non-development, everything else is has high rise condos or hotels, and private residences. At the western end of Gulf Shores there is a Fort Morgan which is a Civil War fort. Across Mobile Bay is Dauphin Island which is about 35 miles south of the city of Mobile. There is Fort Gaines another Civil War fort. Both forts are in good shape and charge a nominal admission. There is a ferry that runs daily between Fort Morgan & Fort Gaines during daylight hours that has a vehicle charge. This can save driving over 100 mile to get to the other side of Mobile Bay. This will give you some good locations. The coastal dunes are not what they used to be due to battering from passing storms but there are some small dunes. The owners of private residences due get their boxers in a knot about trespassing. On Dauphin Island due to sever beach erosion they dredged up sand to rebuild the beach and warn that walking on the "burm" can result in arrest and fine. There is a small fishing community of Bayou La Batre which is south of Mobile and has some very good scenic possibilities. There a lots of shrimp boats on the bayou. The oil industry has a tremendous number of offshore wells in and around Mobile Bay and Dauphin Island. As far as coastal Mississippi, the beach area runs from Biloxi to Pass Christian but it is as flat as a pancake and the casinos have developed a small Las Vegas along it. There are some historic homes in Mobile and the azaleas and dogwoods might be in bloom and if so it is a photographers dream. I am a native Mobilian and if you need a little more info please let me know. Happy shooting.

-- Pat Kearns (, January 28, 2002.

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