Morning by Morning
An introduction to the photography of Terrah Hewett.
Every morning I turn on my computer and click on my morning visual inspiration — a Terrah Hewett photo of the stunning beauty of Holden Beach or the wonders of the Lockwood Folly River.
Nearly every morning since 2015, in the pre-dawn chill, Hewett has dragged a long lens and other equipment down to her favorite shooting sights. She waits patiently to capture the stunning images and colors of dawn either at the ocean or on the river. After shooting, she returns home and selects one shot to post on her Facebook page, giving all of her followers a quick injection of beauty for the day. When the weather does not allow her to tramp into the wild for a fresh photo, she posts a shot from her “rainy-day file,” as she calls it.
Her photos are often juxtapositions of birds, the sun and tidelines or the curve of the river in the swamp and woods. Some days the waves rolling in on her sunrise shots look so real that I am surprised when my hand returns dry from the screen. Vying for favorite in my heart are her shots of the still-present moon in early morning, glittering reflections of boats, amazing close-up snaps of deer, birds, otters, dolphins and other wildlife, which seem to pose for Hewett, accustomed as they are to her pre-dawn forays into their habitat.
For me, her photographs are a refuge from the horrors of the news events on television and an inspiration to go and make at least my part of the world a better place. The beauty of her work gives a visual to the verse from Lamentations 3:23 KJV: “They (the Lord’s mercies) are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
Speaking of the birds and other animals she captures on camera, Hewett says, “One of my faves is Striker, a green heron who I first came in contact with when he was just out of the nest.” She notes that he often watches her from a tree limb as she shoots.
“I love nature,” Hewett says. “My favorite thing to shoot is sunrise. There is nothing in the world that compares to awaking up with nature. I love being at Lockwood Folly River and watching the egrets float down from the trees to find breakfast in the warm glow of morning colors — so lovely sometimes they take my breath away. I also love Holden Beach — the sound of the waves rolling onto shore and the call of a gull flying overhead.”
Anyone who takes photographs knows the time and patience it takes to capture just the right image and that the excellence Hewett shares daily requires much more than good equipment — she knows where to go and what to photograph. And she is patient, waiting quietly in the damp of pre-dawn, the weight of the camera and lens pulling on her arm and shoulder muscles until those pelicans glide in front of that rising yellow orb, until the deer shows itself in the river’s swampy banks, until the reflection of the boat is like a mirror.
Hewett’s expertise in the scenes of the Holden Beach area has been honed over years. She was born in Charleston, South Carolina, but has lived in Brunswick County for more than 35 years.
“My grandparents had a home on Holden Beach, and I would visit as a child,” she says. After a while she and her mother moved to Holden Beach. Hewett attributes her skill to art classes and observing the work of her uncle, who was a professional photographer.
I’m not the only one who is deeply affected by the beauty she shares. Hewett’s gift for capturing the emotion of the moment as well as the beauty of the landscape garners many reactions from her Facebook followers, many reacting with more than a simple, “WOW.’
Dianne Tucker, a local resident, says that she and her mother really love Hewett’s photos. “When my Mom was in the hospital, Terrah’s photos really lifted her spirits. I’ve never met her in person, but she has definitely impacted my life.” Tucker has been following Hewett for about four years and notes that Hewett’s lovely sunrise photos and her banter, telling viewers about her escapades in finding just the right spot, are what hold her interest. “She makes you laugh out loud. She is a beautiful person inside and out.”
Lucia Robinson lives in New Hanover County, but Hewett’s photos bring the beauty of Brunswick to her desk every morning as well. “I am a nature lover and a water lover, but I don’t often get near the water now,” Robinsons says. “Since I can’t get out and explore much myself, I love being able to perch on Terrah’s shoulder, so to speak, and learn more about the vegetation and wildlife as well as those glorious sunrises I can’t see for myself. She has an intimate connection with nature that, in my view, invites comparison of her photography with some of Mary Oliver’s poetry.”
Almost 1,500 people follow Hewett on Facebook. “I would love to touch as many people as possible with my work,” Hewett says. “I want them to know that no matter how bad things are at any moment, the amazing beauty that surrounds us offers peace. If I can make one person feel that, then I’ve done my job.”
The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office saw Hewett’s photo “The Anchor of Hope” and requested permission to use it for the Anchor Initiative Program to help young people who are on the wrong path to get clean and start a new life. “I was honored to donate the photo,” Hewett says. Hewett’s work has been featured in Our State magazine and has won several awards. She declines to enumerate the awards; it’s the impact of her photos on people that she values.
“The kind comments and messages I’ve received on my photos on Facebook touch me deeply and sometimes leave me in tears,” she says. “I never realized my photography would have such an impact on so many lives.”
Want to see more of Terrah Hewett’s photography?
Follow her on Facebook at Terrah Hewett.
Purchase photos from Hewett by contacting her on Facebook or from the Fine Art of America website at terrah-hewett.fineartamerica.com.