Okefenokee Sunset, 2016 ©NancyMcCrary

South x Southeast’s Eighth Okefenokee Swamp, Cumberland Island, St. Marys, Georgia Workshop will be held April 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th, 2024. We’re adding a full day for the eclipse!

One of our most requested workshops, the Okefenokee Swamp/Cumberland Island Workshop will let you explore two of Earth’s most diverse eco-systems within an hour’s drive of each other –  both as pristine as they were thousands of years ago. Along with the second-oldest city in the United States of America, St. Marys – a true gem of historical architecture, waterfront, flora, and fauna. The highs are near 80 with the lows in the mid-50’s this time of year, making it a perfect time to be out in nature. 

A full day will be spent exploring Cumberland Island’s flora, fauna, architecture and wild horses.  Before we return the following day to the historic ruins of Plum Orchard for viewing of the afternoon solar eclipse (don’t worry – we’ve got your eclipse glasses covered!)

But, before heading out for the eclipse, Peter will lead a morning photowalk around some of the highlights of the town of St. Marys. With so much else in this area to explore St. Marys sometimes gets lost – and she deserves better. 

Another full day will be spent with sunrise on the prairies of the Okefenokee Swamp, and sunset back on the same prairies – which will look nothing the same by then. 

Plus we have the lovely Kingsland home of an SxSE true supporter, where we’ll have presentations, group reviews, photo talks, a swim in the heated pool, and time with Peter to discuss photography. 

Join us, won’t you?

This workshop is limited to 8 students!


Saturday – Arrive on the Coast!

Once again, we’re thankful for the hospitality and generosity of one of SxSE’s best supporters in the use of his beautiful home in Kingsland, 10 minutes west of St. Marys. We call it The House, and it is where we will gather to view and critique images, enjoy social hours and meals, hang out by the pool and lake, talk photography, and set off for walks around the property.

It will also serve as a rendezvous point for our trips to the Okefenokee Swamp.

Saturday Evening the House

Peter will give a presentation of his work, and we’ll enjoy a social hour followed by the Welcome Dinner. 

A communal welcome dinner ©nmccrary

Sunday – Cumberland Island All-Day Visit

Known for its pristine beaches, wild horses, and historical architecture, Cumberland is a gem  on the East Coast

Our ferry leaves at 9am from the St. Marys Dock for a 30 minute ride to Cumberland Island, returning to the dock on the  afternoon ferry at 4:45.

On board the Cumberland Queen heading for the island, October, 2021 ©nmccrary


During our day on Cumberland we’ll enjoy private vans and tour guides who will take us to Plum Orchard Mansion, the Settlement, Cumberland Island Wharf, First African Baptist Church, and anywhere else we choose and time allows.

We will provide brown-bag lunches, snacks, and bottled water for an all-day affair on one of the most magical islands in the world.

Monday – A morning in St. Marys, and return to Cumberland Island for the solar eclipse

We’ll meet for breakfast in St. Marys at 8:15 before Peter takes us on a 2 hour photowalk around the historic city. It’s such a quaint place, chock full of photo ops, history, architecture, and character. This time of year the weather is perfect for a walkabout. 

At 11:15 we’ll meet at the St. Marys dock where the Cumberland Queen will return us to her namesake island. The solar eclipse over Cumberland will be at 75% totality during the maximum eclipse time of 3 pm. Plum Orchard, and the wild horses who hang around there often, as well as the beaches and water, will provide interesteing backdrops.  We arrive at 12:45, the eclipse begins at 1:45, and ends at 4:15 pm – just in time to catch the 4:45 ferry back to St. Marys. 

A full-on southern picnic will be provided during our time at Plum Orchard. You might want to bring a chair – or a hammock!

Tuesday – Okefenokee Swamp – sunrise and sunset

Sunrise is 7:00 am – We leave the Boat Basin at 6:15 am!

Heading out for sunrise on the prairie with setting full moon. Okefenokee, 2016 ©nmccrary


We’ll have breakfast biscuits, juice, and coffee dockside before floating up the pitch-dark canal pre-sunrise. Our experienced guides (who know the Okefenokee like the back of their hands) will point out alligators returning to roost, birds just awakening, and plants coming to life as the first light of dawn begins to break.


For 2-3 hours, we’ll shoot the sunrise, the prolific wildlife, cypress trunks, black water, did I mention the alligators? We’ll watch as the water lilies, no-wet’ems and other beautiful flowers open with the sun, and as the water fowl begin to stretch their wings and start the day.

Here she comes…Okefenokee sunrise, 2016 ©nmccrary


Tuesday PM- Return to the Swamp for Sunset 

Returning to the boat basin @9:30am, we’ll break for the day before meeting at 4pm to head back to the swamp for sunset and moonrise. It’s become tradition to stop in the railroad center of Folkston, Georgia for a big(ger) breakfast on the way back to the coast. Join if you’d like!

Around 5:00pm, a cook-out will be served dockside before we float out to meet the sunset at 7:15. We’ll experience a very different view from the morning –  you won’t believe you’re in the same place!

Okefenokee canal, sunset 2018 ©nmccrary

Wednesday – Free morning, before Group Review and Farewell luncheon

Wednesday morning is for editing your images! And hanging around The House before the group review..

Everyone will meet at The House at 11 am for the group review. Followed by our farewell luncheon @1, and a final dip in the pool for those who would like. The workshop officially ends at 3, but feel free to hang around til later if you’d like. You’re more than welcome!

What previous workshop participants are saying….

As a participant in the South x Southeast Photography workshop experience with Peter Essick, I appreciated the opportunity to explore being among trees and moving water.  That was a new way of seeing in the area we photographed.  The group dynamics were lively and supportive.

I felt the support of Peter and that we had time in most settings to take “more time” to explore a different angle or advantage of light.

I particularly liked the learning aspect about Cumberland and the Okefenokee.

Great all round experience.

Thank you Nancy for your organizational skills and gathering a congenial group of fellow photographers. —Wanda Hopkins


I have been on several trips with Nancy McCrary and they never disappoint. She always engages photographers who are helpful and willing to share their knowledge.  Her attention to detail with regard to accomodations, meals, daily outings, and other logistics is thorough and she attracts talented and considerate photographers.  Nancy herself is a wonderful artist and very accessible.  Her workshops appeal to any level of photographer.  There are always professionals who attend, but if you’ve only just begun she encourages everyone to share knowledge.  The groups she leads are supportive and I learn something new every time.  After having photographed full-time for a decade, I rarely attend workshops anymore.  That being said, I always love going to ones Nancy organizes since they are always in beautiful places and so much fun.  –Lynne Buchanan


In October 2021 I participated in a photography workshop organized by Nancy McCrary, director and founder of SxSE.  The workshop was led by a well known Atlanta photographer Peter Essick. 

It was a very fulfilling experience.  Nancy McCrary showed off her fantastic organizational skills.  The photo excursions on St. Mary’s, Cumberland Island, and to the Okefenokee Swamp were great adventures and a paradise for us photographers. I met many interesting people and had a chance to learn more about Nancy and her wonderful ways of interacting with people.  She provided camaraderie, great food, and wonderful places to photograph. Peter Essick shared readily his photographic knowledge and offered constructive criticism.  The workshop was a unique experience that I would love to repeat. –Malgorzata Florkowska

SxSE Provides:


Saturday’s meet-and-greet wine and cheese at The House

Saturday’s Welcome Dinner at The House

Sunday’s Biscuit Breakfast and Juice for Cumberland Island

Sunday’s Brown Bag lunch for Cumberland Island

Monday’s Southern Picnic Lunch at Cumberland Island

Tuesday’s breakfast at the Okefenokee Swamp.

Tuesday’s cookout dinner at the Okefenokee Swamp

Wednesday luncheon at The House

Transportation and Fees:

Private boat rides through the Okefenokee, with tour guides, for Tuesday morning sunrise, and Tuesday evening sunset

Ferry to Cumberland Island Sunday morning, return Sunday Afternoon.

Ferry to Cumberland Island Monday, with return in the afternoon.

Private vans, and tour guides, for 7 hours on Cumberland Island on Sunday.

Private vans, and tour guides for 4 hours on Cumberland Island on Monday.

Entry Fee to the Okefenokee Swamp

Entry Fee to Cumberland Island


Peter Essick will give a presentation Saturday evening, along with advise and assistance each day of the workshop. He will also be the main reviewer in the group critique on Wednesday.

You Provide:

Transportation to and from St. Mary’s, Georgia. Also, we’ll carpool to the Okefenokee for both trips on Tuesday.

Meals: Any meals not listed above. 

Lodging:  There are 2 hotels in St. Marys: Cumberland Inn and Suites and The Riverview Hotel. There are lovely AirB&Bs in St Marys, charming homes on VRBO,  and chain hotels with good ratings just up the road in Kingsland – close to the House ( and home of the Naval Submarine Base ). And there’s always the Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island – please let us know if you’re staying there so we can visit you! If we can be of assistance, please let us know. And, if you’d like to share a home or a room please let us know and we’ll be glad to extend your query to the others.

Alcohol: Outside of social hours provided by SxSE alcohol is not provided.


Peter Essick

Peter Essick is a photographer, editor, author, speaker, instructor, and drone pilot with 30 years of experience working for National Geographic Magazine. He specializes in nature and environmental themes. Named one of the forty most influential nature photographers in the world by Outdoor Photography Magazine UK, Essick has been influenced by many noted American landscape photographers from Carleton Watkins to Robert Adams. His goal is to make photographs that move beyond documentation to reveal in careful compositions the human impact of development as well as the enduring power of the land.

Essick is the author of three books of his photographs, The Ansel Adams Wilderness, Our Beautiful, Fragile World and Fernbank Forest. He has photographed stories for National Geographic on many environmental issues including climate change, high-tech trash, nuclear waste and freshwater. After 30 years travelling the world as an editorial photographer, Essick decided to focus his work on a more personal documentation of the environmental and cultural changes in his hometown of Atlanta.

 Essick’s photographs are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, the Booth Western Art Museum and many other private collections. He is represented by Spalding Nix Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia.

Logistics and Critique:

Nancy McCrary

Nancy McCrary is the Editor and Publisher of South x Southeast Photomagazine, founded in 2011. In 2015 Nancy began South x Southeast Workshops and remains the director. She is the director of South x Southeast Gallery, began in 2017 and exhibiting the work of emerging and established photographers throughout the world. She was co-director of SlowExposures Photography Festival for 8 years. Before South x Southeast Nancy had a career in niche publishing with positions are managing editor and marketing director for several magazines. She has reviewed portfolios at PhotoNOLA, LOOK3, SlowExposures, Click! Photo Festival and for private clients. She practices photography but mostly enjoys encouraging, and exhibiting the work of others.





$3100 – by check

If paying by check, e nancy@sxsemagazine.com to register

$3220, if paying by credit or debit card. There is a 3.8% processing fee.

click Here to Register with a credit card.

Questions? email nancy@sxsemagazine.com

Good Information:


With an average high of 80 and an average low of 58 April is a perfect time for the Georgia coast.

What to Bring:

Camera, batteries, tripod, hat, sunglasses, closed-toed shoes (Okefenokee requires these), layers of clothes to peel off as the day warms up, backpacks, sunscreen, bug repellent, and a good attitude!


We always strongly suggest you purchase travel insurance to insure the cost of this workshop against last minute change of plans. I regularly use Allianz for all of our workshops and have been very pleased with their rates and claim processing.


Okefenokee Swamp – National Park Service Site


Okefenokee Swamp – Fish and Wildlife Site


Cumberland Island National Seashore – National Park Service Site


Cumberland Island Horses Wikipedia Site


St Marys, Georgia Wikipedia site


Look forward to seeing you on the Coast soon!