The Giant Oaks at the Sheldon Church Ruins
Sheldon Church Ruins - Infrared

The Giant Oaks at the Sheldon Church Ruins

Sheldon Church Ruins - Infrared Sheldon Church Ruins – Infrared

The Old Oaks at Sheldon Church


The giant oak trees surrounding the ruins of Sheldon Church have witnessed much. They were likely there in the mid-eighteenth century when the church was constructed and twice saw its destruction. They add to the site’s natural beauty and historical significance. These majestic oak trees are visually stunning and contribute to the area’s overall atmosphere. 

Live oak trees are iconic to the coastal landscapes of the southeastern United States, including South Carolina. These trees are known for their sprawling canopies, massive limbs, and twisting branches, creating a picturesque and timeless scene. In historic sites like Sheldon Church, live oak trees can enhance the sense of history and connection to the past.

The significance of live oak trees in the Lowcountry goes beyond their aesthetic appeal. They have historical and cultural importance due to their use in shipbuilding during the 18th and 19th centuries. The dense hardwood of live oaks was highly prized for constructing the frames and planking of ships, especially warships. The USS Constitution, a famous American frigate nicknamed “Old Ironsides,” was built with live oak timber. The trees’ durable wood, which resists rot and shipworms, contributed to the longevity of these vessels.

In the context of the Sheldon Church ruins these giant oak trees are a visual link to the past, helping one to imagine what the area might have looked like during the church’s heyday. The juxtaposition of the historic ruins and the timeless oak trees highlights the enduring nature of the natural landscape and its intertwined relationship with the region’s human history.

I want this image to be about the oaks and their tentacle-like massive branches, with the church ruins playing the secondary role. Green leaves tend to appear whitish in the infrared light spectrum giving the scene a surreal feeling. For those interested, the image was made with an iPhone 14Pro and processed in Lightroom and Snapseed.




Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

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