Light and Shadow at the Beach

The morning was perfect for a sunrise.  There was just enough clouds in the predawn sky to make things interesting.

Everything changed within a hour. The clouds departed, leaving only the blinding sun and a very bright blue sky.  Even the wind calmed down, turning the Atlantic into a placid lake.  It made for a pretty dull beach photography-wise.  I decided to head west on the island (the Bogue Banks is situated pretty much east/west so the sun is over the island throughout the day.)  It was a long trek but worth it.

Blog 4/45/18

This shot on the point at Land’s End catches the sun behind the beach houses which face the west and where the Atlantic and the Bogue sound meet.  A rather dark and dramatic scene with everything thrown into silhouette.

As the sun rose over Land’s End, I grabbed a few more pleasing shots of the sand fences and dunes before the light completely washed out and sent me packing. Thanks for looking in. Have a good week ahead. See you next time.

 

 

 

Computer Glasses!

My recovery from neck and shoulder pain from spending too much time at the computer screen continued this week with a new pair of computer glasses.  If you wear bifocals and spend time at the computer with your chin and head tilted up in order to focus on the screen, you should think seriously about getting a pair.  I had a pair but the prescription was five years old and I had reverted to old habits.  My eye Doctor wrote me a new prescription for combination reading and computer glasses and almost immediately, my upper back and  neck which was as tight as an over-tuned snare drum, loosened up.  At the same time, I made it a point to get outside and away from the hinged box that has  held me hostage for so long.

 

Not a lot here other than the spectacular dawn but that alone was worth the walk out into the field.  Like the northeast, we’ve had a lot of weather here but no snow and ice; just a lot of wind, rain and thunderstorms. I also  spent quite a bit of time nosing around the azalea garden and an area we call Dogwood Dell; a large patch of wild dogwoods that seem to thrive in the acidic soil under the tall Lob Lolly pines.  The storms had taken a toll but there were plenty of blooms left to make it a worthwhile effort.

But the big spring show, which always comes early down here, is about done.  Not to worry! With the nutty weather we’ve been having, the azaleas will likely be blooming again early in the fall as they have for the past several years.  As always, thanks for the look-in and have a good week ahead. And remember: Computer glasses!

Spring: Good for what Ails Ya!

I hope Spring  has caught up in your neck of the woods.  It has here in Southeastern North Carolina.  Just in time to provide a much needed distraction from my aching neck and tingling arms and fingers.  It’s all about spending too much time at the computer in an ill advised chair fooling around with photographs. So I did what any photographer would do.  I got outside with the camera and went to work.  These were all taken here in the 75 year old Azalea garden where giant Formosa Azalea’s have the run of the place.

A new chair and a more intelligent location for my keyboard and mouse  no doubt spurred my recovery but I have to believe Spring had more to do with it.  It made me think of the old days with film.  You shot your 36 exposures, sent it off for processing and went on about your business.  Digital photography is marvelous.  Processing pictures is almost, almost as much fun to me as taking them, but somewhere the balance got upended. I’ve been spending more time staring at the screen than out taking photographs. I’m sure winter had something to do with it, but now it’s time to get outside more and limit my time staring at a screen.  If I forget, my neck and aching shoulders will serve as a reminder.  Thanks for the look.  Have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

Shooting with the Nikon 60 mm Micro

The Nikon 60 mm f/2.8 G Micro lens (“Micro” is Nikon-speak for “Macro”) has usually gotten a bad rap when compared with its big brother, the Nikon 105 mm.  By far the biggest gripe: the 60 requires the photographer to get close to the subject.  If you’re shooting insects, that is surely a disadvantage. Who needs a bee sting on the nose!  Another rub is the lack of vibration reduction.  You need a steady hand or, of course, a tripod. Even with those negatives,  I’ve never had a problem.  Mine usually lives on my trusty D700 Camera.

The 60 mm has been around a long time.  I’ve had mine for about a decade.  It’s built like a tank, the auto focus is snappy and it delivers marvelous bokeh .  The best news is the price.  It’s among Nikon’s cheapest lens.  Nikon has recently announced a replacement but there are oodles of these on the used market and you can pick one up for a song; about a third of what you’d pay for a 105.  Course if you shoot stinging insects, you’ll have to allow for pain and suffering. Thanks for the moment and have a good week.  See you next time. .

Sand Artistry

It was a cloudless, no drama day with a high sky and bright sun,  but I figured I would drive to the oceanfront anyway,  thinking that perhaps I could grab some arty close ups of the wind’s artistry in the sand.  It had been windy on the coast most of the week since the last Nor’easter ; they come with seeming increased regularity now, and I hoped to find some interesting patterns along and behind the dunes.   I wasn’t disappointed.

I lingered after taking the shot with my eye focusing just below the clump of sea grass to the right.  It looked like some miniature Zen garden.

After processing the raw files back home, I uploaded the shot above to my web site and immediately sold two prints.  I also got an email asking if I had taken a larger view of the scene.  I had.  I uploaded that photograph  and it sold right away to one of the buyers of the closeup shot. She wanted to display both together. Lesson learned! Always hang on to the larger view of a cropped scene.  You never know.  Thanks for looking and have a good week ahead.  See you next time.

The Unending Battle

Another Nor’ester has plowed up the Atlantic Seaboard and while North Carolina largely avoided scenes like that in the Boston suburbs of the ocean breaching seawalls and flooding homes and businesses,  all along the Atlantic coast, the storm claimed millions of cubic yards of sand.  A quick visit to the Bogue Banks of North Carolina quickly confirmed the beach erosion.

Further north, along the southern Outer Banks, North Carolina Highway 12 was again temporarily closed due to ocean overwash.   All along the coast, sand fences were erected to hang onto what was left.  

A shot of the vital dune line at Emerald Isle, North Carolina is a vivid reminder of what’s at stake.

Since 1979, the minimum oceanfront setback requirement for permanent structures in North Carolina is 30 times either the historical long-term erosion rate or two feet per year, whichever is larger. It’s measured from the seaward line of stable dune vegetation.   That’s why when you visit the beach, you’ll see signs posted every one hundred feet or so up and down the coast that read, “Stay Off The Dunes.”   Thanks for your visit. See you next time.

Early Birds

They seemed to know something was coming so they were out early on seed patrol before the wind kicked up.  So was I in my makeshift bird blind with the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 at the ready.

This Common Grackle appeared to be waiting for his mate.  A large bronzed black bird with a large tail, long legs and an iridescent bluish glow on his head when the light is at the right angle, the smaller birds give him a wide birth.

Just getting a shot of these Carolina Chickadees is a challenge.  Very quick, flighty little birds, they grab a spot in a nearby tree, dart down to pick up a seed then fly back to almost exact same spot in the tree to break the shell and have a snack.  The trick is to focus on the bird when he first lands in the tree then hold the exposure and wait for him to return.  He almost always will.

The Chipping Sparrows strike me as very quiet, patient little birds who perch and watch for a while before going for a seed.  Then they’ll come back to the tree, hold the seed under a foot and pop it open with their bill.  After a snack, they’ll just perch and watch the action for a while.  Easy to get a shot of, we have lots of them here.

Another rather patient bird, the Dark Eyed Junkos are another of the year round residents here. I’ve always wondered why so many  people in Eastern North Carolina call them snow birds because we get so little snow every year.  I suppose it’s because, when it does snow, their dark feathers make them easy to spot.

The wind quickly began picking up as the Nor’easter took hold, the birds took cover and I headed for the house.  By late morning, the wind was clocking at 45 to 50 miles an hour as the storm began its trek up the eastern seaboard. Have a good week.  See you next time.