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.

So Far, So good…..

Our farm in Southeastern North Carolina is about 45 air miles from the Atlantic. We’ve seen a lot of storms here. From Nor’easters to tornadoes to hurricanes.  Where most people check their  local weather every morning, we check in with the National Hurricane Center.  I’d been tracking Hurricane Irma since it formed up off Africa.   When it reached the Central Atlantic, with another storm, Jose, right behind it, we decided to get moving.  I spent about a week clearing out drainage ditches, preparing generators, stocking up on gasoline, non-perishable food…all the things on everyone’s Hurricane Prepare List.   Fittingly, perhaps, we’ve been getting a rash of nasty weather unrelated to Irma for the past couple of weeks. It served as a reminder to get ready for the big show IF……  As you might surmise, there hasn’t been a lot of time for photography other than a few shots of some rather dramatic sky shots in the fields, a taste perhaps of what might be ahead. 

I keep a two gallon zip lock freezer bag in my camera bag for rainy days and it got a nice workout for the shots in the cotton field taken during light rain.  I put the camera in the bag and close the bag until it is snug around the lens.  Works great.  Even though two of my cameras are water resistant according to Nikon, why take chances?

As it turned out, Irma stayed away from our coast, and so far, Jose has seen fit to dance around in the Atlantic just south of Bermuda.  I have little doubt there will be other storms before the long hurricane season is over at the end of November.  Just this morning, I noticed another suspect forming up off the coast of Africa.  As Mr. Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s Over.”   Stay alert. Be Ready and above all Be Safe. See you next time.

An Atlantic Dawn

Atlantic Dawn I


Atlantic Dawn II

A couple of pre-sunrise shots taken at Southern Shores, North Carolina.  I didn’t have far to walk to the beach so when I saw the cloudy sky, I grabbed my bag and headed out.   These scenes come early so if you have trouble getting out of bed, you will miss them.   Be there and you’ll be rewarded with some fabulous sky colors.  These two shots were taken on the same morning.  A complete makeover that occurred within just a few minutes before sunrise.  Both shots were handheld. The second a tad longer exposure.  Both shot with a Nikon D800e camera and an 18-35 Nikkor lens.  If you’re heading for a beach this spring or summer, take along an alarm clock.  It’s worth the agony of getting up early.  Have a good week.  See you next time.

Photo of The Week: Autumn On The Banks


The ubiquitous Sea Oat telegraphs a very calm dawn along the barrier dunes on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  It is very unusual to encounter such a quiet Atlantic this time of the year.  Am recovering from surgery so will leave it at that.  Nikon D600/ 24-120mm f/4 lens.  Have a good week and thanks for the look.

Photo Of The Week: Better Days


These have been tough times in Eastern North Carolina.  Hurricane Matthew has brought more than a week of misery.  First, there was the storm surge, the rain, and now the floods.  We had been very lucky here since 2011 when Hurricane Irene came calling.  Matthew changed all that.  It was the storm that wouldn’t leave.  For us, it was the rain.  None of us here on the farm had ever experienced anything like it.  We had well over a foot of rain here between last Friday and Sunday morning.  None of us were surprised at news the Neuse River through nearby Kinston would flood.  What surprised us was word that it would top the record flooding triggered by Hurricane Floyd in 1999.  It did. The river topped out just short of 30 feet. All of the bridges into the city were shut down cutting off access to the city.  The main east west highway through the area, US 70 was shut down for miles.  The flooding reach as far west as Raleigh.  Interstate 95 was flooded out in several areas.    The rivers are cresting now and  flood levels will slowly recede but in so doing, all that water is making its way into the sounds along the coast triggering more flooding.  Things will eventually get better . The beautiful sunrises have already returned along the North Carolina coast but the effects of Hurricane Matthew will be with us for years to come. Have a good week ahead everybody and be safe. 

Photo Of the Week: Back to the Bogue Banks

Blog 5/8/2016

Sunrise on the Bogue Banks.  The Bogue Banks are the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina southwest of Cape Lookout.  This was taken on the beach in the town of Emerald Isle.  I’ve made four or five trips over the past year or so hoping to get that jackpot sky we all crave for sunrise shots and this time, it happened.  The entire southeastern section of North Carolina had just emerged from a solid week of rain and storm so I figured we were due for some spectacular dawn clouds.  We were.  Taken with a Nikon D800E camera with an 18-35mm lens.  Manual exposure, iso 400, f/22 with custom white balance.  It all clicked.  Special thanks to the couple who happened to be walking the beach at the moment of sunrise.   See you next time on most of this same blog.