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.




The Last Weekend Before The Great Migration

It was my last chance to shoot some pictures on a vacant beach and my back had finally decided to cooperate, agreeing to get itself back in sync.  I was on the beach road by 4AM and on the point at Lands End within a hour.  My timing could not have been better.  The tidal flats were laid out in front of me as the dawn reached its zenith.  I got low, stretched out the screen on the D800E allowing me the live view you see above.  The fellow dawn watchers far up the beach were a bonus.  They gave the scene scale.

The forecast had been partly sunny meaning a few clouds and that is exactly how it was.  A perfect morning for shooting a sunrise scene.  I used my usual formula” Spot Metering taking the exposure reading away from the sun and locking the exposure, iso 400, manual exposure, and an aperture of f/16.  I took three shots.  This one utilized a # 6 graduated neutral density filter shade the glaring sun while leaving the ocean and beach in natural light.  I don’t use this filter much but it was the right choice for this situation.  Certainly worth having one in your bag.

In addition to the D800E, I was carrying my D750 fitted with a 70-300mm Nikkor lens.  If you have two DSLR’s, I suggest fitting one with the requisite wide angle and a telephoto on the second. You never know what will come up without warning like the council of shore birds further up the beach which decided to head south.   I grabbed the 750 and caught them in the southeast sky.  complimenting that marvelous pink cloud that looked like the famous Nike Swoosh (trademark).  In all that morning, I grabbed more than 140 keepers.  I’ll share more with you over the coming weeks and leave the beach to the refugees from the North who need more Vitamin D than I.  Have a great holiday weekend everybody.

Photo Of The Week: New Beach

Top of the Dunes,  Lands End on the bogue Banks.

Taken from the top of the dune line at Land’s End on the North Carolina Bogue Banks, this is the southern terminus of the island chain that makes up the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The beach here was built by hurricanes and Northeaster storms over the past decade.  A very evident lesson in how nature is always changing.  Thanks for the look. see you next time.

Photo of The Week: Wandering the Dunes at Emerald Isle, North Carolina


The light here is very special.  Emerald Isle is oriented to the southeast so the sun is over the beach throughout the day creating amazing shadows and light patterns.  The photo above of a row of sand fences near the barrier dune line is a color shot but the light and shadow play give it the look of a monochrome sepia-like photograph.


With the sun behind me, the light takes on a different hue.  This is the view to the south southeast looking toward the point.  The beach is incredibly wide here similar to the beaches further down the Atlantic Coast.  When I was there last week, I had the entire beachfront to myself.


This view is further down the beach near lands end.  It’s hard to fathom that a little over a decade ago, much of this was not here.    Nor’Easters, Hurricanes and the constant wind are continually changing the landscape.  I used a Nikon D800E Camera on these shots with an 18-35mm wide angle lens.  The only clouds were off on the horizon line so the Sunny f/16 rule came into play.  f/16, 1/125th of a second, ISO 100.  Thanks for the visit and have a great week ahead.

Photo Of The Day: On the Point.


The array of sand fences on the point at Lands End on Emerald Isle, North Carolina serve as a heads up that you’re running out of beach.  Ten years ago, none of this was here.  Lands End ended at a cliff about a hundred yards up the beach where a house was hanging on thanks to a wall of sandbags at its foundation.  Ironically, the house was saved by assorted Nor’easters, Hurricanes and the like, which over the ensuing years brought the beach back.  There is no better proof that the Outer Banks, which is a vast sand bar, is constantly undergoing change.  When you buy property and build a house on it, you pays your money and you takes your chances.

When you first see “The Point,” it has the look of a vast flat, desert with an ocean around it.  There are few dunes and very little in the way of  vegetation; just a long, very wide beach.  Four Wheel Drive vehicles are permitted on the beach but only from mid September to the end of April. 100 bucks for a “yearly” permit if you are a non-resident.   It was cold and incredibly windy when I was there this past weekend. My shivering hands may explain the crooked horizon line.  There were no clouds…just bright blue skies and a wicked sun which made for some interesting shadow lines around the sand fences. I plan to convert this to black and white.  I think the tonality of the shot will lend itself quite well to monochrome.   Shot with a Nikon D800E with a very low ISO, aperture at F/22, manual program and a quick shutter.  I used a Nikon 20-120mm F/4 lens.   If Santa drops off this lens at your house on Christmas Day,  you’ll be a happy shooter.  Have a Great Christmas. See you next time.


Photo Of The Day: The Path To the Ocean

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Another shot from the Land’s End set taken on the Southern Outer Banks at Emerald Isle. It’s a pretty good hike from the road.  As I’ve said before, the beaches are incredibly wide here.  It was a hot, clear day which of course is lousy for photography. This shot was taken with an ISO of about 50 or lower. I’m Planning a return trip after Labor Day when the crowds thin out.

Nikon D800E with a 24mm lens.

Thanks for the drop in. See you next time.

Photo of The Day: A Long View of Lands End


Looking East toward Lands End on Southern Outer Banks in Emerald Isle, North Carolina.  A few pastel colored houses dot the point on this often vacant beach.  I’m always struck by the incredible size of the beach here as opposed to the Northern Outer Banks with its violent waves and tremendous undertow. Click on the shot for a closer look.

Nikon D800E with an 18mm lens.

Have a great Sunday evening and week ahead.