Do you make your own luck? Maybe!

My usual guide when planning a pre-dawn trek to the oceanfront is, of course, the weather.  If the forecast is for full sun, I stay home. Full sun at the beach does not make for dramatic photographs. If it’s for a partly cloudy day,  I go.  If it’s for a mostly cloudy day, I go.  BUT,  if the chance of rain is above 40 percent, I will usually stay home.  This particular morning,  I made an exception. The chance of rain was 50 percent with heavy rain in some cells.  I decided to go for it anyway.   I packed up my rain gear including two extra large size Zip Lock Freezer Bags to house my camera bodies in the highly likely event, I would run into rain on the beach.  Within ten minutes of leaving the farm heading east on the beach road, I ran into a mammoth frog strangler. Ten minutes later, I ran into another.  When I arrived 40 minutes after leaving the farm, it was still raining, albeit, lightly. I waited for daybreak, then left for the oceanfront.  When I got there, it was still sprinkling, but the sky and the light were cooperating and the sun was trying to blast through the clouds.

This view is to the East. (The beach on Emerald Isle is not oriented North-South but rather  East to West.)  The steps in the foreground were abandoned and left to the ocean  after last week’s Nor’ester. I thought they added a bit of additional drama to the scene.  When I looked West, toward Lands End, I got the sure sign that the rain was done, at least for the moment. .

It was the first rainbow I can ever recall capturing over the ocean in all my many years of coming here.  The truck on the beach belongs to one of the surf fishermen drawn by the Spanish Mackerel and Albacore that were running.  It was gone within five minutes. To the East, the Sun was coming up amid a glorious bank of clouds.

The roped off area is to keep those who have permits to drive on the beach off the barrier dunes.  So my gamble paid off.  What I wanted to get in the way of  photographs, I got.  But the window of opportunity closed quickly. Just as I was packing up my gear,  it started to rain again.  I read somewhere that you make you own luck.  Maybe! Suffice to say, I was lucky.  Thanks for the read and the look.  See you next time.

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Shooting a Panorama from a Moving Vehicle

I’ve always wanted to take a shot or two from the Carter Langston Bridge which connects Swansboro, North Carolina to Emerald Isle on the Bogue Banks in southeastern North Carolina but I seldom, if ever,  have anyone with me on the trip from the farm;  and driving across a long bridge that takes you some 200 feet in the air requires both hands on the wheel.  And did I mention, there is no stopping on the bridge. This weekend though, I had a driver.  My wife Jeri  was heading to a reunion with cousins on the island and of course, I agreed to tag along provided I could sneak out for an hour or so to take a few shots along the beach.  This is one of more than 30 shots I took with my Nikon D800E camera while we traveled across the bridge.   So how did I do it.

First it helps to have a tripod for shooting from a vehicle.  Many camera makers offer them as well as many of the tripod makers.  All have a special padded clamp that fits on the top of a vehicle window that is almost rolled all the way down.  Girls, you will have to sacrifice your hair- do. Mine is made by Nikon.  It has an adjustable head like the typical tripod.  You attach the camera plate to the bottom of your camera and simply lock it onto the window mounted tripod.  If I remember correctly, I paid about 30 bucks and change for it at B and H Photo Video in New York.  Monfrotto also makes a model but its pricey, almost 90 bucks. I’ve also seen them at outdoor outfitter shops.

I had my camera all set up before we drove onto the bridge.  I used shutter priority; set the shutter speed at 1/500th of a second,  metered the light while sitting at a stop light just before the bridge, using spot metering and locked the setting.  I also switched on the lens shake reduction -vibration control on Nikons.   Jeri slowed down to about 30 miles an hour when we got to the high point of the bridge and I snapped about three dozen shots using auto focus.   I’ve cropped this one quite heavily in order to remove the power lines that were in the middle of the shot.  I’ll go back and zap them in Post.

So another gizmo for your camera bag and unlike a lot of the stuff you see out there,  this one is worth the money.  Thanks for the visit. See you next time.

Street Photography, Kinston, North Carolina

The Boiler Room

“The Boiler Room” is the second restaurant founded and operated by acclaimed chef Vivian Howard and her husband, Ben Knight. Their first, “The Chef and the Farmer” was the catalyst that has led to the rebirth of Kinston, a small city in southeastern North Carolina. The entrance to “The Boiler Room” is via the alley shown above. It gives the restaurant a gritty, blue collar feel.  Howard’s Peabody Award Winning television series,  “A Chef’s Life”, is on PBS.

Mother Earth Brewing Tap Room

Mother Earth is another major player in Kinston’s second coming.  Entrepreneur Stephen Hill has turned Mother Earth into a powerhouse in the craft brewing industry.  He’s also behind the second coming of a major section of Kinston with two hotels, a motel and several homes to his credit.  The rub off has been amazing with an array of eateries, shops, galleries and now in the works, a vodka distillery.

I do a fair amount of street photography in Eastern North Carolina, most of it is stock for Getty Images.  My usual practice is to shoot street scenes in black and white ,  but I decided on color for this batch because of the richness of the textures, tones, and hues involved.  I used a Nikon D800E and a D750.  More next time.  Thanks for the look and have a great week ahead.

Photo Of The Day: On the Point.

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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: Afternoon at Duck

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Late afternoon on the beach at Duck, North Carolina.  The sunlight through the clouds gives a warm hue to the Dunes.

I’ve been busy replacing several of my external drives and transferring photo files from the old to the new.  When I first started using external drives for photo backup,  500gb was a lot of storage for a reasonable price.  I just put in service two expansion drives, each with 5 tb of capacity.  And both were cheaper than what I paid for the two 500 gb drives back in the day.  I just hope they prove to be as reliable.  The new drives are faster too, using USB 3 speeds.  I was done with the transfers in a matter of a few hours.  Tech marches on.

So is summer and I’ll be applauding when it finally departs. Enough with the heat already.  Thanks for the look and have a great weekend.

Photo Of The Day: Sand Fences

Winter  Posted to Flickr January 12. 2014    Like soldiers standing guard, the Sand Fences protect the vital barrier dunes. New arrivals have come to reinforce those who have done their duty.  Late fall on the beach at Duck, North Carolina. Thanks for the look and have a great evening.

Photo of The Day: Currituck Sound at Duck

BloggedI’m always attracted to the various textures at play along the soundside of Duck. Close in to the shoreline, the water is  so still it mirrors the sky while further out, the wind creates brush strokes on the water.  A very peaceful scene compared with the raging Atlantic on the other coast but not always.  This old tree with its rootball  serves notice that violent weather is often a visitor here.  Click on the photograph for a larger view.  Thanks to all who visit.  I wish for you a very peaceful weekend.  See you next time.