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.
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.
Sand Fences along the barrier dunes. On the Northern Outer Banks, they are usually positioned east west on the dunes to protect against Nor’Easters which in the normal course of events cause more damage to the beach and dunes than hurricanes. I was attracted to these by the slant of the slats picking up the morning sun. Lots of footprints but no people to be reckoned with this time of year. Thanks for the look and have a great week.
Sea Oates and Sand Fences stand vigil along the Barrier Dunes on the Beach at Southern Shores on the Outer Banks. The Sand Fences are positioned to protect the Dunes from Nor’Easters. It’s a never ending battle. Thanks for the visit and Have a Great Evening.
Nikon D600/ 24-120mm f/4 lens. Vignette added in post.
The trip had been planned long before Hurricane Irene blew up and slammed Eastern North Carolina before proceeding up the Coast to points north. The storm had given every indication that the “Banks” would take a huge hit and so it had on Southern Hatteras Island where NC Route 12 had been severed by the stormy Atlantic and left tiny Ocracoke Island under siege. So I was amazed to discover that Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Southern Shores and on up to the Village of Duck had weathered the storm quite well. (The beaches at Corolla to the North remained closed). The trip was still on! We loaded up all the beach gear, camera gear, coolers and the like and headed North East.
My first view of the beach at Southern Shores appeared to confirm what I have always heard from longtime Bankers; that the worst storms which do the most damage to the beach are Nor’Easters not Hurricanes. The beach was littered with the usual seaweed, drift wood…. even stumps, but the beach seemed no worse for the wear. The best news was that the dune line had held. The Sea Oats, Wax Myrtles, Live Oaks and Pines had survived Irene.
I’ve always taken a lot of shots at the coast but never this many: over 500. I’m still working through them. The tough part is; so far, they’re all keepers! I’ll put a wrap on this post with the iconic image of a lone pelican cruising south right above the big breakers in front of a red sunrise. Awesome if I say so myself.
I never looked up much before I moved to the farm here in Eastern North Carolina. I suppose that comes with the wide open spaces. There’s a lot of sky and one can’t help noticing it. There’s also a lot going on up there. We’re pretty close to the Atlantic Ocean. An hour’s drive will put you right on the oceanfront at Emerald Isle, NC. I confess I’ve made it in 45 minutes using some country road shortcuts. The Ocean is a Cloud Factory. There’s almost always a big show going on. And it’s free. All you have to do is….look up! Rain clouds never looked this dramatic in Washington.
We do get our share of nastiness, though we have been lucky with Hurricanes lately. Only one big hit since I’ve been here: “Isabelle”, which took down a few trees but no structural damage anywhere. More common are the Nor’easters blowing in off the Ocean packing heavy rain and high wind. They cause quite a bit of beach erosion on the coast and crop damage here. Less common, but to me the most frightening, are Tornadoes. We seem to be seeing more of them in recent years. And they always seem to come at night, setting off weather radio alarms in the wee small hours and sending us scurrying to shelter.
There’s a lot of what I call Cloud Teasing . Many a day I’ve been way out in the field when suddenly a huge shadow will roll up and quickly disappear into the far horizon like some kind of dark dream.
Often there’s a lot of light play which sometimes produces some almost biblical scenes.
I don’t ever recall shooting a lot of “skyscapes” before I relocated to the farm. Lots of sunsets and sunrises in Maine, Alaska and other places I’ve been with cameras in tow but never just pictures of clouds. I’ve missed a lot of shots over the years.