Generalizations are always iffy but I would venture a guess that most of us who venture out every day with our cameras in hopes of nailing that perfect shot have at least a sliver of of environmental angst lurking in our souls. And perhaps what draws us to the photographs we make is the fragility of the scene and how even the seemingly innocuous act of just walking along the top of a barrier dune can start to undo what has taken nature years to accomplish.
I was out one morning before sunrise on the coast recently when a woman walking her dog struck up a conversation with me. We talked about the endless beauty of what we were seeing. The conversation quickly circled to the now hot issue of drilling for oil off the Carolina beaches. She asked if that concerned me? I thought a moment, admittedly considering whether I wanted to give up a few precious moments of the soon to be sunrise to wallow into conversational quicksand. I decided to answer her this way. “I was in Santa Barbara, California during the big oil spill decades ago and since that experience, every time I go into the voting booth, it is with but two issues on my mind: the environment and my own economic interest. If there is a conflict,” I said, “I always try to put the environment first,” which I added, “is all too often the collateral damage of human enterprise.”
“Nicely said,” she grinned and walked into the sunrise which was just coming up over the horizon.
Thanks for the visit and have a great week ahead. See you next time.
The Bogue Banks and its neighbor, The Shackelford Banks, lie just south of Cape Lookout off the North Carolina Coast. Unlike the Outer Banks which runs from Corolla in the north through the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to the Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Bogue and Shackelford Banks are pretty much positioned east west rather than north south. This means the sun is overhead throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. Here, the beaches are wider and they are growing. The beach you see above which rounds the point was not here ten years ago.
The dunes along this section of beach have largely been built up due to the careful positioning of sand fences which dot the landscape.
The Bogue Sound and the town of Swansboro are visible in the distance. Beach erosion and the loss of sand and dunes due to nor’easters and hurricanes along the Outer Banks, appears to have been to the benefit of Land’s End on the Bogue Banks. Thanks for the look and have a great week ahead.
One of the best lenses I ever purchased remains the Nikon 24-120 constant f/4. I picked it up at B and H Photo Video in New York in an open box sale. The lens had been used as a shelf display model. It pretty much lives on my Nikon D750 Camera. I suppose you could say it is my walk around lens. Even so, it took me a while to take advantage of what it offers. With landscapes, my practice was to frame up the wide shot, shoot it and move on. Typical for old folks like me who are set in our ways. This past weekend on the Bogue Banks of North Carolina I proved that even at 72, sometimes it pays to revisit old habits. The two shots above were taken a few seconds apart during a rapidly changing sky after a storm. The first was taken at 66mm, the second at 110mm. It really gave me two almost completely different shots. That in and off itself is probably not a tip. If there is one, I suppose it is this, don’t be reticent to change up old habits, particularly in photography. Thanks for the look and have a good week. See you next time.
…….Don’t bother with all those ready-made frames you see in all the stores. They won’t work for you unless you first crop your picture! Read on.
It’s been 42 years since an Eastman Kodak Engineer named Steve Sasson invented the first digital camera; and 18 years since Nikon came out with the first DSLR body designed from scratch by a single manufacturer: the 2.7 megapixel D1. Now digital cameras are everywhere from phones to drones, yet for some reason the people who make all those frames you see at the big drugstores, craft stores, big box stores, etc…have never adopted digital photograph frame sizes. They still base all of their frames on photograph sizes from the film era; 8 X10 or 11X14. Even a lot of the digital photo organizer software out there still offer only the standard analog photo print sizes that were set way back in the days of the Kodak Instamatic. It forces you to crop every digital photo you print so it will fit into those outdated, ready-made frames you find on the store shelves. You’ll have to go online to find photo labs that will print digital sized photographs. Be sure to search for “digital sizes” because they also print the old film sizes.
Once you do that, you’ll have, for example, a 12 X 16 print instead of a cropped 11 X 14 but you’ll have to have it custom framed or frame it yourself because the ready-made frames won’t fit. You’d think, after 18 years of commercial digital photography, the ready-made frame business would have caught on. You’d think!
Thanks for the read, and look. See you next time. Oh, and have a great Holiday Weekend.
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.
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.
The Sea Oats on the Barrier Dunes bend South as near gale force winds buffet the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
After multiple attempts to get the light on the ocean where I wanted it, I finally came close to what I had visualized. Of course, if you’re like me, you’re never satisfied and so you keep going back time and again for the perfect shot. I’m not sure I can do any better than this. But, I’ll keep trying.
Particulars: Nikon D750 Camera, 24-120 f/4 lens. Shot with manual exposure, f/8 at 1/640, center weight metering, auto white balance, focal length 65mm. No filters. I used a Slik tripod for the shot.
My thanks to those who stop by for a look. I appreciate your taking the time. See you next time if not before.