The day proved to be something of a paradox. It was a pretty winter day. There was no rain, a few clouds, the sun was out and it really wasn’t that cold, but the wind was ferocious. Gales approaching 35 miles an hour sent the wind chill plummeting, whipped up the usually tranquid waves along the Bogue Banks and created a minor sandstorm on the beach. So you might ask, why on earth did I go. Well, I have found over the years that the best time for photography on the coast is when there is something going on with the weather, in this case, the wind. There is nothing more boring to me than to be on a beach with a camera on a bright, sunny, cloudless day. The second reason is that I like the beach in the winter; the sheer isolation of it and the pale, neutral tones. I suppose you could say, I got what I was looking for.
The wind picked up shortly after daybreak bringing out two hearty kite flyers who turned their backs to the blowing sand and sent their kites sailing over the ocean.
Even they gave up after a while as the wind began kicking up clouds of sand and driving it up the beach.
Fortunately, I had brought along a thick windbreaker, goggles and a stocking hat. The camera, a Nikon D750 is well sealed but I took no chances, wrapping it and the 24-120mm f/4 lens in a large zip bag with only the front of the lens with UV filter attached, exposed to the elements. All in all, an interesting outing that netted some decent keeper shots, but I was worn out. Just standing up to the battering wind was exhausting, let alone trying to walk against it. Thank you for visiting and looking. Comments are always welcome. Have a good week ahead. See you next time.
A sure sign of winter, the Camellia Japonicas pick up where their first cousins, the Sasanquas, leave off in the late fall. a more structured and symmetrical flower, the Japonicas also bloom longer; from December right on up through mid to late March. I have no idea how many varieties there are. Probably hundreds. We have seven here on the farm. Four are blooming now. The others will make their debut later in the winter. Aside from the changing sky, they are pretty much the only color in the landscape in the winter months; so they are pretty much a magnet for a camera.
The photograph just above was taken with a Sony a6000 using a Zeiss/Sony 16-70mm f/4 lens. The others were taken with a Nikon D700 using a Nikkor 70-200mm f/4 lens. Note: The Sony camera is a small sensor camera. The D700, of course, is full frame. All were shot at 160 ISO, f/11, matrix metering with white balance set to cloudy.
My thanks to those of you who take a gander at this site every so often. I appreciate your looks. I wish you all a Joyous Holiday Season. Blessings in the coming year. See you in 2019!
Big Snow storms in Eastern North Carolina are rare but this time around, the TV weather readers were pretty convincing with all their dopplers, models and statistics. Rain, they said, would turn to freezing rain as the temperature dropped. Then sleet would pile on followed by snow. In all, two to four inches would accumulate before the storm petered out. Doesn’t sound like much but 4 inches here is a pretty big deal. Snow removal here is the month of July. I’m an aging radio news veteran from the days when news on the radio was actually quite the norm and I remember well the hype that kicks in when snow appears in a weather forecast, but this time, even I bought in. I rushed out and bought five gallons of gasoline for our generator. Freezing rain almost always means power outages in the rural area where I live.
The gasoline went in my truck. The storm fizzled. We had maybe a trace of snow and sleet but that was it. No eye popping winter vistas. So, I ventured down to my makeshift bird blind and spent the day with the birds.
A little snow on the River Birch Tree would have been a nice enhancement but you dance with what brung ya. A sack of sunflower seeds scatterred on the ground around the trees always works and soon the Cardinals and the Gold Finches et al were grabbing them and flying into the tree to crack the shells and munch away. So I got some pretty decent shots. One or two might find their way onto my web site. Not bad for plan B.
Here’s the gear list on these shots: Nikon D750, 70-300mm telephoto, Aperture Priority, Spot Metering, f/11, iso 200. Slik tripod. See you next time.
I don’t usually venture out for a sunset shot here. The sight lines are such that I have to hike up to the far end of the field to get a nice long, unobstructed view and even then the tree line comes into play before the sun hits the pure horizon. But as we all know, there are no rules. The sun was just about to drop below the tree line when I turned the corner into the open fields and the light was fading fast. Not enough time to make the trek to the other end of the field so I quickly fired off two shots with the D800E. I know, its on the dark side but I really do like the light and shadow play on the soybeans.
If you’re wondering what on earth are soybeans doing in the field in January, the answer is…..Rain. We’ve had two weeks of heavy rain over the past 20 days and the ground is like soup. Far too wet to get the harvest machines into the field. Like most places in the Southeast USA, the weather has just been crazy.
Thanks for the look in and have a great 2016.
Cherry Blossoms here on the farm on a very windy day. Given the conditions, I had little choice but to use Shutter Priority Mode for this shot. I dialed up the shutter speed to either 1/400 or 1/500 for this shot which was enough to grab these blowing blooms with a reasonable degree of sharpness. Waiting another day was not an option. We’re expecting a very hard freeze tonight. The weather people are evening forecasting a good chance of snow flurries overnight. April first is our average last day for a hard freeze here on the coast so I suspect, I hope, this will be winter’s last stand. It’s not leaving without a fight. Thanks for the look and have a great weekend.
Another shot from the recent ice storm here. This Dark Eyed Junko was waiting to dart down to the ground below this River Birch Tree where I had spread a healthy amount of black oiled sunflower seeds. I was maybe 10 feet away in a makeshift bird blind with a Nikon D7100 fitted with a 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G lens. I use the D7100 for most bird photography I do because of the crop factor involved in using a full frame lens on the small sensor camera. I’ve tried the Nikon 18-300mm but find the 70-300 far sharper.
The ice lingered for about a day until warmer temperatures brought more rain. What the Northeast has gotten in snow, we have gotten in rain. Eastern North Carolina to the coast is a virtual swamp because of the nonstop rain so other than during the ice event, I haven’t been out much working instead on a backlog of images. I’m hoping for a dry spring but it seems unlikely. Thanks for the look and have a good week.
We always get ice! Seldom any snow. Just ice! The freezing rain started just after dark last evening. By this morning, an estimated 1/4 to 1/2 inch of ice covered everything including, of course, the power lines. How we escaped a power outage is beyond me. There’s so much ice on the lines, you’d think the electricity would just freeze up. Big ole Lob lolly Pine trees buckled. Two just gave up and toppled over. Huge limbs littered the driveway into the farm like some tornado had ripped through. The Beach Road looks like the Polar Expressway. Our Camellia Beds had the look of frozen spinach. That’s a photograph of it above. When I got up this morning, I rolled out the portable generator and chanced a two mile drive to a gas station to pick up 5 gallons. It was slow going, never going over 20 miles an hour. Yes, I have four wheel drive. I never ever think to lay in gas the night before. Why is that? I haven’t had to use it. So far so good. Tonight, no precipitation but the deep freeze has an encore. Maybe some snow tomorrow the weather gurus say. I’ve always had a suspicion the weather people are in cahoots with the grocery stores to share in the bread and milk bounty when the nasty stuff closes in. I whine. Thank you Lord for not making us Boston. Stay warm……and safe.