Category Archives: Kayaking

American Oyster Catchers on Taylor’s Creek

The Crystal Coast is blessed with one of the largest populations of American Oyster Catchers along the North American East Coast. Their black and white plumage is strikingly highlighted by their bright orange bills, yellow eyes and eye circles. It’s hard not to find these birds a pleasure to see. For these images I used my kayak to get close to the birds and to get me to a near eye-level point of view for my camera.

From a photographic stand point some folks my find these guys a bit challenging. Anytime you’re photographing two tonal extremes there is a risk of your camera’s onboard metering system being fooled. This is where it a) pays to know your camera or b) makes sense to use the histogram to insure you’re getting proper exposure. You don’t want to blow-out the detail in the white feathers, end-up with muddy gray-white feathers, or lose detail in the dark feathers by blocking the blacks. Here are a few shots from a few days ago.

American Oyster Catcher near Beaufort, North Carolina

Amercian Oyster Cather on an oyster reef.

American Oyster Catcher at the junction of Taylor's and Deep Creeks

Also posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography

Wild Horse Crossing

Many folks that visit the wild horses living within the boundaries of the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve or the Cape Lookout National Seashore don’t get to see the horses swimming between islands and shoals. If they do it’s often from a distance and seldom provides a chance for the viewer to photograph them. To get these kins of shots you usually need to be working from either a boat or a kayak. This is one of the reasons I’ve arranged for participants to spend one day working from a boat during the 2013 Wild Horse Photo Safaris. You can learn more about these tours by visiting the following page: http://carolinafootprints.com/index.php/workshops/. Below are a few images taken this winter.

A wild horse swims between islands in the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve.

A wild stallion emerges from a cold swim on a January morning.

Wild horses swim between islands.

Also posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Wild Horses on the Tidal Flats

I launched my kayak one morning last week and it was a perfect morning for photographing the wild horses of the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve from a kayak. These majestic animals were out feeding on the flats at a time that the water was high enough for navigation with a kayak. I always love the low perspective gotten by making photographs of these large animals from the cockpit of a kayak. Below are a few of the images from the morning’s adventure.

Wild horse feeding on the tidal flats.

The Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve has one of North Carolina's three herds of wild horses.

I offer several wild horse photography wrokshops each year.

A wild horse feeds along North Carolina's Crystal Coast.

Wild horses seen near Beaufort North Carolina

Also posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Semipalmated Plovers at Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve

I loaded up my kayak and paid the reserve a visit a few mornings ago. As is usually the case, my efforts were awarded with plenty of photography opportunities. I found these plovers feeding along mouth of Deep Creek, the entrance into the tidal flats. These small birds are a joy to watch and a challenge to photograph. They tend to be more than a little suspicious of anything approaching them. Getting close to them, however, is easier from the water than from land. Such is one of the benefits of using a kayak for photography. Here are a few shots from the encounter.

A tiny plover explores the beach looking for a meal.

Semipalmated Plover at the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve

Plovers are very small shore birds.

North Carolina's Crystal Coast is a wonderful destination for nature and wildlife photographers.

Also posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Common Loon on Taylor’s Creek

The other day while paddling my kayak on Taylor’s Creek along the Beaufort, NC waterfront I came across a loon that was quite comfortable allowing me to get close for photos. I just love close encounters of the wildlife kind. Here are a few of the resulting photos.

Common Loon on Tayor's Creek

Kayaks allow photographers to get close to skittish wildlife.

Common Loon.

 



 

Now available my “Introduction to Kayak Photography” eBook. Learn how to approach skittish wildlife from the water to add an interesting perspecitve to your photographs. Take advantage of the low introductory price while it lasts.

 

USD 4.99 / Download

Also posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Little Blue Heron

While paddling my kayak this morning I came across three Little Blue Herons. Two of these tres hombres were quite shy and took to wing before I got within camera range. But one was absolutely calm in my presence and just kept fishing along the waters edge. The bird was in classic breeding colors (hint, look at the head, neck and bill), making it a very handsome model. These and Reddish Egrets are my favorite large wading birds. I’m always thrilled when I get to observe them. Below are a few photos from the encounter.

Little Blue Heron on Taylor's Creek

Little Blue Heron in breeding colors.

Rachel Carson Reserve is home to many interesting birds.

Little Blue along the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.

Little Blue Heron.

Little Blue Heron.

Little Blue Heron found along North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks.

Also posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

A Few Shorebirds

I went for a nice paddle yesterday morning. It was a little windy but I still had a wonderful time exploring the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve by kayak. There is definately a large variety of shorebirds to be found around the reserve. While I didn’t get photos of everything there were several different plovers to be seen, as well as sandpipers and other lovely wading birds. Below are a Shortbilled Dowitcher, A Semipalmated Plover and s Whibrel.

A Shortbilled Dowitcher along the North Carolina coast.

Semiplamated Plover.

Whimbrel.

 



 

Now available my “Introduction to Kayak Photography” eBook. Learn how to approach skittish wildlife from the water to add an interesting perspecitve to your photographs. Take advantage of the low introductory price while it lasts.

 

USD 4.99 / Download

Also posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography

Intoduction to Kayak Photography: A How-to Ebook

Now available for instant download, my “Introduction to Kayak Photography” is a basic guide to using kayaks for nature photography. Presented in PDF format the book consists of five chapters: Choosing a Kayak for Photography; Gearing Up for Kayak Photography; Camera Equipment Considerations; Making Useable Photos from a Bouncing Little Boat; Finding and Approaching Wildlife. Concise and direct, there is a lot of useful information packed into 20 full-sized pages for only $4.99.

 

Cover shot of new ebook.

 

USD 4.99 / Download

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Common Mergansers

The morning sky was awash with golds, pinks, purples and blues as I unlashed my kayak from the top of the van. The brisk wind blowing from the north was cold and much faster than the weather report had predicted the night before. Still the tide was right and I had high hopes of finding some good photographic subjects. On many similar mornings the estuary has presented a virtual cornucopia of shorebirds to photograph. This morning, however, was different. Perhaps it was due to the chill in the air, or the cold, hard north wind but the birds were more skittish than usual. Approaching close enough for a quality photograph was proving quite difficult. As luck would have it at one point a few Common Mergansers were swimming in front of me. Normally very difficult to approach by kayak two or three of the birds surfaced from a dive just in front of my boat. I took advantage of the opportuninty to fire off a few shots.

A Common Merganser swims in Deep Creek inside the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve.

Common Merganser.

Many species of waterfowl spend their winters along North Carolina's Crystal Coast.

Also posted in Avian Photography, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Tagged , , , , , , , , |

Sunday Morning Adventure: Kayaking on the White Oak River

I’ve been curious about the canoe/kayak trail on the White Oak river for a long time. But I’d never taken the time to explore any of it. The fact is that for me the kayak is largely a photography platform; a way to get close to wild life or gain access to areas I wouldn’t otherwise be able to photograph. When paddling the area’s blackwater rivers and streams photo opportunities are few and far between. The biggest exception being when the fall foliage is in its full glory. The creeks and rivers can present some lovely imaging opportunities then. Even knowing I’d be lucky to even get one useful photo, the adventure was calling. I wanted to see what there was to see. While kayaking may be mostly and means to and end for me, it can be a joy in and of itself as well.

I launched at the Long Point Landing area. This is a neat little spot with room for a couple of tents if one wanted to do some camping. When I arrived fog was heavy on the river so I delayed just a little to allow some of it to burn off. Upon launching I headed upstream towards the Hayward landing boat ramp. By starting my trip against the current I’d have the luxuray of a little help on the return trip. Along the way I spotted a few ducks… (you’ll almost never sucessfully approach a wild duck in a kayak for a photo op.)… a very skittish Great Blue Heron that never allowed me a single photo, a Cormorant or two and even a Bald Eagle (again, no photo ops). All in all it was a pleasant little 6+ mile paddle on a beautiful early December morning.

A kayaker surveys the White Oak river at Long Point Landing.

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