Category Archives: Landscape Photography

Nature Doesn’t Always Cooperate

I left the house this evening with plans to do some light painting with one of my favorite cypress trees as my subject. I hiked in to the location, settled on an angle and composition and settled in to wait for darkness to fall. Of course I took a few shots while waiting on night fall. As I waited I noticed clouds moving in from the distance… and a somewhat ominous thunderhead. Again, I naturally took a few shots. Suddenly the wind picked up and I could see rain falling in the distance. Not too surprisingly I scrubbed the plans for the light painting and scurried back to the safety of my vehicle. I’ll give the light painting project another try some evening in the near future. For now here are a couple shots of the cypress tree.

A cypres tree grows along the Neuse River.

Cypres tree.

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

From Fire Springs Life

I made a visit to a pine savanna in the Croatan National Forest. A couple weeks prior to my visit there had been a control burn in the area. It was interesting to see the lush green of new growth springing up from the charred, burnt ground. There’s a special shade to the green of new grasses and ferns… bright… vivid. The grasses, herbs, trees and carnivorous plants of the savanna are dependent upon fire. Without fire shurbs would take over the forest floor. Trees not usually found on the savanna would invade, closing the canopy and robbing the forest floor of life giving sunlight. Even the seeds of the Long Leaf Pine are dependent upon fire to help them start new life. Like the fabled Phoenix these plants rise up from the ashes of the burnt forest floor. The following are a few of my photos from the morning.

Like Africa, North America was once home to vast savanna areas.

A young fren lies atop a charred log on the pine savanna.

A fresh fern and a burnt log.

The Venus Flytrap is an exotic plant native to the pine savanna of eastern North Carolina. Flytraps only occur naturally with a 100 mile radius of Wilmington, North Carolina

A Venus Flytrap rises up from the ashes much like the fabled Phoenix.

Also posted in Carnivorous Plants, General Photography, Macro Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography Tagged , , , , , , , |

Sunrise Over Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve

A couple of days ago I posted some photos from a sunrise over Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. In the text included with that post I mentioned a bias that tended to discourage me from shooting sunrise and sunset scenes. However, that’s not to say I never do. Here’s a sunrise photo image from last month. This image was made from my kayak and shows the sunrising over the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve as seen from Deep Creek.

Sunrise over the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve

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

Atlantic Beach Sunrise

To be honest I don’t shoot many sunrises or sunsets. I suppose I have a bit of a bad attitude about them. Somwhere along the line I read something about those types of shots being some of the most cliched in the business. Something over-done like images of iconic locations like El Capitan, Old Faithful or Mount Rushmore. Even so I’ve had an Atlantic Beach sunrise shoot on my project board for a few months. I’ve been waiting for a day when everything would come together.

I wanted to include a fishing pier in a few of the shots and frankly, fishing piers are becomning rare pieces of Americana. Not so many years ago there were three of them along Atlantic Beach within walking distance of each other. Today only one or those remains and it is missing some off the end, a victim of Hurricane Irene. I honestly don’t know if it’s been open since the hurricane or if they have plans to repair it. It seemed that if I was going to do the shoot I had in mind I needed to do it soon!

A check of the weather forecast for this morning sounded perfectly. It was going to be overly cold and the forecast called for partly cloudy skies. Clouds help to add texture and interest to a sunrise photo. Plus timing is really convenient in the winter. The official sunrise time would be 7:10 making it possible to arrive an hour or so early without dragging myself out of bed too outrageously early. Below are a few of the images from the session. I think it was worth the effort.

A December sunrise as viewed from Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.

Fishing piers are a vanishing piece of Americana.

Beneath Oceana Pier, Atlantic Beach, NC.

Fishing piers were once a common sight along the US East Coast.

A partly cloudy day adds character to any sunrise or sunset photo.

The sun rises over the North Carolina coast.

Oceana fishing pier at sunrise.

Atlantic Beach North Carolina sunrise.

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Cape Lookout Lighthouse

Usually when I visit the Cape Lookout National Seashore it’s to observe and photograph the Mustangs living on Shackleford Banks. The other morning, however, I visited Core Banks instead to get a few photographs of the lighthouse. With my 500mm lens still out for repair I’m somewhat limited when it comes to wildlife & nature photography. As such it seemed like a good time to add few images of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse to my portfolio.

Capelookout light has been guiding mariners navigating the treacherous Cape Lookout Shoals for almost 150 years. The first lighthouse on Core Banks at Cape Point was built in 1819 and only stood 96 feet tall.

A view of Cape Lookout Lighthouse framed by sea oats as seen from the ocean side of the island.

From some locations on Core Banks you can frame Cape Lookout Island with pine trees.

A sandy trail leads up a dune towards the lighthouse in the Cape Lookoug National Seashore. A view of the current lighthouse with the foundation of the original light in front of it.

Also posted in General Photography

Wild Horses and Cape Lookout Lighthouse: A Shackleford Banks Scene

While visiting Shackleford Banks last week I found these two horses taking it easy in the morning. With the Cape Lookout lighthouse in the background I thought it made a nice scene. I suspect the shot would look nice as a note card so I’m having a small batch made to see if it works. Below is a peek at what it will look like.

Two mustangs rest on the tidal flats at Shackleford Banks with the Cape Lookout Lighthouse in the background.

Also posted in Banker Horses, Natural History in the Carolinas

Pine Savanna Landscape: Always a Challenge for Me

I frequently see landscape photos of wood areas that are absolutely beautiful. However, when I’ve tried to make these kinds of images I’ve always struggled to satisfy myself with the results. I’ve tried and tried, experimented, studied and examined the work of others and felt like I’d finally started to get a handle on making these images. So this morning I went out the a pine savanna area in the Croatan National Forest to try my hand at making a quality landscape… or is that forestscape… image.

When I got home from my morning photo expedition I decided to check out some of my favorite blogs before working on post processing. Oddly enough one of the posts was about something the author referred to as “3D rule of thirds.” He aptly explained exactly what I had struggled to figure out for myself. Be sure to check it out at Quick Tip: The 3-D Rule of Thirds.

Prescribed burns are an important tool for keeping pine savanahs healthy.

The Croatan Forest has a pine savanah which is an important environment. Pine savanahs allow grasses and wildflowers to flourish.

Pine savanahs can be found throughout the Southeastern United States.

Also posted in Nature Photography, Photo Tip