There’s a really nice article about the Crystal Coast wild horses that was recently posted to NCWildHorses.com. The site owner spent several days visiting our horses, including joining me on the April Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Safari. There’s some good information in the article and well as throughout the site. Check out the article at: http://www.ncwildhorses.com/safari.htm.
Category Archives: Natural History in the Carolinas
Unquestionably one of the most iconic images for the wild horses of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, finding an angle that will permit a photographer to include the lighthouse in the background of a wild mustang photo is actually fairly rare. The odds improve when the horses are out on one of the marsh islands and you’re using a private charter to reach the horses, as was the case on the second day of the Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Safari last week. Hopefully we’ll get a repeat opportunity during next month’s tour which, by the way, still has limited space available (). Here are a couple of shots of a wild horse with the Cape Lookout Light in the background.
During last weeks Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Safari we were fortunate to be able to spend a bit of time with some youngsters. On Shackleford Banks we encountered a young mustang with a distinctive black star on its forehead. Over at the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve we were able to locate the newest member of the herd. If you scroll back a bit you can find a post with images of her and her mother a few days after her birth. If anyone’s interested there is still a spot or two available in next month’s wild horse photo safari. I’d love to have you join us!
We enjoyed some great photographic opportunities, lots of action and some great conditions for the April 2013 Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Safari. A simple three word descriptive might be “fog, foals and fights!” We started the first morning with a bit of fog cover which certainly added a nice tough of ambiance to our photos. We got shots of foals both at the Rachel Carson Reserve and on Shackleford Banks. Everyone also got to observe and photographs a few horse fights. It was certainly a good outing. It’s going to take a while to sort through and process all the images so I thought for a first post about the Photo Safari I’d start with a few shots that include some of the participants working with the wild horses.
While on a scouting trip yesterday evening I came upon a lone horse feeding along the edge of the dunes. While most of the wild horses live in small family groups called “harems,” it’s not unusual for there to be a few animals living a solo life. Sometimes these are young stallions waiting to build their own harem. Other times they’re older or infirm animals living as outcasts. In this instance it is a relatively young and healthy mare named Charleigh. I hope you enjoy these images of this lovely horse in the warm light of the setting sun.
Cambridge Maryland has a spot on Oakly Street that is famous for being an easy spot to photograph ducks. Every fall hundreds… probably thousands of photographers flock to the location to make waterfowl photos without the hassle of camo, blinds, calls and decoys. It truly is a matter of shooting “sitting ducks.” Not every photographer is going to want to invest the time and money to make a trip to Cambridge but would love an easy opportunity to make photos of ducks. If you live in eastern North Carolina there is a location that can provide you a similar experience. You aren’t likely to be photography Canvasbacks and Lesser Scaups like you would along Oakly street but if you’d be satisfied with Mallards and Coots this is a great place for you. New Bern’s Union Point Park is a popular spot for the locals to come feed and watch the ducks. Just come to the park and head down to the end near the hotel. You’ll find plenty of camera friendly ducks, coots, gulls and pigeons. And you never really know, something more exotic than a Mallard my be hanging out when you visit.
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.
As a nature & wildlife photographer one of my goals is to tell a story with my imagery. In the case of the wild horses of the Crystal Coast one of those tales is about the environment they live in and what a struggle their lives can be. I love close-up portraits of the horses but when I do those intimate photos, if I don’t tell you it’s a wild horse you, the viewer, really doesn’t have anything to show that it isn’t a farm animal. In the case of the images below the viewer gets a clear view of the where the horses live. Purposely I tried to make the horse look small in a big, wide open and wild place. The animals in these series, mustangs living wild and free on Shackleford Banks, have occupied this island for almost 500 years. It’s a hard life where food sources have minimal nutritional value, there is nothing but small scrub brushes and cedars to provide shelter and limited freshwater sources. So, without further explanation, I’ll let this set of photos tell their story.
I was out photographing the wild horses yesterday evening. There were a few little spats that broke out while I was there. These short little bouts are about territory and domination and usually last only a few seconds to a minute. Many times only one horse really even flairs-up, the other just taking it from the aggressor. Below is a series of photos showing one of these sparring matches.
If you’d like an opportunity to take photos like these I have a couple spaces open in a Wild Horses of the Crystal Coast workshop September 15, 16.
Sunday evening I made a visit to the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve. I’d heard there was a new foal and this was my second visit to try to find and photograph it. While I failed to located it on the first visit this trip was successful. Because of the need to manage the size of the herd the opportunity to photograph foals, colts and fillies at the reserve is rare. This little foal is destined to mature into a lovely little filly and eventually a beautiful mare that I’ll have the pleasure of photographing for years to come.