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Whitetail Deer in the Morning

Whitetail deer can be a challenge for photographers. They’re shy, spook easy and often live in areas where deep shadows and heavy brush are common. When lucky enough to get close enough to make a photo I find I usually have the ISO cranked up, the aperture opened up and the shutter speed somewhat low. That’s a recipe for digital noise and/or motion blur. There are locations in the east where getting deer photos is somewhat easy, but coastal Carolina isn’t one of them.

I set out this morning with the hope of finding a deer and getting a shot or two. I headed to one of my favorite spots for Whitetail and was about to call it a morning when I found this little guy. Here are a couple of shots from this morning. I was able to work my way to within 20 yards or so of this young buck. Creep a few inches forward… wait while he stares me down… sneak up a few more inches… wait again… a game that played out over and over.

Whitetail Deer , Coastal Carolina

Small Whitetail Buck

Whitetail Deer in Eastern Carolina

Hanging Rock State Park: Hidden Falls

Hanging Rock State Park is located near Danbury in the northwestern part of North Carolina. Nestled in the Sauratown Mountains, the park is home to several waterfalls. While not the tallest falls in the state, they are certainly pretty. Unlike so many waterfalls that require miles of hiking to reach, the well known falls of Hanging Rock State Park are all short hikes from convenient parking lots. In addition to the five publicized waterfalls, my understanding is that there are a few other falls hidden away and requiring a bit of effort and adventure to find. The following are a few photos and a video of Hidden Falls. All photos were taken with a Canon 7D. The video is a combination of footage from the 7D and from my SJCam SJ 4000 action camera.

Hidden Falls -Hanging Rock State Park

HIdden Falls - Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury NC


waterfalls photographs for sale

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Sometimes Exotic Places are Right In Your Backyard!

Mention the term “wild orchid” and many peoples minds will think of tropical rainforests in some secluded, distant location. But sometimes exotic locations exist in our own backyard. Such is the case with the Croatan National Forest. Located on the Coastal Plain of North Carolina, this forest is home to a variety of exotic plants. Living in this national treasure are several variety of carnivorous plants such as the Venus Fly Trap, Yellow Pitcher Plant, Purple Pitcher Plant and a variety of Sun Dew and Bladderwort plants. In addition to this fascinating class of plants, the Croatan is also home to several wild orchids, including the Yellow Fringed Orchids pictured below.

According to the US Forest Service:

Yellow fringed orchid is a perennial herb that blooms from late June to September. The flowers are showy, with bright yellow to orange flowers that have distinctive fringed lips and are clustered in racemes. This plant is typically found in sunny, wet areas with acidic soils. Its habitats include swamps, seeps, wet meadows and prairies, boggy areas in pine savannas, flatwoods, and roadsides.

Yellow fringed orchid is native to the most of eastern and south central United States. It is still common in the southeastern states, but is becoming rare at the northern edges of its range. Threats to this species include shading of habitat due to succession, plant collection, roadside mowing, and changes in hydrology.


Below are a few photos from a recent trip to the Croatan National Forest.

Yellow Fringed Orchid, Croatan National Forest

Yellow Fringed Orchid, Croatan National Forest

Yellow Fringed Orchid, Croatan National Forest

black and white prints for sale

Repetition: A Compositional Tool

As photographers most of us have had the “rule of thirds” beaten into our artistically thick skulls. So thoroughly is this concept drilled into us that we frequently miss other wonderful compositional opportunities. One compositional concept that is frequently overlooked as to do with repetition. Repeating shapes or objects can be a strong compositional tool. Sometimes repetition will allow and otherwise mundane subject to be an interesting image. Combine repetition with other compositional concepts such as the use of lines and diagonals to help strengthen the impact of such images.

Below are a couple recent images of a sand fence found along the coast of North Carolina. Honestly there’s nothing glamorous about this subject. As subject matter goes a sand fence is not colorful, rare, or particularly beautiful. Yet they can be an interesting subject. What these photos have going for them, at least in my mind, is the repetitious pattern created by the fence combined with the stark contrast of light and dark plus the strength of lines. Take a look and see what you think.

A sand fence .along the Carolina coast

Simple concepts such as repetition, lines, and contrast can combine for interesting compositions..

nautical art for sale

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Marshallberg Harbor

Following the big snow at the end of January I ventured out in search of some interesting snowscapes to photograph. My explorations included a trip to the downeast community of Marshallberg, NC. While I was there I took a few minutes to photographically explore the boats moored in the Marshallberg community harbor. From the viewpoint of images depicting the rare coastal snow storm these shots really don’t work. But from a historical/Americana perspective I think they’re kind of interesting. Considering the primary subjects were wood construction boats, and the primary color of the boats being white, I felt black & white was a better choice than color for these images. While these shots aren’t really nature related, I think they fit in well with the “adventures in and around the Carolinas” theme.

Abstract view of the wheel house of a woodent fishing trawler.

A fishing boat sits in Marshallberg Harbor

Wooden fishing trawler in port.

Detail of a wood constructed trawler.

Marshallberg Harobor

black and white photos

Also posted in General Photography, History & Landmarks, History and Landmarks Tagged , , , , |

Art Sale on Fine Art America

A question I often hear from others photographers is “do you ever sell anything on Fine Art America.?” The answer is a resounding yes. Now don’t misunderstand me it’s not like I get a sale a week, or even every month, but I do make enough sale to make it worth the effort. Last night I had an order for a two really nice sized canvas prints. One print is being printed at 72″x48″… that’s 6 feet by 4 feet! The other is only slightly smaller. It always feels good when someone appreciates your art enough to make a purchase and hang it on their wall. If you’d like to see which photos were purchased just follow the links below.

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Greater Yellowlegs

I enjoy finding these birds when I’m out doing shorebird photography from kayak. One of the larger shorebirds, these are migrants. They travel to Canada for breeding in the Spring then winter in warmer climates… including the North Carolina coast. A somewhat similar looking and named bird, the Lesser Yellowlegs, is difficult to tell apart unless you find them together. The Greater is larger, has a slightly upturned bill that tends to be blue-gray near its base.

For shorebird photography I like to work from my kayak. Even though I’m approaching from the water, these birds can be a little skittish… ok, most shore birds can be a bit skittish… so a slow, careful approach is called for. The best bet is if you can let the wind and/or current drift you into camera range. If you need to paddle you need to keep the paddle movement to a minimum. Don’t make a direct approach of the bird is bound to take to wing.

Making photographs of small shorebirds from a kayak requires a long lens and hand holding rather than using a nice, sturdy tripod. The combination of a telephoto lens and hand holding the camera sets up a bit of risk of camera shake and motion blur. The trick is to keep the shutter speed fast to minimize the effects of this problem.

Greater Yellowlegs at Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve.

Also posted in Avian Photography, General Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Photo Tip Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

Flutter Bys

While it’s not the primary focus of my photography, I definitely have a love for shooting macro. When one sees a close-up photo of a flower or insect they usually assume it was shot using a macro lens. While that may be true in many instances, it’s not always the case. The shots below, for example, were taken with my “super-zoom,” the Sigma 50-500mm lens. This lens certainly has no close-focus capabilities and would not fit the criteria to be considered a “macro lens.” It is possible, however, to make some nice close-up shots of small critters and flora using a telephoto lens. The fact is these were opportunistic shots. I wasn’t actively pursuing butterfly shots but when the opportunity presented its self I wasn’t hesitant to take advantage of it. When out in nature you need to be observant and willing to make adjustments when photographic opportunities knock.

Butterfly in the Croatan National Forest.

Non-macro butterly close-up

Butterfly photo taken with a Sigma 50-500mm lens

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Anole on a Cattail

The title of the post pretty much says it all.  I was working a forest road for interesting flora when I spotted this little guy perched on the head of a cattail.  I just couldn’t resist making a few images of it.  The lizard cooperated nicely and allowed me to approach closer than I expected.  Of course I started making shots from a bit of distance then slowly worked closer and closer until my subject finally got tired of me and scurried on down the stalk and into cover.  The temptation, of course, is always to move in nice and close from the beginning.  That’s a really good way to end-up without an image to show for the effort.  Slow, diligent movement while observing the animals reaction and alert level is the key to success regardless of the size of animal you’re attempting to photograph.

Green anole in the Croatan National Forest.

Green anole on a cattail head.

Green anole.


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A Few Bird Shots from This Morning

A few days ago I received a new camera. One of my primary bodies had died unexpectedly so I decided this might be a good time to try out a different body so I ordered a Canon 7D. Depending on who you ask this model is either a great camera or a noisy piece of junk. I’m not a “pixel peeper” and am well versed in how to show to reduce noise. I also have the knowledge and software to deal with a bit of noise if necessary. My first impression is that I’m going to be very happy with this camera. Only time will tell.





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