My Favorite Images of 2021: A Baker’s Dozen

First up is this photo of a Live Oak tree made in the Hoop Pole Nature Reserve at Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. I like this photo so much that I have a large canvas of it hanging in my own home. I find the textures provided by the bark of the tree and the leaves on the ground, combined with the abstract patterns formed by the twisting limbs and trunks quite appealing. Add in the warm orange back light and to my eye it is a very pleasant photograph to view.

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Next up is a shot from inside the fort at Fort Macon State Park. I had came to the park with the plan of photographing some birds. This location has been a good spot for avian photography in the past. On this morning, however, the birds were quite scarce. Rather than blowing off the day and heading home, I decided to explore inside the earth and brick fortress. This black and white photo features a stack of cannon balls with some of the fort’s brickwork in the background.

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I love living along the coast of North Carolina. That said, I do occasionally miss the deciduous forests I grew up around. Fortunately there is a section of the Croatan Forest that provides a nice fix for that nostalgia. The Island Creek Walk trail is one of my favorite areas to explore. It provides a nice contrast to the beach and pine savanna environments that dominate the area. In my mind the image below is a perfect early summer view along this slow moving stream.

Wall Art

When my late wife, Terri, and I relocated on the Crystal Coast there were seven fishing piers along the beach in Carteret County. Today there are only two still standing and operating. A vanishing tradition, I of course seek to document the remaining piers. This is a sunrise shot taken of the Oceanana Fishing Pier in Atlantic Beach, NC.

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I love living along the coast but wanderlust strikes me from time to time. After vising family back home in Indiana, I took the long way home so I could spend a little time on the Blue Ridge Parkway. As sunset neared I pulled into an overlook to make an attempt at a classic mountains sunset photograph. When I arrived one other photographer was also there. I set-up my tripod and camera and began the wait for the setting sun. While waiting I noticed a rather interesting dead tree standing a few yards in front and down the hill from my location. As I worked to compose a photo that included the tree the other photographer commented, “I’ve tried to get a photo of that tree several times and have yet to get a composition I was happy with. Good luck.” Personally, I’m very satisfied with my resulting image.

 

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But what about the sunset you might be thinking. This one make the favorite image list if for no other reason than I rarely get to make images in the mountains.

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One morning while visiting the Elliot Couse trail at Fort Macon State Park I set-up to make a landscape photo of the adjacent wetlands. Much to my delight a white tail deer wandered into view on the marsh. This made for a wonderful and somewhat unusual wildlife photo.

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Speaking of wildlife, I’d be quite remiss if I didn’t include at least one photograph of one of the wild horses living along North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. This photo was made in the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve, Beaufort, North Carolina. I used a super telephoto lens to make an intimate portrait of this lovely wild horse.  In my mind the eyes show a creature with a beautiful soul and of great intelligence. Black and white seemed the perfect presentation for this image.

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Back to the mountains, I always find myself drawn to waterfalls. There is something about the sound, movement and energy of them that is extremely appealing to me.  On my drive home through the mountains I made it a point to visit Soco Falls. Though I’ve visited this geologic feature several times, I was never satisfied with the photographs I’d made of it. I do feel this years attempt was an improvement on that effort.

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I find beauty in decaying old buildings and home. I’m also inclined to try to document those things that are disappearing from the world we live in.  Those two sentiments combine nicely to drive me to photograph tobacco barns when I encounter them. Over the last two or three decades tobacco use has plummeted and the growing a tobacco as a cash crop has significantly decreased. As farmers have moved on to other crops these old barns have began to disappear from the Southern Landscape. Time has take quite a toll on the barn featured in this image.

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The coast is not particularly known for colorful fall foliage. However if you know where to look you can find some very striking autumn views along the coastal plain. In this image I returned to the Island Creek Forest Walk to capture some fall color.

Living at the beach it is only natural to make photographs including the sand and ocean. In this photograph the sun is setting over the ocean providing a lovely palette of colors. In the distance a couple walks along the beach, hand in hand. A shot showing the beauty of nature and human romance rolled into one.

 

The beach also provides some opportunity to create some unexpected images. While it is easy to concentrate on making photos showing off the beauty of the coastal landscape, if on looks close enough they can find more intimate, even abstract images of the beach environment. I simply love the textures and patterns found in the sand.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review of some of my personal favorites. I have been blessed with a productive year. It would’ve been easy to have picked so many more and, on some days, my choices might be quite different. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this presentation. Be sure to visit the portfolio area to view more of my work and to pick your favorites.

This entry was posted in General Photography, Landscape Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Uncategorized.

4 Comments

  1. Bill Swartwout January 4, 2022 at 12:53 pm #

    Beautiful photography, Bob. What a wonderful way to wrap up the challenges of the year, 2021. From the beach to the mountains your imagery and narrative tell a fascinating story of how you interpret the world around you – around us. I live at the beach in Delaware and I enjoy traveling to the mountains so I can almost “feel” what you’ve done here.

  2. Lois Bryan January 6, 2022 at 12:20 pm #

    These are glorious!!!! No way to pick a favorite, but that fishing pier is spectacular!!!!! Wishing you a 2022 filled with even more super photo ops!!!

  3. Dorothy Berry-Lound January 9, 2022 at 12:42 am #

    These are all gorgeous Bob, but I agree, that oak tree is just stunning.

  4. Rebecca Herranen January 18, 2022 at 10:02 am #

    Beautiful collection for the last year, I love the Mustang and your first image reminds me of a very famous photographer. Looking forward to what you see for us in the year ahead.

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