Tag Archives: Beach

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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My Prejudice Against Sunrise and Sunset Shots

I’m willing to admit it. I have a prejudice against sunrise and sunset photos. It’s not that dawn and dusk are beautiful times of the day. They most certainly are. My prejudice isn’t about a lack of beauty, it’s the result of some ideas that were put into my head many years ago. Honestly I don’t really recall when it started but I do remember some of the circumstances that created it. I don’t recall if it was an article in a magazine, or a paragraph in a photography book, but some where along the line I read something about how “cliche” photos of sunsets and sunrises are. In general the author was suggesting that the odds were against you if you were trying to place those types of photos with a stock agency… that the market was saturated with images of the sun setting and rising. For some reason that suggestion stuck with me. I vaguely remember reading other articles talking about how sunrise and sunsets are simply too easy to photograph. The idea was planted in my mind that it’s almost impossible to take a bad sunrise or sunset photo. Ever since reading those words, having those concepts placed in my mind, I’ve struggled with photographing these wonderfully colorful scenes.

When I talk about struggling with making these types of images I don’t mean with things such as technique and composition, but with generating the mental motivation to take those kinds of shots. I almost feel guilty when I make photos of the sun rising or setting over a pleasant scene. I’ve been brainwashed into the belief that these shots are just too easy. That’s really not true. All sunrise-sunset images are not created equally. There are a few photographers I know of that are brilliant and finding locations and setting up compositions at dawn and dusk. All of these images are not equal. This is a fact I have to keep reminding myself. You may have noticed over the last year or so that I’ve posted a few sunrise and sunset shots. I’m trying to beat that prejudice and allow myself the joy of photographing these beautiful, daily events. Below is a recent effort.

Atllantic Beach sunset.  The Southern Outer Banks of North Carolina.

beach photos

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Sunset at Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

There are a few advantages to the shorter days of winter. One of those is that sunset actually occurs before the gates close at Fort Macon State Park. During the summer’s “Daylight Savings Time” hours it’s impossible to get either sunset or sunrise shots at the fort. With the exceptionally nice weather we were enjoying I decided to take advantage of the situation yesterday evening and headed over to the park to take some sunset photos. Since it was a Saturday I wasn’t surprised that the jetty was covered with fishermen. Considering the spring-like weather I really can’t blame them. I parked in the main lot in front of the fort, hiked along the beach to a suitable spot for photography near the jetty. I took a seat on the sand and waited on the setting sun. I chose a 35mm prime lens, leveled my camera, decided on a suitable composition and made a few images as the sun set. My favorite photos came after official sunset, as is often the case.

Sunset at Fort Macon State Park near the rock jetty.

Sunset over the Atlantic ocean, Atlantic Beach, NC

North Carolina sunset at Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach.

nautical photographs for sale

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A Couple More Shots of the Pier

I worked up a couple more images of the pier. I have to admit that these might be favorites of the bunch

Oceanana pier as night falls.

Oceanana fishing pier, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

beach prints

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Oceanana Pier Revisted

I decided to revisit the Oceanana Pier for some sunset photography last night. For these shots I used a circular polarizer and a neutral density filter, combined with a small aperture and low ISO to get a nice, slow shutter speed to add some soft, fuzzy quality to the moving water. Here are a few of my favorites from the session.

The Oceania fishing pier at dusk.

Underneath the fishing pier, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

Oceania fishing pier, Atlantic Beach, NC

The Oceanic pier as night falls

outer banks prints

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Sunset on Atlantic Beach

I slipped over to Atlantic Beach a couple of evenings ago to make some photos. Here are a few of the resulting images.

Sunest on Atlantic Beach North Carolina

Oceanic Fishing Pier at Sunset.

Rustic looking public bench on Atlantic Beach.

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Starfish on the Beach

Sometimes it’s fun to visit the local gift shops, select an object and use that as a prop for a photo session. This evening I decided to spend a little time photographing a starfish on the beach. I hope you enjoy the results.

Starfish on the beach.


Natural props, such as whelk shells or starfish, can be fun photographic subjects.

Starfish and whelk shell on the beach.

outer banks photos

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A Dying Breed: Oceanana Fishing Pier, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

When I moved to the Crystal Coast there were 6 public fishing piers along the Atlantic Ocean; Bogue Inlet Pier, Emerald Isle Pier, the Iron Steamer Pier, the Sportsman Pier, Triple S Pier and Oceanana Fishing Pier. Today there are only two left. This is a trend that’s occurring up and down the coast of North Carolina. For example, in 1996 there were 32 piers along our coast, by 2009 only 19 remained open to the public. This evening I decided to pay a visit to the Oceanana on Atlantic beach. Below are a couple of the resulting images.

A veiw from under the pier.

The Oceanana fishing pier juts out into the ocean along Atlantic Beach in North Carolina.

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Are You Ready to Rumble? Wild Horse Spat on the Tidal Flats

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.

The beginning of a wild horse conflict.

The horse fight gets a bit more serious.

Wild horses frequently spar over territory and dominance.

The wild horse fight continues.

Horse fights can be more serious and long lasting when breeding rights are involved.

The conflict is almost done.

Apparently wild horses don't hold grudges.

Posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Shackleford Banks Seagulls

It’s all too easy to overlook seagulls when making nature photographs. After all, along the coast they seem almost omni-presents. They’re almost everywhere. Even so there are a variety of different gulls and they can make interesting photographic subjects. Here is a Laughing Gull and a Ringbill Gull photographed while waiting on pick-up from Shackleford Banks. Often times the best tactic for photographing shore birds is to take a seat along the beach, stay reasonably quiet and still, and to allow them to come to you.


A Laughing Gull strikes a pose along the beach on Shackleford Banks
A Ringbill Gull goes for a wade.



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