Tag Archives: New Bern

Easy Peasy Duck Photography

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.

Mallard at Union Point Park

Sitting Duck


Mallard Hen

Posted in Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Photo Tip, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , |

Story Telling With Negative Space

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.

An aging Spanish Mustang stands atop a sand dune on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Wild horse of the Outer Banks. Wild Spanish Muatang

Wild horse on the tidal flats of Shackleford Banks.

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

Neuse River Recreation Area: Flanner’s Beach

The entrance to the Neuse River Recreation Area, Flanner's Beach.The Neuse River Recreation Area, locally known as Flanner’s Beach, is off of Highway 70 between Havelock and New Bern, North Carolina. Sitting along the Neuse River and part of the Croatan National Forest, this area features a beach, picnic area, campground and hiking/bicycling trail. I was going to be in New Bern yesterday afternoon and decided to visit this trail on my way home. It was a nice Spring day and we’d been having some plesantly warm weather, so I was hopeful I might come across some wildflowers. Apparently it’s still a little bit early.

The trail system at this recreation area consists of a loop around the campground with a couple of small loops off of that plus one fairly large loop out into the woods. The section circling the campground is paved, as are the two smaller loops. the longer loop is covered with fine pea gravel. The trails are open to bicyclists and hikers alike. Walking parallel to the river from the picnic parking area will put you on the trail. Taking the longer loop around until it meets with the campground route, then back to the parking area will net about a 2 mile hike. While not a huge stroll it is a pretty area with the woods being a mix of pine and hardwoods. The trail crosses a small swampy area via a boardwalk, adding to the variety of terrain. One big plus for this trail is that when everything else is wet, muddy and nasty it provides a dry and comfy trail for stretching your legs. While the Neuse River Recreation Area trail isn’t the longest or most demanding in the area, it makes a great place to take the family, introduce a “tenderfoot” to nature, or to incorporate a picnic with a little excercise. It’s definately well worth a vist.

Posted in Hiking Trail Also tagged , , , |

Not So Wild Life: Urban Nature Photography

When you think of ducks or egrets you tend to thing of somewhat wild, natural places. As someone that loves to observe and photograph wildlife I can promise you I spend most of my time looking for them on trails, along lakes and rivers, in the woods. But sometimes they show up in unexpected places. Below are three shots taken over the last few months. They all have one thing in common. The subjects were photographed in an urban setting.

The Great Egret was photographed in the Morehead City limits, along Highway 70 East. It wasn’t a lone bird that happened to find its self in town, it was one of a few dozen settling down in trees to roost for the evening. During the winter this particular spot always attracts a large number of the egrets that spend each night there. But they only roost there a couple of months each year.

The Hooded Merganser was photographed in Jacksonville, NC. This duck, actually a flock of several, were found along a busy 4 lane street in a storm water holding pond in front of a busy retail area. The funny thing about the day I found the Hoodies was that I’d spent the morning in a blind along a pond in a wooded area hoping for the chance to photograph a duck or two. Since I wasn’t far from Jacksonville I’d came into town to do a little shopping at a sporting goods store after my outing.

Finally the Mallard Duck was photographed inside the New Bern city limits. This is perhaps the least surprising of the series as it was found on the edge of a city park bounded by the Neuse River. Still, it wasn’t the most rustic of environments. The New Bern ducks are pretty well conditioned to human enteraction. Locals come to the area a toss bread and shell corn to the ducks. In addition to the ducks pigeons and gulls gather for handouts. In this case I’d had a meeting with a prospective client in New Bern and, knowing about the ducks, headed to the park afterwards to photograph them. It started raining heavily before I got there so I ended up sitting in the back of my mini-van with the hatch up to provide cover for my tripod and camera.

In all these photographs I’d been careful to hide anything that would clue a viewer that they’d been taken in urban settings. Thinking back… hindsight being twenty-twenty… including some of the urban-scape in the photos might have made them more interesting. Whether you live in the country, in suburbia or downtown if you keep your eyes open you might be surprised at how much nature is around you. Sometimes the best wildlife and nature experience is right there in your own backyard.

A Great Egret roosts inside the Morehead City limits. A Hooded Merganser calmly swims in a holding pond near a busy Jacksonville, NC street.

This Mallard Duck swims in the Neuse River inside the New Bern city limits.

Posted in Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , |