Oh, OBX…such a raw and rugged coastline that we get to explore and photograph! Sandy beaches, rippling dunes, brave piers and majestic lighthouses. What a fantastic trip!
Headquartered in the Kill Devil Hills / Nags Head area we had a prime location to venture north and south to explore the sleepy fishing villages and boisterous watering holes.
We kicked off our adventures with introductions and a get know each other dinner at the Blue Moon Beach Grill before heading out to the first of many incredible locations. The clouds were looking a little thin, but hope lingered and good conversation kept everyone engaged. After dinner we made our way down the coast to Bodie Island Lighthouse. A few folks had visited this particular lighthouse earlier in the week and we set up specific challenges to keep the juices flowing. Tommy had captured a stunning star image earlier in the week and when the clouds started to clear through sunset, everyone was hopefully that it would clear enough for the stars to shine through. After a couple of hours our wishes were answered and the stars were shinning brightly. We didn’t expect the fireflies to be so prominent and they provided that little something extra, stars above and stars below.
After an invigorating evening it was back to the hotel for much needed rest and preparation for an early morning out to Avalon Pier for a dramatic sunrise. Conditions in the middle of summer are perfect for sunrise on the beach. Warm sea water, plenty of wind to deter the bugs and generally excellent cloud conditions. It was perfect in the warm sand and we made the most of it, working on getting the perfect shutter speed to capture that silky wave motion. A few even started working on some longer exposures.
After a fantastic breakfast we all headed to Jockey’s Ridge State Park to capture the rippling sand dunes and work up a sizable thirst. This really challenged everyone compositionally and finding spots without footprints was tough. Thankfully temperatures were still low and by the real heat of the day we were safely inside the hotel discussing compositional elements, seeing in black and white and some advanced processing techniques.
After a rest break we headed South into a massive thunderstorm hoping to get out the other side and photograph the iconic Frisco Pier in the clouds. We made it barely but the storm grew quickly and we only had a short session before the heavy rain and lightning engulfed us. We decided to head back up the coast checking on conditions the whole way up before heading back for some much needed rest.
Our final morning we made the short drive onto Roanoke Island and Manteo Light. It is in the middle of gorgeous harbor and we had fantastic clouds for folks to really work on their long exposures and capture some really interesting detail in the sky. Another great breakfast and discussion ensued at the Front Porch Cafe and then we headed back to Frisco Pier for a much more relaxing time photographing the great clouds above the intense waves and disintegrating pier. We aren’t sure how much longer this pier will be standing as demolition appears to be under way already. It was a really calming end to a wonderful weekend.
Check out all the weekend activities from the group below.