Category Archives: Locations

Photographing Bodie Island Lighthouse and the Milky Way



With a weekend forecast of clear skies and moonless nights, I decided to drive to the Outer Banks and photograph Bodie Island Lighthouse with a Milky Way backdrop.  So I loaded up the car and left home at 1:30 pm last Saturday. Arrived at Nags Head at 5:30 pm and, after a quick dinner, drove to the lighthouse to scout for the evening shoot. By nightfall, I had several shots planned. My favorites from the evening are shown.  The last shot of the series was a 3 1/2 hour star trail image, finishing at 4:00 am. Following a sunrise shot at Jeannette’s Pier, I was on my way home, arriving 22 hours after I had left.

Images only added, for now. Within a week I will add some information on the methods used in obtaining these images.

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The Old Sautee Store

The Old Sautee Store was built in 1872 at the intersection of two major roads— at the confluence of the Sautee and Nacoochee valleys in the North Georgia mountains. One road, Georgia Highway 17, was originally an old Indian trading path known as the Unicoi Trail. It later became a major roadway for settlers to the region. The Old Sautee Store served the local community as a general store and post office until 1962. Of course, I didn’t know any of this when I first passed by the store while on vacation in the area over New Year’s. All I knew  was that it was a remarkably interesting sight by the roadside.  The small parking lot was full, but I was already planning on returning at night to get some images of the building.  Entering the store led to another surprise. Stepping through the front door was like stepping back in time, for the front portion of the store was maintained as an old general store museum—with an old cash register, weights, scales, canned goods and other sundry items. I immediately headed back out the door to get my camera. Handholding a Nikon D800 with 16-35mm f4 lens, I started taking images whenever the front portion of the store was free of other visitors.


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The Outer Banks…..Again

I took another family vacation to the Outer Banks last October. The only serious photography I did was spend two evenings photographing Cape Hattaras and Ocracoke Lighthouses. The weather didn’t cooperate for any morning photography. The images sat unprocessed on my computer until just recently. All images were taken with naturally occurring light, for the most part, with a just a little light from a flashlight in a couple of instances. The evening I photographed Cape Hattaras Lighthouse, a storm was brewing in the distance. I waited, hoping the storm would come closer, but it remained in the distance and slowly rolled southward. However the sheet lightning lit up the cloud bank during the 30 second exposures. Continue reading »

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The Outer Banks: Piers and Lighthouses






In the last post I shared some pelican images from my recent Outer Banks trip. In this post I’m going to share some of the scenic images taken during the trip. As mentioned previously, I had limited time available for photography and used Jared Lloyd’s ebook to plan my photo outings. I spent two mornings photographing sunrise at Jennette’s Pier and one night each at Currituck Beach Lighthouse and Bodie Island Lighthouse. I wish I’d had time to also search out more unique photo opportunities, but due to time factors I concentrated on these more iconic locations.  I often incorporate light painting in my low light photography and did so in some of these images.  For those interested, at the end of this post I’ll provide some reference sources that I have found helpful in learning about night photography and light painting. Continue reading »

The Outer Banks: The Pelicans of Roanoke Island


In late February I spent four days on the Outer Banks. Although it was a family vacation I did manage to find some time for photography. I woke early two mornings for sunrise shoots at a local pier. On two evenings I found time for night photography at nearby lighthouses. However, being primarily a wildlife photographer, I most enjoyed the three hours I spent one afternoon with brown pelicans on Roanoke Island.

Let me first put in a plug for an ebook by photographer Jared Lloyd, The Photographer’s Guide to the Outer Banks. If not for the ebook, I would not have known about this location for pelicans. Jared Lloyd is a talented photographer who grew up on the Outer Banks and has photographed there for many years. He knows the photographic opportunities there, both wildlife and scenic. His guide tells you where the best locations are, as well as the best times to be there. I highly recommend the ebook to anyone planning a photography trip to the Outer Banks. When you factor in the costs of travel and lodging, plus time scouting the area on your own, the price of the ebook is a bargain. You can purchase it at

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Lake Mattamuskeet NWR


I spent last Saturday and Sunday at Lake Mattamuskeet NWR.  Lake Mattamuskeet is about 45 minutes east of Pungo lake (in Pocosin Lakes NWR). I first went to Pungo Lake but there were few photographic opportunities there, so I headed over to Lake Mattamuskeet. I didn’t have much luck with wildlife there either, but did get a couple of nice scenic shots. Above is a night shot of the old Lake Mattamuskeet Lodge/Pump Station. Below are two sunset shots on Lake Mattamuskeet, and an afternoon image of the Lake Mattamuskeet Lodge. The second sunset image is a composite of four images. I used a flashlight to light paint the different trees and dock in several shots and combined them in Photoshop. No light painting was done with the night image of Lake Mattamuskeet Lodge. Continue reading »

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Pocosin Lakes NWR


I went to the Pungo unit of Pocosin Lakes NWR in eastern North Carolina on Saturday. Had initially planned to take my one-man camper and stay overnight at a nearby campground, but the weather forecast for Sunday was not very favorable. So I decided to make it a day trip instead and awoke at 3:00 am to take the 2 1/2 hour drive to the refuge. A number of years ago, I would make several trips each January and February, but I hadn’t been in several years due to increasing restrictions on access. Continue reading »

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