A Week of Relaxing Photograhy in the Outer Banks

November 02, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I thought I'd share a little bit about my recent trip to the Outer Banks for my first ever photography blog.  It was a long time coming, as it has been almost 8 years since I've been back to the coast of North Carolina.  Unfortunately I didn't have a ton of time to plan, but I did my best.  We were fortunate to find a house on the beach, not only to have a natural wave sound machine, but easy opportunities for sunrise and sunset.  We stayed in the Kill Devil Hills area of the Outer Banks, which faces directly east so you're treated to the sun kissing the waves every morning, and dropping below the bay on the other side of the island at night. 

Dusk on the OceanCanon 5D Mark III, 50mm, f/10 @ 0.6, ISO 100

Kill Devil Hills really is a great location in the Outer Banks, because it's so central.  You can go an hour in either direction, and see everything from the Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras Lighthouses to the south, to the wild horses of Corolla and the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in the north. The Wright Brothers National Memorial is minutes down the street, and the largest sand dune on the east coast at Jockey's Ridge is 15 minutes. In 3 minutes you can be on either side of the island to catch the sunrise on the ocean or sunset on the bay.  I'd like to share some highlights of the area that I highly recommend to visit when in the vicinity.

Located on the Carova beaches and surrounding 7,500 acres of the protected sanctuary, these magnificent and wild animals are free to wander and go as they please.  You can read more on their history, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund and tours here.  They are beautiful creatures, but do not touch or approach!  They weren't on the beach this day, but they were great to see.  They appear very wide in the midsection, bloated due to all of the saltwater they drink.

Dining with a FriendWild Horses of CorollaCanon 5D Mark III, 148mm, f/7.1 @ 1/250th, ISO 100

Located in Dare County in Nag's Head, Jockey's Ridge state park boasts sand dunes varying from 80-100 ft which are the highest in the eastern US, sitting on 420 acres. It's very popular with kite flyers and hand gliders. 

DunesJockey's Ridge State ParkCanon 5D Mark III, 34mm, f/9 @ 1/200th, ISO 100

Use your visit to try different angles, colors, and be sure to look for patterns. 

Original 1903 Wright Brothers flyerOriginal 1903 Wright Brothers flyerSmithsonian Air and Space Museum Just down the road from Jockey's Ridge in Kill Devil Hells is the original birthplace of powered human flight at the Wright Brothers National Memorial (run by the National Park Service).  Now a large field of grass (to help with erosion), the flat field is the exact spot that on December 17, 1903 Orville Wright left the ground in 4 separate flights and landing into history. The original 1903 flyer has its own room in the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.  The onsite visitor's center has a full-size replica of the flyer.  If you recall from your history books, it documents the flight happening in Kitty Hawk, NC but the current location is in Kill Devil Hills.  At the time of their first flight, Kitty Hawk (about 4 miles to the north) was the closest settlement.  The town of Kill Devil Hills wasn't formally established until 1953.

First Flight MarkersWright Brothers National MemorialCanon 5D Mark III, 92mm, f/14 @ 1/160, ISO 100

There are many lighthouses in NC, and I didn't get to them all.  While Cape Hatteras is the biggest, I think one of the most interesting is the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla, NC. 

Currituck Beach LighthouseCanon 5D Mark III, 35mm, f/4.5 @ 1/30th, ISO 2500 (handheld)

Bodie Island LighthouseCanon 5D Mark III, 40mm, f/11 @ 1/640th, ISO 100

 Located nearby is the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. 

Cape Hatteras National SeashoreCanon 5D Mark III, 24mm, f/7.1 @ 1/500th, ISO 200

I also got to experiment with some new filters, a Lee 10-stop and 3-stop reverse grad ND.  Here are some examples of the 10 stop, in the right environment it really gives a nice effect.

Kill Devils BayKill Devils BayCanon 5D Mark III, 24mm, f/11 @ 178 sec, ISO 100, Lee 10-stop filter

Avalon PierAvalon PierCanon 5D Mark III, 200mm, f/11 @ 3 minutes, ISO 100

I also got drenched on more than one occasion with my camera (which didn't) doing some testing with fast action waves.  This is one of my favorites that made the cut:

WavesWavesCanon 5D Mark III, 102mm, f/11 @ 1/3200th, ISO 400

 I'll leave this entry with one of my favorite shots from the trip. 

Sunrise at Avalon PierSunrise at Avalon PierCanon 5D Mark III, 88mm, f/14 @ .5 sec, ISO 100

I encourage you to check out all the shots from my trip on the Beach 2014 gallery.  Tell me what you think!  If you're interested in purchasing any prints, please go to the main galleries on the site or if there's something you want and don't see, ask me about it! 


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