Crossing the Bar

December of 1985 I went on a three day fishing trip with Captain Terry Saunders aboard the 80 foot trawler, Richard Wayne. Based in Wanchese, he was going offshore, dragging for winter flounder. For two days, productivity was moderate with calm seas.

That night, lying in a forepeak bunk I felt changes in the tempo of the waves. By early morning the wind had freshened from the northeast making for some choppy conditions.

Stevie Daniels’ Bailey Boy fished nearby.

The captains discussed navigating the narrow shoaling channel at Oregon Inlet before conditions deteriorated further.

They decided to cut the trip short, head back and not take unnecessary chances, crossing the shallow bar into the inlet. I shot Bailey Boy heading over the shoal as it followed us home.

Earth Day

With Earth Day officially two days ago, I thought about some natural wonders that I’ve seen. During the 80’s and 90’s, I made quite a few trips to play and photograph in Costa Rica. They were all diverse, fantastic experiences, and I especially admired tropical rainforests.

On a 1994 trip, traveling with long time friend Allen Jones, we hiked into remote Corcovado National Park on the Osa Peninsula and spent a better part of a week camping, exploring and taking pictures.

Considered one of the most biodiverse systems on earth, the park at Corcovado is a classic example of old growth tropical rainforest.

Leaving Corcovado, we noticed a logging road just outside the park so we drove in. A huge clearing indicated lots of tree cutting.

Continuing down the road, we watched a truck leaving, loaded with huge logs.

The red dirt road meandered up into a dense forest.

At the end of the road, workers were dragging logs from the woods then loading them onto a truck.

It was a good time for my limited Spanish to came in handy. We introduced ourselves and asked if we could take some photographs.  They welcomed us and continued working.

Logs were skidded from the forest one at a time then cut to length for transport.

Back in the forest were bare stumps selectively numbered for harvest.

With such beautiful heartwood, the trees must have been quite old.

While cutting a log, the man on the left caught a small wood fragment in his eye. I got my first aid kit equipped with some eye drops to wash it out, a technique I learned as an EMT. He was quite appreciative. Despite destruction of the forest, I had to respect these men, working so hard to earn a living, supporting their families.

Decades later I wonder how much if any, of that virgin forest is remaining.

 

 

 

Pelican Island

The Summer of 1980 I went on an excursion in a 14 foot skiff with photographer friends Ray Matthews and Foster Scott. We launched the boat from Ocracoke and began to explore the inlet and some small islands. One island especially attracted us. Known as Beacon Island, it was once the site of a small brick lighthouse in the mid-1800’s.

Breeding pelicans were first observed on Beacon in 1928, but the population ran into trouble with widespread use of DDT which weakened the shells, causing mortalities as the birds numbers plummeted. Following the ban of DDT in 1972, brown pelicans began making a dramatic comeback.

One morning, I used a 20mm Nikkor lens on an F2 to photograph the nest site on the opposite side of the island.

Then attaching a 400mm Novoflex lens I caught this one returning to its nest.

We used the island as a base camp, and explored surrounding waters and islands for three days. At the time, research was being conducted on Beacon as it was the northernmost nesting site for brown pelicans on the east coast. Since then the island has come under the ownership and protection of Audubon North Carolina. Today pelican nesting on Beacon is prolific.

 

Rule of Thirds

I’ve always loved shooting seascapes, and composition is an important part of that discipline. One of the basic rules of composition is dividing the frame into thirds, vertically or horizontally.

I rarely shoot sunsets, but 2 weeks ago while exploring the marsh behind my house, I broke out my GX8 and made this rule-breaker of a silhouetted stand of spartina alternaflora, also known as smooth cordgrass. At times, I like fixing a horizon line in the middle of a frame.

Just brown sticks now, by summer they will transition to lush green foliage.