September 11, 2016

Hermine in Memorium

Filed under: beach,Outer Banks,Pamlico Sound,storms,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 3:30 pm

Since our latest tropical system passed recently, it gave me pause to think about all the others that have come before. The first for me was Hurricane Carol in 1954. My family lived at Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and my father, a meteorologist for the Navy Weather Service, was gone on a reconnoissance flight out over the Atlantic. The hurricane tore off the back porch of our house and as the eye of the storm brought calm, my mother took us to a safer haven at a neighbor’s house. Even though I was very young, I remember it so well.

After consulting a climatology report on tropical cyclones affecting Cape Hatteras, I found over two dozen that have become memories in my life. Some like Gloria, Emily, Dennis, Isabel, Irene and Arthur had an impact. Others like Belle, Josephine, Gabrielle, Bob, Felix, Bonnie, and Hanna had lesser consequences.

Hurricane Hermine made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Florida and bore down on the Outer Banks as a tropical storm. Hatteras Island was right in it’s path.

cloudsTall cumulous clouds announced the storm’s approach, and we took the available time to clean up the yard and secure items worth saving. I set up my barometer to gauge the power of Hermine, and went to bed that breezy evening. About 2 AM, I was awakened by an east wind and rain beating my house. At times it must have been gusting to 60 or more and I could hear what some call the sound of a freight train. My barometer was at 1004 millibars.

radarI went back to sleep and when I awoke at around 6:30, there was no wind or rain. It was a beautiful, sunny morning. Incredulous, I checked the barometer that read 992 millibars, the lowest of the storm. I knew then we were in the center of the action.

sunnyThe only water on highway 12 was from about 6 inches of rain that Hermine brought. I saw people jogging by and I greeted one of them with a good morning. Her response clearly indicated that she thought the storm was over, but I knew we were in for a bit more on the backside.

beachThe beach north of the pier was nearly empty, and the blue sky overhead was surrounded by storm clouds. We were involved with the eye for over 4 hours. Then the wind switched and picked up from the opposite direction. We began hearing reports of storm surge flooding in Hatteras, Frisco, Buxton and Avon.

soundIn the thick of it I decided to check the sound shore of my property. The marsh was white-capped and under water. In the northerly winds, I had a hard time standing up, shooting and getting back to the house.

horizontalNext day, still under the influence of Hermine offshore, I photographed around a Pea Island dune that had shown the effects of the wind.

blowout                                          A blow out through the dune made some interesting patterns both vertically and horizontally.

duneLike many other storms, Hermine brought some silver-lined photo-ops.

 

 

 

August 17, 2016

Bird’s Eye View of the Tri-Villages

Filed under: aerial photography,Outer Banks,Pamlico Sound — j0jgvm89bj @ 2:47 pm

Last month I had a request for an aerial photograph of the tri-village area. That got me digging into some old images. Views from above are dramatic and show how isolated we are, surrounded with water.

In January of 1985, we had a severe cold snap, and the Pamlico Sound froze out as far as one could see. It was frustrating to photograph from land, so I hired a pilot to take me up to an elevated vantage point. That was the first time I did any aerial photography.

1985The spectacular view of Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo from 7,000 feet showed the massive ice flows in Pamlico Sound.

1989Later during a 1989 northeaster, I shot from 1,000 feet over Salvo.

1991While airborne in 1991, I made some fair weather photographs of the village.

2011My latest aerial shot with a similar perspective was taken in the Fall of 2011.

My how this place has grown!

July 12, 2016

Wilbur Gaskill

Filed under: buildings,Outer Banks,People — j0jgvm89bj @ 2:00 pm

Corkey's

From the very first time I visited the island, Ocracoke has always struck a cord with me. On an excursion to the village in 1978, I was wandering the back roads near Corkey’s Grocery Store. There was an old timer sitting on the porch wittling wooden birds with a pocket knife. I was enthralled with this scene as I approached. A budding photographer, I was a bit timid shooting people, especially if I didn’t know them. I wanted a picture and asked for his permission first. He said okay and I took three or four shots.

Gaskill

It didn’t occur to me at the time that this encounter would never happen again. I have always cherished this photo of him. Wilbur Gaskill passed away two years later.

June 23, 2016

Selby Jr.

Looking back, some of my most endearing photographs were portrait shots of locals. If I had it to do all over again, I would concentrate on environmental portraiture more than I did. I guess it’s fortunate that I captured anything at all. Life is full of regrets. Most of the time we have only one chance at something, then the opportunity is gone forever.

One of my favorite portraits was taken in 1980 as I accompanied my fishing friends setting up a pound net. It’s a labor intensive process, cutting the stakes from a forest, transporting them out to the Pamlico Sound and jetting them firmly into the bottom. The wooden stakes are the framework to support the net system. The pound net is an old, yet efficient method of catching fish. Fish follow a line of net that leads into a rectangular pound where they are trapped alive, until they are bailed out by the fishermen.selby jr

Selby Gaskins Jr. was a young man then and willing to pitch in to help. Mischievous at times, he always seemed to have a good time and not cause much trouble to anyone. In this shot he was taking a break after applying his weight to force the pole down as it was pumped into the bottom. He was obviously enjoying himself as I took some pictures. For me this photograph typifies the carefree lifestyle when I moved here, no shoes, no shirt, no problem.

Later in life Selby was stricken with MS, and over the years has slowly lost much of his physical capabilities. It’s been heartbreaking to see this happen to a friend. He’s spent years restricted to a motorized wheelchair, yet used it to get to the post office or go to a friend’s house. The community has come together to help in a number of fundraising events. Much to his appreciation, some of us have brought him fish and oysters. I’ve always been amazed at his courage living with this relentless, debilitating disease. His life is a tough one.

May 30, 2016

Holiday Weekend

Filed under: beach,Outer Banks,Piers — j0jgvm89bj @ 4:48 pm

This morning my rain gauge showed 2 ½ inches of overnight rainfall. Despite that, with Memorial Day here, we’ve officially begun our high season for tourism. The rain from Tropical Depression Bonnie, will likely continue off and on over the next few days. Today is a washout, but yesterday was gorgeous with pleasant ocean breezes. We peddled bikes to the Rodanthe Pier to check things out before the downpour.

EastOut on the pier, folks were enjoying the sunny sea breeze.

South                                 Looking south, it didn’t look like a typical Memorial Day Weekend.

North                                 With rain in the forecast, beach goers weren’t packed in as they’d normally be.

EndThe end of the pier isn’t out nearly as far as it used to be. It’s been destroyed continuously by storms and rebuilt multiple times.

WestIn the Summer, there’s nothing like hanging out at the pier. Many of the same people return year after year, building memories along the way.

NWI noticed the dramatic sky shaping up, courtesy of Tropical Depression Bonnie. The clouds are always beautiful, yet at the same time so ominous.