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Christmas 2022

This approaching new year will be my 50th living on Hatteras, and the Holidays have always been a favorite time here. Looking back, it’s been a good run. There’s no place quite like it.

After Thanksgiving, things quiet down from the busy season. It’s a time I might walk out on the center line of highway 12, gaze north then south, and not see a single vehicle. 

The beach offers a similar experience. There I savor the peacefulness and solitude of Christmastime and the occasional celebratory shell tree.

Happy Holidays!

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving reminds me of that day in 2015, as I drove to my family Thanksgiving gathering in Avon. Driving by Ramp 25, a rainbow materialized and lasted over 15 minutes. There was plenty of time to play with dozens of exposures. Despite my tendency to shoot nothing but horizontal seascapes, I decided to turn the camera 90° for a few vertical shots. I was happy with this one.

The image would turn out to have personal significance, marking the last Thanksgiving celebration I would share with my mother. I’m so grateful for that!

Fall Color

Autumn transforms the landscape. The obvious occurs in deciduous forests around the country. But in dunes and salt marshes of Hatteras Island change is revealed in other ways.

In Fall, flowering plants such as goldenrod, attract migrant monarchs.

A mostly inconspicuous coastal shrub, sea myrtle bursts out in spectacular fashion.

Salicornia bigelovii is a striking plant of the salt marsh. Also known as dwarf glasswort, it’s succulent, salty and edible. The above photo shows it surrounded by spartina and juncus grasses. Sprouting lime green during warmer months, it grows about a foot tall and gradually turns crimson as the season cools down.

Its brilliance astounds me whenever I see it.

Glasswort develops seeds to propagate and eventually decomposes, making organic matter available to a variety of organisms. The salt marsh is truly alive and a valuable resource!

 

The Breakthrough

Tropical cyclones are better experienced from a distance. Earlier this month Hurricane Earl, hundreds of miles out to sea, swept by. High seas churned up and washed through in expected areas.  The S-curve originally paved a bit straighter, has long been notorious for ocean over-wash. The S configuration is due to the fact, it has been relocated westward so many times. Arguably it has been one the most expensive sections of road to maintain in the state.

With the new bypassing bridge opened, traffic will no longer need the traditional route.

Since the S-curve was abandoned, this was the first time an over wash has broken through the spot that has been repeatedly dug out, rebuilt and reused. This time that won’t happen, ever again.

Road signs are still in place with the asphalt surface buried under accreted sand.

Hundreds of sandbags were of little help against the power of the sea. As part of the bridge agreement they, along with the roadbed, will be excavated and removed.

For over 30 years Mirlo Beach has been a fantasy development that is becoming another victim to the Graveyard of the Atlantic.

Oceanfront property owners in dire shape, have gotten permission to move their houses west toward a street no longer needed. At the very best, it should give them a few more years to ponder their options.

Meanwhile, the Black Pearl stands stoically defiant in nature’s grasp.

Lord Huron at Red Rocks

To date, I’ve enjoyed a dozen Lord Huron concerts. The venues have been varied, with some of my favorites in historic theaters like National Theater in Richmond and the Midland in Kansas City, Missouri. One exception is the open-air amphitheater at Red Rocks.  It’s beyond description and has been host to some of the biggest names in music.

After 2 years of pandemic-related postponements, Lord Huron performed to sold out crowds June 1st and 2nd, and we were anxious for the long anticipated experience.

From the top row, I photographed an overview with the lights of Denver as a backdrop.

From the “pit” I was close to the action with my friend, guitarist Tom Renaud up front.

Bassist Miguel Briseño performed brilliantly on the right side of the stage.

Singer, songwriter Ben Schneider was captivating center stage.

The rest of the show, I shot mostly from a ticketed seat in row 9.

My lens choice was mixed with some wide angle and short telephoto options.

Brandon Walters (top left) is a versatile guitarist and has toured with the band since I first saw them at the Ritz in Raleigh 2015. Misty Boyce’s amazing keyboard skills and voice round out the touring group.

When Ben transformed into his alter ego Cobb Avery, the audience went crazy.

With constantly changing lights, my mirrorless camera made ongoing exposure adjustments. It’s hit or miss and a bit of luck!

Ben’s “I Lied” duet with Misty was a huge crowd pleaser.

Mark Barry was electrifying on drums.

Encore calling has evolved from Bic lighters to smart phone flashlights.

Toward the end of the show, I had a strong emotion, knowing it was finishing. All the energy and excitement was at a crescendo.

Lord Huron left the stage with an appreciative audience after an energized 2 hour show.

To celebrate, there was cake for family and friends.

After a 2-year hiatus, the band continues to tour with sellout shows and at music festivals.