Category Archives: beach

Hermine in Memorium

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.




Holiday Weekend

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.

Chasing Rainbows

Chasing a rainbow implies unattainable or delusional objectives. When you see a rainbow, you can’t walk up to it and touch it. Physically it’s always out of reach. They’re elusive. Yet they’re one of the most beautiful natural phenomenon on earth.

They can reveal themselves unexpectedly and last only moments. I’ve tried shooting them countless times. By the time I see them and react, they’ve peaked, and faded away.

This past Thanksgiving Day was an exception. My 92 year old mother was in town with two of my sisters and other family members. To be with them was a special gift. As Denise and I were driving to Avon to join them for dinner, we noticed some faint colors  beginning to appear to the east along the beach.


Ramp 25 was the nearest beach access and I walked over to start shooting different vantage points. It just kept filling in, getting deeper and deeper.


Through the viewfinder, I saw too much to take in at once.


By the time I worked my way down to the surf, the sun was getting lower with colors peaking.

Unexpected, it was truly a gift!


I’ve always loved taking pictures of things without being tied to restrictive parameters or deadlines. So over the years, I’ve given myself “assignments” to shoot particular things almost exclusively on the Outer Banks. I’ll hunt for waterfowl, landscapes or even people just for the satisfaction of getting a good shot.

Several weeks ago I decided to look for pelicans, and there was a lot of activity on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge near Oregon Inlet. I have pelican shots both in film and digital formats, but felt a need to improve on what I already had.

The main thing was to put myself in a location and react. It’s simple. I had an image or two in mind, but the unexpected always happens. I shot 3 different sessions, as elements seemed to come together at once, wind and light as key components.

beachscape I had a beautiful environment in which to work.

frenzy There was a huge feeding frenzy one afternoon with cormorants, gulls and a few pelicans.

dive For those with skills, the ocean provided.

wave One day swells from an offshore storm made a nice backdrop.


Most of the flocks seemed to come in groups of three.

three pelicans

bridge As I was leaving, a landscape scene impressed me.


Then I was inspired by a beautiful tree someone had lovingly decorated.

Merry Christmas Everyone!



The beach is a dynamic place, and has many faces. Like the seasons, it’s ever changing. The warm Gulf Stream meanders in and out, and even influences our weather.

A sure sign of the Gulf Stream is the presence of seaweed washed up on the beach. Sargassum is a free floating seaweed that drifts in island-like masses and goes with the current. It is an important habitat for various forms of marine life while at sea. It provides food and protection for juvenile fish and invertebrates.

When it washes up on the beach, it attracts birds and other creatures that feed around it.

close upbirdsDuring Summer and Fall, sargassum can drift up in huge rafts.seaweedEventually it dries and decomposes. I’ve used it in my garden after it’s rinsed and composted.marrymeLast month while on a beach walk, I noticed another use for sargassum. verticle                                                        I don’t know who the author of this message was, but considering the effort, I hope the answer was an emphatic “YES”.