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!

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.

September 27, 2015

The Creek

Back in the day, I used to love hanging out at the Rodanthe Creek. Originally built as a Pamlico Sound access for the Coast Guard, it was bulkheaded and was one of the few protected harbors for local fishermen to use. It was always fascinating to see what they were catching.

It was also a good spot for honing my photography. I bought Kodak Panatomic-X black and white film in 100 foot spools and rolled my own 35mm cassettes. Then I’d develop the film at home in the darkroom. The creek was only a few hundred yards away from my house.

I’ve never shown these photographs from this period before, and it’ll never be like that again.

Dale A young Dale Midgett ran the fish house. He had an entrepreneurial spirit and packed fish for wholesaler Jimmy Austin.

derelicts Derelict boats were part of the landscape.

derelicts 2 John Herbert’s sail skiff sat high and dry on shore. It was one of my favorite boats with classic lines, and was featured in my New Inlet and Skiff photo, shot in 1979.

mojon Harry Midgett’s trawler was at the dock for much needed maintenance. He eventually took it shrimping to the Gulf of Mexico, where I heard it sank and was lost.

boat I don’t know who owned this workboat, but I admired it’s design and narrow stern.

nets bruce m                  Bruce Midgett prepared his nets at one of the fish houses on the north side of the creek.

pound net Bruce and Dale set up pound nets a mile out in the sound.

Bruce Bruce loved fishing the pound nets.

Jobob                                                            Joe Fegundes, known as Jobob, was also fishing from the Creek.

Corley Ed Corely was an avid fisherman. I helped him for a few months. It was hard work. Ed moved to Coos Bay, Oregon to work on an ocean trawler. On a New Years Eve, he went down with the boat and was never found.

Selby jr                                                             Selby Gaskins, Jr. was always helping out at the fish house.

GlenMartin Maestas and Glen Boykin were gill netting from this Privateer. Fiberglass boats had become more common than the traditional wooden boats. Glen married Selby Jr’s sister, Teresa, and I shot their wedding.

Irvin                                                             Irvin Midgett was another young fisherman, and still fishes some today. He runs a successful campground and is always willing to help others.

Dale net dale m                 Back then, Dale Midgett made a decent livelihood as a fisherman.

Mac's rig One of my favorite shots was taken of Mac Midgett’s haul seine rig. In a way, it symbolizes the best of times.

February 18, 2015


Filed under: Birds,Outer Banks,Pamlico Sound,Piers,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 1:59 pm

Years ago, the thing that impressed me about Hatteras Island was how temperate the winters could be. The first few years after I moved here, I don’t think it ever went below freezing. I learned that the water surrounding the island acts as a heat sink and tends to keep temperatures more moderate, compared to those to the north and inland.

This year has not been one of those winters. The cold fronts have been colder, stormier and more frequent.

north pierA series of storms took its toll on the Rodanthe Pier. Last week I could see that the end of the pier would soon collapse into the sea.

viewersAn hour after I made this shot, the pier became 75 feet shorter. The next day, the owners retrieved some of the timbers washed in on the beach and are resolved to rebuild it.

marshIn the meantime, temperatures have plummeted and the Pamlico Sound froze overnight. The ice sculpted on the shoreline was a sight to behold. There were icicles on the marsh of all different shapes and sizes.

ice flowsThe sound was solid ice for hundreds of yards off shore.

ringneckWhen the waters freeze, the ducks come in wherever they can find open water. At a pond near my house, I found a variety including this Ring-Necked Duck.

grebeA Pie-Billed Grebe was among the group.

ruddyThere were about 50 Ruddy Ducks.

canvasbackI was excited to see this Canvasback. It’s a sure sign that winter is far from over, and that it’ll only get colder.


July 15, 2014

Hurricane Hangover

Filed under: Outer Banks,Pamlico Sound,storms,Weather — j0jgvm89bj @ 11:16 am

screen shot

The radar image taken at 11:15 shows the eye of Arthur directly on Cape Lookout, zeroing in toward Pamlico Sound. By 2AM we began to feel the increasing power of the storm. By 4 AM, we were in a full blown hurricane.

The morning after Arthur came through, I went outside and felt as if I had been spun around and around. There was an air of confusion and destruction. The conditions were not quite on par with Hurricane Irene in 2011, but there was more wind damage this time.

I video surveyed my property briefly, then got out to venture about town.

2014-07-04 07_28_48 – Medium

2014-07-04 07_34_12 – Medium

They were telling us this was going to be a slow hurricane season, and that’s a little hard to take right now. So far we’re one for one and counting. Tropical systems usually don’t affect us this time of year, but cleaning up after a flood isn’t good anytime.

My place had fairly little damage considering the event. Like many other residents, I do need to make some minor roof repairs. During the height of the storm, the house was getting pelted by branches and pine cones. There was little rainfall, and it was a good thing it moved in and out quickly.

Several weeks ago a couple of young feral kittens began hanging around. On June 24th we caught them and took them to a TNR clinic sponsored by Friends of Felines. They were fixed, got shots, microchipped and left ear clipped. The release part didn’t quite work out, as they got comfortable here. With the hurricane heading right at us, I put them in an enclosure under the house.

creamcicle little one

At 4 in the morning, the water poured in and they had the sense to climb through an opening to another room where they remained high and dry for the duration. There they stayed all through the following day, and were clearly traumatized but okay.


With the salt water intrusion, my petunias didn’t fare so well.

Rt 12

Waterfront property for sale. Sorry, Spinnaker Realty. No buyers  today.


A runaway dumpster blocked Sea Vista Drive.


Parking on high ground was at a premium. These vehicles survived.

parking not

These vehicles at the post office did not… that WAS a nice Mustang.


Highway 12 Waterway.


Kayak ecotours took on a new meaning.


My friend Tom gave me a lift to see other parts of town.

hatteras estates

Roof damage was common.



Trees were downed at Mac’s garage.


kitty hawk kites

A rack line got caught up in a chain link fence near Kitty Hawk Kites.

wavy tv

Andy Fox from WAVY News was on the scene making interviews.


As the daunting clean up began, Scott Caldwell squeegeed the parking lot at Island Convenience.

Myra                             Scott’s daughter Myra, also had a big job and tried to make the most of it.


Thousands of fish were washed in with the storm surge, and left stranded.

dried out

Meanwhile the clean up at home continues to progress.


Meet Hurricane Barbie, a new concept doll.


Leaving no stone unturned, Arthur toppled the headstones at the Midgett Cemetery in Rodanthe.


Flowers from the graves are still strewn across the landscape.

Just like Hurricane Irene, it’ll take a while to regain some sense of normalcy.