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Outer Banks Guide > Outer Banks Blogs > Eve Turek's Natural Outer Banks Blog

EVE TUREK'S NATURAL OUTER BANKS
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Follow Your Arrow
As a photographer, I set personal challenges, some of which the larger world never sees. Not every properly exposed, powerfully composed, right-place-right-time image warrants gallery wall space, where every square inch ideally contributes to paying its share of total expenses. Some photographs never do grab a customer’s attention. But that doesn’t mean they serve no purpose, or that the time I spent outside to see them was wasted. As a dear friend reminded me today, some experiences, some images, are meant for me alone. They encourage or inspire or empower or embolden or strengthen or comfort or call out to…me.

Personal challenges remind me that I am in this, this walking-seeing meditation I call photography, for the long haul. When I hurt my back in October, I had to endure a period of inactivity, of forced rest in order to heal. The hardest part was not being able to be outside, camera in hand, for what I consider the prettiest light of the year. I make a large part of my livelihood through my photography. But photography is also how I make a large part of my life, my inner life. Coupled with my morning journaling time, which has become for me praying-on-paper, photography is a vital practice of being present. One of my favorite old hymns echoes a prophet’s response to a larger call: Here I am, Lord; send me. I think that, standing in a gale looking out at a wind-driven sea; I think that, standing in a stillness so palpable I can almost hear the Quiet calling my name, echoing in the reflections of birds gliding on calm water. Here I am. That is what every image answers: here I am. May I be truly present, may I be sensitive to the gifts of the moment, may I be faithful to share when prompted.

There are times I receive a gift through a photograph that I know is meant for someone else. Sometimes I know in the moment whose the image is; other times, its larger purpose is revealed much later. Those are the images I print without knowing when or to whom they will speak. I only know they were gifts and as much as I need patience out in the field, to wait out the right sweet light, or the best moments with wildlife, I often need just as much, if not more, patience once I click the shutter, process the photo, and then wait for its person to show up.

One of my personal challenges is to find new ways to experience and express each season of the year. The seasons are life-metaphors, too, as well as signposts of the Four Directions many Native American tribes use as signposts for personal growth.
Autumn can be thought of as the season of harvest, of abundance, of seeds planted and watered now bearing fruit. A signal of later midlife, autumn is also the season associated with the West cardinal point of the compass, a time for introspection, for going within oneself to bring forth the culmination of the annual cycle in winter wisdom. Together, fall and winter offer interludes of examination, assessment, rest and wisdom that help fuel another spring’s worth of creative growth and insight.

We are two-thirds of the way through fall now, nearly three-quarters of the way through the year. We’ve had our first few crisp colder nights, and days like today with temperatures in the low 50’s. Sunsets are more vivid with lowered humidity. While we don’t have large stands of maples or aspen to turn whole fields or mountainsides into glorious washes of red or yellow, we do have our own harbingers of the season. Photography has taught me this, as I have gone out to see what I can find that calls to me of autumn, both in the larger landscape around, and in my own inner year and life-cycle.

Late yesterday afternoon, I followed an impulse and went down to Pea Island. I haven’t been for months, and I had only an hour or so before the light would be too dim to photograph there. I almost didn’t go. When I arrived, the ponds to the north and south of the visitor’s center held more birds than I have seen there in many years, since before the dikes were damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Thousands of different ducks and hundreds of other birds including tundra swan and pelicans, both white and brown, dotted the ponds. Periodically the ducks would blast off in huge clouds, performing aerial dances reminiscent of the murmurations of starlings.

The raft of Redhead Ducks closest to me rested, their heads tucked under wing. Finally when there was no more than a pink afterglow from the sun’s slipping behind a cloud at sunset, the raft awoke en masse. They formed a huge oval before taking off in rows toward the west, away from where I was standing. The blast-off I waited for came in waning light, and into the opposite direction. And still it was worth the wait.

What does autumn look like in your world? Are you open to gifts wrapped in a way you do not expect? If you were to try to photograph a season of reflection and introspection, what images would you choose? How would you photograph patience?


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A particular photograph chronicling Fall 2016: the largest "Jockeys Lake" I have ever seen, after record rainfall with Hurricane Matthew in October.

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Seaside Goldenrod on the dunes is an annual colorful signal of October. This plant is growing in Jockey's Lake, an image of a scene I have never witnessed before.

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I call this "All My Life's A Circle" inspired by the arching cloud and its reflection at Jockey's Lake. See the couple to the left? That's a bride and groom, celebrating a beginning at day's end.

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Here is a personal challenge image, inspired by the phrase "walking in light." I call it, Light My Way.

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Canada Geese are back in our soundfront cove at The Waterfront Shops in Duck.

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For a brief season, the geese were elsewhere, presumably raising goslings. Their return heralds shorter days and earlier nightfalls.

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Percentage wise, more deep red sunsets occur in the low humidity evenings of fall and winter than any other time here. I call this, Follow Your Arrow, as the light pointed True North.

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Tundra Swan are back at Pea Island in large numbers. We've seen only a few so far in Duck. These flew over me while I waited for the Redheads to blast off.

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Finally my asking and waiting paid off. In rapidly disappearing light, the raft of Redheads blasted off into the pink glow of sundown.

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Night, night, ducks. And thank you.

posted by eturek at 10:00 PM

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