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

EVE TUREK'S NATURAL OUTER BANKS
Sunday, December 27, 2015
December's Gifts
Many are the gifts of December.

Some of us may think immediately of wrapped packages, stuffed stockings, the delighted ooohs and squeals of childhood. Others may think of tables heavy with turkeys or hams or beef roasts, of Italian cookies, or meatless meals to end Advent's waiting. Still others (me included) may think of the bear hugs of those we have missed seeing until the herald of the holidays brings them home again. Some of us think of the longest, darkest nights beginning slowly, gently to yield once again to the growing gifts Light brings. Some of us celebrate new babies born in the year and think of the Babe whose Birth inspires the "season of giving." All of this celebrating of new gifts, of new life, of new light comes right on the edge of a New Year, right when most of us could use a reset button after the bustle of the holidays, and especially if the "happy new year" wishes of 2015 turned out to be not-so-happy by year end.

Nature gives gifts, too. This December, our Outer Banks gifts have come wrapped in fog, as record warm temperatures prevailed for most of the month. Fog has a way of revealing as well as obscuring. Whatever is closest to us comes sharply into view while the background fades into insignificance. Fog is a herald, inviting us to examine our focus, sharpen where necessary, and decide what is truly important. Maybe that is why I love it so much.

On Christmas Eve morning with the white skies fog creates, I heard an odd call as I was out with the dogs. I came back outside after I brought them in, walking slowly in the direction of the sound. Who IS that? I thought briefly of a woodpecker (I'd seen a Downy a few days earlier) but this was a one-note call, not the typical trailing, laughing trill I associate with woodpeckers in general. Eventually the bird moved into the open and I could see plainly--a Pileated Woodpecker. Once I spotted it, the bird quit calling and began to feed on the berries growing high in the tangle where it had perched. It stayed put long enough for me to go back inside, get car keys, open my camera case, switch lenses and once again approach, asking permission to make a photograph.

Pileated woodpeckers are special, extraordinary gifts to our family. A Pileated tended to show up around our yard every time Pete's younger son Patrick came to visit. Didn't matter what month he came, the Pileated always came, too. We'd go months without seeing either one and then both would show up at once. Eventually I told Patrick the Pileated must be his totem; he learned to be on the lookout for it when he came to visit.

After Patrick died in May 2011, we were all surprised (and more than a bit astonished) that the bird continued to visit--on all the major holidays, the ones Patrick would have arrived for. We wouldn't see it for months, and then it would appear, on Father's Day, Pete's birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas. This lasted a couple of years, and then we began seeing the bird less frequently. I've looked for it all year without a single sighting...until Christmas Eve. Coincidence? Craziness? We don't think in those terms anymore. The fact that it came on a foggy morning helped me focus not only my lens, but also my heart--another gift of December.







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When we don't have fog, December sunsets can be among the year's most vibrant.

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Earlier in the month, we had a few days of wind-driven waves.

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I call this Utter Abandon. I could just as easily have named it Exuberance. Something about the close focus here speaks Joy to me.

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A dear friend and I spent a rare couple of hours on the beach near Nags Head Pier. That day brought many gifts--this rainbow spray was one of them.

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Pelican in late light--the sun is just above the horizon in the west, gilding everything it touches eastward.

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I went to Jennette's Pier looking for whales. Instead, these two young peek-a-boo dolphins were my gift.

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I've been eyeballing this dock, trying to photograph it well, for years. What I needed was fog to give the dock the attention it deserves.

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Ditto. Without the fog, this scene is cluttered and impossible to photograph well.

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Here is a photo I didn't take: the Christmas gift of three of our grandsons home at once.

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And here is our Pileated visitor. What do we say when we receive a gift, be it wrapped in a bow or a hug? Thank You.

posted by eturek at 12:07 PM

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Going to Duck
People ask me sometimes why I take workshops (especially in my own backyard). Here’s why: as a mindful photographer—and as a person—I need to seek and to see the fresh in the familiar. It’s easy for me to be inspired in a place I’ve never been before, or with a critter or a bird I’m encountering for the first time. The challenge in the daily is to see and feel and be inspired and engaged where you are. To me, this doesn’t mean being close-minded to change. Seeing fresh IS change—change of perspective or focus. Change of angle of view. Change of pace.

Margo Pinkerton and Arnie Zann, who are Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures, returned to the Outer Banks in late October first for their regular fall workshop here and then for a mini-version over a weekend specifically created for the OBX chapter of Carolinas Nature Photographers Association (and some friends from out of the region). We went to the same places we visited in the spring, and that I photograph year-round, year after year.

I love the cliché quote, hindsight is 20/20. Looking back over my year’s portfolio, I can see I have been drawn repeatedly to the Duck boardwalk. Starting in September 2014 with my search for migrating fall warblers, to the BCPA workshop in April, right through to the end of October 2015 and several visits in between, Duck has become a new go-to place for me over the past 12 months. And now I know why.

For those of you who have not heard, Pete and I have acquired what has been SeaDragon Gallery, located on the boardwalk in the Waterfront Shops in Duck. Pete will stay in Nags Head as “branch manager” at Yellowhouse, along with help from OBC’s own VintageArt (aka Judith Bailey) and Robin Rogers. The change will allow him to slow his pace a bit, do much less custom framing, and instead spend time serving our gallery customers there. Meanwhile, I and a wonderful staff will be running The Gallery In Duck—still offering the American fine handcrafts in jewelry, pottery, and woodworking SeaDragon Gallery has been known for—along with some local art, and an increased offering of my own photography there. It’s a life lesson in seeing fresh, being open to change, and being willing to experience the familiar in a new way by changing our angle of view. I’m excited to begin our new chapter serving folks on both ends of the beach north of Oregon Inlet. So if you are “stuck in Duck” this coming vacation season, by all means drop in The Gallery in Duck, in the Waterfront Shops! And if you are in or near Nags Head, come by Yellowhouse Gallery and see the new work we are now able to offer there as well. Life is a river, healthiest when it follows the flow. As are we.

Of course, Duck is not the only place I’ve been lately! I had a wonderful opportunity to speak at the annual Volunteers luncheon at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras in mid-November. I made an earlier trip down to coordinate the program’s technical components and I stopped to photograph at Frisco Pier both times.

Some of those images from Duck as well as a couple from Frisco and Pea Island are below. Enjoy!


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Sunsets and sunrises are like fingerprints--every one is different.

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I love the serenity evoked by still waters.

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Here, the mackerel sky reflected in the sound reminded me of an impressionist mosaic.

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Perfect evening for a soundside paddle along the Duck boardwalk.

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The layers of clouds lent drama to what otherwise might have been mistaken for a bland sunset.

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Pelicans at Frisco Pier.

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Commercial fishing boat with birds following, off Frisco.

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Dawn on Pea Island.

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When I made the choice to head to the sea at sunset, I did not anticipate that the largest flock of willets I have seen in many years would join me at dusk. What a wonderful gift.

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I recently photographed a Dove Release in Kill Devil Hills. I call this particular image, Let Peace Prevail, a fitting sentiment not only now, in the holiday season, but every day.

posted by eturek at 9:42 PM

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