OBX Connection Logo

Outer Banks of North Carolina Weather
86.0 F, Fair
Wind: Variable at 4.6 MPH (4 KT)
Outer Banks Guide > Outer Banks Blogs > Eve Turek's Natural Outer Banks Blog

Monday, October 26, 2015
Autumn Afternoons
Every year I set myself a “Finding Fall” kind of challenge, a way to give a nod to my rural, hilly, Virginia childhood, when maples and oaks signaled the seasonal passage.

Just when I think I have escaped our persistent nor’easter pattern of late September, I sit to write this blog at the end of a cloud-shrouded, gusty, north-northeast wind day. But I am not complaining. We have had some lovely days in the interlude, with crisp nights, more vibrant sunsets and—even better—towering cloud afternoons.

Afternoon is my favorite time in autumn, and afternoons come earlier now than they do in summer. Let me clarify: the clouds I look for (if I’m lucky) at about 3:30 on a summer afternoon in August show up earlier in October. By the end of this weekend, we will have “fallen back,” and the scenes I enjoy as my workday ends now will instantly unfold an hour earlier. I’ve already got my eyes on the skies well before the magic golden hour, trying to assess when and where to be nearer the close of the day. If I can manage the time, I try to be out photographing under those earlier skies. The sun is much lower in the sky now than it was in, say, July. This is my big cue to pay attention. The light can turn dramatic suddenly, so I try not to miss it.

I’ve learned in 39 Outer Banks Octobers that autumn dunes and marshes provide splashes of vibrant color to herald the turn of the season. Sometimes the fall color I crave is splashed across the sky or reflected in our abundant waters like a mirror. When I was much younger, I thought of fall as a melancholy season. Now that I am in my own autumn years, I have different descriptions of this time of year. I think about gathering and gratitude. I think about the abundance of spring seeds and summer labors coming to fruition. I think about contemplation and creativity nurtured in a quieter, more restful season giving expression to new growth in a new spring yet to come.

What feelings does fall stir in you? Can you find visual metaphors for your stories of the season? Some of my favorite chapters of early autumn 2015 are below.

click for larger image
This photograph shows the soundside shoreline about a week before the official start of autumn. The grasses already show a hint of their soon-to-come fall golden hues.

click for larger image
Lower humidity generally produces the most beautiful afternoon and evening skies. Sunset in Duck.

click for larger image
An even more dramatic sunset in Colington.

click for larger image
During our long nor'easter, our photo club's monthly challenge was "wind." Along with frothy ocean images, I created Wind In The Willows using a slow shutter speed.

click for larger image
Here is an image of harvest: Black Bear with corn cob, at Alligator River refuge. The fields had already been cut, so both Bear and I were grateful for the gleaning.

click for larger image
These are the skies that make my heart beat faster. I can both enjoy what is, and anticipate beauty to come.

click for larger image
Same afternoon, about 30 minutes later. Lovely, yes?

click for larger image
And a mere 7 minutes later. As the sun sinks, the light changes suddenly and dramatically. Here I loved the contrast between the bright golds of the grasses against the darker blue sky beyond.

click for larger image
Now, 20 minutes later and a little further north, the eastern sky picks up the sunset glow radiating from the west.

click for larger image
Before the color faded, I received one more gift: ten pelicans flying high offshore, headed to roost for the evening. I left the beach soon after, my heart full of fall's splendors.

posted by eturek at 11:17 PM

Comments [455]

Thursday, October 15, 2015
Ragged Kind of Beauty
About thirty years ago, ten years after I moved to the Outer Banks, I wrote this lyric:

There's a ragged kind of beauty in the northeast wind
There's a wildness in the geese passing over
Waves break on the shoreline of where I've been
The gray and the blue of October…

By that time, I’d weathered a number of nor’easters, both literal and emotional. I took plenty of documentary photographs in that era, first for a local newspaper and then as Dare County’s Public Information Officer. I still sometimes see a scene as a journalist first. What grabs my attention about the lyric now, from a longer-view perspective, is that even back then I was on a quest to see through the storms to the beauty nature offers.

Since my last blog, the Outer Banks was stuck for more than two weeks in a persistent northeaster pattern of weather, with low pressure systems held over the coast and then residual winds from a (thankfully) well-offshore passing Hurricane Joaquin. During that time our skies were mostly gray, whether rain was falling or not. We did have respites of sunshine but the stormy seas continued unabated. You’ve likely seen many photographs by now of the waves breaking on top of NC 12 in Kitty Hawk, again undermining the road there. I was out that Sunday afternoon with a long enough lens to take photographs from the Black Pelican parking lot. But those aren’t the images I’ve chosen to include here.

Some of you reading this column will know that two friends of mine have died, unexpectedly, since my last blog. One of those two, a fellow photographer, suggested a photo challenge in August for our local chapter of the Carolinas Nature Photographers Association’s next meeting that was definitely out of my comfort zone. Find something you normally would have no interest in photographing, he suggested, something you might even label “ugly,” and find a way to photograph it beautifully, showing the subject to best possible advantage. I had emotional difficulty with the “ugly” idea (though there are plenty of subjects I eschew photographing for a number of aesthetic and emotional reasons). Eventually I realized I could photograph pollution in the landscape. But I must have had his challenge in my heart this past month, when our photo subject was “wind. ” (We certainly had plenty of that!) Instead of following my journalism instincts, I decided, stubbornly perhaps, to focus my attention and heart on beauty, beauty within the storm, beauty after the storm’s passage.

This is how I am going to honor my friend: I am going to try to remember his photo challenge as my life challenge. No matter the circumstance, no matter which way the wind blows or how strong the storm seems, I am going to try to remember to look for the beauty. Focusing on beauty is one more way as a photographer I can practice gratitude, not as an empty platitude but stubbornly, even in the face of a northeast wind.

click for larger image
After more than a week with heavily overcast skies, the late afternoon light on the wind-driven ocean was beautiful to me.

click for larger image
I photographed something similar nearly ten years ago. From the height of a pier, the stormy ocean looks like an aerial view of the Rocky Mountains. I call this Mountainous Seas.

click for larger image
Although the winds never did shift to the west while the seas were still running high, I did see some curling breakers in sweet light.

click for larger image
Here is an image I have tried without success to photograph--until this storm. A backsplash, as two waves collided.

click for larger image
Some of the seafoam held vibrant jewels of color.

click for larger image
On the morning of Oct. 8, with the sun finally shining, I drove to the beach singing Cat Stevens' Morning Has Broken. Imagine my delight at this "Black bird has spoken..."

click for larger image
Kitty Hawk's Pelican's Perch stood strong through another storm. Here, pelicans pay a visit to the house named in their honor.

click for larger image
I've spent the summer hoping the pelicans that nested on Ocracoke's lower end rather than off Oregon Inlet would return. Seemingly, they have!

click for larger image
I walked the beach looking for hearts anywhere I could spy them. Here was one at my feet.

click for larger image
Finally I began examining the sea foam clumps, determined to find a heart there too. Call it luck, coincidence--I prefer to think intention and attention, coupled with an eye for loveliness, draws love to us.

posted by eturek at 10:01 PM

Comments [2]

(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 546516 times

click picture for more
Eve Turek's Natural Outer Banks
October 2020 (1)

August 2020 (2)

July 2020 (2)

April 2020 (1)

March 2020 (1)

January 2020 (1)

December 2019 (2)

November 2019 (1)

October 2019 (1)

September 2019 (1)

August 2019 (1)

June 2019 (1)

May 2019 (1)

April 2019 (2)

February 2019 (3)

January 2019 (1)

November 2018 (1)

October 2018 (1)

August 2018 (1)

July 2018 (1)

June 2018 (1)

May 2018 (1)

April 2018 (1)

March 2018 (1)

January 2018 (2)

November 2017 (1)

October 2017 (1)

September 2017 (2)

July 2017 (1)

June 2017 (1)

May 2017 (1)

April 2017 (1)

March 2017 (1)

February 2017 (1)

January 2017 (1)

December 2016 (1)

November 2016 (1)

October 2016 (1)

September 2016 (1)

August 2016 (1)

July 2016 (1)

May 2016 (2)

April 2016 (1)

February 2016 (3)

January 2016 (1)

December 2015 (2)

October 2015 (2)

September 2015 (1)

August 2015 (1)

July 2015 (2)

June 2015 (2)

May 2015 (2)

April 2015 (1)

February 2015 (1)

January 2015 (4)

November 2014 (1)

September 2014 (2)

July 2014 (2)

June 2014 (3)

May 2014 (1)

April 2014 (1)

March 2014 (2)

February 2014 (1)

January 2014 (4)

December 2013 (1)

November 2013 (1)

September 2013 (1)

August 2013 (2)

July 2013 (3)

June 2013 (1)

May 2013 (2)

April 2013 (1)

March 2013 (2)

February 2013 (2)

January 2013 (2)

December 2012 (2)

November 2012 (2)

October 2012 (2)

September 2012 (1)

August 2012 (2)

July 2012 (1)

June 2012 (3)

May 2012 (1)

April 2012 (2)

March 2012 (1)

February 2012 (2)

January 2012 (1)

December 2011 (2)

November 2011 (1)

October 2011 (2)

September 2011 (2)

August 2011 (2)

July 2011 (2)

June 2011 (2)

May 2011 (1)

April 2011 (1)

March 2011 (1)

February 2011 (2)

January 2011 (2)

December 2010 (2)

November 2010 (2)

October 2010 (2)

September 2010 (2)

August 2010 (2)

July 2010 (2)

June 2010 (2)

May 2010 (3)

April 2010 (3)

March 2010 (3)

February 2010 (1)

January 2010 (3)

December 2009 (2)

November 2009 (1)

October 2009 (4)

September 2009 (2)

August 2009 (3)

July 2009 (3)

June 2009 (3)

May 2009 (4)

April 2009 (4)

March 2009 (7)

February 2009 (5)

NEW Home | Outer Banks Vacation Rentals | Outer Banks Message Board | Outer Banks Webcams