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

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.

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

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

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

click for larger image
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.

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

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

click for larger image
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.

click for larger image
Ditto. Without the fog, this scene is cluttered and impossible to photograph well.

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

click for larger image
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

Comments [501]

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!

click for larger image
Sunsets and sunrises are like fingerprints--every one is different.

click for larger image
I love the serenity evoked by still waters.

click for larger image
Here, the mackerel sky reflected in the sound reminded me of an impressionist mosaic.

click for larger image
Perfect evening for a soundside paddle along the Duck boardwalk.

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

click for larger image
Pelicans at Frisco Pier.

click for larger image
Commercial fishing boat with birds following, off Frisco.

click for larger image
Dawn on Pea Island.

click for larger image
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.

click for larger image
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

Comments [1]

(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 547856 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