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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Earth Day 2015
It’s Earth Day. To celebrate, I returned to work after missing a few days with a nasty spring cold, and also spent a few minutes outside, camera in hand. In some important ways, Earth Day is at least partly responsible for my becoming a nature photographer. Thanks to Earth Day and its emphasis on more environmental awareness, I was able to pursue my passion to connect with the outdoors and its wildlife, and to combine that passion with a photographer’s eye.

I’ve been taking pictures almost as long as I can remember. My folks bought me a Polaroid camera when I was 10. I still remember the thrill of watching the prints appear as I waved the film in the air. I took my first ocean photograph while on vacation in middle school and have photographed this coast off and on ever since. I learned black and white 35mm film development in high school, and that skill earned me my first job with a local newspaper here in 1980. After a long hiatus from professional photography, I began photographing digitally when Pete and I bought Yellowhouse Gallery in 2005. Last week, after photographing here for more than 35 years, I did something that surprised some of my friends: I participated as a student in an intensive photo workshop here led by a couple from the middle part of the state. Why, they asked, after all these years as a successful pro, would I sign up for a photo workshop—especially one lasting four days in my home territory?

I believe strongly that no matter what our level of experience, expertise, or education, we can always grow and learn. Part of the challenge in photographing in the same location year after year is to see the familiar in fresh and vibrant ways that honor our surroundings. I chose to participate in a Barefoot Contessa Photo Adventures workshop, led by Margo Taussig Pinkerton and Arnie Zann, here at home, rather than visit an exotic or unfamiliar location, precisely to renew my vision. I wanted to immerse once again in photographing my homeplace, rather than living as a “touch-and-go” photographer, always on deadline, ever rushing through that which brings me the most joy: time outside to notice what I notice, to see what draws my eye and my heart. I wanted time to remember why I became a photographer in the first place. The fact that I would spend four days photographing something other than wildlife was an odd bonus; I planned to try to see this area’s landmarks with fresh perspective, knowing whatever I learned I will apply in the field as I photograph in the future.

Margo and Arnie make a wonderful team. Their counsel in the field is based on a combination of sound artistic and photographic principles as well as years honing their artistry, applied to the goals and aspirations of each individual student. This is not a workshop where students in a line obediently point their lenses all in the same direction, with the same settings dictated by the leader, and click their shutters on cue. Far from it. The challenge here was exactly what I needed: to photograph this familiar area in a way I had never done before. Time in the field was followed by processing one or two images for group critique. These critique sessions tease out of participants a sense of individual style and preference, along with new understandings of how to conceptualize and achieve artistic visions in the field. As someone who reacts more than plans, I relished the time spent outdoors at the margins of each day, watching the light paint the landscape as it alternately glowed and dimmed. I’ve been drawn to a more minimalist approach in recent years and I was able to honor that intention in my field time this past week. Some of the results of my workshop efforts are below.

If I can gain so much from four days photographing a place I’ve lived for the past 35 years, I can’t imagine how wonderful a BCPA workshop in a new locale would be. I now understand why so many of their sessions hold a high percentage of alumni. The combination of encouragement, camaraderie, artistry and expertise can’t be beat. If you’d like to know more about BCPA and their approach, please visit www.bcphotoadventures.com

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We convened at NH Pier in full dark. Eventually we had a little predawn glow, and two frames revealed these shafts of light, an unexpected bonus. This is a six second exposure.

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The group was treated to one of our most vibrant sunsets after many months of gray, wet weather.

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Another from Nags Head pier. I spent a lot of time focusing near my feet. The patterns and dramatic color in the wave wash had my full attention.

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This is my favorite boat in Wanchese. I'm thrilled to have finally taken a clear photograph of her in the dark.

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I have a whole new series of these waves, achieved by panning with a slower shutter speed just as the wave breaks. It's a tricky technique but magic when it works.

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We spent one morning in Elizabethan Gardens. Again, I wanted to try something different by deliberately backlighting the flowers and underexposing to darken the background.

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Of course I could not entirely ignore wildlife! This Frog Prince was swimming in the small pool at the Garden's entrance. (This is the Queen's Garden, so that confirms he's a prince. I didn't kiss him. I already have Prince Pete.)

posted by eturek at 9:35 PM

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(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 561328 times

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