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

Monday, May 30, 2016
Making Time For Joy
This is the season when I begin to reconnect with folks I haven’t seen since last year. Most always ask, what did you do over the winter? Did you take a vacation? Have you photographed anything new?

Between buying SeaDragon Gallery this past winter and learning much more about artisan jewelry and fine American woodcraft, ceramics and glass in order to open for the season, and readying Yellowhouse Gallery for our 11th year as owner, Pete and I haven’t had “down time”. My photographic opportunities have been fewer as well, which just means I am even more conscious than ever of my need to make every outdoors experience count.

That doesn’t mean every time I step outside with camera in hand that I make stellar images! Sometimes I am only scouting, noticing when a particular landscape feature will show itself to best advantage. I’m always alert to wind direction and clouds and the quality and temperature and intensity of light, even when indoors all day. I’m like a writer always thinking about characters, or a musician, always noodling around with a melody line even when I don’t have my instrument at hand. Back when I was learning to play guitar, I would practice finger rolls on my knee even while riding in the car, keeping my fingers limber. I try to keep my sensitivity to light and to the presence of birds and critters limber, too.

With all that said, I DO have some exciting new work to share—at least, I was excited to be present for these moments, some of which represent life-list wishes for me.

The mother Great Horned Owl that nested last year in an unused osprey platform returned this year. Sometimes we wildlife photographers have to wait a year—or many years—before we can have another chance with wildlife we have seen before. I’ve spent long months longing to revisit dens, or nest sites, only to discover after all that waiting that Mom and Dad moved on with no forwarding address. The “second chance” never came.

But happily I did have one more chance with the Great Horned Owl family. Behavior I missed last year—mom on the nest with a new chick and the owlets practicing first flights while still in the nest—I was fortunate to witness this year. Baby owls grow up FAST. Mom began nesting in early February; we saw the first baby on March 24th; by April 11th the baby owls were spending all day in the nest alone; and by late April both owlets had successfully fledged.

Pete and I always try to go to Carova on Mothers Day. That afternoon marked our first time off together all year! This year we saw more horses by the water than we ever have! That happy excursion was followed a week later by a wonderful morning in Carova with fellow photogs from the Carolinas Nature Photographers Association for our annual spring outing to Carova. I needed to come off the beach early to attend a Memorial Service but I am so glad I got up at 3:30 a.m. and drove north to experience, first, an otherworldly foggy not-exactly-sunrise, which alternated between being silver and gold as the fog was alternately heavier or lighter. After the fog burned off a little and the day got warmer, we began to find horses by the water.

On both occasions I saw a lone stallion, very frisky, who was doing a lot of running and posturing but not being successful at challenging any of the older stallions for their mares. Even so, I was surprised to see several harems in such close proximity to one another at the water’s edge as they all sought relief from the biting flies.

This past Wednesday, Ray Matthews was going back up for one more afternoon of photography before Memorial Day and invited me along. We came onto the beach at dead low tide in perfect light and found a small group of horses right away. We were very content to photograph them when someone kindly stopped to tell us there were horses way out in the water to our north. Up the beach we drove! Sure enough, here was a lone stallion that repeatedly raced into the water, sometimes by himself, sometimes being chased by another stallion. Up and down the beach they ran, frolicking in the waves. Neither Ray nor I had ever seen anything like it in all our adult lives here. We both came home with new imagery and a profound sense of gratitude for being in the right place at the right time.

I know photographers who preplan and pre-visualize images to great advantage. While I might think a lot (that’s an understatement) and dream a lot, I tend to be much more of a spontaneous photographer, responding in the moment when I have an opportunity. That strategy seems to work for me, especially in our busy lives. And it is amazing how much recharge I receive from just one glorious afternoon outdoors, in beautiful light, with amazing creatures, and camera in hand.

So that prompts questions: how do you recharge your inner batteries? Can you preplan those moments or do they come to you more spontaneously? Whatever your answers, I hope you are making time for joy.

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This was my first look at a fluffy downy baby owl with the mother.

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This is exactly one month later.

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Flight Practice at dusk!

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Not only has the little owlet made successful first flights back and forth to the nest and nearby trees, it has now flown to the area where the parents roost at night.

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Tide pools and dramatic fog-filtered early morning light. Worth rising in time to be on the beach at 0'dark:30!

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This is the behavior that astounded us. Stallions charging into the breakers.

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I was happy to see lots of action without the vicious fighting that can result in serious wounds for the horses.

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I kept watching for the chance for reflections in the tide pools.

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Sometimes the horses went into the water right in front of Ray's truck!

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And then came my moment, a life-list moment. I call this Run Like The Wind.

posted by eturek at 10:17 AM

Comments [6]

Sunday, May 8, 2016
In Praise of Mothers Everywhere
Some of my favorite nature photographs celebrate the connection between mothers and youngsters. (Father-and-youngster images are fewer in my portfolio, though I do have some wonderful photographs of bird and critter couples.) There is an immediate emotional connection we all seem to feel—and express—when we get to witness the antics of babies and the tender care of parents, no matter the species.

So to help celebrate Mother’s Day, I offer you these.

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This image is from Mother's Day, 2012! This foal was about 10 days old here.

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Young dolphin stay with their mothers for a long time, so I assume this is the mother with the baby, although it could be another adult.

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Pete and I saw this family of red foxes in Carova at the end of May, 2012. I loved watching the interaction of mom with the babies.

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Regular readers will recognize this fox image, from 2013. This is the mother gray fox who denned under our frame shop in our gallery's old location, before we had to move.

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Mothers play so many roles. For Ruby-throated hummingbirds, moms have the sole care of the baby birds, from nest-building, to egg-sitting to feeding.

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This family moment is from fall, not spring, on Hatteras Island.

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This was my first occasion to see a Woodduck in the wild, in ponds near the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, many years ago.

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Sometimes I don't actually know if this is Mom or Dad. One role parents play is to teach youngsters what they need to know to thrive. Here the adult Black Skimmer is showing junior how to fish.

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Sometimes I DO know which parent is present--in this case, this is Dad. I've watched this pair for years; he has much less speckling on his breast than she does. I call this, Chip off the Block. I could easily have called it, Mom, Come Home Quick.

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This is one of my all-time favorites, from a rookery in Florida. I call it, But Mom... Here, Mom is making the youngsters wait and stretch and beg for food, all designed to strengthen their neck and jaws for feeding on their own.

posted by eturek at 7:52 PM

Comments [2]

(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 546538 times

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