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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Somehow the balance—or the barometer—has shifted and we are suddenly in more of a summer pattern of weather (to which all our visitors and most all locals say, thank goodness!) A wet winter and spring has now morphed into what I think of as a more normal summer pattern, with hot days and a good chance of a brief late afternoon or early evening rainshower, sometimes with heat lightning and sometimes with thunder and lightning, and sometimes, depending on time of day, with a rainbow afterwards. I always tell visitors this time of year not to worry if it rains a little during the afternoon; just keep looking east for the rainbow.

I’ve been over to the Alligator River refuge one more time since last blog, hoping again for a glimpse of that mama bear with her four cubs, but once again, no sighting for me. I did see a mother bear way back in the field, near dusk, with two little cubs but nowhere near close enough for a decent image. Instead I saw a lone, older young bear, perhaps a yearling, foraging fairly close to the road in on-again, off-again rain sprinkles. The rain didn’t seem to bother the cub any and its fur looked to me as if it had swum the canal to get to the field on Sawyer Lake Road where it was feeding.

By far the closest encounter was with an adult Great Blue Heron which was a little spooked by the car (but not as much as usual) but let me approach very close on foot. I don’t think I have been that close to a Great Blue since our last trip to Florida in 2014. Climbing back into the car I was again aware of how little it takes to make my photographer’s heart happy. Close encounters of the bird kind will do it every time.

The other excitement of the past week or so was a wild squall Saturday night a week ago. The sky looked interesting at shift-closing time, interesting enough that fellow photographer and staff member Phyllis Kroetsch and I decided to postpone our usual end of day closing tasks and just go out on the deck to photograph the approaching storm. The cloud formation I chose to track looked other-worldly, or as if it were about to transport me to some other world, and when I saw the image later upon downloading, my mind said “downburst.” Sure enough, that is what we photographed. I googled the phenomenon to learn more, and what I read matched exactly with our experience.

First we saw the rain cloud in the distance, coming east across the Sound. We could see the rain coming, too, first as bands in the cloud itself and then in disturbances on the water. When the rain arrived, it poured hard, straight down, for a few minutes. We were photographing from under the protection of the overhang, and I heard a dad say to his child, here come the waves. Waves? I barely had time to look in the direction he was looking before we were enveloped with a strong blast of wind, and, yes, there were waves suddenly breaking all across the sound and hitting the opposite bulkhead around the cove from our shop. The rain which had been coming straight down now came at us sideways, soaking everybody under the overhang. I backed up and tried to figure a better angle to document the experience. All then lasted about ten minutes I guess, and then the wind abated about as fast as it arrived as the storm moved off, and we could see lightning flashing to the east. We almost had a sunset, too, but the clouds were too thick for more than a little color. All in all, the downburst provided a dramatic few minutes of heavy weather. I read later that some storms have had winds in excess of 125 miles per hour! I believe it!

A few nights later I was again on the deck around sunset but what promised at first to be spectacular turned into more of a fizzle at actual sundown. Sometimes the show premieres early; sometimes it opens late; and sometimes it never happens at all when you expect. Nature photography is a constant life-lesson in patience.

Speaking of patience, I have visited the little fox den repeatedly over the past three weeks and no sightings at all. Mama and Papa Fox may have moved the den already, as the kits grow and need bigger quarters. I am trying not to be disappointed that the chance to watch them is likely already over for an entire year, and instead be grateful I had the chance to see them this year at all. Nature photography is like that, too. I have choices about where to focus my lens and where to focus my heart. It is all part of the photographic life I have come to cherish.

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This was the view out the windows of Yellowhouse in its new location in Duck. Dramatic enough to get me outside!

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I chose a lens with a wide range, from 28mm to 300mm. Here is the edge of the storm.

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Waves on the Sound.

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Waves crashing into the bulkhead around the cove. Crazy wind!

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Just a few minutes later, the winds died down, the rain stopped and we had a sunset glow.

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Here is that young bear in the rain at Alligator River Refuge.

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I first spotted the Great Blue as I drove in on Milltail Creek Rd but it flew on towards Sawyer Lake. I assume I photographed the same one a bit later.

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Happily for me, the heron strode into a less obstructed portion of the canal and I was able to approach and photograph a reflection.

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As we were working to move the last framing equipment out of what had been Yellowhouse's home in Nags Head for the past four seasons, I spotted this sun halo overhead.

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This sunset was subtler than many but still beautiful, and made special by the chance to share it with visitors to our area.

posted by eturek at 8:12 PM

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(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 547876 times

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