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

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Facebook informed me this week that I will soon have Timeline, like it or not.

Despite my usual chipper personality, I’d read enough grumbling to pre-decide I was not going to like it. Artist and wise friend Judy Bailey pointed out that Timeline has its advantages. One of those is seeing how the course of one’s life runs like a river, as we select photos and memories to post to our Timeline (or not). All that started me thinking backwards instead of forwards and I admit I had a lovely couple of evenings finding old information on my grandfather on the ‘net, including a photograph I’d never seen before, from his younger years. Looking back can be fun, sometimes.

So what does any of this have to do with my blog?

Well, this morning while journaling I wrote the date at the top: 8/22. And paused. What is that? Not a child’s, step-child’s, grandchild’s, or inlaws’ birthday, anniversary, nothing. But 8/22 is…something. About halfway through today I realized, yesterday and today were the dates that our Outer Banks was minimally affected by Hurricane Bill in 2009. I say “minimally” but the storm produced more erosion at the north end of Rodanthe, damaged some structures with high waves, and made OB surfers generally happy for a couple of days. I took what is still among my favorite surfing “mood” photographs during those days, along with my favorite sunrise at Nags Head pier.

Storms, particularly those that pass quickly offshore and do not linger, often produce interesting photographs with larger-than-usual surf, or over-the-top sunrises and sunsets, or both.

Now that so many eyes are on Isaac, and the ‘Banks is approaching the one-year anniversary of Irene’s landfall, I thought a Timeline of storms that were NOT overly destructive to the Outer Banks but left some sweet light in their wake might be, well, Timely.

There is one more reason to look back. We’ve had plenty of gray and rainy days recently. Not very conducive for photographs. I managed to eke out a couple despite or between the raindrops. They keep me anchored in the present even while taking my little time travel adventure…

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Hurricane Ernesto in early September 2006 was a rain-maker. After the storm, on Sept 2, 2006, the morning sky was black and silver at Nags Head Pier. Here is the scene shortly after what should have been sunrise.

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Hurricane Hanna did damage elsewhere but moved quickly past Nags Head. By mid-afternoon the sun was back out; by 5:30 pm, I was surprised how little surf there was. The light was magnificent. September 6, 2008.

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Here is sunset, about 2 hours later. See what I mean about spectacular sunsets? I call this Sunset Spectacular. Because it was. Sept. 6, 2008, after Hanna.

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Now we come to Hurricane Bill. This was the sunrise before the storm, Aug. 21 2009. Nags Head Pier. I have yet to see another one quite like it. The sunrays really were this pink.

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The morning was so beautiful I stayed out while the light changed and brightened. Aug. 21, 2009.

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The next morning, Aug. 22, 2009, the 'Banks in early morning were shrouded in heavy fog. Surf taken from Avalon Pier. At sunrise.

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This one is slightly out of order. It should have come after the sunrises... this is south Nags Head, where some surfers were trying to catch a little onshore break in advance of the storm. The waves were much higher after it passed. Aug. 21, 2009.

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I tell customers on squally days, look east! If the sun breaks through in late afternoon, our reward for the rain might just be a rainbow. Like this: Aug. 17, 2012. Nags Head.

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A couple afternoons ago, I went to Harris Teeter. (I know this sounds like a "status report" on FB. Bear with me.) Look what I saw at the stormwater pond by Rite Aid? My first ever Green Heron here on the OBX! Rain or not, out came the lens!

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I've noticed, along with fellow artists and friends, that hard-to-define change in light and weather that signals fall. Today, the sea oats looked like fall to me: they are turning golden now even with all the rain.

posted by eturek at 10:23 PM

Comments [5]

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Big Sky Outer Banks
I read an article in my Outdoor Photographer magazine the other day about a photographer who lives in Montana, the “Big Sky Country.” He described himself as a cloud-chaser and when I read that, I had to smile. Me, too. I visited Montana for the first time in August 1993 and fell in love with Big Sky Country. I often think how that label is apt for the Outer Banks, too…but Montana thought it up first, I guess.

We’ve had plenty of our own Big Sky shows lately, despite the fact that our average humidity remains very high. Right now Weather Underground is reporting 93% humidity!! In contrast, the Low Humidity days (yes, I capitalized them on purpose; these should be a moving national holiday every summer, in my opinion!) of mid-July last year, and early July 2010 had average humidity about 51%.

So in recognition of these big skies, I have some wide-angle sky shots to share with you this time around.

Continuing my last blog, I’m still seeing dragonflies. Sunset at soundside the other evening included a huge swarm over the marsh. Those were mostly huge green ones; light was too low by then to get any photographs. I just had to enjoy their presence. Here is something else I enjoyed without a photo to remember by. I’m going to share the story in the hope it inspires someone else, as I was inspired by a similar story, without pictures, 40 years ago…

In my teens I read a story in Readers Digest about an optical phenomenon that occurs rarely in the second(s) just after sunset, or just before sunrise, when there is a bright flash, some call it the Green Flash, at the horizon. The writer had been on quest for a view of one since his own early years. There are technical reasons why the flash is seen, all about light refraction and the earth’s curvature. The thought of seeing an after-sunset green flash has stuck with me for all these years, and I am always on the lookout, every sunset, every sunrise. Never seen anything like it. Until the other evening. I was photographing sunset at the sound, the same night the dragonflies swarmed. Earlier clouds had shifted and the sun slipped below the horizon without a lot of fanfare, aka, cloud fire. I took pictures just as it set, going, going, gone. Took the camera down from my face but I was still looking at the horizon and flash! Not green, exactly, but intensely bright, and pinpoint in comparison with the width of the horizon. Lasted less than a blink. About a second and a half after sunset itself. Now I have a new quest: to photograph that instant, so I have a picture to share with the story.

I’ll end with another quest. Regular readers know how much I love to see sunrays shining up behind clouds. It’s even more fun to see beams of sunlight intensely focused, shining up or down, and in fact one evening’s sunset included just such a rosy ray, and you will see that below. Sometimes when I go to the ocean instead of to the sound, I see the opposite end of the sunrays over the sea and that phenomenon has a long 50-cent name that doesn’t at all portray how startling or beautiful that is to see in person. What I have been wondering about for a while, though, is whether there are ever moon-rays? I’ve seen plenty of moonglow; I’ve seen moon halos like sun halos with thin cloud cover. But I don’t remember ever seeing actual moonrays. Given that the moon is reflecting the sun to begin with, not shining its own light so to speak, are they even possible, or is the light too dim at that point to form a ray? These are the sorts of questions I wonder about.

So I went out for moonrise last week and set my tripod up, watching both western and eastern skies. There was a band of clouds over the ocean, hanging low. The moon in fact did not appear until a bit later, when the sun had already set. But the reward for waiting was wondrous: moon-rays! They do exist! I was delighted! They were very faint, and in fact I lightened this image just a bit so you could see in a small photograph what I saw in real time. Another local photographer, someone I had never met, came to the same access as I was just about finished. His goal was a big silver moon in a very dark sky, so he had a little while to wait. I pointed out the faint moon-rays. It is always fun to share with someone else, especially when you see something so extraordinary.

So those are my stories, and I’m sticking to them!! I’ll try to include a sense of the time below so you can follow along. As always, enjoy.

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We've seen a lot of this, lately. Summer squall line. Somebody down south is getting wet!

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Last blog I gave you the mass, in migration. Here's the closer encounter, in my front yard. Hi, baby! Aren't you pretty? In Dragonfly Fashion, it's the ladies who wear the brightest colors and patterns, unlike many birds.

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Here's a side view. This is the only dragonfly that lives and breeds in salt water. Seaside Dragonlet, glad to know you.

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Sometimes the best gift is the last one...in this case, a bright rosy-pink ray just before sundown.

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I'm often torn: sunset over sound, or should I go to the ocean? This time, I chose soundside, and I am glad I did. July 31st.

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You might ask, why go EAST at sunset? Here's why...all that color stretching across the sky and over the sea. I usually try to avoid people in the picture, but in this case, the fisherman gives Big Sky some sort of scale.

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This sky was so over the top the other morning, that even with desaturating it, the color version almost did not look real. I decided to convert it to black and white here to highlight the sunrays.

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Now we come to Monday. Another glorious afternoon, despite some gray clouds that threatened, for a brief time, to overtake the sunny day. I just kept remembering that the sun was still shining until it broke through again, brighter than before.

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A bit later Monday afternoon. Cloud shows were playing in all directions of the compass! By late afternoon the rains settled in and we had rain off and on all evening and into Tuesday.

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And last, but definitely not least, here are the moon-rays, shining up into the evening sky, over Nags Head pier. I've wondered about these a long time. Now I know.

posted by eturek at 11:14 PM

Comments [4]

(c) 2009-2010 Eve Turek & OBX Connection, all rights reserved - read 546520 times

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