Growing up, I recall avoiding the Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pulchella) as I walked to and from the Carolina’s various beaches. The dried, spiked seed-heads were almost as painful as the dreaded sandspur when stepped on with bare feet! But now, I more appreciate their beauty and genetic diversity. I’m considering planting them near my water garden.
These specimens are from my recent vacation to Ocean Isle Beach. I decided to try a monochrome version of the the first composition above. I brought down the luminosity of oranges and reds to get an acceptable range of tonality mostly on the left flower, from the petal’s red base, out to the yellow tip. I also lowered the luminosity of the greens to give the flowers a little more prominence. I actually like this version as much as the color.
These images are best experienced by clicking on the image to view a high resolution version from my portfolio site. Especially seeing the small spider on the left flower in the first two, and the bumble bee in the last.
The east end of Ocean Isle Beach remains undeveloped and retains much of the characteristics of a southeastern US barrier island. This seascape is forever changing, and each time I visit, there is some new to discover . Below is a view of a tidal pool looking from the Intracostal Waterway side of the island back towards the seaward side.
Below is a sunrise view looking east towards Holden Beach, another North Carolina barrier island.
Thanks for taking time to view this post. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version from my portfolio site.
From its humble beginnings as a gathering spot for local oyster roasts in the 1930s, Calabash has become a sought out destination by Carolina beach vacationers in search of great southern seafood. Later in the 1940s locals begin offering fresh fish soaked in evaporated milk, then breaded with cornmeal (with salt & pepper added) and finally fried up to a golden perfection. Locals couldn’t get enough, word spread and soon a local legend was born.
Shrimp boats and fishing charters bring fresh seafood daily to the row of restaurants who back right up to the docks. My usual is the seafood platter featuring fresh shrimp, flounder and crab. Yummy! While vacationing in nearby Ocean Isle in early July, I visited the area with my camera to take in the great views. In addition to images from the docks, I also found a great dock ruin in a nearby waterway, and a cool architectural abstract.
Click on any image to see a higher resolution image from my portfolio site. I’d also love to hear your feedback, please leave a comment.
My Scouts love to backpack in and around Grayson Highlands State Park, VA. The location is part of the Mount Rogers National Recreational Area and the Jefferson National Forest. Each time we backpack, I always bring my camera. On the trail, I’m always at the back of line taking pictures, or running ahead to catch our Scout Troop navigating the beautiful terrain.
Scientists tell us this area was considered an alpine forest during the last ice age. As the ice retreated, the alpine forest retreated to higher ground. A mix of evergreen firs, spruce and hemlocks mixed with Chestnut, Locust trees and mountain brush once covered the area. As a result of the great loss of the American Chestnut in the early 1900s, loggers came into the area to retrieve the dead trees for it valuable lumber. The impact of this event along with the well-drained rocky soil, weather, spruce-fir & hemlock loss to pests, acid rain, and wild ponies all contribute to this unique biome. The terrain is absolutely stunning, especially in the fall, offering a tremendous opportunity for beautiful natural photography.
The first photo, Hemlock & Birch Tree Composition, was taken just after sunrise in the early Fall. It features a dead hemlock on the left with a live birch in front, on the right. Only the green, and a slight amount of yellow, were left to highlight the lichen and add visual interest. As usual, I processed the image with a Panatomic-X filter in Exposure 7 to add old school grain, contrast and character.
One of our most popular backpacking trail routes is along the Appalachian Trail (AT), briefly cutting through the top of the park before looping northward out of the park along the western edge of Wilburn Ridge. The next image, Ghost on the RIdgeline, was taken along the AT on the western approach to Wilburn Ridge. It represents one of my favorite shots from Grayson Highlands. This dead, lichen covered hemlock appears as a ghost haunting the ridgeline along the dense, dark brush lining the rocky trail. The smaller image in this post appears a little darker than the normal preview on my portfolio site. Click on the image name to see a larger view from my site.
On a visit last September, I took Locust Tree Composition inside the park looking back at the western side of Wilburn Ridge. At some level, this image reminds me of a stain-glass window. Locust trees are to be respected, especially when you’re trying to tie your camping hammock between two of them after sunset!
I plan to have more images from Grayson Highlands next week. I hope you enjoy.
Last June I captured this beautiful creature at Ocean Isle Beach, NC on the last night of my vacation. Typically, I’m not very found of these federally protected birds. You see, back home in High Point, they occasionally visit my koi pond looking for an easy catch. Earlier this week, I finally got around to spending time with this image — Blue Heron Silhouette.
During processing, I pushed the clarity and contrast to slightly abstract the image. Though the result was pleasing, I felt more abstraction would be better on such a visually compelling image. So the decision was made to further process the image in Alien Skin’s Snap Art software.
In the past I’ve favored the impasto oil painting effects. However, for this image I did not want the thicker paint highlight effect, which can distract from the image when a small brush size is used along with shorter brush strokes. Instead, I used a standard oil painting setting and modified the brush characteristics as mentioned above. The smaller brush size also helps maintain enough detail of the original image, without needing to over do the photo-realism setting.
I’ve included a detail of the image so the brush work and canvas texture can be seen. I was tempted several times to increase color saturation, but kept coming back to the current settings. This specific heron is welcome around my house!