Either by school field trip, family vacation, or in this case Boy Scout trip, many residents of North Carolina have visited the historic Wright Brother Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, just south of Kitty Hawk, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Here, on December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully conducted the first sustained controlled flight of a motorized aircraft.
Their breakthrough engineering development of a three axis control system (pitch, roll and yaw) allowed the pilot to steer and maintain equilibrium. It remains today as the standard method of control for all fixed wing aircraft. Though I’ve visited multiple times in my life, each time I’m quite inspired by the brother’s ingenuity over years of slow but steady progress, hard work, and perseverance.
Equally inspiring is the natural beauty found along the wind swept barrier islands of the North Carolina Outer Banks. It quite a long drive for me, but once you get there, you’re so thankful for having the opportunity to visit. For the best viewing experience, click an image to view a high resolution version. For more photos of this amazing destination, also see my Outer Banks Gallery.
Like the Hatteras Lighthouse 53 miles (85 km) to the south along the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Bodie Island Lighthouse (pronounced “body”) stands 156 feet (47.5 m) and is also part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, and maintained by the National Park Service. Unlike other lighthouses which switched to aviation beacons, the Bodie Island Lighthouse maintains an original first-order Fresnel lens to cast its light.
Thank you taking time to visit my photograph blog. If you like these compositions, then check out my Cape Hatteras Lighthouse posts Part 1 and Part 2. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version.
Located on the Pamelco Sound side of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Canadian Hole is acknowledged as one of the best windsurfing and kiteboarding locations on the American east coast, if not the world Returning from a late afternoon visit to the Wright Brothers Memorial, we pulled off Highway 12 between Avon and Buxton to enjoy watching these windsurfers ride the wind.
Photographed the following day, his last composition features a kiteboarder in the Atlantic Ocean side of Hatteras Island near the city of Hatteras.
In our campground in Fresco, I met a gentlemen named Gerard from Montreal. A serious kiteboarder, he was evidence Canadian Hole was indeed discovered by Canadians in the early 1980s. Thanks for stopping by today. Click to see a high resolution version of each image.
For the image below, I patiently waiting about 30 minutes after sunset for the photocell in the lighthouse to finally turned on the lighthouse beacon. Yep, the kerosene lamp and Fresnel lens were replaced back around 1934.
The remaining images in this post, along with most in the previous post, were captured the following day when my Scout Troop visited the Cape Hatteras National Seashore park. Because I usually linger to get the best shot, they’ve learned not to wait on me.
Because of high winds, I was only able to lean outside the door to the lighthouse balcony. If you look at the image below, along the right side of the horizon line, you can see the breakers along the leading edge of the Diamond Shoals mentioned in the previous post. For a better view of this image, or any other image in this post, click to see a high resolution version.
The steel and wood groin shown below, was a last ditch effort to save the lighthouse. Sand is captured on the updrift side, in this case on the left side, at the expense of lost sand deposits on the right (downdrift) side. No that the Hatteras Lighthouse has been moved further away from the seashore, I wonder if this groin will be removed, or left to deteriorate over time.
At 210 ft tall, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, and second tallest in the world. Just off the cape, the warmer Gulf Stream collides with the colder Labrador Current creating shifting sandbars and powerful ocean storms. The resulting Diamond Shoals and surrounding areas have claimed over 5000 ships and countless lives.
Since 1871, in it’s second incarnation, the lighthouse has helped mariners navigate around these treacherous waters. By the 1990s however, the encroaching sea was just 15 feet, (4.6 m) from the lighthouse foundation. In 1999, the structure was moved 2,990 ft (880 m) and is now 1,500 ft, (460 m) from the current shoreline.
During my exploration and study of the lighthouse interior, I sent members of my Scout party ahead with direction not to wait on me. I intended to use two legs of my tripod along with the wall or railing to squeeze out a few additional stops of depth of field. Unfortunately, tripods are not allowed inside the lighthouse. Keeping my ISO between 800 and 1200, I was able to get satisfactory captures with my Tamron 15mm-30mm wide angle at f2.8.
I have several additional compositions from Cape Hatteras to share in my next post. Click on an image to see the high resolution versions of this iconic structure. Have a great week!
When I first encountered these Yellow thistle plants near the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, I was immediately reminded of the “Audrey II”, the alien man-eating plant from The Little Shop of Horrors movie. The plant is a contradiction of exotic beauty and menacing horror.
Interestingly, the Yellow Thistle’s genus- species name is Cirsium horridulum. In several states, Cirsium are considered noxious weeds, while others states have designated it as an endangered or threatened species.
In my state of North Carolina, the thistle is relatively common in the coastal plains and is know to initially flourish were the ground has recently been disturbed. Over time, the thistle gives way to other plants who establish themselves with permanence. I found evidence of this with numerous thistles thriving along the 2,900 foot strip of land where in 1999, the lighthouse was moved inland away from the encroaching sea.
Thanks for “sticking” around for this post! To best appreciate the prickly detail in these thistles, click on an image to view the high resolution version.
This magnificent osprey nest was near our Scout campsite in Frisco, North Carolina on Hatteras Island in the Outer Banks. The wind and salt burned pine trees provide both habitat and an intriguing seascape. The female spent most of the day sitting, while the male hunted for food and nesting material.
For the best viewing experience, click to see a high resolution version.