Upcoming Photo Workshops

I am a pioneer in the field of photo workshops and tours, offering programs since 1979. Each is carefully crafted and well planned. By limiting the number of participants per program (primarily 3-8), I am able to offer personalized instruction.

Workshops are short and last from 1 to 3 days, often offered over a weekend. Photo sessions in the field are followed by image editing and critiques. My preparation for each workshop includes scouting out the photo opportunities at each location.

Photo Tours on the other hand, last from one to three weeks. They are custom designed and cover multiple locations. Sites are chosen for their natural beauty and relatively accessible wildlife. These can include wildlife refuges, eco-friendly ranches, private wildlife sanctuaries, and state and national parks. As per weekend programs, each location is carefully scouted. For international programs, an English speaking local guide accompanies the group. Past tours have included South Florida, South Dakota, NWT, Bryce/Zion/Arces Yellowstone NP, Glacier NP, Iceland, Argentina, Chile, Newfoundland, and the Falkland Islands.

Nature photography is the focus of the majority of programs with attention paid to composition, lighting, exposure, perspective, creativity, and attracting, locating, and photographing wildlife.

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Outer Banks, North Carolina Photo Workshop

Dec 6 @ 7:00 pm - Dec 9 @ 7:00 pm

Outer Banks North Carolina Photo Workshop

 (6-9 Dec 2022)

This Outer Banks Photo Workshop offers a variety of photographic opportunities —lighthouses, miles of pristine beaches, sand dunes, small boat harbors, historic sites, fishing piers, wildlife reserves, and parks. Over the ocean, along the shoreline, and in the marshes, waterways, and forests, we will look for photographic subjects including pelicans, herons, shorebirds, warblers, pelagic seabirds, dolphins, deer, fox, and other wildlife. Potential locations to be visited include Bodie and Currituck Beach lighthouses, Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, Duck boardwalk overlooking Currituck Sound, Wanchese Harbor, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, Currituck Banks Coastal Estuarine Reserve, and Hatteras National Seashore. On the Outer Banks, sunrises are often spectacular.  The image below is of Avalon Pier as the sun is rising.  Jennette’s Pier in Nags Head also offers opportunities for dawn photography and for a nominal fee, you can walk the 1000 foot-long pier hoping to capture images of flying pelicans, pelagic birds, propose and fisherman.

Note: As usual with my workshops, I will arrive several days prior to the group to access current local conditions and to scout the best locations for photography. The exact locations and times may vary according to weather, safety considerations, current road conditions, and desires of the group.

PRICE $ 1295 based on single occupancy; $ 1167 based on double occupancy. 

ACCOMMODATIONS – Price includes 4 nights accommodations, but does not include food, transportation, tolls, any park fees or personal items.  See details at end of this post.

 

Avalon Pier sunrise.

SunrisEarly-sunriseOBanksLastDay-1503WEB2

The Changing Face of Barrier Islands

The Outer Banks consists of a narrow string of barrier islands running parallel to the North Carolina coast for 150 miles from the Virginia border to Shackleford Banks in the south. A network of bridges and ferries join the islands together making it easy to travel from one to the next.   The Outer Banks are separated from the mainland by bays and inlets, with Pamlico Sound being the largest (30 miles across at its widest). Like all barrier islands, those of the Outer Banks are in a constant state of flux being reshaped by the wind, waves, tides, & storms. Today’s shallow coves fill with sand and become the marshes of tomorrow. The most dramatic changes in appearance are caused by fierce coastal storms like the winter “nor’easters” and the fall hurricanes. When these storms coincide with seasonal high tides, the results can be disastrous, creating new inlets, washing out sections of the main highway running the length of the Outer Banks (Route 12)  and tumbling beach-front homes into the sea.  Our exact itinerary can be influenced by weather and changes in road access.

Wave with spray on windy day.

Tentative Schedule – 2022

Sunrise 6:59, Sunset 4:48

Tuesday  

7:00 – 8:30 PM, (Orientation:  goals setting, photo tips, logistics: itinerary, safety, car pooling.)                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Wednesday

Sunrise – 11:00 AM, (Photography Bodie Light, Bonner Fishing Pier/Oregon Inlet, Life Saving Station and dunes.)

11:00 AM – 1:30 PM (Mid-day lunch, editing, image review – 3 images)

1:30 PM – Sunset (Currituck Beach Lighthouse & the Whalehead Club, Currituck Sound off of the Duck Boardwalk, Sunset)

Thursday

Sunrise – noon (Pier at sunrise, Hatteras National Seashore, & Pea Island)

Mid-Day – Lunch @ Duck

1:00 PM – Sunset (Corolla Horse Tour, Currituck Banks Coastal Estuarine Reserve, Sunset over Currituck Sound)

Friday

Sunrise – 11 AM (Sunrise @ Beach, Jockey’s Ridge, Wanchese harbor, Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, Town of Manteo, waterside boardwalk)

Lunch in Manteo

Drive to Alligator River NWR for black bears, waders, waterfowl, turkey, wood peckers, and the elusive red wolf.

End of workshop.

Atlantic Ocean
Sea foam at sunrise.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

For thousands of years, North Carolina’s Outer Banks have survived onslaughts of wind and sea. This thin, broken strand of islands curves out into the Atlantic Ocean and back again sheltering North Carolina’s mainland and offshore sounds.  Cape Hatteras National Seashore protects long stretches of beach, sand dunes, marshes, and woodlands that are part of three barrier islands– Bodie Island, Hatteras Island, and Ocracoke Island. It extends more than 70 miles south of Nags Head. 

It and other undeveloped beaches, offer wonderful opportunities for photography–sunrise, waves, shells, patterns in the sand, dunes, driftwood, beach vegetation, and local wildlife. Because of strong currents and turbulence off shore, food is abundant, supporting not only large populations of seabirds, but dolphins, whales and other marine mammals. Those will longer lenses may be able to capture images of the sanderlings or other small shorebirds as they chase receding waves to feed on crabs and other tiny organisms in the exposed wet sand.  Or you may have opportunities to photograph Brown Pelicans flying in formation and gliding just inches above the water’s surface or plunging head first into the ocean.

Sanderling eating mole crab at the surf line.
Sanderlings chasing each other on the beach.
Sanderlings chasing each other on the beach.

Oregon Inlet

Oregon Inlet connects the Atlantic Ocean with Pamlico Sound.  For years, the Bonner Bridge, the longest bridge on the Rt. 12 which runs the  length of Outer Banks, provided vehicle access to the southern part of the Outer Banks.  Due to shifting sand, strong currents, and instability, the Bonner Bridge  had to be replaced.  The 2.8-mile Marc Basnight Bridge now connects the northern and southern parts of the Outer Banks.  

The southern portion of the old Bonner bridge was turned into a 1046-foot long fishing pier. The Bonner Bridge Pier opened on Oct. 1, 2021 with cooperation between the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation.   Oregon Inlet is rich with marine life due to mixing of salt water with fresh and attracts fish, birds and fisherman. From the pier, we will try to get images of pelicans, cormorants, ospreys, and pelagic sea bird attracted to the abundant food supply.  

Near the entrance to the pier is a historic US Coast Guard station, (formerly a Lifesaving station) that has great photo potential.  Adjacent to the ocean, it sits in the midst of beautiful sand dunes.

Double-crested Cormorant swimming partially submerged.
Oregon Inlet Life Saving Station

Lighthouses

Sometimes referred to as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” the waters off the Outer Banks are well known for dangerous shoals (shifting underwater sandbars) and colliding offshore currents. This deadly combination has resulted in the sinking of hundreds of ships over the years. Along the beach remains of the sailing ships can sometimes be seen protruding from the sands.   Because of the large number of ships lost, lighthouses and life saving stations were constructed at intervals along the coast to guide ships away from dangerous waters. For easy identification from the sea, each lighthouse differs in appearance and signal.

Bodie Lighthouse & Keepers Quarters

Bodie Island Lighthouse

The Bodie Island Lighthouse was erected to mark the entrance to Oregon Inlet and is still operating today. It is located at the north end of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, just south of Nags Head and 4 miles before the inlet.  Todays  lighthouse was built 1872 after the original one on the opposite bank of the inlet was destroyed in the Civil War.  It was renovated in recent years, with the work concluded in 2013.  It stands 150 feet tall and has a keepers quarters is adjacent to it.  It is tucked away between tall pine trees and freshwater marshland.  Deer are not an uncommon sight on the main entrance road to the parking area.  There are several nature trails nearby including a .4 mile long boardwalk leading to a viewing platform overlooking a pond and marshland frequented by wading birds and others species. 

Cotten-tail Rabbit back lit in field of clover near Bodie Lighthouse

Two-Hour off-road guided wild horse tour (Private Tour: 4-Wheel Drive Vehicle)

The wild horse tour features a unique  round-trip North toward Carova Beach and False Cape State Park near the Virginia – North Carolina border. Stumps rising from the sand along the ocean and are the remnants of an ancient maritime forest. Picturesque scenery and unscheduled appearances of wildlife offer photo opportunities.  Along the way, the horses are sometimes seen walking along the beach and even in the surf. The tour company has private access into the Wild Horse Conservation Easement, situated on secluded land, habitat set aside for the Colonial Spanish Mustangs.   (Corolla Outback Adventures)

Horse in Surf

Duck Boardwalk and Currituck Sound

The community of Duck on the northern end of the Outer Banks constructed an elevated boardwalk that is nearly a mile in length and is adjacent to Currituck Sound. Herons, waterfowl, turtles, and other species can be photographed from the various points along the walkway.  It is the perfect place to capture incredible sunsets with swans or cypress trees in the foreground.  

Swans swimming in Currituck Sound at sunset.

Cypress Tree on Currituck Sound at Sunset.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse & Whalehead

The Currituck Beach Lighthouse still functions as a guide for passing mariners.  It located in the heart of Corolla near the northern end of Rt. 12, the primary road that runs the length of the Outer Banks. This 162 foot tall lighthouse stands out for its distinctive red exterior. The design was intentional to set the Currituck Lighthouse apart from its Outer Banks neighbors. The lighthouse has been left unpainted so visitors could marvel at the sheer number of bricks involved in its construction. The lighthouse is adjacent to the the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education, the historic Whalehead Club, and Corolla Park.  The Whalehead, with its beautiful architecture, is a 1920’s mansion. Although serving other purposes over the years, it was once a secluded oceanfront retreat for this country’s wealthy hunters and conservationists.

Currituck Lighthouse

Currituck Banks Coastal Estuarine Reserve

Located on the northern border of the town of Corolla and the 4WD accessible areas of Carova, the Currituck Banks Coastal Estuarine Reserve is comprised of 965 acres of natural maritime habitat. The warm Gulf Stream Current and cold Labrador Current intermingle just offshore creating an unusual habitat where both northern and southern species of plant and animal life survive.  The area is an important stop along the Atlantic Flyway where thousands of migrating birds rest on their long journey.  A 1/3 mile wooden boardwalk extends to the Currituck Sound and offers spectacular views at sunset.  Off of the boardwalk there is a more rustic 1.5 mile trail which leads into the deep patches of the maritime forest to the north. This path travels though a variety of habitats before reaching another overlook of Currituck Sound. On the reserve one might see a variety of birds including egrets, ibis, ospreys, ducks, Tundra Swans, cormorants, terns, etc. It is also home to mammals that find food and shelter in the maritime forests, the sandy dunes, and the mud flats bordering the Currituck Sound.  Species include muskrats, nutrias, river otters, mink, as well as white-tailed deer, gray foxes, raccoons, opossums and even occasional feral hog.

 

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse, Manteo

Manteo & Wanchese

On Roanoke Island, in the late 1800s, Manteo served as an important port and is one of the oldest towns in North Carolina with large ships docking at is waterfront.  A short distance away is Wanchese, another fishing port. Once centers for boat building, both ports have diminished in importance today.  But they still have small boat harbors where a small number of trawlers, crabbing, and other commercial and sports fishing boats dock.

The Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is on the east end of the Manteo waterfront. Reaches 40 yards out into Roanoke Sound with a boardwalk for access. Unlike Bodie and other lighthouses on the Outer Banks, the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse is a replica of a lighthouse that was constructed in 1877 at the southern entrance of the Croatan Sound in the village of Wanchese to help sailors and fishermen to find their way to port.  It is a river lighthouse. So like its counterparts, it is much shorter and squatter than the other lighthouses on the Outer Banks. With its red roof, black shutters,  and cottage-like appearance, it is a favorite subject for photographers.  The town of Manteo, one of the oldest towns in North Carolina, is quaint and worth visiting with a number of unique shops, pubs, coffeehouses, restaurants, and a boardwalk along the water. It is a nice place to pick up a coffee or sandwich after an active morning shooting session. Nearby  is the small community of Wanchese with a small harbor and marina with large sport fishing boats.  Usually there are a few work boats tied up at the wharf along with fishing nets, crab traps and other gear.  In the past, it has been a good location to photograph ospreys and pelicans.

Brown Pelican landing with fish.
Colorful crab trap & float.

PEA ISLAND NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is on the southern side of the Oregon Inlet and covers more than 5,900 acres. The water level is managed by a system of dikes and ponds to favor the production of food high in value to wildlife. The refuge provides a safe haven for wintering migratory waterfowl with 25 species of ducks and more than 265 species of birds including osprey, Wilson’s plover, black skimmers, wading birds, and least terns.  We will explore the overlooks and trails in search of photo subjects. In early winter thousands of waterfowl including tundra swans arrive at the refuge.

Tundra Swans flying
American Oystercatcher with mussel.

Alligator River

The Alligator River is a 152,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge located in eastern North Carolina along the Atlantic Coast on the Albemarle-Pamlico Peninsula. It is managed as part of the Coastal North Carolina National Wildlife Refuges Complex which includes Pea Island. The main access is  off of Rt. 64 west of Manteo.  The refuge was established in 1984, to preserve and protect a unique wetland habitat type known as “pocosin” and it’s associated wildlife species.  The habitat is varied and includes high and low pocosin, bogs, fresh and brackish water marshes, hardwood swamps, and Atlantic White Cypress swamps.  The refuge is one of the premier habitats for the black bear in the eastern US.  In the winter it attracts a variety of waterfowl including snow geese and thousands of swans.  It is  also home to wading birds, shorebirds, warblers, turkey, deer, fox, coyotes, bobcat, rabbits, raccoons, turtles, etc.  You may even see a red wolf, one of the individuals transported to the refuge as part of a recovery program for their declining population.

Black Bear

Red wolf with tracking collar.

The following locations may be included in the itinerary depending on the weather, photographic potential a the time of the workshop, and timing. Otherwise they can be visited before or after the workshop.

Audubon Pine Island Sanctuary

A 2.5 mile (one way) Nature Trail is open to the public on the Audubon Pine Island Sanctuary. It follows the path of the old dirt road between Duck and Corolla. Habitats along the way include forests of Loblolly Pine and Live Oaks, stunted Oak forests, and the rare Red Bay Shrub Swamp. Two Overlooks, one near the south end and the other 1 mile from the north end provide sweeping views of Pine Island, Currituck Marshes, and Currituck Sound.  Between October and December, a large influx of ducks arrive to include American Black Ducks, Mallards, Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teals, American Widgeons, Northern Shovelers, and Gadwalls.

Northern Shoveler swimming.
Gadwall flapping wings after preening.

Nags Head Woods Preserve in Kill Devil Hills

Situated on the sound side of the Outer Banks in Kill Devil Hills, the 1,000 acres of protected maritime forest found in the Nags Head Woods Preserve can be explored on foot. There are four trails in the ecological preserve cover approximately seven miles. The preserve includes maritime forest, wetlands, beaches and a historic cemetery. 

Jockey’s Ridge

Jockey’s Ridge is the tallest natural inland sand dune system in the Eastern United States. Located in Nags Head, it is one of the most significant landmarks on the Outer Banks.  The landscape is constantly changing with the prevailing wind. This unique location is best photographed either early or late in the day when the sunlight skims the surface of the dunes creating interesting textures and patterns in the sand.

Gulls hovering over beach at sunrise.

What to Bring

DSLR or Mirrorless camera, instruction manual, spare memory cards ,and batteries.  Lenses from wide angle to 300 mm or more. Polarizing and a neutral density filter.  Sturdy tripod. For the image review session and editing images, bring a laptop computer or tablet.  Edited images should be saved to a flash drive for transferring to my computer for viewing by the group.

CLOTHING

It can be cold at this time of the year, so bring some warm clothing.  But in early December temperatures can also be mild.  Dress in layers. The workshop will begin each day at dawn to take advantage of the warm, early morning light. Activities will proceed in the rain, so bring rain gear and waterproof covers for your camera and lenses. At this time of year, ticks, flies or mosquitoes could still be present so bring insect repellant. For protection from UV radiation, I suggest wearing a hat and using sun screen.  To prevent dehydration, bring water to each outing.

HANDOUTS

 Also prior to our first meeting, please bring me on a thumb drive 2 sample images of your nature photography images for discussion.  In a future handout, I will provide  guidance as to file naming and formatting.  Using the recommended naming protocol helps when sorting and reviewing the images. Besides info on what to bring, you will also be sent a liability release form and pre-workshop questionnaire that will help me to better address your needs. These should be completed before the class.

Yellowlegs after catching fish.

SPECIAL NOTES

I will provide individual attention to each participant in the field matching each their skill level. The itinerary is flexible and will be adjusted according to the location and availability of subjects, the weather, safety, group interest, and other factors. Paths may be uneven, wet in spots, or sandy. The trails I selected for the workshop are easy to moderate in difficulty. Anyone may abstain from any activity and select an alternate that is less strenuous. Boots with firm ankle support for hiking are recommended. The pace of the workshop is adjusted to the desires of the group and to allow participants to explore each location thoroughly and to ask questions. Car pooling is encouraged where possible. Much in terms of health precautions will depend on the situations relative to COVID at the time.  I advise you to get travel insurance.

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PRICE $ 1295 based on single occupancy; $ 1167 based on double occupancy. 

ACCOMMODATIONS – Price includes 4 nights accommodations, but does not include food, transportation, tolls, any park fees or personal items.

Maximum number of participants – 6

Full payment due 30 days prior to the start of the workshop. Deposit: 50% prior to that date. See cancellation policy posted with registration form on web site. If you have questions, contact me at (410) 679-2873 or (410) 960-5871 or e-mail me at ospreyphot@aol.com

(To register, complete the form at top of the “Events” web page).

 

Details

Start:
Dec 6 @ 7:00 pm
End:
Dec 9 @ 7:00 pm
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Organizer

Osprey Photo Workshops & Tours

Venue

Outer Banks NC
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