Tangier Island – A Photographers Delight


Black Skimmer with fish flying over beach.
Black Skimmer with fish flying over beach.

TANGIER ISLAND Photo Workshop

See Website for details (Schedule) & Photo Gallery:  www.ospreyphoto.com

21-31 May 2015

In the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, just south of the Maryland line, is Tangier Island, VA. It is actually a series of small islands connected by narrow wooden bridges spanning marshes and tidal creeks. Tangier is a charming community and home to waterman who make their living, as did their ancestors, crabbing, fishing, and oystering.   At dawn, we will photograph the waterman as they motor out to their crab shanties to gather supplies for the day. From a boat I charted, we will be able to capture images of the offshore structures and crabbers as they work.

Workboat at Sunset
Workboat at Sunset

 

We will also explore the beach, tidal creeks, and wetlands in search of wildlife – ducks, herons, skimmers, pelicans, and osprey which nest in large numbers nearby. Includes golf cart transportation, 2 nights at B&B, and image critiques.

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Sunrise Tangier Island
Sunrise Tangier Island

Tangier Island Description

Just south of the Maryland line, in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, lies Tangier Island, VA. Covering approximately 1.2 square miles, Tangier Island is actually a series of small islands connected by a series of narrow wooden bridges spanning marshes and tidal creeks.

Dunlin.  Visit the island during the spring.
Dunlin. Visit the island during the spring.

Tangier is a charming community of waterman and shop owners, often referred to as the soft crab capital of the world. Many born on the island speak a unique dialect of English dating back to the language used by those who settled the island from Cornwall England. For visitors, animated conversations between islanders can be somewhat difficult to understand. Inhabitants make their living as did their ancestors for more than 400 years by crabbing, fishing, and oystering. Each day well before dawn, the waterman depart the island for their off shore docks and crab shanties to retrieve their crab pots, soft crab scrapes, floats, and other gear required to harvest the blue crabs which are abundant near the island. After hours on the water, they return to off load their catch for shipment back to the mainland and to tend to their soft crab shedding tanks. It is a difficult life, with long days at the mercy of the weather and seas.

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Wildlife is plentiful in the marshes, creeks, beaches, and waters surrounding the island. Ducks, geese, herons, rails, shorebirds, terns, and pelicans take advantage of the abundant food supply and shelter.

To the delight of photographers, there is a healthy population of ospreys with many nesting on nearby structures and soaring overhead.

Isolated from the mainland, Tangier can only be reached by boat or small plane. Golf carts replace cars as the primary mode of transportation on the island since the streets are narrow and barely wide enough for 2 carts to pass. It’s a peaceful community with friendly people and no traffic lights or violent crime. There are no banks, arcades, and only 2 bed and breakfast accommodations. Bring cash since not all establishments accept credit cards. Cell phone connection difficult. Limited Wi-Fi.

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Tangier Island is worth a visit for a rare opportunity to photograph a unique way of life that is slowly disappearing. Potential subjects include work boats, offshore crab shanties & docks, working waterman, an active waterfront, birds, beaches, and lots more. Best times to visit – mid April to early Oct. Favorite B&B – Bay View Inn (photo below).BayView1web-5661