Up at 5:00 AM so Michael could shoot an Outer Banks lighthouse at first light. Those of you who know me well will either be impressed or astonished, but yes it’s true, I was up at 5:00 AM – voluntarily. Michael packed his cameras, I packed water and the dog, plus my pillow – just in case (yeah right!). We pulled out of the driveway at 5:30. Michael drove and I napped until we arrived at the Bodie (pronounced body) lighthouse about 30 minutes before sunrise.
The sky was just beginning to lighten and Michael took some fabulous shots of the lighthouse in silhouette with the sky just beginning to show color. It was so peaceful and beautiful. We then hiked out on a boardwalk and up to a platform so Michael could catch the light as it lit the lighthouse. It was an extraordinarily beautiful dawn, mostly clear with some clouds for interest and color contrast.
The Bodie Lighthouse is just south of Nags Head at the start of Hatteras. It is at the edge of a beautiful marsh area, so the setting is spectacular and a photographer’s dream – beautiful scenery and nothing obstructing the views. We stayed until the sun rose over the low laying cloud cover and then a little bit more to see how the golden color would wash the lighthouse.
Michael got some beautiful shots of the lighthouse, the marsh and, of course, the sky as it turned from deep orange to pink and then blue.
Each lighthouse has different markings so sailors can identify it from far away and know where they are in relation to the shoreline. The Bodie lighthouse has black and white horizontal stripes.
We jumped back in the car and continued south. This time I drove and Michael rested his eyes as we continued to head towards Hatteras village at the end of this Outer Banks peninsula. We were on a scouting trip to see the Hatteras lighthouse. We knew that it would be too light by the time we arrived – you really want early morning or late afternoon soft light to get the most detail, but we often check out a site on one trip and then go back to photograph on another trip once we know which direction the light needs to be in to get the best shot.
We arrived at the Hatteras lighthouse just before 9:00 AM and Michael took a couple of test shots. Mick and I walked around the deserted park looking for other places for Michael to shoot. Michael liked the look of the original lighthouse keepers house. Before automation, keepers had to live on site so they could service the lighthouse every two hours to keep it running – kind of like having a new baby! It has been widely reported that this was a very lonely existence, but this house had a plaque that said the Hatteras lighthouse was very popular with the locals who came by often, especially on Sundays, to visit and escape the inland heat.
Ten minutes later, cars started coming into the lot and a small tour bus arrived. This was exciting for Mick because so many people had Irish Setters when they were kids so they had to come over to give pets. Others are on vacation and missing their dogs, so they needed to come over as well and tell him how beautiful he is. Mick has such a hard life!
After the lighthouse, we headed to the beach because there was a Kite Surfing contest going on. We didn’t see any actual judging but there were lots of kite surfers out in the rough water practicing. I learned that the kites are inflated on the front ridge (which is what keeps them rigid in the wind) and got to see how the kite attached to your body with a body harness so the surfer is holding on only to steer the kite. Men and women, both young and older were flying across the waves. It was very cool. After Michael got some pics, we headed on to the end of Hatteras island.
Hatteras Village is a small and sweet village and it looked like they had a good museum commemorating all the ship wrecks in this area which is known as the ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic’ because of all the ships that went down off the coast of the Outer Banks. We didn’t go in because we had Mick with us, maybe another trip. We did have an early lunch of good shrimp burgers at a local deli right next to all the charter fishing boats. Not a lot of activity going on off-season, but still great so see all the big boats. From here, we started to drive home – and it wasn’t even noon yet! What a great morning.