Lighthouses at Night Workshop Review

A couple weeks back I led a lighthouses at night workshop. We started out at Cape Hatteras. We watched and photographed the milky way as it slowly moved across the sky. The night was clear and absolutely perfect, other than the millions of mosquitoes. We had a great group of eager learners and by the end of the night everyone was creating some beautiful images! I didn't photograph much but I was able to create a few images. Oh! Notice just to the left of Cape Hatteras, a really bight star. Mars was shinning bright that night! It was beautiful.

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Once we finished at Cape Hatteras we made the hour drive north to Bodie Island Lighthouse. The milky way had moved quite a bit so we weren't able to capture the core. Again it was a beautiful evening for photography and a good time was had by all. I will be announcing my 2019 lighthouse workshop dates in the coming weeks. I hope you can tag along!

Until next time,

Cheers,

Neil

2018 Bear Workshop Participant Images

Summer of 2018 has been great! All of our Summer on the Pocosin workshops and Ultimate Black Bear Workshop were a good success! On average we saw around 20-30 bear sightings on each outing. We had great close encounters, watched cubs play in fields, bear in trees and more! I full review of the summer will coming soon. I thought I would share some my participants images first, we had a good range of photographers. Some just starting out and some seasoned professionals. Be sure to leave some love in the comments for everyone to see. Great job everyone and I'm glad you had a good time! You all got some great images!!

 Kimberly Brookbank

Kimberly Brookbank

 Kimberley Brookbank

Kimberley Brookbank

 Kimberley Brookbank

Kimberley Brookbank

 Kimberley Brookbank

Kimberley Brookbank

 Joyce Edwards

Joyce Edwards

 Joyce Edwards

Joyce Edwards

 Joyce Edwards

Joyce Edwards

 Lois Pollard

Lois Pollard

 Lois Pollard

Lois Pollard

 Paul Stackhouse

Paul Stackhouse

 Paul Stackhouse

Paul Stackhouse

 Paul Stackhouse

Paul Stackhouse

 Cindy Whitney

Cindy Whitney

 Cindy Whitney

Cindy Whitney

 Maddie Chinault

Maddie Chinault

 Maddie Chinault

Maddie Chinault

 Maddie Chinault

Maddie Chinault

 Kelsey Braddy

Kelsey Braddy

 Kelsey Braddy

Kelsey Braddy

 Kelsey Braddy

Kelsey Braddy

 Kelsey Braddy

Kelsey Braddy

 Kelsey Braddy

Kelsey Braddy

 Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer Bennett

 Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer Bennett

 Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer Bennett

If your interested in attending a workshop in 2019 please visit the link here or select the 2019 workshop tab at the top of the page.

Until next time,

Cheers, Neil.

Barred Owls of Alligator River

This year has been a great year for Barred owls at Alligator River NWR. The family of owls having been hanging out, most of the time, right beside Sawyer Lake Road. I've been photographing them since memorial day weekend and a couple weeks back I had an incredible encounter. While photographing them one saw an earth worm moving on the ground right beside me. It flew from the tree, landed on the worm and return to the woods. It all happened so qucikly and so close that I was unable to create a usable photograph. It was just amazing to witness it!

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After spending the morning searching for bear and after a mid-day meeting I returned in the early afternoon. While photographing one of them, which was very close to the road and at eye level, one of the adults flew in with a crayfish! It slowly handed it off to the youngster and lunch was served! It was a great experience! The photographs aren't perfect by no means but it was all about the experience for me. 

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After the adult left I saw where it landed and I followed and sat with it for another 30 minutes or so before heading back home. If your out and about in Alligator River this summer keep an eye out for them. Owls are my favorite birds and being in the presence is almost spiritual for me.

Until next time,

Cheers, Neil.

 

Pungo & Alligator River

I'm wrapping up a busy two months of workshops & tours in the next couple of weeks. I'm kind of sad that my workshops are winding down, although, I'm super excited to go out and finally work on some photography projects I've been planning.

I'll be recapping each workshop in the coming weeks but for now, lets go back to early May. Candace & I went out to Alligator River for a morning trip and finished up at Pungo. We didn't see many bear but I was able to photograph this big guy as he was making his way in from his feeding area. It was a pretty neat experience to watch him as he would straddle the green bushes, depositing urine as he walked.

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After a brief moment with the bear I discovered this barred owl. I spent a good 15-30 minutes with it as it hunted near the woods edge. It really didn't mind our presence and I could hear some owlets calling from deeper in the woods. (more on them later)

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After hunting for a bit, it began to preen. Cleaning each feather individually. I love owls!

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While watching the owl, I was surprised to see a beautiful cottonmouth entering the road about a 100 yards from where I was standing. I jogged down the road to capture a few photos before it finished crossing the road. I've only ever photographed this snakes once or twice and I've yet to create the photograph that I'm really happy with. But I'll take it!

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During the spring, Wild Iris' bloom all around the Alligator River NWR's canals and Mill Tail Creek. I was photographing them when I noticed several types of bees collecting pollen. With the overcast day and dark shaded areas behind the flowers I was able to isolate the iris' from the background. Creating an illusion, as if I were in a studio using a black backdrop.

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After seeing several deer and beautiful young fawn we made our way to Pungo. We didn't see many bear, however, we did have an awesome encounter with a Clapper Rail. Three rails were calling back & fourth to each other, trying to find a suitable mate. The one below offered me some great photo opportunities as it preened, called and fed along the canal edge.

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It was an action packed photography day and I brought home many images I'm happy with. I hope you enjoyed the trip as well as the images. More trip recaps coming soon!

Until next time,

Cheers, Neil.

Published: OurState Magazine July Issue

Really excited to share that I will have an image in the July issue of OurState Magazine. It is always nice to have my work printed in any publication.

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This image was created on the Pungo Unit of the Pocosin Lakes NWR during spring. The water lilies were blooming and the clouds were perfect! I made my way to the edge of this flooded impoundment, set up my camera and tripod to create this image. Red-winged black birds were calling for their mates, prothonotary warblers were searching for food along the edge of the canals. Have I mentioned how much I love to spring & summer on the Pocosin?!

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Be sure to grab an issue and check out pages 18-19!

Until next time,

Cheers, Neil.

 

BIG Male Bear, in the rain!

After finishing with the 4th annual North Carolina Black Bear Candace & I made a quick trip into the Pungo refuge. It was very dreary, raining and a little muddy. We saw a smaller bear cross the road ahead of us and not long after it crossed, out walked this big guy. I immediately knew the first bear we saw was a female. June-July is black bear mating season here in eastern NC and we were witnessing it first hand. The female was in estrus and the male bear was following her trail.

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This big guy slowly walked down the road straight towards us and not too far behind him was another large male. They kept walking straight towards us before it walked towards the edge of the canal and swam across. Once we were separated by the canal, I knew I had a good opportunity to photograph him as he searched for the female.

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He would constantly check the ground & the air for her sent.

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After searching for her for a while he took a seat on the edge of the canal and waited. I took advantage opportunity and photographed him as much as possible before he ventured off. It was an amazing experience and easily one of my top 3 I've had on the refuge.

I hope you enjoy! If your interested in visiting the refuge with me and learning how to find and photograph these beautiful creatures, visit this link. I still have some spaces available and I'm always offering private 1-on-1 workshops/tours.

Until next time,

Cheers, Neil

 

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Preparing for Bear Season

Hey everyone! Spring is in full swing with summer fast approaching. I've been traveling out to Pungo a lot lately searching for and photographing bear. This is going to be my busiest summer yet! With black workshops and tours scheduled every weekend from Memorial Weekend through July! I'm super excited! Below is video I created last weekend. I had an awesome trip out and documented 3 HUGE males making their way in from eating in wheat fields over the night before.

Below are a few images from that morning along with a quick recap from the past few outings since I last posted.

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I have space left in the May Ultimate Black Bear workshop a few for the June workshop. If your interested click below!

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April at Pungo

April was such a beautiful month on the Pocosin. Early mornings were dominated with the call of prothonotary warblers along with gobbling turkeys searching for mates. Spring slowly morphs the dark brown forest into lush green gardens. Snakes are starting to venture out hunting for a meal. Flowers are blooming with insects flying about, dancing from one flower to the next. Farmers are out preparing their fields for crops and the bear waiting on those crops to grow. So for now they are searching the woods for fresh green leaves and grass shoots. Spring time is pure magic on the Pocosin

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 Bear forarging for fresh green leaves.

Bear forarging for fresh green leaves.

 
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 Male turkey strutting

Male turkey strutting

 
 Double Crested Cormorant

Double Crested Cormorant

 
 Double Crested Cormorant

Double Crested Cormorant

 
 Purple Gallinule

Purple Gallinule

 
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 Prothonotary Warbler searching for food

Prothonotary Warbler searching for food

 
 Prothonotary Warbler searching for food

Prothonotary Warbler searching for food

 
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 Ladybug on thisil

Ladybug on thisil

 
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Bear activity is increasing by the day. Be sure to check out the next post. Lots of Bear! BIG BEAR!

Until next time,

Cheers,

Neil

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