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!!
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!
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.
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,
I'm happy to announce for the first time, The Ultimate Waterfowl Workshop. We will be photographing at the Pocosin Lakes & Lake Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuges. Winter in eastern North Carolina is a very special time. Every winter, hundreds of thousands of birds migrate through our region of NC. For a few months they call, the Pungo Unit of Pocosin Lakes NWR & Lake Mattamuskeet NWR, home. Migratory birds such as, snow geese, tundra swan, many different species of ducks, Red winged black birds and the predatory birds that prey on all of these species. Most of the bear in the region are in a state of hibernation but you can still see many foraging in the woods and farmland that surround Pungo.
We were lucky enough to get a couple of snow falls this past winter, which made for some great photography. Birds are very active during inclement weather and in very cold temperatures. Below you find a few of my favorite images from this past winter.
Early one morning this coyote ran across the field that was full of tundra swan and snow geese. They all exploded up from the ground and I was able to create this photograph. It was a great moment, one I will not soon forget!
On this unique 3 day workshop I will be showing you everything I know about waterfowl behavior & photography. Understanding the animals and their behavior will help you create better photographs. For example; knowing just when to get ready before tundra swan decide to take off from their the flooded impoundment. Capturing their unique way of taking flight by running on the waters surface. Not only will you learn how to understand the wildlife, but you will learn how to create fine art portraiture of them individually and within their habitat.
I really hope you can join me on this unique photography adventure & workshop!
For all the details/register follow the tab below.
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.
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)
After hunting for a bit, it began to preen. Cleaning each feather individually. I love owls!
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!
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.
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.
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,
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.
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?!
Be sure to grab an issue and check out pages 18-19!
Until next time,
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.
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.
He would constantly check the ground & the air for her sent.
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,
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If you have an extra few minutes check out my latest video from Pungo. We watched this bear feed on fresh green leaves for a while. Afterwards we discovered baby cubs!
Until next time,
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.
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 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
Bear activity is increasing by the day. Be sure to check out the next post. Lots of Bear! BIG BEAR!
Until next time,
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I was finally able to make it out to Pungo over the weekend. For only spending a half of day, it was, well,.. AWESOME! We saw so much wildlife it was crazy. Otters were swimming everywhere, deer everywhere, turkeys, ducks, doves & herons. We saw one bear and a red wolf! They didn't offer any photo opportunists but it was great just witnessing them.
The first day of spring is tomorrow and I can't be more excited for it! Normally, I'm a huge fan of fall/winter but the older I get, the more I thoroughly enjoy each season. I will be traveling to the refuge more & more in the coming weeks searching for signs of bear. Stay tuned for what I'm hoping to be my best year yet!!
Also, there is still a few spots left in my Bear workshops, don't miss out!!
Until next time,