Fall Black Bear

Black bear in eastern North Carolina are currently preparing for winter. Feeding is pretty much non stop and the only thing on their mind. On this particular day I setup between a feeding area and a bedding area. The wind was blowing around 15 mph from the north west. So I positioned myself in between two heavily used trails that had the wind blowing to my face. Hoping if and when the bear would come out they would not catch my scent. There were several bear in the area but most of them left the corn field on the opposite end of the field. After sitting for about two hours, I had two beautiful boars exit the field and walk within decent photo distance from me. This video is just a small recap from the field, behind the scenes of the photos below.

 
large black bear
 
_A4A6250.jpg
 
NC Black Bear
 
_A4A6262.jpg

Bear activity will be strong for the next several weeks before dying down in early January. I’m hoping to get a few more trips in before then.

Also, I spotted 9 tundra swans flying over head while there. It won’t be long now before thousands of swan and snow geese start arriving for their winter migration. If anyone is interested seeing & photographing this magnificent event go checkout the workshop page, below, for my 1 day workshops along with a unique 3 day wintering waterfowl workshop. I hope to see you there!

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube!

Elk of North Carolina

In early October, Candace & I took our annual week trip to western North Carolina. We spent a few days in Cades Cove, Tennessee (post coming soon). On this particular trip we concentrated spending most of our time with the elk of North Carolina. This was the first time that we were able to watch & photograph the elk in Cherokee. My goal was to create a photograph of a river crossing. Little did we know we were in for a treat! On the first morning we had several river crossings, along with the big bull pictured below. We had around 30-40 elk all around us! It was magical and very exciting! The rut was in full swing and bulls were chasing their harems and younger bulls off. Below is a small portion of the images I created over that week.

_A4A1062.jpg
 
_A4A1267.jpg
 
_A4A2736.jpg
 
_A4A2831.jpg
 
_A4A2863.jpg
 
_A4A3192.jpg
 
_A4A3307.jpg
 
_A4A3559-HDR.jpg
 
_A4A3590.jpg
 
_A4A3780.jpg
 
_A4A3801.jpg
 
_A4A3918.jpg
 
_A4A4234.jpg

We’re planning another trip in a few weeks once the weather gets much cooler. I’m hoping to spend more time with these beautiful creatures over the next few months!

Elk Photography Workshop Survey

Just out of curiosity, would anyone be interested in attending a Elk Photography workshop? If so answer help me plan a workshop or two below.

Are you interested in a Elk Photography Workshop?
If so, what type of workshop would you be interested in?

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.

_A4A6443.jpg
_A4A6437.jpg
_A4A6445.jpg
_A4A6452.jpg
_A4A6457.jpg
_A4A6461.jpg
_A4A6464.jpg
_A4A6470.jpg
_A4A6477.jpg

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!

_A4A4333.jpg
_A4A4368.jpg
_A4A4573.jpg
_A4A4681.jpg

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. 

_A4A4848.jpg
_A4A4853.jpg
_A4A4891.jpg
_A4A4908.jpg
_A4A4955.jpg

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.

_A4A0735.jpg
 
_A4A0743.jpg

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)

_A4A0852.jpg
 
_A4A0864.jpg
 
_A4A0923.jpg

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

_A4A0994.jpg

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!

_A4A0886.jpg
 
_A4A0888.jpg
 
_A4A1058.jpg
 
_A4A1078.jpg
 
_A4A1019.jpg
 
_A4A1029.jpg

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.

_A4A1039.jpg
 
_A4A0782.jpg
 
_A4A1276.jpg
 
_A4A1109.jpg
 
_A4A1130.jpg

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.

_A4A1141.jpg
 
_A4A1186.jpg
 
_A4A1200.jpg

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.

image1.jpeg

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?!

_L1I2600-2.jpg

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.

_A4A3282.jpg

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.

_A4A3309.jpg
 
_A4A3372.jpg

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

_A4A3413.jpg
 
_A4A3431.jpg
 
_A4A3449.jpg
 
_A4A3464.jpg
 
_A4A3504.jpg
 
_A4A3542.jpg
 
_A4A3563.jpg

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

 

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Instagram & YouTube.