This post will be my first contribution to Skywatch Friday. These pictures were taken last Friday, when my friends and I were in Duck, North Carolina--I don't think it's likely I'll post every Friday, as I can barely keep up with Bloom Day once a month. But while shoppers across the country were lined up at dawn for Black Friday deals, Ranunculus and I were bundled up (well, I was), sipping coffee (well, I was), and on the beach for sunrise. (No worries--we were shopping in Manteo by noon--as one of our crew suggested, patriotism takes different forms--we did our bit for the economy!)
Duck is on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, a peninsula that runs almost the length of the state. The Outer Banks are bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the east and by a sound on the west. Duck is a small village toward the northern end of the peninsula, where the peninsula is less than a mile wide--which provides the advantage of beautiful sunrises AND sunsets. Ranunculus and I reached the beach just as the sun came up over the horizon--the moon was still visible.
Duck's beaches are nearly empty in November, and seabirds are everywhere. I had trouble catching them in the dim light, but a few pelicans were out looking for breakfast.
I thought when I went out that I'd take a couple of shots and head home for more coffee. But I'd look down to turn off the camera, look up again--and the sky would be a different color.
As the sun came up, the sky turned magenta, and the photography became easier (not only was I trying not to breathe during the long exposures, but I had Ranunculus on a leash as well--once I could see into the distance, I could let him off leash and there wasn't so much, umm, jostling).
Duck is 1/2 a zone warmer than we are--8 as opposed to 7b--and one marker of the difference is the number of live oaks. Here's a shot of the morning sky through the leaves of one nearby.
Ranunculus found the whole enterprise befuddling. "Beach" to him means "I'm gonna run around and roll in dead fish while mom walks"--but I wasn't walking, and he had to stay close in the dark. I have Robert Frost on my mind still, and I project onto my dog a bit of Frost's horse in "Stopping by Woods": "He gives his harness bells a shake/ To ask if there is some mistake . . ."
So we went home, had breakfast, went shopping--and then headed to the sound side of the peninsula for sunset. The cell tower on the mainland actually provided a nice accent to the brilliant orange skies. And the photography captured what I didn't see until I looked at the photo--a reflection of the sun in the water in the lower left.
I like Duck in November--not only are there fewer people, but there are more clouds, making the sunsets more spectacular.
And I had company at sunset--human company, I should say. This is my friend the Curmudgeon, whose real name is Phillip.
He is an artist, a professional landscape designer, an expert on native plants, and a talented photographer. Check out his new blog, How It Grows.
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