Friday, December 5, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset: Duck, North Carolina

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.

40 comments:

Gail said...

Overwhelming beautiful! A wonderful series of photos Cosmo...you did a marvelous job! gail

Gretchen said...

Beautiful shots! We use to live in Jacksonville, NC and sure miss the beaches.

tina said...

So I have to ask where is Curmudgeon's blog? I didn't notice a link on your sidebar. I know he is why you started blogging and with him being a professional it should be fun.

The sky shots are absolutely gorgeous, but the best picture of all is Ranunuculus. What a sweetie!

Greyscale Territory said...

Sunrises and sunsets over an expanse of water always seem to have an extra magic! And these shots are absolutely beautiful!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

What can one say but WOW! Just beautiful.

R and J said...

I looked long time the photos...what a pleasure, what a happyness...thanks for sharing.

Aiyana said...

Desert Marigold--Baileya multiradiata.

Your photos are just beautiful!

Aiyana

The Arthur Clan said...

Oh my goodness...what a beautiful series of photos. Absolutely wonderful job!

walk2write said...

Looking at your pics, I felt like I was at a fireworks show...ooh! and ahh! Gorgeous! It looked like Ranunculus was a bit jealous in that photo, not getting as much exposure. Thanks for stopping by earlier. Have a great weekend.

Annie said...

Wow, those pictures left me breathing heavy! Unbelievable. Each one was more spectacular than the last.

Job well done.

the7msn said...

Positively stunning. And I REALLY like your dog.

Phillip Merritt said...

Great pictures! I wish I had been awake to go see the sunrise!

beckie said...

How beautiful! Almost a religious experience to see such beauty. With only the sound of the waves, I think I could have stayed all day. Thanks for sharing! And tell R. he was a good dog to stay close.

Denise said...

Incredible skies - and then a beautiful dog - incredible skies - and then a curmudgeon. Made me smile all of them. Great share for SWF. Thank you.

flowergardengirl said...

I love Duck, NC! What a great name huh?! I've stayed at the Sanderling and enjoyed that November beach almost more than in summer. I like the peace and quiet. Your photos are amazing and some of the best sunset pics I've seen. I will go visit your friend's blog.

Les, Zone 8a said...

Your pictures are like paintings. It is amazing what some people miss by sleeping in. Why is it that Virginians must vacation on the Outer Banks, even though we have our own beaches? We have a friend who had been gratious enough to let us use her cottage several times. It is in Corova and only accessible by driving on the beach 11 miles past the pavement. It is so remote, so wild and so beautiful, and I hope they never build any roads to get there.

Cameron (Defining Your Home) said...

Thanks for helping showcase our beautiful state of North Carolina!

Your photos are stunning. The Musician and I just loved scrolling through your pix -- several times.

Cameron

perennialgardener said...

What gorgeous photos you captured of the sunrises/sunsets in NC last week! Happy SWF!

GardenJoy4Me said...

What can I say that other commenter's haven't already said ?
Your pictures are gorgeous .. I hope you kept some full format to print off ? .. just absolutely beautiful .. love seeing Ranunculus and human friend too !

Cosmo said...

First of all, welcome and thanks to those of you I'm "meeting" for the first time--Gretchen, although we live 2 hours from an actual beach, we get to Duck quite frequently. And I agree, GT, that water is magical--that's what I miss most when we visit Arizona.

Gail, thanks so much. I'm afraid I didn't do that much except try to clam Ranunculus--that sky was going to look gorgeous no matter who was shooting it!

Tina, the Curmudgeon's blog is called HowItGrows and it's on blogspot. I fixed the link in my posting so that it's more obvious--he's done a great posting today on how he designed his garden
(with native plants, Gail!)

Cosmo said...

Hocking Hills, what's your blog site? I couldn't follow your link--but thanks for the compliment.

R&J, left a note to say that I love your part of the world--Norway is breathtaking!

Cosmo said...

Aiyana, thanks for coming by and for identifying the desert marigold. We're headed out to Phoenix on the 18th, and we're going to visit some of the desert gardens so I can learn the plants.

Cosmo said...

Arthur Clan, your skywatch photos were spectacular (and your photos of your kids are adorable)--I have to say that I'm happy it's not snowing here.

Walk2Write, great to hear from you. We're so wooded that we barely see the sun until it's above the trees, so I'm mesmerized by the sunrises on the ocean (or sunsets in the desert).

Cosmo said...

7MSN--it's Linda, right? you are so kind, but your skywatch photo was one of the most amazing photos I've seen (anyone reading these comments, if you haven't already, check out the Skywatch link in my posting to see Linda's burros frolicking in a New Mexico rainbow). Thanks so much for stopping by.

Cosmo said...

Hey, Phillip! did you like that last photo? I hope lots of people stop by to see your new blog. (And I wish you'd woken up, too--but then your photos would have been better than mine . . .) You and Greg should put up your sunset photos for Skywatch next Friday . . .

Cosmo said...

Hi, Beckie. I actually have a video on my Flickr site, but I haven't figured out how to transfer video from Flickr to Blogger, and I erased the video from my computer. But you're right--the sound of the waves is calming, even when the sea is rough. And Ranunculus is a good boy, if impatient at times (though who wouldn't be in the dark, in the wet, with no walking?)

Cosmo said...

Hi, Denise--I'm glad you enjoyed the posting--Ranunculus and Phillip make just about any outing fun! How's the weather up in Nova? We're getting intermittent sun in Williamsburg, but it's cold.

Anna, thanks for stopping by. The Sanderling is gorgeous--I take it you've done the walk along the sound? We do spend a lot of time in Duck--it's a charming place.

Cosmo said...

Hi, Les--I like some of the beaches on the Eastern shore, but none as much as I like Duck (I like Duck itself--the food, the stores, the sound). I would, however, LOVE to stay on Corova--I just can't convince the rest of my posse to come with me (they like the food, the stores, and they don't have my fascination with wild horses). Glad you found my Curmudgeon's blog--I figured you'd have a lot in common.

Cosmo said...

Hi, Cameron--I love North Carolina, though Les reminds me I should explore some VA beaches, too. Turns out, by the way, that my favorite NC potter, Scott Stockdale, is moving to Raleigh--maybe you'll see some of his work sometime! (More on his pots in a later post).

Racquel, it was a great trip. And it was your great pics of VA skies yesterday that got me over to Skywatch in the first place--thanks!

Thanks For 2 Day said...

These are absolutely breathtaking! I have always loved beautiful sunsets, and morning sunrises. The skies can produce such awesome art! Of course, your photography skills helped, too:) Jan

Sue said...

Cosmo, I have your blog bookmarked, and clicked on it this morning to link to blotanical. I am so glad I did! I had to read this post right away, because my husband and I rarely travel, but in June of 2007, we drove from our home in Nebraska to the Outer Banks. I had dreamed of seeing the ocean, and just loved it! We didn't make it to Duck, but drove in at Manteo, and spent an afternoon there.

What awesome beauty you captured with your camera there! I love the one of your dog, too.

Cosmo said...

Hi, Jan--Thanks for your kind words, but I think the sky did all the work!

Sue, Manteo is one of my favorite places, and I'll post on our trip there soon. Ranunculus is quite the camera hound--he didn't much appreciate all my attention being directed elsewhere.

Jamie and Randy said...

My heavens Cosmo! There are just now words to do those photos justice! I am in awe.-Randy

Monica said...

Beautiful pictures! I just love sunsets and sunrises:) Greetings from Norway:)

Rose said...

Beautiful photos--just breathtaking, Cosmo! I've just returned to cold and gray Illinois, so those beaches certainly look enticing.

Jean said...

Beautiful photos! I felt like I was there watching it too. I'll have to look into skywatch Fridays as well.

Dot O said...

Beautiful photos of the Outer Banks! It is amazing to watch the colors change so quickly. The intensity is magnificent.

We usually vacation in Nags Head but this year am looking more towards the Duck/Corolla area. Do you have any suggestions where a family of four (two teens) can stay where the kids have access on foot to fun things to do, i.e. some sort of rec center or something like that?

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Excellent photos. Biggest moon of the year by the way.

Jeannelle said...

Welcome to SkyWatch! Your photos are so gorgeous, that it appears you will need to post on SkyWatch every week! I love the ocean scenes! What a treat to see! Happy SkyWatching!

britney said...

nice post and thanks for sharing...
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Britney
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