Cedar Point Tideland Trail “GOYA”

For this week’s “GOYA” I decided to try and capture some images of the Great White Egrets that hang out along the Cedar Point Tideland Trail, near Cape Cartert. The trail is part of the Croatan National Forest and is “novice friendly.” Both the “Long” and “Short” trails are gravel covered and wide enough to accomodate most wheelchairs. Bridges span the wet areas.

While the trail makes for easy access, Egrets, Blue Herons and other shore birds are quite spooky. Attempting to approach them closely is an excecise in patience. This is particularly true considering that moving quitely on a gravel covered path is next to impossible. One technique is to walk in as quitely as possible, moving slowly, stopping frequently, and find where the birds are working. Then sit on a bridge in that area and wait. The birds will usually return after about 15 to 30 minutes as long as you sit still and stay quiet. Then while shooting you can use the bridge railings to help steady your camera. There are also a number of benches situated along the trail. They’re usually placed in “birdy” areas. Another option is to choose a bench, take a seat and wait to see what appears.

I don’t wear any kind of camo for this kind of shooting. I do, however, wear “earth tones” such as tan, khaki, green, etc. Avoid bright colors because, if my understanding is correct, a lot (maybe most/all) birds are not color blind. My typical outfit would be a pair of cargo style pants, long sleeve shirt, photo vest, hiking or athletic shoes, a cap/hat. In the warmer months be sure to add insect repellant to your wardrobe.

A “long” lens is a must for these shots. I used my Canon 20D digital SLR camera, with a Sigma 70 – 300mm, f 4/5.6 zoom lens for the bird shots shown here. Frankly a longer lens would be even better. I used the exposure control function to underexpose 1/3 to 1 stop, trying to avoid blowing out the highligts on these white birds. Honestly I needed to underexpose even more. ISO was set to 100, time of day 11:00 AM to around 1:00 PM. Not the best time of day for outside photographs
due to the harsh, high sun. For the shot of the trail and salt marsh I used a Tokina 19 – 40mm, f 3.5 zoom lens.

So how close to the birds did I get? For the second and third shot shown here I was within about 25 or 30 feet of the bird. I was probably about 100 to 200 feet away for the “flight” shot. Hope you enjoyed the series.


GOYA Febuary 03, 2006

GOYA: Get Off Your A…….. well you get the picture.

GOYA Fridays were the brain child of talented Atlanta Photographer, Zack Arias. Specializing in music photography be sure to checkout Zack’s galleries at his website – You can find his blog with his GOYA’s and other interesting shots and thoughts at

A number of photographers that hang out in a certain photography forum have been participating. The basic idea is to get out once a week and shoot something you wouldn’t normally shoot. (As you’ll see below, this is definately not something I’d usually attempt!) The goal being to create something you’d be proud to see hanging in your local coffee shop, bearing your name. In my “entry” for last week I suggested that “it depends on the coffee shop.” (See the Ashes to Ashes, Rust to Rust post for last weeks photos). Well, I suspect it would take a very unusual coffee house to hang these… but hey! There could be one out there.

For this week’s GOYA, I’d headed over to Beaufort North Carolina’s waterfront in hopes of grabbing some “street photography” of tourists. Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly the “season” and the weather wasn’t particularly “looky-lou” friendly. Driving around this historic seaport I passed the “Old Burial Grounds,” a popular tourist “haunt” (pun intended) believe it or not. Being aware that someone had actually produced a coffee table book of photos taken in the grounds, I decided to give it a shot. For those not familiar with Beaufort’s “Old Burying Grounds,” in it rests remains of soilders/sailors from the American Revolution, the “War of Northern Agression,” (hey, I have to live here) and World War II. There are also graves of civilians, seamen, and vicitims of shipwrecks along our coast. It is a very historical and unusual place. (Oh, and if you happen across this Nick – this is for you, buddy).


Ashes to Ashes, Rust To Rust

I’d started out on the Nusiok Trail near it’s trailhead on Millcreek Road. I had expected to shoot photos of birds, plants or landscapes, but instead stumbled upon this abandoned junk heap. I found it a bit unsettling to realize that most of the cars and trucks here had been built, used and junked in during my lifetime. Perhaps more startling was the revelation of how quickly nature reclaims her own………. Ashes to ashes, rust to rust.