Southern Gothic: Beaufort’s Old Burying Ground

This is going to sound strange. I love graveyards. If you’re cocking your head to the side as you read this, your suspicions aren’t misplaced. I can’t explain it, its such an odd attraction, especially for someone who in general is a fan of the chipper, sunshinyer side of life.

They have a magic about them, rich in history, steeped in mystery. I always find myself wondering why people avoid them. And avoid them they do! Try it on for size sometime, mention to a complete stranger how you love to stalk around cemeteries, and take in the view and I can guarantee you their view of you will be a slight bit skewed. If you take a moment to think about it its really not all that odd. Graveyards after all are not built for the dead but rather as a place for the living- to visit, to commune, to contemplate.

Odd as it may seem. Graveyards are cool. Southern graveyards in particular hold a special sort of charm. The Old Burying Ground in Beaufort, NC is no exception. The final resting place of privateers, sailors, and even children. History is in no short supply. Famous to infamous, this small cemetery boasts big stories of lives well lived and lost. 13

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2014: My Favorite Things

I’m a little late in this post … 2014 was a year, wow, it was a year! A year filled with adventure, old friends, new places, and most of all love. I went some amazing places, took lots and lots and lots of photographs, and made memories that I will hold on to forever.

When I sat down to write this post I underestimated how hard it would be. The goal was to pick out my favorite images of 2014, to look back, to reflect and remember through the images I had made. How’s that done though? How do you break down a year into just a few images. It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy at all. I debated, I laughed, I got up from my computer, sat back down and drank a ton of coffee. It was hard, really hard, but here they are 15 of my favorite things. 2014 a look back: Mountains, to sea and everything in between!

“Palm Republic”- Bahia Honda, Florida

There are some places everyone wants to be. Bahia Honda, a tiny little key nestled between Marathon Key and Big Pine Key is one of those places. With a teeny but beautiful State Park offering on the beach camping and 360 views; try and make reservations for any day of the year and you’ll be hard pressed to find space. So on a random day in February surfing the web when I stumbled across space, I grabbed my credit card and 3 days later I was there. Watching the sunset, sounding the conch and capturing this perfect moment.

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“Color Swirl”- Shell Series

In 2014 I spent less days at home than I did on the road. On one of my rare weeks of down time I found myself hanging out in my living room, rain was pouring down on our tin roof, I was looking through “found” items from pervious trips, and thinking about life. Damn. I had collected a lot of shells. What is it about shells? Its like we just can’t help ourselves. Sometimes I find looking at something through a lens reveals an awful lot that my own eye won’t. A few snaps later, I was hooked and the Shell Series was born.  Since that day this series as been picked up for publication, turned into a book, and will be on solo exhibit in Cary this coming May. Don’t hate on rainy days, they might surprise you.

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“On The Fence”- Oakley, Kansas

If you’ve ever driven through Kansas you know there’s not much there. Not much at all. But if you ever find yourself traveling I-70 across this great country, take a quick detour. I’m always immersing myself in small cultural details, it amazes me how across the US how much cultures and habits can vary. I couldn’t help but pull over my road weary VW and snap a few shots of this lonely boot. KSBoot

“Alpine”- Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Harvey Broome once said,

“Without wilderness, we will eventually lose the capacity to understand America. Our drive, our ruggedness, our unquenchable optimism and zeal and elan go back to the challenges of the untrammeled wilderness.”

In our National Parks we see that ruggedness reflected. If you’ve never been, go. They won’t disappoint.

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“Solitude”- Mt. Evans, Colorado

I am always finding that my passions feed each other. The need for travel, exploration and adventure feed my photographic hunger, and when I find myself hungry for photos I ache for adventure. It has long been a dream of mine to summit all of Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains. This shot was taken on Mt. Evans in early June. In a saddle ridge looking out on the Sawtooth and Mt. Bierstadt while my climbing partner looks out and looks in.

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“Benightment”- Mt. Evans, Colorado

Another shot from one of Colorado’s giants, closing in on the summit. Storms kick up in the early afternoon, and can cause wild and unpredictable weather. At 14,000 ft. well above the tree line you are the tallest point and lighting can kill you as quickly and easily as a slip from the mountain.  The rule is go early, get down quick. Today was no exception as I took  this shot we watched the beginnings of a storm roll in.

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“God’s Pocket”- Arches National Park, Utah

Married to someone who makes their living climbing I spend my fair share of time in and around climbing gyms. So when I wandered into Arches National Park, my attention immediately went to these amazing weathered pockets in the sandstone. They look remarkably an awful lot like a hang board we have in our home. Its refreshing to know the climbing community is still garnering inspiration from nature.

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“Desert Boulder”- Moab, Utah

Moab has long been a mecca for outdoor adventure, and with so much space, and so many climbing routes its hard to narrow down a few select projects. But one thing is for sure, wherever this guy goes he’s sure to find something to climb on.

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“Hanging Lake”- Glenwood Canyon, Colorado

If this incredible lake nestled high in the canyon walls doesn’t give you inspiration. I’m not sure what else will. It probably won’t surprise you to hear that this gorgeous lake that looks like a hidden oasis serves as a pilgrimage to hundreds of outdoor enthusiasts on any given day. Go expected places as often as you go to the unexpected, you never know what you will discover.

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“Stars On The Water”- Outer Banks, North Carolina

I took this shot on what was probably the coldest morning of 2014 in NC. It was freezing. In my rush out the door I forgot my gloves. Really.  Lucky for me, It was one of those rare moments when everything lines up perfectly. The troller, the sun, the sky, it all added up into what might arguably be my favorite shot of the year.

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“Breaker”- Cape Lookout National Seashore, North Carolina

I like to go places when other people don’t. The perspective is different, unique. On this quite October day in NC with just a handful of other people on the island I sat and watched the waves the water sparkled, and just like the waves the day was just right.

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“Brick”- Bald Head Island, North Carolina

I’m obsessed with detail. I love the big picture, but there is something in the details that capture me. The parts that make up the whole tell their own story. The brick detail inside Old Baldy Lighthouse tells a lot of tales.

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“See Birds”- Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Some shots are surprising. Most of the time I can tell you in advance what the winning clicks were, but on rare occasions I will look back and wonder. When I took this shot it was on a whim. A cold rainy day on the beach, seagulls, nothing special and in the end that shot turned into a very special image. I love this image. It taught me to see, and not to just  look.

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“Farmall Fall”- Salter Path, NC

In fall along the shores of the Crystal Coast something special happens. The beaches go quiet, bereft  of their crowds of tourists, and the people look back to tradition. Mullet fishing is one of those traditions. Huge nets laid out by tractors seine the waters for the sacred bait fish that many  coastal residents, lives rely upon.

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” Bird’s Of A Feather”- The Point, Emerald Isle, North Carolina

In the winter months sea birds take their turns, turning beaches into mile long rookeries. Wandering down to the point of Emerald Isle where the beach bumps into Bogue Inlet and sound becomes sea, hundreds of sea birds spread out and take respite. I took this shot Thanksgiving Day 2014. It was beautiful.

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The Crystal Coast: Old Baldy

Old Baldy. The title of this post might be a teensy bit misleading, if you think I’m referring to some aged long lost relative under certain circumstances you might be right. In this case though, not.

 

closesignBuilt in 1817, the Bald Head Island Lighthouse affectionately known as “Old Baldy” has been standing guard over the mouth of the Cape Fear River for over 187 years. lightin bw

When you step off the ferry on to Bald Head Island it is hard to imagine the beautifully manicured and maintained resort island could be home to the oldest lighthouse in North Carolina. Originally known as Smith Island ( after a wealthy Charleston merchant), this gorgeous little barrier island as long been a destination for Native Americans, fishermen, explorers and pirates. The most famous among them being the infamous Stede Bonnet.  Now days, Bald Head Island is more vacationer’s paradise than pirate’s playground; but none the less once you know the history of this tiny little island it is easy to see all of it’s uniquely hidden secrets.

stairwaytoheaven_1Old Baldy despite it’s age was not the first light to stand on the island. The original light, completed in 1795 on the island’s South West point. Erosion quickly threatened the site and after only a few short years the light was torn down, and the new and still standing Old Baldy was given life. Constructed from soft red bricks, many of which were salvaged from the original light station. In it’s time as a working light station Old Baldy required constant upkeep from the elements; the 110 ft tower was once completely white. When the light was decommissioned in 1935, it was left to ruin. On occasion the caring good citizen would “patch” the old tower’s stucco and add small bits of white here and there, thus giving “Old Baldy” the patchwork look it now enjoys today. In 1988 the historic light was relit, but does not serve as a navigational aide.

darkdoorwayToday Old Baldy stands watch over the island as a reminder of it’s rich history, and those who have come and gone before. Some say the old light is haunted. Numerous reports of ghost sightings are reported every year. And although during my visit I didn’t encounter anything other worldly, it is easy to imagine lost souls wandering the grounds of this beautiful place.

With so much history, beauty, and vibrance. Bald Head Island, is a place that must be seen to be believed. A short ferry ride from South Port, NC will get you to this “car free” island paradise. Stay a day, stay a week. Either way go. You won’t regret it.

brick2_1For more information about the Bald Head Island Lighthouse visit click here.