Atlantic Surf Sunrise – Outer Banks, North Carolina

A week before Hurricane Irene made landfall in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and pelted the eastern seaboard, I was spending a long weekend in the Outer Banks.  While the primary focus of the long weekend was to get a little R&R, I did manage to drag myself out of bed pre-dawn on the Sunday we were scheduled to depart to photograph an ocean sunrise.

The water was calm, smooth and peaceful this particular morning with the only movement coming from the occassional, small wave and a few fish jumping out of the water.  How things would drastically change in just a weeks time. 

As I set up, I checked the skies for interesting cloud formations as well as the pre-dawn glow.  I found a few particular scenes to capture and fired some test shots.  Once I was happy with the tests, I waited for the morning glow to brighten and for the perfect wave.  If you’ve tried photographing ocean waves at sunrise, you know how patient one must be to get the perfect wave that has the right amount of water and an interesting pattern.

Atlantic Surf Sunrise - Outer Banks, NC

Canon EOS 5D, 28-70mm 2.8L, ND, GND

For this shot, I set my Gitzo tripod in about 1-2 feet of water.  The waves began to grow and some started breaking a couple of feet in front of me.  I fired off a round of shots and came up with this final image.  I like how the surf draws you into the image, to the breaking wave and interesting cloud formations. 

I’ve grown up vacationing in the Outer Banks (OBX), so I know first hand how it’ll be rebuilt after hurricanes.  I’m glad I was able to make one last trip to OBX this summer (our 4th this year) before the hurricane and before the beach season ended.  Here’s hoping for a fast recovery of the beaches for next year!

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