Outer Banks Stars – Part II

Here is a vertical shot of what I was shooting each night on the beach. One one night, I had both of my cameras snapping pictures. One in horizontal format, the other in vertical format. I tried to keep the North Star on the edge of the image. You can see that there was a thunderstorm out over the Atlantic Ocean. The lightning strikes can be seen on the horizon. The bank of clouds I spoke about in my previous post can be seen inching into the image on the right.

Stars over Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

Outer Banks Stars

If you read my previous post, you already know I spent a number of nights out on the beach after midnight. The skies were clear except for the few times I had a stray cloud pass by. Towards the end of my time lapse shoot, I did have a bank of clouds roll in which started blocking out the stars. It is both quiet and noisy while out there all alone. The surf is crashing in over and over, but that is all that you hear. It was so peaceful that I ended up falling asleep on the beach while my camera was clicking away. More to follow….

Star trails over Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

Light pollution blues

One thing that has made it very tricky to get some good shots of the star filled skies is the amount of light pollution in the world. In a previous life, I spent some time out in the middle of nowhere on a Naval Combatant where on a moonless night you could see so many stars it was hard to describe. Even out on the edge of the east coast, there is a significant amount of light pollution. During my stay in the Outer Banks, I wanted to get some night shots of the Avon Pier under a the light of the full moon. The moon itself provides a significant amount of light pollution, blocking out a good deal of stars as well as the edge of our galaxy, the Milky Way. After several nights of visiting the beach after midnight, I was able to get some shots of the pier without its lights on. I have posted two photos to show the difference in lighting conditions. The first photo shows the pier at about 1 am – lights still on as the owners were on the pier fishing. The second image shows the landscape with the lights off. This was at about 3:30 am, when I was returning from taking photos down at Cape Hatteras. You can clearly see the difference in stars that you are able to see, just with the pier lights off. The full moon bathed the pier, beach and clouds with an erie light. Hope you enjoy…

Avon Pier under a full moon, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey


Avon Pier under a full moon, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

Stars over Hatteras

Here are a few shots from the mostly clear night skies. I spent several nights out getting star trail photos in a few locations. There were some clouds that breezed by during the 4 hours I was out each night. Getting some good shots of the light house was difficult due to the frequency that the light rotates. I had to get my exposure down to 6 seconds, which meant I had to increase my ISO very high to get the proper exposure. I used some noise reduction software to correct this in the image.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse under the stars, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC. © Rob Loughrey


Stars and clouds, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC © Rob Loughrey

First shots from my trip to OBX

Back down in the Outer Banks for some rest and relaxation. I always try to make some time to get out and capture some images of the area. The moon was full the first night we were here, so I made the most of the first couple of days getting some night shots of the local pier, the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse and Hatteras Island beaches. The first several nights proved pretty good with clear skies for the most part. I went out to one of my usual locations on the sound side and found the dock and pier that I have photographed on previous visits to have been wiped out from the hurricane last summer. The dock was well on its way to being rebuilt but not completed. When I visit this location, I always check with whomever is staying in the rental home to make sure they don’t have an issue with me going out onto the dock. The dock was built by the homeowner and is marked as private use for the renters. I met a very nice lady who happened to be from PA, not to far from where I grew up. It was nice to have some good conversation while I shot a few images and the sun went down. I used a Singh-Ray 3 stop Reverse ND filter to bring in some detail to the setting sun.
Sunset over Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore © Rob Loughrey


Sunset over Pamlico Sound, Cape Hatteras National Seashore © Rob Loughrey