Before Irene

Holden Beach visit before Hurricane Irene

Claudia and I visited friends at our favorite family beach, Holden Beach, last month just before hurricane Irene visited the east coast.  We like Holden because it is family oriented and is near restaurants and golf courses.  We usually stay on the beach and can enjoy the sounds and sights of the ocean and I can take sunrise and sunset photos.

Holden is located near Shallotte North Carolina and has a south facing beach.  In the summer, the sun comes up and sets just behind the beach (see yellow and orange lines on screenshot below), which can create interesting light.  Beach weather is different from the surrounding area because sea breezes push weather inland by about five miles.   This weather condition can also create interesting light.

We had just arrived and were sitting in the great room when I noticed the most dramatic sky I have seen in the past five years at Holden.  I quickly unpacked my camera and tripod and snapped the follow photos.

 Before the storm

Looks like a conversion to black and white – right. Look at the beach and you will see a little color. Natural light produced the effect.

Sunrise at Holden Beach

The next morning we had a beautiful sunrise with lots of clouds and color. I was up during Astronomical twilight, took this photo just before civil twilight at 6:03 AM. The light was strong and I used six stops of neutral density gradient filters stacked to bring down the sky light enough to prevent blown highlights.

Sunset before Irene

That evening I snapped the below picture just before sunset be after the sun had gone below the clouds. I took this handheld picture without a filter in balanced light. I was focusing on the serpentine shape of the reflection of the sunset in the retreat of a spent wave. The surf was angry this night as Irene approached. She arrived and we left the following morning.











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