February 2016 – After The Gale

I have a history of making dead-of-winter treks to spots best known for their popularity with summer crowds.  Years ago, Peter and I visited Martha’s Vineyard in January, and were treated to a full-on blizzard; I was hooked.  And so my recent visit to the Outer Banks with a small group of photographer friends was not out of character. Hibernating coastal resorts just fascinate me.

The hordes of tourists are somewhere else, enjoying their comfort,  their securely buttoned-up winter.  Restaurants that in summer boast long lines of sunburned tourists waiting for tables now nap forgotten in empty parking lots with billboards announcing “See You in April”.

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Cape Hatteras National Seashore

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There is a rawness to the Atlantic coast when no one is there.  The sea remains, of course, but it is fierce – no longer on its best behavior.  Packaged tightly into winter gales the wind and rain have their way, moving sand around like so much dust, scouring, shifting, blowing the tops off dunes and rows of perfectly formed waves, exploding them into tiny pin drops of salt water, suspended in whipped cream arches above the surf.  There is yet a beauty even in the heart of the violence that is the gale.  It leaves its mark at the land’s edge, a shrill whistling whiteboard compulsively drawn and redrawn.

And once it is spent, spun out to sea, an exhausted peace remains behind.  It is wrapped in the brilliant clarity of a bone-chilling cold, a serenity unlike any other, the wind but an unconscious echo.

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Oregon Inlet Life Saving Station – Restored

 

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Wild Ponies – Corolla

These images were made in such a space – the two days following a February Outer Banks nor’easter.  The clouds evaporated, the wind died and the sun – the blinding winter sun – fought bravely, and unsuccessfully, to warm the frigid air left in the wake of the gale.

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Outer Banks Fishing Pier
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Cape Hatteras National Park
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Currituck Heritage Park
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Tundra Swans
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Bodie Island Lighthouse
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Kathleen Gill

I am a semi-professional photographer, with the passion of a true amateur, drawn primarily to nature and travel, but open to and intrigued by most everything. In 2014, I began working on a 52-Week Photo Project, posting one photo a week that expressed something about that week – a theme, a story, a feeling. My intent was to add an element of story-telling to my work. That project was successfully completed in September 2015 and is all stored in the archive here. After a several month break, I began a new 12-month project. Each month in 2016 I will present a group of carefully curated images – a sort of thematic portfolio – along with an essay. My intent is to improve my editing skills and, of course, motivate me to keep on shooting. Please follow me and let me know what you think. You can see more of my work on my website: www.kathleengillphotography.com.

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