Highlands, NC

We were lucky enough to tent camp in the Nantahala National Forest; the Blue Valley Experimental Forest to be exact. Long hikes, and cold fresh air did us well considering the red tide issue at home. The Highlands, Cashiers area of southwest North Carolina is an old section of mountain range with gorgeous cliffs and water falls.

Big Island Summer Trip

A recent trip to the Kona side of the island of Hawai'i gave us some opportunities to hike, surf, swim & play. Our first return after moving back to the mainland & it felt like a second home. The flowers were in bloom, the water was clear & cool, the vog was heavy, & there were some fun, log gable waves.

All photos shot on Kodak Portra 400 35mm on either a Pentax K1000, or Nikonos II

Spring Vibes

We’ve had a cold start to spring here on the east coast, but it’s produced some beautiful sunsets and sunrises. Here’s some of my favorite spring shots from this season and a few from the past. 

Hurricane Season 2017: Irma

My wife and I spent the night on a mattress placed on the ground in the center of the house. Boards on the windows, food and water in the cooler and the local radar pulled up on the TV while we maintained power. It was our first real hurricane back in Florida, we fell asleep to Moana playing on her laptop; a happy, if superficial reminder of our time living in Hawaii. 

We we woke up to minimal damage (a few downed fence panels and a salt burned mango tree) and no power, resorting to a propane grill for our morning coffee ritual. Driving south down A1A you could tell the neighborhoods that hadn't kept up on their tree trimming and many of the power lines crossing the beachfront highway were hanging too low to pass on the pavement, requiring us to pull as close to the poles as possible to pass.

Under an emergency declaration, no state officials were patrolling for parking at the state parks, so access to many stretches of beach became attainable without the usual long walks. These kind of swell events can be like a high school reunion of sorts at the right sand bar. Young and old, pro or am; everyone who stayed the night on the barrier island was showing up at their favorite sandbar to at least witness in nature's beauty. The waves resulting from hurricane Irma over the next few days was nothing less than epic.

These collection of photos were taken  in the days waiting in anticipation for Irma’s arrival and over the next couple weeks as we had combo swells overlapping with hurricanes Jose and Maria. 

There is is a link at the bottom of the page to donate clean water methods for hurricane affected communities.  

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Waves for Water

Puerto Rico and much of the carribean suffered greatly through these storms and they are still recovering. Take a minute to help bring people in need of clean water closer to feeling comfortable and safe at home again.

Last Winter Swell, Last Year

Winter in central Florida last year fell outside the norms. We had been in drought, temps never fell below 70 and there was a lot of west winds. All good things! The ocean was crystal blue and even the troubled lagoon was clear enough to snorkel ( much different a year later ). The season went on, warm and sunny, with plenty of small clean swells, but nothing in particular worth mentioning, Then word trickled down of NW wind event that could set up well and would probably be the last of its kind for the year.

 

The morning didn't set up well, with heavy fog and an above average high tide, but the mid morning sun started to burn the fog heading north and then revealed light offshore winds and beautiful turquoise waters. Driving over the inlet bridge, whispy white outlined swells lined the beaches.

The Lopez brothers had met here as a halfway spot with some friends from South Florida, Pete Mendia & his son, Abe Allouche from Island Daze and local JT Graves. Knowing the area well, they made well on their choice of sandbar and we had the spot to ourselves.

Here's a gallery of shots from this day at the Inlet, and not so secret sandbar action, and the original ESM article that featured a few shots -

Our Brand Is Fun: Lopez, Mendia, Knowlton Send Postcard From Florida.