Outer Banks Lighthouses Workshop 2023
In April 2023, Lerro Photography sponsored two separate photo workshops in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and Cape Lookout National Seashore. The first segment was two nights and three days on the Outer Banks. On the first evening, we photographed the Oregon Inlet Life Saving Station until sunset. From there, we took a break for dinner and a few hours of sleep before meeting at Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at 2:00 am to take night pictures.
Thunderstorms were moving in, so we had to move quickly. We did get about 20 minutes of Milky Way time before clouds and storms moved in. As the storm progressed, the photographers captured some incredible images with lightning bolts behind the lighthouse. Once the rain started, we took shelter in our cars and drove north to our sunrise location, the Avon Fishing Pier.
After sunrise, we crossed the mainland to photograph bears and other wildlife at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. As we explored the refuge, we were fortunate and came upon a mother and her cubs.
That evening, we met up at the Roanoke River Lighthouse and took pictures at sunset and for an hour at night. After a few hours of sleep, the group met at the Bodie Island Lighthouse. We spent a couple of hours photographing the lighthouse with the Milky Way from several angles. At dawn, I dressed up in a lighthouse keeper uniform and posed on the walkway between the keeper’s house and the lighthouse. Sunrise produced terrific images as a hazy, yellow sun rose above the horizon. After sunrise, we returned to Alligator River for more wildlife photos.
On the last evening, we met up at Currituck Beach Lighthouse. After photographing the lighthouse, we walked to the bay beach and photographed several birds, including an osprey. At dusk, we took zoom pictures of the Fresnel lens at the top of Currituck Beach Lighthouse. This ended the Outer Banks portion of the workshop.
The next day was the start of the Cape Lookout portion of the photo workshop. To get to Cape Lookout, we took a small car ferry to the island’s north end and drove 12 miles down the sand road to the lighthouse and beach camping area. After setting up camp, we stayed in our cars for the afternoon as heavy rain showers made their way through. At sunset, the sun peaked through the clouds and gave us good lighting for silhouette shots. We made a bonfire for the evening and hung out because heavy clouds were rolling through the area.
We traveled around Cape Lookout the next day to see the village and abandoned buildings. For sunset, we photographed wildlife as well as the lighthouse. Later at night, the skies cleared, and we could snap the Milky Way with the lighthouse in the foreground. It was well worth the wait through all the bad weather. After about an hour, the clouds rolled back in, so we returned to camp to wait for sunrise. After sunrise, we packed up camp and returned to the ferry, ending the Cape Lookout portion of the workshop.
Below are photos taken by the participating photographers and myself.