There are things in life that add passion to our lives. Taking pictures is one of those things for me.
Photography has been something that has been very important to me for as long as I can remember. Another thing that I love is living by the water here on North Carolina's Crystal Coast.
I am also a writer and have written a number of books including some featuring the Crystal Coast portion of North Carolina's Southern Outer Banks. The books have lots of pictures but due to some inherent challenges in creating electronic books with really nice images, I shied away from trying an image focused book.
With the advent of Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram, you might wonder why someone would even bother trying to create a book of beautiful images. It is not really hard to explain. I live in an area with such amazing natural beauty that I feel that photos of such a special area also need to be special. Today everyone takes pictures, but even those of us who work at it only get a handful that really deliver a message. I have shared some neat photos on Pinterest but it is just not the same as having at your finger tips a book of photos carefully put together to show an area.
Somehow a picture like the one of the waters of the White Oak River at the top of this post just does not get noticed as much as it would in a collection of photos that show more about the area and offer additional context.
I do know how to take great pictures and I enjoy sharing many of them in my blog posts and through a variety of social media channels but it is hard to get a real flavor for our area with just a few pictures parceled out over a year and placed all over the Internet. I tried in our book of pictures to really show the area from several spots at different times of the year.
Many people encouraged me to do a collection of my photos that would provide a real feeling for our area and give visitors a taste of what they might find. Finally I gave in and started working on the project around Thanksgiving. It took a lot of time just to go through my photos and pick the right one hundred photos.
The book is designed to go on any of your electronic devices including iPads. With Kindle Reader software you can whip your iPhone or Android Smartphone out and show someone one of the pictures that might have moved you.
I decided to limit my choices to the over 40,000 pictures that I took in 2013. I also wanted to have fewer words than I have in most of my blog posts. The book, 100 Pictures, 1000 Words, A Crystal Coast Year, took a lot more effort that I expected.
It was very different work than I put into the over 300 pages of our book, The Pomme Company, and it involved much more technical work.
While The Pomme Company was lots of writing, our picture book of the Crystal Coast was lots of finnicky image resizing work and an amazing amount of HTML work to get the images to display properly on a variety of devices.I am very pleased with the results of all my work.
If you have never been to the Crystal Coast, the book will give you a wonderful look at our area from the White Oak River to the Croatan National Forest and The Point over at Emerald Isle.You will see the area through the eyes of photographer who appreciates light and the uniqueness of images that require many attemps to get just right. The book is one of the best tools to convince your partner to come visit the Crystal Coast, and it really does represent a lot of work even before I started assembling the pictures for the book.
It would be hard to count how many green heron images that I took last year before I got one that I really liked. Then there are the egrets and other herons that all present different challenges. Getting a great shot from a kayak rocking in the waves when the light is just right is also no easy feat. I do have the advantage of hiking miles and miles along the beaches and through the marshes and woods of the area. Most weeks I hike between 15 and 20 miles but I have hiked over 42 miles in a week.
I see a lot of territory on land, but I also spend a lot of time on the water in my kayak and in our skiff. I see our area when it is at its best and worst, and I have found photos that I like even in less than ideal circumstances. Some great shots are even taken under dark stormy skies.The Crystal Coast is a wonderful area with enough blue sky to please almost anyone. There is plenty of scenic beauty here to keep me busy for many years, but I think this 2013 collection of pictures will be hard to top.
I am happy to have mastered the challenge of putting together a Kindle book which really shows off the area and I will do another in a year or two, but it is hard to predict what my lens will see in the future and I might even turn my efforts to a different area.
Readers of the book will find a link to a site where they can order full-sized versions of the images in the book for their personal use for 99 cents. Print shops can get a single use license for an image for $9.99. I hope people will enjoy the photos and find a place for them in their homes. Considering the cold weather that has gripped the east coast, I suspect seeing beautiful scenes of our waters and especially the beaches might help everyone survive all this cold weather with a smile.
You will also find less words in the book than are in this post. Of course the pictures in the book do most of the talking.