On Thursday April 5th, 2018 I did “the loop”. I drove from my home in Cockeysville, MD all the way to Ocean City, MD for sunrise, then up to Bombay Hook NWR, and back home in a single day. Left at 3:00am and arrived at the Ocean City inlet at about 6:15am after stopping for a quick breakfast at McDonald’s which turned into a not so quick stop for breakfast at McDonald’s, but we won’t get into that now… When I arrived I had to deal with Ocean City’s new automated parking meters for the first time, $7.00 for 2 hours. Ouch. Could be worse but we are talking 6am on a early spring day here, not middle of the summer rush. So with that taken care of on to the photography!
It was low tide as I walked down the beach, very low tide. The first thing I noticed besides the lack of clouds which would have made for an interesting sunrise, was this ribbon of water flowing down the beach which I had never seen before. Having shot the jetty and the fishing pier numerous times I went right for the ribbon of water. I loved the leading lines that the flowing water provided. It was just the sort of interesting foreground I was searching for. I sank in the sand as I approached the river but I was determined to capture this shot even if it meant wet feet for the rest of the day. I plopped my tripod down in the muck and took my first pictures of the day. I loved what I saw on the camera monitor, and the image ended up being called “Tidal Stream”.
Next I lined myself up for a more traditional shot of the ocean as the sun broke the horizon. At this point I had crossed the tidal river as was standing right at the wave line. It took a couple shots to get the exposure right and get the waves into an interesting composition but I ended up with something I liked. I titled this shot “Ocean Overlap” due to the appearance of multiple layers of ocean waves in the foreground.
After this shot I moved over to the pier and played around with some shots of the supporting pylons. I’ll save those shots for another time. So I trudge back up the beach, over the tidal river and back up to the car. I put away my landscape camera and drove to the other side of the parking lot to check the inlet for birds. As soon as I parked the car I looked out to the mouth of the inlet and saw a whole swarm of birds. And they were diving. I had spotted a whole flock of Northern Gannet doing their thing! I jumped out of the drivers seat and grabbed my D7100 with the attached Nikon 200-500mm lens with the 1.4x teleconverter. I approached the rocky jetty and began to try and track the diving gannet. Silly me did not think about the teleconverter being still attached and how hard the extra length would make tracking the fast diving gannets. I did end up with a shot I liked though, “Under Attack”.
I watched the Northern Gannet for a while as they flew up and down the inlet following the unseen schools of fish. It was really wild being able to watch these birds working up close.
Then the drive to Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, straight up route 1. Upon arrival at Bombay Hook it quickly became apparent that there were just not many birds there this day. It might have been the ferocious winds the previous night or the cold weather we were having, but what ever the reason the birding was poor. I really didn’t end up with any shots I liked from Bombay Hook and after two trips around the loops including an unproductive stop by the fox den I headed home. The pictures I had gotten of the sunrise and the Northern Gannet made my day! And yes, my feet were wet all day.