Postcards from the Outer Banks, North Carolina

Some time ago I completed a photography tour at North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a string of narrow islands off the east coast of the US. Tourism numbers for the Outer Banks peak in the summer months, however when I visited in October it was an entirely different story—it showed a wildly popular American beach destination as a virtual ghost-town. Right away I was struck by the sheer quantity (thousands) of beach cottages throughout the coastal towns of Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk and Duck. The empty seaside and weathered beach charm made for an intriguing photography subject, while cloudy skies helped bring an element of mystery.

Here are my ‘postcards’ attempting to capture some of wonderful charm of the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Please enjoy.

Today’s sunrise at Jeanette’s Pier in Kitty Hawk lacked the colors I hoped for, so I got creative with long exposures.

jeanettes pier kitty hawk

Multiple herds of wild horses roam the beaches and sand dunes of Carolla, much like this beauty.

Wild horses roam the beaches and sand dunes of Carolla, much like this beauty who I saw stealing seeds from bird feeders.

outer banks off season_greensNorth_Carolina_Outer_Banks beach crab

The Seam Foam Motel looks straight out of a Wes Anderson movie, doesn't it? It is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Sea Foam Motel looks to be straight out of a Wes Anderson movie, doesn’t it? It is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

North_Carolina_Outer_Banks sea foam motel North_Carolina_Outer_Banks chairs

Sea oats blowing in the wind are abundant along the coast of the Outer Banks.

Sea oats are abundant along the coast of the Outer Banks. Not only are they gorgeous under the warm glow of a setting sun, their roots help protect against erosion.

dog on porch and butterfly

Hugo (right) joined me on shoots for both sunrise and sunsets. We go way back.

sun drenched Outer_Banksorange_sunset_with_tree_silhouette

The Outer Banks is home to numerous piers much like this one. This was shot with a 4-second exposure to make the water look silky.



Sea temperatures here in late October are too cold for my liking (68 degrees or so) but fine enough to walk on the beach and get your feet wet. Surprising to me though, the cold water doesn’t seem to dissuade playful kids or the local surfers.

Another drawback of being here in October is that most restaurants are closed. Because I had an excellent local guide, we enjoyed the best food options possible including Duck’s famous chocolate donuts served hot, fruity acai bowls, and a breakfast spot with homemade biscuits to die for. The temperatures were very moderate throughout the trip and honestly it was great to have a mix of sunshine and overnight rain showers that brought in dramatic clouds.

In summary, skip the crowds, the traffic and the lines and visit Outer Banks in the autumn. For more information please visit

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Meet Suzette
suzetteHoly crap, you found me. That’s fantastic. I’m Suzette and I’m so glad you’re here! I’ve built a successful career as a travel photographer where I have the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world, and run this blog where I share inspiration for YOUR travel photography. This website is specifically for those of us who love to wander with our cameras. We take it slow. We are curious. We love nature and the outdoors. Most of all, we love taking great photographs.

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