My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.


"Zen Silhouette"

I had one of the more peaceful rides to a photo shoot that I have ever experienced. The road to Chincoteague started in New Jersey and ended in Virginia, by way of a ferry from Cape May across to Lewes, DE. The island of Chincoteague,VA came just before the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and was my destination for this trip. The refuge is home to wild horses, herons and many other species. Chincoteague Island is a meeting point for many migratory birds and would be my starting point for a surprising photographic opportunity.

The three days spent here were filled with history and the zen like solitude of a personal retreat. I never have had the patience to shoot birds… until now. The presence of many herons in one place was astounding. Trying to capture them hunting and flying, was all timing and being in the right place at the right time. Horses however, drifted in and out of reach the entire trip.

Two great sunrises and a very windy finish on the beach sealed the deal. There is something about a beautiful sunrise that puts my mind and body as one with nature. The brief wait for light to finally illuminate the horizon can be euphoric. Hearing waves break during a sunrise just adds a beautiful soundtrack to the whole process. Walking along the beach on my final day as the wind picked up, you could see the rhythmic natural patterns emerge from the sand. The tiny particles would build up on one side of an object and fall away on the other. But just as the birds had to eventually leave, I too, refreshed and re-energized, had to make my migration back home.

45 responses

  1. Beautiful!!! Need something like that to just connect with nature. I’m not much of a wild life photographer cause I have no patience for it, but if I’m at the right place at the right time, then I don’t mind. Still I think wild life photography is just AMAZING! Great work!


    March 4, 2012 at 11:01 pm

  2. What attracted me to this post, was the Zen silhouette, which I love, but I enjoyed the complete set. You certainly have some fine photography here.


    January 29, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    • That was one of my first photos there and one of my favorites. Thank you for your comments.


      January 30, 2012 at 1:51 am

  3. Blood-Ink-Diary

    Mike, thank you for your insightful comment on my blog, much appreciated. Your photo-essay is stunning, so sublime — full of energy and meaning. keep clicking — you are so talented and with inner strength to express so well. Am glad we have crossed paths, let’s keep sharing. Cheers. p.s. may the sunrise in your photos match each day of your life!


    January 15, 2012 at 2:07 am

    • Thank you so much… especially the last line. It means a lot to me.


      January 16, 2012 at 3:23 pm

  4. What an amazing way to start my day! A a beautiful refuge with sunrises that renews the weary body and mind. I was lucky to see some sunrise at the end of this Summer by the beach and it was like a healing journey of the soul….


    December 18, 2011 at 9:37 am

    • Thanks… I truly felt it here.. could do with less people but thats just me. I could not ask for a better 2 days.


      January 1, 2012 at 1:19 pm

  5. I visited Chincoteague last fall and you captured it exceedingly well! You do a grand justice to nature in its rawest form.


    December 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    • Thanks for the comments ‘COS’…. it seemed easy at first then I had to work a lil harder to find the content that intrigued me. Thanks so much for stopping by.


      December 13, 2011 at 11:37 pm

      • Your blog is a wonderful place to be, I hold my breath until your next post. Just call me AZ


        December 17, 2011 at 1:52 pm

  6. I had the opportunity to spend a few days at Chincoteague (and Assateague Island) in the spring of ’06; I recognize that marshy stand of trees.

    Excellent set of images accompanying this entry–that’s using the light!


    December 10, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    • Thanks Kerry…. I loved the inter-play of the light when I was there. Thank you for commenting.


      December 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm

  7. Breathtaking compositions! I’m looking forward to seeing more! Thanks for sharing them 🙂


    December 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    • Thanks Tara… I try and post about twice a month. As an educator also… I love the set up of your blog.


      December 7, 2011 at 10:03 pm

  8. Barbara

    Great pictures. I really love the third one.


    December 6, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    • Thank you so much for stopping by Barb.


      December 7, 2011 at 9:56 pm

  9. What a great set of photos, Mike. You’ve captured the spirit of the place, I think.

    How difficult was it to get those bird shots? Did you have to wait in a hide for hours? Must have been cold!


    November 28, 2011 at 9:09 am

    • Mike … first of all I am not a bird shooter so hide for hours, I only do that to my kids 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by.


      November 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm

  10. Eva

    Nicely done, Mike. Love the moon and lighthouse images, and the bands of color in the sea and sunrise elicit memories of an Olympic NP evening. Your words transport the reader right into the setting. Thanks for the lift! Beautiful.


    November 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    • Thanks Eva… always nice to hear from you in between your travels. Ahhh the memories of OLY-NP. I am glad you like the writing, it is something that I have been working on, but does not come as easy as taking pics.


      November 25, 2011 at 3:51 pm

  11. I love it when you go on trips. You always post great photos!
    I’d like to actually go to Chincoteague one day. I read some of the Misty of Chincoteague books when I was in elementary school, so it would be fun to see what this place is actually like.


    November 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    • Me too Cap… but it is so hard to schedule with my job. It’s funny because I did not read them and when I was down there the books are promoted in all the shops. They tell me spring is nice and poss summer but……. watch out for the flies…. I think I will stick to Nov. 🙂


      November 24, 2011 at 12:45 am

  12. sharon

    outstanding shots and visual effects…i loved the symmetry of the birds , and the reflection of the lighthouse…it almost makes you feel as if you’re watching on the other side…


    November 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    • Glad you liked that light house… it took me a while to figure out how to shoot it to make it my shot. The split bird shot was put in as a whim for conversation… but I kind of like it.


      November 22, 2011 at 10:26 pm

  13. Jack Mroz

    Great place to lose the stress and chill-out as well as photograph. Great in-focus birds. Great nature shots.


    November 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    • As you know Jack … wildlife is not my forte. I was real pleased with the ones I manged to catch. Thanks for looking.


      November 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

  14. A great place, Mike, and as you know, a favorite of mine. Great shots. Love the Monet version of the lighthouse.


    November 22, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    • Ahhh…. my lighthouse version. Everyone was taking straight shots but the sky was nothing to write home about and the was in a bad place. Took a lot …experimented with shutter speed and then flipped it right side up. Glad you liked it.


      November 22, 2011 at 10:22 pm

  15. Another wonderful post, Mike, and first-class photos as well! Your shot of the heron just taking flight (#8) is spectacular! My other two favorites are the sand detail shots (10 and 11). You really make me long to return to Chincoteague!


    November 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

    • I love the sand shots also… funny thing is they were everywhere. I am definitely going back next year.


      November 22, 2011 at 10:18 pm

  16. denisebushphoto

    Another great set of photos by master photographer, Mike Pillows! I like the first egret with the water droplets and both of the very (very) gritty sand photos. Then, the soft water of the sunrise becomes an abstraction of color and stripes. Oh — and the back-lighting on the cormorant also caught my eye!


    November 22, 2011 at 10:51 am

    • Not sure about living up to that master title 🙂 Sorry I missed the fish that he gobbled up….but I got the drops. thanks so much ‘D’.


      November 22, 2011 at 10:16 pm

  17. Really beautiful work Mike. Wonderful blog.


    November 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

    • Thanks Frank… glad you were able to look through.


      November 22, 2011 at 10:14 pm

  18. Mike, looking at your images I could feel the “peace” that surrounded you. I especially like the image with the Moon reflecting in the water.

    So glad you enjoyed photographing the wildlife, now you understand my love of bird photography!!!

    Thanks for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving!!! 🙂


    November 22, 2011 at 8:11 am

    • Isn’t that a col pic. I saw it in the sky but could not figure out how to frame it until I could line it up in the water. I still do not have your patience for shooting birds but always feel the love.


      November 22, 2011 at 10:13 pm

  19. Mike, looking at your images I could feel the “peace” that surrounded you. I especially like the image with the Moon reflecting in the water.

    So glad you enjoyed photographing the wildlife, now you understand my love of bird photography!!!

    Thanks for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving!!!


    November 22, 2011 at 8:09 am

  20. So beautiful.. Awesome pictures.. I wish i was there, it looks so very peaceful. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. You forever amaze me with your spectacular photography.. you put life into every picture you take.. 😀


    November 22, 2011 at 6:04 am

    • I try to match beautiful pics from inspired written blogs.


      November 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm

  21. Pat


    Lovely, just lovely. I know how you feel when you are in nature at sunrise. It is extremely euphoric. That is why I enjoy shooting at that time of the day as well. Chincoteague Island is the perfect place to commune with nature.


    November 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    • Thanks Pat …also might be the perfect place for a future SJCC WS. I still feel sunrise has more anticipating drama then sunset.


      November 22, 2011 at 1:33 am

  22. Nice stuff, Mr. Pillows! I especially dig the first vertical.


    November 21, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    • You know Alex I am just trying to keep up with the MAN. Thanks for checking out the post it means a lot.


      November 22, 2011 at 1:30 am

  23. Very nice Mike. Can feel the serenity in those shots.


    November 21, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    • Sue it was very peaceful… and COLD!!!


      November 22, 2011 at 1:29 am

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