Our Sam Bland captured this image of the Milky Way Aug. 20 from a public beach access boardwalk near the point of Bogue Banks in Emerald Isle.
“To me, the beach at night is just as stunning as during the day, probably more so. The depth of darkness out over the ocean draped with a curtain of stars is just magical. Add in the sound of the crashing waves and seeing the white foam surging towards the shore and the ocean is alive,” Sam said.
He explained that the lighter area within the stars is the Milky Way and the photo represents what you would actually see while out on the beach and has not been enhanced or manipulated with editing software. The image was made using a Canon 7D Mark II, with 10-22mm at a focal length of 10mm, at f/4, ISO 2500 and a 34-second manual exposure.
“My skill in night sky photography is limited but my interest in it is unlimited,” Sam said.
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Sam Bland spent much of his life out in the field as as a park ranger and park superintendent at the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. Most of his 30 years with the division was spent at Hammocks Beach State Park near Swansboro where Sam specialized in resource management and environmental education. He also worked from 2009-18 for the North Carolina Coastal Federation, where he helped develop programs at the education center on Jones Island in the White Oak River. He is also an accomplished photographer.