A trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in August 2003 yielded visits to and numerous photos of five lighthouses along this part of the Atlantic Coast. Since history of these magnificant structures is available through many books and websites, the commentary will be limited to my personal experiences.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse
Corolla, NC
This lighthouse is open to the public, and landscaping has been altered to accommodate the large crowds awaiting its elevated view. The many shade trees along the walkways (not seen in this picture) do not appear in several photos taken as recently as ten or so years ago.

Photo suggestions: This location seems to be best suited for mid-afternoon to late evening photography. The Whalehead Club grounds sit on the southwest side of the lighthouse, and make for good foreground material. Many pedestrians and a few distant vehicles may clutter the scene during regular business hours.

A look at the top of the tower, just prior to being swarmed by sightseers.
The Whalehead Club boathouse appears in the foreground of this photo.
Looking up the side of the unpainted brick structure...
A view of the lightkeepers house, from about 2/3 of the way up the tower.
Overlooking at the Whalehead Club from the top of the lighthouse.
Photo was used in the Fall 2003 issue of Sterling Southeast Magazine.
A close-up view of the lantern room and Fresnel lens.
Another view of the lightkeepers house, from the top.
One last look at the structure, with its reflection in a small pond.

Bodie Island Lighthouse
Bodie Island, NC

This lighthouse is a photographer's best friend. While the National Park Service has the lightkeeper's house and lighthouse base open to the public, the tower itself is off limits. From what I could gather from the staff present there during my visit, it is an eventual goal of the NPS to have the tower open in the future.

Photo suggestions: First things first: the mosquitoes are absolutely terrible at this location, due to being located near the marshes. Bring plenty of repellant with you. As for photographic opportunities, this lighthouse is probably the best of the five of the Outer Banks. The images below were taken in the early morning, but there appear to be as many opportunities in the evening as well. For nature photographers, the marshes on the opposite side of the lighthouse from the parking lot are better lit in the afternoon.

Various views of an early morning sunrise behind the functioning lighthouse.
Another sunrise view, with a silhouette of the lightkeepers house.
Looking up towards the setting moon.
A close up of the Fresnel lens disbursing light from the flashing halogen bulb. This lens does not rotate.
A few more shots of the lighthouse being illuminated by the golden rays of the sunrise.
The builder's stone inside the base of the lighthouse. Note the spelling of the location - hence the current day short-vowel pronunciation of the island name.
Looking up the spiral stairwell. Hopefully in the near future the public will be able to climb it.
One last look at Bodie Island Lighthouse from the marsh grass.
Similar photo was used on the cover of the Fall 2003 issue of Sterling Southeast Magazine.


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Last updated November 28, 2003
All images ©Mark S. Wurst Photography, all rights reserved.