The Blue Angels: Seeing Them by Boat

The Blue Angels: Seeing Them by Boat

Seeing the Blue Angels by boat is a spectacular way to see the most famous air squadron in America. If you book Back Bay Charters for this special event, you will be picked up at a convenient location and taken to the site for the best viewing. This can be either the Gulf of Mexico (for the July show) or Pensacola Bay (for the November show).

Additionally, the Blue Angels practice at the NAS Pensacola most Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting March 23rd. They fly at 11:30 and the practices last approximately 55 minutes. This can also be viewed by boat and can certainly include a lunch stop at Oyster Bar, Sunset Grill or Hub Stacey’s.

There is nothing like the sound and sight of the magnificent FA-18 jets as they fly in formation right above your head. Avoid the traffic, crowds and headaches by taking your own private boat cruise to see the best air show around. Be sure to book early as the July 16th show on Pensacola Beach and the November 12th homecoming show at NAS Pensacola will sell out quickly.

Beach Photography: It’s All About the Light

Beach Photography: It’s All About the Light

When it comes to really good outdoor photography, Timing is important. The start and end of days can present the best opportunities for shooting at the beach. For starters there will be less people there at that time of day but also you’ll find that with the sun shining on an angle that you often get more interesting effects of shadows and colors – particularly in the evening when the light becomes quite warm and golden. Another timing issue is that the beach can really come to life on those days that everyone avoids it because of inclement weather. Stormy seas, threatening and dramatic clouds and wind all make for atmospheric shots.

While coastal landscape photography can be done at any time of the day or night, most photographers who are consistently getting great results will favor the first and last hour of daylight. Getting there around these times allows you to capture stunning changing lighting conditions. Get used to shooting from before sunrise or until after sunset.

While the colors of coastal landscape photography are a great reason to be attracted to this subject, amazing results can also be had with black and white. Play with your images in post production and test the effects of black and white. Sometimes you can get a real gem by accident, but going with the intent of shooting black and white can get you even better results.

The Sand Island Lighthouse: a Rare Gem

The Sand Island Lighthouse: a Rare Gem

The Sand Island lighthouse was built in 1838 at a height of 132 feet tall. Originally the house had 14 lamps with 16 reflectors. The lighthouse is located at the southernmost point of Alabama near Dauphin Island at the mouth of Mobile Bay. It is roughly 3 miles offshore from the Mobile Bay entrance. The lighthouse was destroyed during the civil war in 1863 by Confederate soldiers. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1871. Cracks run up and down the outside of the structure and the mortar between bricks is worn away, testament to the rough passage of time at the mouth of Mobile Bay.

In 2011, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pumped $6 million worth of sand that around the lighthouse. Since then, it has continued to erode away, leaving only mortar and granite blocks. For the last century, the channel dredging has robbed Sand Island of a steady supply of sand. The original Sand Island, once large enough that the lighthouse keeper grazed a herd of cows on grass growing there, has slowly withered.

This lighthouse is on the list of most endangered lighthouses in the country.

Getting Out to Mobile’s Middle Bay Lighthouse

Getting Out to Mobile’s Middle Bay Lighthouse

The station was activated in 1885. In 1916 the keeper’s wife gave birth to a baby that summer at the station. According to the Alabama Lighthouse Association web site, the keeper brought a dairy cow to the station and corralled it on a section of the lower deck because his wife was unable to nurse the newborn baby. All had to be evacuated when the station survived but was damaged by a hurricane that year. The light was automated in 1935.

Middle Bay Light was deactivated in 1967. The lighthouse was placed on the National register of historic places on December 30, 1974.

In 2003, a real-time weather station was added to the lighthouse by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program. Still running, the weather station, one of seven in Mobile Bay, samples precipitation, total and quantum solar radiation, air temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, water temperature, salinity, water depth, and dissolved oxygen. These data can be seen in real-time at www.mymobilebay.com.