I had the opportunity to head out once again to the Delmarva Peninsula for a photography/birding trip during this long weekend. I started the day at Chincoteague NWR, but as the day was fairly quiet there and the light got harsh pretty fast, I decided to spend some time exploring the Eastern Shore of Maryland. My plan was to check out some back roads and a few of the car accessible islands and then end up eventually at Blackwater NWR and the Cambridge waterfront as the light mellowed in the afternoon.
I was particularly interested in photographing some of the deserted and/or distressed buildings I've seen in my travels around this area of Maryland. There seems to be high amount of poverty in this area. Many of the residents earn their living through farming and/or as watermen fishing for oysters or crabs. Although they both have their benefits, not the easiest ways to make a living. According to the 2008 census, median household income in Dorchester County was $43,288 and 14.3% of the population lived below poverty level. Deteriorating environmental conditions in the Chesapeake Bay and overharvesting have had a particular impact on the fishing industry. Throughout this region you can find many houses that have been abandoned for one reason or another and the houses have fallen into varying states of decay. While out on Hooper's Island in the Chesapeake Bay I found this abandoned house standing on a lot overgrown with beach grass. This is actually one of the few abandoned/distressed buildings found on the island. Due to the popularity of coastal real estate and the proximity of the Bay for members of the fishing and tourist industries, most of the abandoned houses are found farther inland. This particular house found in the town of Hoopersville on Middle Hoopers Island was so picturesque, with its overgrown lot, missing clapboard, and open sky background, that I knew it was the image I had been looking for. I shot a series of three images bracketed by one stop and processed them as an HDR image in Photomatix Pro. I then made some minor adjustments in Lightroom, including dodging a few areas that came out a bit too dark in the HDR for some reason and finally sharpened the final image in Photoshop. Hope you enjoy the final result.
This sight could become more common in coming years as pollution and overharvesting continue to take a toll on crab and other marine populations utilized by the fishing industry. Eventually, Hoopers Island itself and its historical way of life may disappear altogether. It is predicted to be inundated due to sea level rise from global warming. Already human habitation of the lower island had to be abandoned in the late 1920's due to serious erosion.
I'll have some more "true" nature images up in the coming week from this trip, so please stop by again soon.