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North Carolina Convention Photos


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#1 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 15 July 2014 - 11:30 PM

My first snorkel day in North Carolina (Thursday) was spent with Casper and Michael at Wilson Creek. The water clarity was only OK, and we didn't see much diversity (it was strange not to see any darters or crayfish). However, the fired-up Fieryblack Shiners alone made it worth it.

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Fieryblack Shiner. They are difficult to photograph as they are fast swimmers that almost never hold still.

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Bluehead Chubs. I only saw these two adult male blueheads, and they never let me get as close as I wanted for good photos. There were a few mounds around, but it seemed that the chubs were mostly done with them.

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Redbreast Sunfish. Michael told me about this guy guarding his nest in a little side pool. He is just outside his nest in this photo. The dark mud showed off his color better than the clean, light-colored sand in his nest.

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Warpaint Shiner on Bluehead Chub Mound. Michael also let me know about this chub mound on the bedrock that Casper had found. A large Warpaint Shiner had adopted it, and the late afternoon light was filtering through the trees onto the mound just right. Too bad there wasn't a big male Bluehead Chub on it.

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Damselfly. Anyone know the species? As I was walking around the stream I kept seeing these beautiful metallic blue-green damselflies. I finally decided to dry my lens port off and try to get a photo. He was on a small branch sticking up in the middle of the stream. I was able to approach very close by keeping most of my body submerged with only the camera and part of my head above water.

#2 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 15 July 2014 - 11:30 PM

The next day we headed to the New River drainage, hoping for Mountain Redbelly Dace and Kanawha Darters. Unfortunately, all of our planned sites were muddy from recent rain. Casper and Michael studied the maps and found a nearby stream that was a little better. Meth Creek was quite cold and had poor clarity, but we made the most of it and managed to have a good time.

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Fantail Darter. These were quite common here.

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Appalachia Darter. We didn't know which percina species this was when we were at the stream. Matt and Gerald helped ID them from my photos later on.

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Mitten Crayfish (but I'm not 100% sure on the ID). They had a nice red/orange coloration.

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Kanawha Darter. Getting to see this guy made the day worth it for me. I think I was the only one who got to see a big, colorful male, and I only saw him for a very short time before losing track of him. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get photos that showed off his color like I would have liked. We did see a few smaller ones as well.

#3 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 15 July 2014 - 11:31 PM

Saturday at the South Toe was probably our best snorkeling day of the convention. It was definitely the clearest water we found during our time in NC, and it probably had the highest diversity as well.

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Greenfin Darter. I spent a lot of time with these guys. I was hoping to see them at this site, and they turned out to be very common. They were pretty easy to photograph as they were quite friendly (sometimes even approaching too close for photos), and they posed pretty well. Bryce and I spent quite a while side by side in a shallow riffle with these and many other species gathered all around us.

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Gilt Darter. There were lots of nicely-colored gilts mixed in with the greenfins. They were fairly easy to approach and photograph. If not for the greenfins I would have gone after the gilts much more.

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Blotchside Logperch. These were a little more difficult to photograph, rarely approaching as close as I would have liked. At one point, Bryce alerted me to a very large one near me with a bright red dorsal fin. It was certainly the best-looking logperch I have ever seen, but unfortunately I was unable to get any good photos of it before it swam away.

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Hellbender. This was the first hellbender I had ever seen in the wild, and it was definitely a highlight of my trip. When I first saw it, I quickly looked down at my camera to get the settings right, and then when I looked up it was gone. I swam around the large pool for 5-10 minutes searching for it before giving up, disappointed that I had lost my chance for any photos. I went back to photographing other fish, and then I spotted it again at the bottom of the pool. Michael and I got to spend a good amount of time with it (he will probably share some cool video of it at some point).

#4 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 15 July 2014 - 11:31 PM

The last snorkel day of the convention was spent at the Cane River below the old, broken down dam. I made a quick trip upstream to see the old dam, but I spent almost all of my time observing two chub mounds.

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River Chub. There were three male chubs hanging around this mound. This was the biggest one, and he would occasionally chase the others away (but only halfheartedly).

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River Chub. This male was slightly smaller than the big one, and it was the only one interested in building. I observed it add around 20-30 rocks to the mound. The larger chub would sometimes attempt to intimidate it, but it never seemed too bothered, remaining focused on adding more rocks to the mound.

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Warpaint Shiner. This guy was on a different chub nest along with the next two species. These were the nicest warpaints I saw on my trip.

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Striped Shiner. This fish was probably my favorite from this day. It's kind of funny because it's such a common species, even back home in AR. I just don't think I've ever come across such a nice-looking individual.

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Whitetail Shiner. Another very common species back home in AR, but again, one of the nicest individuals I have ever seen.

#5 Isaac Szabo

Isaac Szabo
  • NANFA Member
  • The Ozarks

Posted 15 July 2014 - 11:31 PM

After the convention I spent a few days driving the Blue Ridge Parkway and enjoying some of the NC scenery. Thanks to Matt for telling me about some cool areas to visit.

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Triple Falls, DuPont State Forest. This is just the lowest of the three cascades that make up the 120' Triple Falls. A storm moved through right after this photo. I spent about an hour waiting it out under a bluff overhang. DuPont State forest has several really nice and easily accessible big waterfalls.

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Rhododendron and storm clouds along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Looking Glass Falls. This beautiful 60' waterfall is literally right next to the road - no hiking required. I had it all to myself as the sun rose directly behind it. There were perhaps 50-100 people there as I drove past it again later on that afternoon.

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Layers of mountains and clouds along the Blue Ridge Parkway. A late afternoon rain resulted in numerous clouds forming in the valleys.

Well, that's it for the North Carolina part of my trip. I had a great time. Thank you Fritz for putting on a great convention!

#6 Guest_Skipjack_*

Guest_Skipjack_*
  • Guests

Posted 16 July 2014 - 01:21 AM

Wow! Once again Isaac, I am stunned. I am very glad we (NANFA) have you around to capture this beauty that few ever see. I have seen looking glass falls dozens of times, and I think your photo does more than do it justice. And the river chub with rock in mouth, probably my favorite of the bunch. Great job as always.

#7 Guest_steve_*

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  • Guests

Posted 16 July 2014 - 01:49 AM

All of these are just far too impressive to pick a favorite. What a joy to see and what a way to make those of us who couldn't be there understand what we missed. Again, all too nice to pick a favorite, but I agree, that sure is the nicest looking striped shiner I've ever seen also.

#8 Guest_jblaylock_*

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  • Guests

Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:04 AM

OMG...I'm blown away....wow.

That Warpaint on the chub nest....amazing.

#9 Guest_trygon_*

Guest_trygon_*
  • Guests

Posted 16 July 2014 - 09:20 AM

Very nice, especially considering the condition of the water.

#10 Guest_BenCantrell_*

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  • Guests

Posted 16 July 2014 - 09:25 AM

Great photos Isaac, thanks for sharing!

#11 Guest_NotCousteau_*

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  • Guests

Posted 16 July 2014 - 11:53 AM

Wow! Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing.

#12 Guest_don212_*

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  • Guests

Posted 16 July 2014 - 11:56 AM

amazing, though I saw much of these, they are far more impressive through your photos! meth creek , love it, sad sign of our times

#13 Guest_guyswartwout_*

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  • Guests

Posted 16 July 2014 - 08:42 PM

Stunning.

#14 Guest_fundulus_*

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  • Guests

Posted 16 July 2014 - 09:05 PM

Meth Creek? You guys are worse than I am... And that Hellbender photo is sublime.

#15 Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe
  • Board of Directors
  • North Georgia, Oconee River Drainage

Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:34 PM

Three Top Mountain Creek was the more official name... but the locals told us (after we got out of course) that they had "stopped letting their kids swim in there, cause of the meth lab upstream"
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#16 Guest_BTDarters_*

Guest_BTDarters_*
  • Guests

Posted 17 July 2014 - 07:45 PM

Isaac, your photos are just amazing! You have a real talent! Thanks for sharing!

Brian

#17 Guest_Stickbow_*

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  • Guests

Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:37 PM

Wow. Just Wow. You have an eye -- or amazing luck with light -- or both, that makes amateurs like me so very jealous. Thank you for sharing these with us.

#18 Guest_cjohns_*

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  • Guests

Posted 18 July 2014 - 06:34 AM

Absolutely amazing!

#19 Guest_gerald_*

Guest_gerald_*
  • Guests

Posted 18 July 2014 - 10:56 AM

I have many times copied links to interesting NANFA forum threads into other local aquarium forums that I participate on in the Carolinas and Virginia. Sometimes there's a few half-interested responses, sometimes none. This one is generating a LOT more interest. Thanks Isaac! (One guy who thanked me for posting the link is a taxidermist, frequently seeking good live fish photos for getting colors right. Says he's bored mounting gamefish and is moving on to more interesting species now).

#20 Guest_FirstChAoS_*

Guest_FirstChAoS_*
  • Guests

Posted 18 July 2014 - 01:07 PM

Amazing photos, excellent work.

Also when you said "Striped Shiner. This fish was probably my favorite from this day. It's kind of funny because it's such a common species" nice unintended Luxilus pun.




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