Pixels

From the Blue Ridge Parkway to Outer Banks, North Carolina is a state of abundant natural beauty, famous landmarks and diverse people. Photographers from around the state bring you into their studios, out in the field, and into unknown areas to explore some of the hidden gems of the state.

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Corolla Beach
Thomas Wheeler / AltAdjust.com

Thomas Wheeler has always had a knack for eye-hand coordination, especially in the age of video games.

“Controlling a drone is almost like a dance to me," said Wheeler, 32, who focuses on capturing images – from the sky. "Imagine for a second you could put your eyes anywhere in the sky.”

a couple kisses after being reunited after a deployment
Sharilyn Wells / www.sharilynwellsphotography.com

Sharilyn Wells knows what it's like to wait for a spouse returning from a deployment.

The Milky Way spirals over the coquina outcrop in Kure Beach, NC. This image is made up of two rows, 16 photos stitched together in Photoshop to capture the massive scene on 7/26/2016.
Hunter Anderson / @huntb3000

It all started with an iPhone.

About a year ago, Hunter Anderson started to take photos with his phone and gradually wanted to learn more about photography.

surfer at sunrise
Jenni Koontz / https://epicshutter.com

Since she was a child, Jenni Koontz has taken an interest in photography.

“I always used film cameras until my freshman year of college,” said Koontz, 32, who lives on Hatteras Island in Avon, North Carolina with her daughter Emma Sage.

A view of the Blue Ridge Parkway on October 11, 2016 north of Devil's Couthouse in western North Carolina.
Jennifer Mesk / http://humansofasheville.net

Jennifer Mesk’s love for photography started out of as frustration.

"I always loved taking pictures but grew frustrated not being able to capture the images I wanted to," said Mesk, an Asheville resident. "I'd see photos and think, 'I'm sure I could do that. I'm going to teach myself'."

Instagram: @JenniferMeskPhotography

A shot from the top of the Corcoran Street parking garage.  The American Underground sign is visible along with the 21c Hotel to the left.
Philip Vignola Jr. / http://bullcity.pictures

By day, Philip Vignola Jr. works in technology at Research Triangle Park. In his spare time, he likes to roam the streets of downtown Durham and showcase the city’s history and beauty.

Instagram: @bullcitypictures

Mock Oyster Mushrooms
E.J. Dwigans / www.instagram.com/shroomiej

For E.J. Dwigans, the intersection of nature and photography is where he most likes to be.

"My favorite place to take photos is the forest, any forest," said Dwigans, 26, of Brevard. "There are so many hidden facets of nature that many people never get the opportunity to see."

Instagram: @shroomiej

the Historical Haywood Bible Church on Moncure
Amanda D. El Jaouhari / www.amandadeljaouhari.com

Photography became a part of Amanda El Jaouhari's life during her rehabilitation from an injury that ultimately resulted in back surgery. Before the injury, El Jaouhari, 36, said she was unaware of the "parasitic nature of pain" and it was very hard for her to see the beauty in the world even after having a successful operation.

A giant swing at a county fair.
Biff Jennings / www.shootersphotos.com

As Biff Jennings likes to explain, he spent the first third of his life in and around Ashland, Kentucky; the second third on the Outer Banks of North Carolina; and he’ll let you know about the next third—in about thirty years.