On the Main Deck of the USS North Carolina
North Carolina >> Wilmington >> Entertainment

A highlight of visiting Wilmington, North Carolina is the USS North Carolina Battleship Memorial on the Cape Fear River. Located just across the river from historic downtown Wilmington, the battleship is both a marvel to behold and a beautiful to explore. I spent an early Saturday morning exploring the old battleship enjoying the views as much as the history.

I lived in Wilmington for four years while attending the University of North Carolina – Wilmington. I was a student of the Film Studies program and developed an interest in photography during my time there. I wanted to learn the technical aspects of filmmaking better, so I began shooting 35mm film. During my time in Wilmington, which only included one year shooting film photography, I never had the chance to visit the battleship.

This past weekend I was able to fix that. It had been nearly four years since my last visit, but it was like I was there just yesterday. I spent a couple of hours exploring the vessel but decided to focus my photography solely on the main deck under the beautiful partly cloudy skies.

When I first walked onto the main deck the tour turns right and I caught sight of this OS2U Kingfisher aircraft. The sun was already a tad bit too high in the sky for my taste and it was difficult to frame the photo properly even with a 12mm lens, but I’m still happy with this amazing example of the power of HDR.

The USS North Carolina is a bit backwards. Literally. When the boat was first towed up the Cape Fear River it was too long to spin around 180-degrees. So instead the boat was docked with the bow (front) facing away from downtown Wilmington. The first portion of the tour begins on the aft deck with the Kingfisher aircraft before moving below decks and returning to the main deck forward of the conning tower. It is here you can see the view above: two main gun turrets on the bow of the boat with a beautiful view of downtown behind.

This is my favorite view of the boat. With six large guns pointing upwards and the massive conning tower behind, the sight is menacing even now, decades after the battleship last saw action. The deck is expansive and provides plenty of places to walk and explore for the perfect view.

The very front of the boat provides the perfect spot for a wide-angle view of both the battleship and downtown Wilmington behind. The heavy chains for the anchor are still in place on the deck even though the anchors are no longer used. From here you can really appreciate the size of the boat as well as the height above the marsh water far below.

One thing I learned long ago about photography: always keep your eyes open. Another thing I learned a long time ago: always look for that unique angle. I did some research on Flickr, Photoshelter, and Google Images before touring the USS North Carolina to see what had already been shot. I am a firm believer that anyone with an iPhone can shoot a great photo. But it takes someone with skill and a great eye to shoot a unique photo. That is the job of the modern-day professional photographer: shoot the same old photos everyone else has shot a million times before in a new and unique way.

Downtown Wilmington is just across the Cape Fear River from the USS North Carolina. With the right positions around the boat you can get plenty of photos that include downtown landmarks, such as the photo above with the courthouse in the background. Other landmarks you can easily see include The Cotton Exchange, Waterfront Park, portions of The Riverwalk, and the end of Market Street with the Riverboat Landing Restaurant.

About Jason Barnette

Jason Barnette is an internationally published travel photographer based in Abingdon, Virginia. From here, Jason explores the Southeastern United States shooting photos of the travel industry, tourism, and beautiful landscapes. His photos focus on telling the story of a destination from beginning to end throughout all four seasons, highlighting landscapes, people, food, lodging, and entertainment. Through this blog, Jason publishes his best photos from specific assignments, travel destinations, parks, and projects.

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