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Milltail Creek
Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
Dare County, NC

There is almost nothing left standing from the history of this place – not the lumber mills or the Prohibition stills or even the boomtown of Buffalo City. Only this shack on Milltail Creek remains watchful, brooding, waiting to become part of the landscape.

We live now in cities and suburbs mostly. We’ve forgotten what it’s like to live in a place where nothing brightens the night sky but moon and stars. Whoever lived in this house lived with a vast sense of solitude. Migrating tundra swans flew overhead, blue herons lurked along the bank, osprey and bald eagles fished on Boat Bay and the Alligator River, but there were no other neighbors.

At one time it had electricity, even a television. The antenna remains but nothing else. The house is utterly empty. The wind blows through one door and out the other.

The more I stare at this image, the more there seems a sense of presence but I have no idea what that might mean.


Print Quality

Our archival quality images are printed on Moab Exhibition paper using Canon Lucia inks, providing lustrous reproducttions with a board color gamut that resists aging. For more information on the technology used, see our page on print quality.

The images on this site have been highly compressed to speed page loading. Some artifacts from the process may be visible but the image files used for printing are high resolution.

Sound Rivers

Five percent of the profits from all sales on this site are donated to Sound Rivers, a non-profit organization dedicated to defending the quality of rivers on the Carolina coastal plain.


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A tree grows through the dock behind a slowly decaying shack on the bank of Milltail Creek, Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

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18"x12" Print, 24"x16" Print, 30"x20" Print, 36"x24" Print


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