advance warning….


update:7:15 am september 3  nags head, north carolina…..hurricane Earl….

house shaking like hell and cannot take much more it seems…but not taking in water anywhere that i can see which is amazing in itself…now blowing 75mph and raining horizontal sheets…my street is a river…i doubt i can even walk outside and surely not make it to the truck….i cannot believe electricity is on and coffee almost ready…

simply spectacular to see and feel , but not something easy to show in a picture..will a shot out my front door is probably best i can do and even that will not be easy…weather satellite shows it is almost over…cats tired of being prisoners in the darkroom…they do not seem to have any appreciation whatsoever that i saved their lives…so far

( below is september 1  post)

no joke, i am now in a bit of trouble…

hurricane Earl , now updated to cat 4 is gathering strength …and headed for my town…this is a very different report than i had earlier today when we all thought Earl was going to pass 300 miles out to sea ….now, it appears we have been given advance warning of the worst possible news for those of us who live in the Outer Banks of North Carolina… all but permanent residents are being evacuated and almost everyone is preparing to leave…our island can take any beating , it is  supposed to move around and come and go,  but the structures on it are extremely vulnerable to wind and water at all times…everybody knows, nobody should live here…

yet i do, and i always knew the risks…grew up in this neighborhood, fell in love with photography in this neighborhood…

i now have about 24 hours to make some very major moves…i must do all i can to save my house and honestly there is not too much i can do except close the wooden hurricane shutters…what i really must do is round up all things of archival value…my negatives which i have here ready to make use of my darkroom …was just getting ready to print a few editions of my early family work…

my son Bryan and his girlfriend yoga maestra Michelle  are my neighbors…just by amazing luck we are all here now to lend each other a hand ….Bryan travels the world as a film maker but always makes sure he is here this time of year for the world class surf…Bry lives to surf and he has made it an art….film making is in second place in his mind, but his visual talent is clear….Bryan’s main tool,  the surf , was in its most majestic moment this afternoon…..alas, those beautiful waves from this afternoon might just come and try to clean out these overbuilt beaches by tomorrow…i just love those waves….they are the earth and the earth has rights… more than my personal property which i hope will survive, but it won’t be the end of the world if it doesn’t…

however, i am not idle, nor complacent ….if the projected path of the hurricane continues as is predicted , i will have no choice but to put my negatives/prints/books  etc into my pickup truck and drive away to safety…if it were not for the negatives etc i would be tempted to stick it out..and no my friends cannot come and get the negatives for me..already thought of that…they will not let anyone not from here to come here…i think …

hmmmm, story here?? maybe i can get permission from NatGeo to let me publish a picture or two here on Burn from what is going on…i mean wouldn’t that create buzz for their upcoming OBX  NatGeo Magazine story which they are contracting from me?? just thinking off the top of my head…more important things for me to think about now…

when things get dire , i feel my best…little things irritate me and i am annoyed too easily….but big things and major problems tend to make me calm and focused… problems are no more important than anyone’s,yet this seems to be a problem for many…every tv network on the planet is set up down on the beach…..anyway let’s not overdue this..all things relative and in the realm of natural fluctuations , this is the easiest to survive because of the advance warnings…..but i do know that you would be interested and mostly how ironic that we have been discussing archives, and digi and film etc etc…

ok, must move on this …i will keep you updated as best i can….

oh yes, almost forgot, much better and bigger news…Diego Orlando , Special Projects Editor of Burn, is in Perpignan, France at this very moment and is showing (and maybe selling) first edition copies of BURN 01 at Visa Pour L’Image …we must also talk Jean Francois Leroy, Founder and Director,  into at least a projection for the Burn audience next year..if you are in Perpignan now , just know i miss hanging out with  you and yes  please buy a book from Diego…this is a seriously cool book featuring 25 essays from photographers/artists published here on Burn , both iconic and from the audience here, two think pieces by Akaky and Bob Black, and  printed and bound by the best in Italy supervised by Diego and designed by Anton Kusters and researched by Anna Maria  Jester and yea i am in the mix too…  and if you are not published  in this edition,  maybe next….please try….best part of this is if my own stuff ends up underwater, at least i will have BURN 01 to show….i think this really might be the first seriously published book/magazine from the works from an online blog audience…

anyway, just to give you something constructive to do , i will do what i often do and ask you a question…

ok, here is a relevant one: if you were in my shoes , would you now concentrate on getting the old work/negs/prints off the island or should i spend my energies on taking new pictures of the catastrophe around me?

-david alan harvey-

1284 Responses to “advance warning….”


    yes, i thought it fortuitous that we were just having the archive discussion…

  • dear Mr. Harvey, i would never venture to tell you what you should do, especially in a life threatening situation… you have been in and survived many risky situations before.. so your survival instincts must be well attuned and i’m sure they are on full alert at the your instincts, if it doesnt feel right, get outta there!

    having said that, if i were in your shoes, i would be probably stay. i think it would all come down to whether or not the storm surge was predicted to completely overwash the area..which would be catastrophic for sure..or if i was near a piece of relatively high gound, .since it appears that earl will pass a bit to the east ( of course as you already know, that’s not a given,,hurricanes tend to be fickle and wobble, so landfall and track are somewhat iffy) the brunt of the storm should/could remain off shore..but even a predicted storm surge of 4 feet is significant on an exposed ribbon of sand with an elevation averaging only a few feet above sea level…hmmm..what would Chris Bickford do?

    as others have already suggested, if it were me and i stayed, i would consider entrusting the prints, negatives and cats with a friend leaving the area. if/when earl hits, there will be damage. i would then start figuring out a way to survive the situation, get my gear ready, and try to be ready for anything,,while hoping to make meaningful images of not only the storm, but the way the strongly individualistic souls of the outerbanks deal with another dose of adversity…

    David i know it’s hard to leave when something so historic is headed your way, especially since you’re working on the outer banks story.. but please be safe! perhaps the collective well wishes/ good energy from the Burn community will create some sort of force field around you and help keep you safe.. i certainly hope so!

    good luck!!!

  • Kinda figured you would stay :)) The pelican case also acts as a flotation device, even fully loaded. What’s not to love?

  • This is crazy.. now I gotta have to worry for an adult man that I haven’t ever met in person (yet), just like it was one of the kids roaming all over the place.. methinks I just log off and play ostrich.. and the most crazy thing is I even understand why you’re going to stay, sheesh!!!

  • How is this even an argument? Stuff your archives into plastic bags and then haul your ass on out of there.

    AKAKY IRL: And this is very sound advice, coming, as it does, from a man who absolutely refused to go to a hotel during the Twin Peaks blizzard back in February. We froze our ass off for five nights straight because dumbass here didnt want to spend the money to go someplace warm. So my advice is to take any advice you get from him with a grain of salt

  • hey, can we reopen the “write a caption” contest? Earl certainly gives new opportunites for captioning the picture of David photographing a woman on top of a submerged van! :)

  • DAH…

    You said you weren’t sure if anyone would notice the girl…

    In case you missed my original comment here is a portion of it reposted…

    “It may please you to know that even if you have to leave and are unable to get a single new shot…the one you posted at the top of this thread is my favorite image I’ve seen in MONTHS! Who is that girl??? I LOVE it.”

  • “hey, can we reopen the “write a caption” contest?”

    And I promise to stay sober, and better yet, not to post this time.

  • Eva

    I doubt somehow that there was more than a moment of doubt in David’s mind that he would be staying.

    Davids gift to us here is the opportunity to seriously ask ourselves what we would do in his situation, and thereby gain a little more insight into who we each are. What do we value most?
    I’m with you, and with most everyone I suspect. I’d be out’a there.

    I love Davids post..rather be blown off a mountain than hit by a bus, and looking forward to the best party of the year. I can see the grin on his face. Me, I hope to die quietly in my bed.

  • I would do both! Get everything you mentioned you wanted to save (negs, etc) in the truck ready to go then spend as much time as you have left shooting! And shoot while driving out!


  • Yeah, I figured David would stay against all advice. Good. Fascinated to see what he does with “disaster” photography. Stay safe man.

  • But don’t drink too much that you lose sense of safety…

  • Gordon, it’s how you live not how you die what counts.. adding not even when.. but that’s all theoretical talk, and I got no problems when I’m involved personally and have to decide for myself.. it’s only when others I care about are involved that I become an overprotective.. ehm, biddy you all it over there in the States? And no, there was not much doubt about David’s choice..

  • DAH
    perhaps your hurricane story is of you packing and kitties in basement….

  • Because I enjoyed (not) both Hurricane Rita and Ike, I would suggest David get the hell out of there. The Crystal Beach area near Galveston was devastated by Ike. Beach houses by the hundreds before the storm, utter devastation afterwords. Staying is a good way to end up dead.

    We took a direct hit by Rita, and we are about 70 miles from the coast. Fifty percent of the trees in our heavily forested county were knocked down by the hurricane or twisted off by the hundreds by small tornadoes the Hurricane spawned. Many homes were destroyed, many had multiple large trees through the roof. We had no power for 14 days. MRE’s get a little old if that’s all you get to eat for two weeks!

    Get out of there! :)

  • DAH –

    sending good thoughts and prayers and mantras, but be more discerning than daring in the quest for new images, please…

    Are you positive there no safe deposit boxes / vaults anywhere in your vicinity that are still open /accessible for the archives?

    Re: driving around, I heard a major reason residents can stay and tourists need to go is because residents know where to park and tourists do not. So whatever that means, take heed if you are parking quickly to get an image.

    Re: Audrey, she has not yet met up with Diego, but will soon.

    I am very happy your family is there with you. Keep us posted if you are able. We’ll keep the protective vibes flowing from our ends of the burn universe.

  • DAH–

    i’m sure i would stay too. :)
    to photograph, yes, but also to Feeeel that Life Surging, wow..
    you must be absolutely electrified!
    i’m breathless just thinking about it.


  • Remember Al Roker?

    Don’t be this guy. Get your stuff and get out of there. If possible you can secure everything on mainland, find a boat, and get back to the island *after* the storm. Take reasonable risks.


    Diego should be Cafe Leposte by night after slide shows etc…leave message here for him…he was also supposed to get Burn into the bookstore…do not know if that happened or not…

  • DAH –

    i’d make a backup of the computer too. stay as long as you can. photograph your way out of there. if you do leave, how far do you have to go? where would you go? how would you get there? you aren’t really going to your brooklyn loft when Earl is headed there as well? more questions than answers. maybe i would stay.

    stay safe/keep shootin’

  • KATIA…

    yes, exactly….we could change our minds in a few hours if we see 100% chance of cat 4 direct hit which would mean most likely this island would be totally submerged…145 mi per hour winds and water take out all in their path …anything less than that and i think we ride it out…


    Chris Bickford does not live far from me…he told me a few minutes ago he was staying as well…

  • I remember the road out of that area where DAH lives. Narrow and congested. Can’t imagine what it would be like to evacuate in the hell of the moment of the storm’s wrath. Think trying to get out would be worse. But I have never been in a hurricane and was in a tornado once but didn’t realize it till next morning it was so dark. No experience like those stated by Jim.

  • LEE..

    during summer rental changes the road can become congested on sat and sunday…evacuation as well, but most of that happens long before the storm arrives…many left yesterday under clear sunny skies…today pretty quiet…i could get out of here in 20 minutes if the bridge is open…considering now a hotel maybe two or three floors up…but the good news is house has been sitting on this beach for about 80 years…isn’t that worth something?

  • Hang on tight David – from what I’ve gathered, you’ve got the negs and HDs packed up already. I’d imagine those pelican cases can take a lot of abuse – just make sure they don’t float away in that car – maybe drop the cats and archive off at the 6th Floor Burn Motel… Keep snapping a few as you go – I’m envisioning some good back-of-the-book, behind-the-scenes stuff for sure. Wish you all the best, man. Stay safe and good vibes to you and the whole OBX community.

    …and can’t wait to get my hands of a copy of Burn01!

  • David,

    I’m in contact with Diego, we have to meet on next friday, we missed each other last wednesday and today I’m not in Perpignan. Can’t wait to see burn01 :=)) thank you !!! Maybe I should come with the real stars : my parents


    oh yes, bring your parents for sure…only sorry i am not there to meet them….please give your mother and father my warmest personal regards…..


    nice to hear from you Jim…and , as usual, you make sense…you and i do play the game a bit differently, but i have always respected you and your views and share many if not all of them….

  • Good luck, David! stay safe

    as Civi would say: what not to leave?
    We are with you (I’m even pouring water over the screen…;):

  • Haven’t you built your reputation of the photos you’ve shot? Are you usually a disaster photog? Haven’t you always said that archives are the most important?

    Grab your negs and get out.

  • a civilian-mass audience


    no panic…BUT please, get out of there NOW…take the kids,the chickens,the negatives,the positives…
    my airline has canceled …my flight over there…

    yes,what not to leave…I am making an extra key for the Greek home…
    time to use it

  • Amigo!

    Forgot that you lived there in the path of the storm. Having weathered more hurricanes on the Gulf Coast than I care to remember, wish you and yours all the best.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you amigo.

    Bueno suerte!

    Don Arturo

    P.S. Get your ass and your archive out of there! That way you can come back and shoot aftermath.

  • I have to say that “Personally” The best time of my life was in 2004. I had just moved to Orlando, Florida, and 3 days after arriving I was hit with Hurricane “Charley”. Less than a month after Charley hit, 2 more hurricanes followed.

    The feeling was more than exhilarating, and the apartment complex I lived in decided to make the best of things (burgers and beers became communal). Here’s to your safety no matter what decision you make. If it comes down to the thrill of Natures Fury, or loosing a world class photographer/human being than please make the sensible one.

  • DAVID…

    um FORTE abraço.

  • Nice picture. Quick vote to stick around and do what you do.

  • Hello David,

    Like you say, the forces of nature are the Earth. You would never forgive yourself if something would happen to your son. So take Brian, Michelle, the archival boxes and avoid getting hurt. Taking some pictures might still be possible on the way out. Great shot by the way.
    I went over the edge once without my fault, good I’m still here to be their for my loved ones and share these feelings.
    Still, the rush of adreneline and the excitement of the moment…great to shoot on the edge but it is easy to forget the danger.

    Best, Edward

  • “A quick run is better than a fast stand.”

    Irish proverb.


    Don Arturo…what a pleasure to have you here…does it take a hurricane for you to show up?? laughing…been too long amigo…should be Houston in the fall, so we must meet…

    i think all is going to be ok….festive atmosphere my neighborhood…folks now coming over to sit on my front porch for a beer and a sip of tequila…wind to hit at midnight but only gusts to 75mph and unless Earl takes another turn, he is rolling north and just missing our coastline for a direct hit by a few degrees…the buzz in the air is palpable..i think it will all be over by sunrise..which means yet again another storm rolls through in the dark and no pictures…

    no longer worried about saving my archive…i have not moved a thing from my house, but all windows shuttered closed and all objects removed from front porch and around…think all ok at this wind velocity…we have that much velocity frequently and for longer periods of time during a northeaster which traditionally does most of the damage around here..hurricanes have the drama but blow through quickly, but northeasters do the dirty work and hang on and on and on….

    many many thanks to all of you for your good wishes…and hope i did not cause any unnecessary worry…it could indeed have been bad..and i guess we should not say it is over until it is over…anyway, feeling the good vibes from you….and if you were here, all my Burn audience would of course be invited over for a cold you are always…

    cheers, david

  • Dear David– Sending good vibes, but I’m not worried about you. :) Just feels like you’ll be fine and I know you’ll come thru this with an interesting perspective! I grew up in Texas and when hurricanes approached, we drank hurricanes. Love this picture!

  • David, I just signed up this morning for a workshop with you in Aranjuez in less than 2 weeks…..and I don’t want to have to claim my money back!! Just kidding, but still, if that thing remains cat 4, pack your negs an most beloved possesions and get the fuck out of there. A few hurricanes pictures are not worth it.

    and pardon my french btw.

  • 80 years is a long time. Glad you have an easy way out if necessary. Take the cats in a carrier…


  • DAVID.. I would probably try to lock my neg’s down somehow and be out there in that spot where I feel i can possibly get those images. Cat 4 is dangerous so you don’t need any of us to say be careful but..! I grew up surfing waves here on the south coast of N.S.W south of sydney and I also have a sense of awe towards them. They hold me reminding me that there is something much bigger on our planet than mankind.

    Whatever happens, just get out alive!

  • DAVID… just read your post here. Good to hear. Fingers crossed here on the other side of the world.

  • …stay to photograph the first rays of sun and sit in the silence income ….
    A beautiful and powerful photograph.

  • Preying to God, you & your family & other people in that region for their safe passage from Cat4.

  • ” nature dangerous is nature at her best ” ……. dig it ……. stay safe DAH ….. cheers vivek

  • Your question was a fake one i think. You want to stay since first moment. Don´t know if put the archives in your house is a good idea except if you have a cellar. If no, maybe make a hole an put all the things enveloped with some plastic can preserve all safe. Do a map an send it by email to family or friends. Then you can be free to think about enjoy the storm if that is possible. Cuidate che, aunque me da curiosidad ver tus fotos me parece que primero está la seguridad de quienes amamos incluídos nosotros mismos. Saludos y buena suerte otra vez

  • David,

    my thoughts just after Peter “just read your post here. Good to hear. Fingers crossed here on the other side of the world.”

    glad you’re ok

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