EASTERN SHORE, Va. (WAVY) – The Eastern Shore of Virginia has nearly 60 miles of barrier islands. These islands, unique in their beauty and shape, are often missed by visitors or even residents since they are only accessible by boat or plane.

Flying his open cockpit airplane, Gordon Campbell spends time soaring over the shore – looking for anything that catches his eye. The brisk wind rushed by him as his aircraft slowly moves along the coast – at around 30-45 mph.

“I sit out in front of the wing, the engine is behind me – I have very little wind in my face, and I can be free as a bird and take these images,” Campbell said.

His images, both breathtaking and vivid, are displayed all around the Eastern Shore. From his one-of-a-kind gallery in Cape Charles, the Barrier Island Visitor Center in Machipongo, and at many restaurants and businesses from seaside to bayside. 

Sally Dickinson, Executive Director of the Barrier Island Center and Museum, said she and others at the center use them to teach visitors about the barrier islands and their history.

“The barrier islands are constantly changing and shape-shifting so Gordon can take a snapshot of what they were one year or even one month and it will be different after a nor’easter or hurricane or just the shape-shifting the barrier islands do,” Dickinson said.

The barrier islands Gordon sees today are elements of history. Years ago, many of the islands housed resorts or homes for people to visit. Today, nobody lives on the barrier islands, but they are still a critical part of life on the shore.

From the fishermen and oystermen who make their living from the water to the engineering marvel that is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, Gordon has captured it all at various times throughout the year and day.

To really appreciate the beauty of the Eastern Shore, Gordon says you have to get off of Route 13.

“People drive up and down this road all the time but they don’t see anything if they don’t get off route 13. To really see it you have to get out on a boat or a plane. ” 

Gordon says that some of the sights that he sees seem out of this world.

“I’m just capturing what is out there and I happen to be pointing my lens in the right direction… but I’m blown away by this beautiful earth we have,” Gordon explained. “Sometimes I put my camera down and I can’t believe what we’re looking at.” 

The At Altitude Gallery is located in Cape Charles, VA at 245 Mason Ave and is the only known gallery to feature aerial photography exclusively. For hours, call the museum at 757-394-9200.