Just got back from a 10 day trip to CA…of which I was able to shoot for 7 of them. Havent been able to shoot that much in, perhaps years. Not only was a pushing buttons but also exploring places I hadn’t been yet in California, then Central Coast. Even with all my trips I had not made it down to that part of the world. Needless to say I will be returning. Incredible seascapes, rolling hills, incredible Oak trees…dunes (my favorite). After looking out of the window on one of my many plane trips I noticed an area below that I had to explore. Didnt know it would take years to get there but we ended up spending 2 separate shoots there over 4 days. This particular shot was taken on the return trip for sunset. Which started out VERY windy (and chilly, even though the temperature was 15F higher just a bit inland). As the sunset the wind subsided and the light turned magic. In normal aF fashion I was scurrying around as the light dwindled trying to find whatever compositions I could. I was initially above this dune and then noticed the shape of the shadow and curves leading toward the point in the background. After tweaking the composition 3 times the 4th resulted in this image.
There will be lots to share from this adventure and please enjoy this surreal place!
Not often I shoot/process in same day. I took (1) photo Feb 16, 2017. Been enjoying my 16stop filter as it mostly sits in the bag. Decided to start playing with it more.
This was shot as the sun was setting so the light was moving from foreground to background. I had actually wanted more golden light on the water but I was enjoying the beach and waited too long. Ran up and set up this shot…10min later, viola. Considering the swell was approx 20′ this is a far cry from the crashing waves at the time. Quite a different feel and mood from the chaos of the surf.
Heading out on a Koke’e adventure our goal for the day was the Kilohana Overlook. As is too many times, when we arrived it was completely socked in. We enjoyed the hike and shot some detail work along the way. Arriving back at the car it was decided to head to the Kalalau Overlook for sunset since it’s always so epic from up there. Cresting the top we were greeted to an amazing view. This time with the addition of the large NW swell rolling in to the coast. From about 4,000 feet up you can see the swell lines way out to the horizon. So much energy being directed at our coasts and yet, from this height, looking so smooth and playful. The twilight light was perfect as I set out with my long lens to capture some detail and abstract work. This one image in particular I feel gives a good sense of that scene that day.
After a long enough time of living in Hawaii I finally had the opportunity to go out and do some whale watching earlier this past week. Our tour booked for 8am out of Kihei on Maui. As some might know I’m not the best on boats so while I was excited at trying to capture some new subject matter the uneasyness of possibly being uncomfortable was there. Luckily for us the trades were more easterly than usual and Kihei waters were in the lee of Haleakala. This meaning that the ocean wasnt nearly as choppy as it could have been. We ventured out and started heading north all on the lookout for our sea friends. Eventaully we came back south as a few had been spotted and then…boom. Next thing we know we are being ‘mugged’. 4-6 whales are circling our boat. Diving underneath us…for an hour! Because these animals are highly protected the term ‘mugged’ means that we were unable to move until they were a safe distance. Normally I would have expected to be shooting at longer distances but this meant we had extended time RIGHT next to these huge animals. Luckily I brought my wide angle and was able to shoot at 24mm as they passed over and over again. Including some fun abstracts as the clear water let us see them below us. Truly an incredible experience.
This particular image was taken as this whale passed JUST off the bow. I hurried to the front of the boat and as it passed did this awesome barrel roll. Haleakala being very clear in the background. Such a fun moment!
Even with getting to California every 6-8 weeks to sign and ship artwork, often times I do not get out and photograph. Of course this isnt always true (see Yosemite images in the New Releases), but often it’s a quick work trip and back to the islands. On this particular afternoon I had some extra free time and decided to pull out my maps app and look for a spot I had flagged to go check out…so off I went. Driving there I had forgotten what had made me mark the spot but upon arriving I had an idea. A small beach tucked away with an arch and awesome rock stack in the tiny bay. Wicked cool spot. Approaching the cave first I set up for some rushing water shots at sunset. Watching the waves break further out and then crawl in definitely gets the heart racing even when they are benign. Without any clouds that day the light was still pretty and decided, as I usually do with clear skies (in Northern California even), to check my StarWalk app to see where things would be after sunset. Well…seems that my timing couldn’t have been much better. A bit after sunset the Milky Way looked to line up with the cave AND the moon wasnt too big to wash out the night sky. Bingo. So the wait began. With the tripod set up in the spot I had settled on (the back and forth conversation in my head was pretty comical) I bounced between the camera and my seat in the sand…wondering if a sneaky wave would knock the camera over. To capture the image with the best detail possible the plan was to take an image at twilight and then combine it with the sky, this way I would be able to print larger later and with more detail.
As expected, as day turned to twilight to night, the Milky Way revealed itself right at the entrance to the cave. As I took my exposures I wondered what this crescent moon looked like and as I emerged I saw another incredible scene…but that’s an image for another day 🙂
Last Wednesday I had just gotten back to Maui and headed up to Paia to play some ultimate. The weather in the eastern Islands had been stormy for a couple of days with damaging flooding occurring on Maui the day prior. While the sky was nice enough there were storm clouds further down the coast but weren’t tracking any further to the west. As the sun set we noticed a couple of the clouds starting popping off some awesome lightning. Standing there watching this awesome spectacle I decided to run back to the car and grab my gear and hurry to the beach to try and catch some. These kinds of conditions are VERY rare in Hawaii and standing out there with the ocean running up watching this show was special. To add to the surreal part of the scene the full moon had just rising and was lighting everything up as well! Not a bad way to start this trip!
A little while I posted about a wedding I was lucky enough to attend and capture in the incredible Kalalau Valley. For 2 of the days we were there the normal trade wind pattern was disrupted and a land/sea breeze regime was in place instead. For those that dont know I actually got my degree in Atmospheric Science (aka Meteorology). Fun fact! With this knowledge I have a better understanding of what to expect when weather patterns change and per the expected forecast we had some clouds/rain start up around early afternoon and the mountains were pretty socked in. With the land/sea breeze regime in place I was expecting the weather to break around sunset…and right on queue as we headed out for the ceremony…blam!
While the wedding party descended to the river I stayed up on top of the rocks quickly capturing as much as I could of this incredible scene. The sun breaking through, the clouds lifting. Just mind blowing stuff. After photographing this I quickly made it back to the group and the story goes on 🙂
It all began on a winter day. Ok, it was a Kauai winter day and we were at a friend’s birthday party dancing. But I was approached by a couple of friends who were getting married in May 2016 and asked if I could join them on this wedding adventure to Kalalau. Unknowing of my schedule I tentatively said yes, because well, Kalalau. I had actually only been to the beach once before about 6 years prior and was in desperate need to get back. Of course I didnt realize how much I would be working at the time but nonetheless, all in good time.
We arrived Friday morning and got things set up. And was pretty much in relax mode. Without having a day off in more time than I could remember I was now completely off the grid for 3 full days. That evening while laying in my tent I decided to check out my photo apps; The Photographer’s Ephemeris and StarWalk. I knew that summer season is better for viewing the Milky Way and had an inkling that it might be rising over the cathedrals. As for the moon and timing, that I needed to figured out. Doing some quick calculations it seemed that my window would be in the middle of the night so I set my alarm for 1am and went to bed. Hearing the phone go off and wanting to stay in bed are all too familiar feelings for most of us. I through on my sarong and grabbed my pack and walked (ok it was a pretty short walk) down to the beach. However this night it was not to be. Clouds. However I was able to see that my hunch was correct. Now to hopefully catch it. 2 more chances.
Next day was wedding day. Most of the day again, spent hanging out and relaxing. Per the expected forecast we had some clouds/rain start up around early afternoon and the mountains were pretty socked in. With the land/sea breeze regime in place I was expecting the weather to break around sunset…and right on queue as we headed out for the ceremony…blam! Here are some of the first edits from the wedding, but yes, the conditions were amazing! (story below photos)
We returned to camp after an amazing event (and photos) and had ourselves a merry little time that evening. This day however instead of going to bed and waking up again I stayed up until my window. As the night progressed and my time came to be our friendly little clouds decided to make an appearance again while I was shooting! Bastards. At least it was an eventful party (clearly I was the last still awake at this point). Off to bed. Strike 2.
Last day. More of the same. Clouds building up during the day, some slight rain. And clearing toward sunset. My window now pushed back until 3am. Alarm set. I poke my head out of the tent and see some stars. A good sign. I walk out enough to see over the cathedrals and there she is. Milky Way arcing right over. The moon getting close to the horizon gave a sunset/moonset feel to everything and I started to work quickly. Of course after 3 days of shooting, including a wedding, I had already finished one battery and was working on one bar on my 2nd and last one. As luck would have it. That is all I would need 🙂
It surprises me, living so far away from Yosemite, that I’ve been able to now catch snow in the Valley twice. This particular coincidence lined up with my usual mainland trip to sign and ship artwork. Being that the forecast was for a few inches of snow, but not down to the valley floor, I wasn’t sure my plans. When I got word that the webcams were showing the white stuff all the way down I knew where I was headed. At the same time I found out a long term photographer contact I had was also in the area. I made the drive and arrived around 11pm. Of course with an early wake up call coming. As we ventured out in the morning the darkness was starting to give way and we could see that the clouds had parted. A good sign…potentially. Landscape photography is a tricky thing. Too much or too few clouds can be problematic (sometimes). My goal for this morning was Tunnel View. The iconic location that I really was looking forward to capturing with fresh snowfall AND flowing waterfalls (finally a non-drought winter). Arriving to the view in front of me was incredible. White and green speckled throughout the valley. A low hanging cloud among the trees. And of course…chilly!!
As the sun started to rise the cloud that was hanging in the Valley proceeded to flatten out and dance across the trees. Constantly changing and sloshing about it was a smorgasbord of intimate photography. I spent the next 2.5hrs in awe as the constantly changing light and fog really got my creative juices flowing. So much to capture and so ephemeral. To say that the morning was productive would be an understatement! There is lots to share but we shall start with just this one.
Having spent a lot of time in California over the last 4 years it was such a welcome (I’m sure for lots of people!) change to see things so green this year. This is an afternoon shot taken on Mt. Diablo, east of San Francisco. The greens, shadows and clouds were just too much fun to pass by!