Had the chance to hike down to Hanakapi’ai, with my sister (she’s visiting from Boston), a few days ago and as usual am wowed by this place I call home. Something from a spot I have shot before but the colors were brilliant with the bright midday sun. Nature’s palette! Thought I’d share this quick one and enjoy!
One of the great parts about friends visiting is that somehow I end up squirming away to hang out with them. Of course when that coincides with sunset…all the better. Though on this particular day, while everyone was hanging out, I decided I was too close to pass up a summer sunset photograph from Tunnels. So out I ran to the beach. Only to then realize I was about a 1/4 mi from where I wanted to be…with time waning! Eek!
Off I ran down the beach with my not-so-light pack on. Tripod over the shoulder. As I come around a bend this couple asks me if there is such a thing as a triple rainbow. “Well sure…in very rare circumstances”. Then I realized that they asked me as I turned to look behind me and noticed a HUGE full rainbow chasing me down the beach! And off I set running down the beach again.
Finally arriving at my semi-predertermined location I quickly dropped my bag and set up the camera. With just enough time to get my rain jacket (over the bag) and umbrella (over me). As the rain passed it diffused the light and…magic. I snapped as quickly as I could. The first sometimes is the best. And was lucky to have been there!
Much thanks 🙂
Being chased! Caught by Elsa Almaraz.
So many stories surrounding this image. Of which include; powering through a month-old knee injury, getting a bit lost and then un-lost, ‘no fall’ zone hiking, fellow hikers lending me their trekking pole for the night and spending hours alone in the dark in a cave to then hike out in the dark, alone. Of course returning with a successful image always makes those details worth while when the effort is rewarded. This location, on the edge of a cliff, tucked in to a cave, was used hundreds of years ago by the Anasazi Indians, though the details and usage are still unknown. Being as I was out there, with a very clear sky, my instinct turns to photographing the stars. It’s amazing how much light cameras can pick up nowadays. Watching the nocturnal transition from such a remote location, one cant help but be transported back to ancient times. Chills. And then for that very dark walk back to the car….
When I travel to shoot I need to research an area to get an idea for what to explore perhaps, and find other things along the way of course, but in doing so I try to extremely limit my exposure to other people’s photographs. Never do I want to be at a location and have a shot to replicate. Of course there are very oft photographed areas that I am sure to overlap, however if similarities occur this would most likely be by chance. Which I am ok with as my intention was pure.
Arriving at this southern Utah location I knew very little about what to find here, other than bizarre rock formations. Which could be said about much of southern UT 🙂 I took the late afternoon to wander around and explore what the area had to offer. Rock monoliths standing like goblins or some otherworldly creatures. As I came across this arch section the challenge became how would I photograph this place. And I moved on to find other rocks to photograph at sunset. The clearish skies did not lend themselves to good color but my default then becomes stars. Making my way back to this spot I moved back and forth trying to best compose the shapes in front of me and then the waiting game for the night sky to make it’s full appearance. During this course of events I took out my phone and checked the Sky Walk app to see what kind of sky I would be looking at. Fast forwarding to the morning I saw that the Milky Way would actually cross in to the gap! Well that settled it. I was going to set my alarm for 5am and come back here. Knowing it would be almost impossible to compose this shot in the dark, even with my headlamp, I marked the sand where the tripod legs were to be able to place it back at the weeee hours of the morn.
Dinner in the car and sleeping in the back of the truck…5am comes. I head out to my spot and set up. There’s the tail end of the Milky Way as expected though not the super vibrant section that was over my right shoulder. I ran around for about 30-45 min light-painting and shooting. Then finally deciding to try and capture other shots while the stars were still blazing (see: There Be Goblins). For whatever reason I decided to head back to the spot of the arch to just capture it one more time. Just in case. The faint light of dawn already starting to rub out the stars I ran around even faster. Finally settling on the fact the stars were gone to the daylight and off to find other compositions.
Weeks later, while going through the photographs it was clear. My choice to go back and reshoot the original idea was a good one. While the sky was not the blazing Milky Way I wanted the cool blue tones of twilight combined with the warmer light from my headlamp created a surreal scene. And even still, the Milky Way can be seen through the arching rocks. When it all comes together, even if different than planned, it makes all the early mornings worth while 🙂
Admittedly this is
2 days late. And pretty telling of where life stands as of current. May 7th is my Kauaiversary. My land date. Forever burned in to my synapses as the beginning of the current phase of my life. I landed at night. Without ever having been to Hawaii in my life. Was picked up at the airport by my employer at the time who I hadn’t seen in a year and driven north to where I was to live and work, Princeville. At some point along the ride I asked “so where’s the ocean”, which at that point we pulled over to the side of the highway and rolled down the window. The spot was Kealia just north of Kapa’a on the east side of the island. The ocean, not more than a couple of hundred yards from the car. Next was the mysterious rain that was falling without a cloud to originate from. Stars above. Rain on the windshield. Fascinating! And finally to my studio apartment for the next month. My landing pad.
The next morning brought what I would eventually come to be accustomed to, trade showers and the sun which was to show me the incredible beauty outside my door of the north shore. 3000’+ mountains, waterfalls, Rainbow Eucalyptus and Plumeria. I walked down to work…my Canon 20D in hand. Snapping away. A rather surreal experience. The idea; move to Kauai to open a new restaurant and manage. Then reevaluate after 6 months. Probably go back to Utah to ski another season…
…6 years later. 3 Galleries. And the journey’s just begun 🙂
Thank you to everyone that’s been a part of the last 6 years and of course to this island that’s taken me in, challenged me, and always given me what I need. Whether I liked it or not.
Here’s to 6 more <3
It’s hard to know when something happens in one’s life that can alter their current reality. Could be turning left instead of right, going to that party that you really were too exhausted to go to and meeting your future husband/wife, ordering cream of broccoli soup instead of minestrone and getting food poisoning…whichever it is….life has those events. Approximately 4 years ago I was able to capture an image that changed my career. Did I realize it at the time? No…I was just excited to photograph this wave phenomenon. And that year I decided to say @^!# it and enter some contests. Then it started to happen. Waking up one morning early fall to see an email from Popular Photography Magazine that I had won their “Through The Lens” competition. A little ways down the line an email from American Photo Magazine come in….Nature Photo Of The Year…and it continued.
It’s hard to say what it all meant. Whether it was the impetus to keep me moving in a direction I wasn’t sure was going to work out or just briefly validated that I got lucky once and was in the right place at the right time.
Well, now we are here, 4 years later, 3 aFeinberg Galleries and over 1,000 Collectors from Beijing to Britain. Who knows what the next 4 years will bring but I know that I have been truly blessed by the island of Kauai to have been able to cultivate my being and abilities out here to be able to share with all of you.
As a thank you for being with me on this journey I am offering a special 15% off online orders.
Enter KABOOM15 at checkout.
May we continue this together….to infinity and beyond 😉
Up on a ridge in Arches National Park I had spotted a location to photograph a great panorama of sunset over the park. Of course, like any photographer there was a significant amount of waiting. So there I was, perched on this rock with my camera at this great expansive scene. Then I turned around.
Untitled Ke’e Beach
Low tide, pre-dawn twilight, earth shadow near the horizon and perfectly ribbed sand. Ke’e Beach, one of the most popular on Kauai if not the state of Hawaii, has a rare empty moment before the day brings sun bathers and hikers to wonder in the amazing Na Pali coast.
One of my main goals for this trip was to finally get to explore some slot canyons first hand. Having seen pictures over the years of various shapes and colors this part of the expedition was what got me most excited. After a dissapointing first day in which I was thwarted by mother nature and water that was deeper than my dry pants (read; <40F degrees and NARROW), my second attempt at different slots was much more of a success.
But of course success doesn’t come with some errors. After hiking up the first slot of the day I encountered some rangers who just better marked a trail over the top between the 2 canyons so that the second could be down-climbed instead of the more traditional way. Well, what I didnt expect was to spend an additional 1.5hrs wandering around a random wash in Escalante trying to find it. Finally I back tracked and came to rest from the sun under a tree and well would you believe it there was the trail heading up to the left. Doh!
Finally getting to the top enterance there was a rockfall that had blocked an easy entry soooooo….down climbing. First squeezing my way on to one of the rocks before the 7′ drop to the canyon floor. Too far to slide with my 25lb pack on so on to my belly, sliding to the edge, lower the bag as far as I could and ‘poof’, on to the floor. Now for me.
Gaining entry to this slot was interesting however I do not think I was mentally prepared for how narrow this actually was. For a majority of the time I was not able to carry my backpack but had to hold it by the strap and turn my body sideways and drag this ‘not so light’ pack behind me. Every now and then stopping of course as the texture, lines and light were just amazing. Besides the extremely narrow rock walls, because I was descending instead I would encounter people coming up! Uh oh. Then it was finding a spot were we could all slide by each other. Entertaining for sure. Admittedly, about half way down there was a point where the never-ending narrow walls started to etch its way in to my consciousness and had to talk myself down to calm. Never a dull moment!
This particular section of rock wall had these amazing knobs on the sides, as most of this one did, and the reflected light was glowing perfectly. Setting up a very awkward tripod position I was able to catch this ephemeral light and unique landscape. There is one thing I know is that I could come back here for days and experience different light every day and capture something new here. Truly a magnificent experience!
After not returning back to my car from the previous night’s shooting until after 11pm I knew the morning was going to arrive too quickly. Packed my car and headed off for the 45 min drive to my next location, Arches National Park. For whatever reason I knew I should photograph Arches but internally I wasn’t overly excited. Of course this changed when I woke up in the parking lot about an hour before sunrise and saw the landscape before me. In a serendipitous offering the entire Milky Way was arching over the exact landscape I was walking toward. Brilliant! I got about 30ft from the car before my camera bag was already on the ground and camera being prepared for the first photograph of the day. While the sky still felt dark the slight glow of dawn was already apparent through the camera’s sensitive settings. With sunrise still over 45 min away I was amazed at what could be seen. Over on the far right was the distant glow from the town of Moab. I made a number of panoramas of the scene before me and then off to my intended destination for the morning. Now if every day could start like this… 🙂