Haleakela at Twilight

This particular day I was headed up from the south shore to the west side to go shoot sunset.  At least that was the plan anyway.  While heading out of North Kihei I looked in the rear view mirror to see Haleakela clear of clouds.  Woah.  All of a sudden I had a tough choice of trying to figure out where to shoot.  I pulled over and debated a bit then hustled back to an area I had thought had a lot of potential.  Careful exploring around it was difficult to settle on a composition I liked best.  Always happens when I shoot a composition-rich area for the first time.  Bouncing between two spots I spent well over an hour barefoot in the ankle deep water watching and shooting the change in light between sunset to nightfall.  This particular image of the earth shadow rising behind the volcano caught me upon review.  I’m always a sucker for those deep blues and magentas!
Much thanks and enjoy!

Haleakela on Maui as seen from Kealia Pond at twilight.
Untitled Haleakela

The Magic Of Waikapu Valley

Was recently on Maui for a couple of weeks mostly working at the new aFeinberg Gallery Wailea.  On the few afternoons I was able to get out I found myself playing ultimate (frisbee) on the North shore in Paia.  This of course meant I was traveling across Maui.  As usual the camera gear is almost always in the trunk, especially while traveling.  While Maui as a whole is a different beauty to Kaua’i, the West Maui’s are so dynamic with the weather they effect.  Over the course of the 2 weeks I actually ended up pulling over and photographing them 3 different times on my drives back and forth.  Here, the light was magical and even though I was in a rush to get to the field had to make sure I stopped to get the shot.
Enjoy here but the detail on the large scale is amazing! 🙂

Beams of light coming from the clouds over Waikapu valley on West Maui.
“Waikapu Wonder”

Secrets Of The Milky Way

It’s amazing how images to come to life.   Sometimes they are the work of years of planning coinciding with perfect conditions.  This very well may have been one of those photographs….had I actually knew what kind of conditions I was to expect this evening.   After spending the afternoon and sunset exploring the southern coast of Maui in the La Perouse area and photographing down there I packed up and started the drive back north.  As I made my way down the bumpy road the stars were absolutely blazing.  With only a crescent moon hanging in the western sky I was still able to see the landscape but the Milky Way was clearly visible arcing all across the sky.  I pulled over to the side of the road and took some images of the scene facing Haleakela.  Of course at this point I realized my battery was hanging on to one bar.  Uh oh.   Change batteries.  Dead.  Crap.  I forgot to charge everything after Burning Man.  Back to the first battery and now with every exposure I’m worried about my evening ending early.  Especially with night time images they take more power as the exposure times are around 25 seconds.  I make sure to only take a few shots on the side of the road and continue up.  Next stop Secrets beach.
Normally Secrets is not so secret.  There are weddings almost every day of the week and it’s a great spot to hide out and watch the clouds pass by.  However, at night, it is a different story.  As I walked down the path and to the shore and set up the waves were pounding pretty good.  Lessons learned in the past means keeping my bag well above the high water line.  Then approached.  At this point I heard voices…what?!  I looked around in the darkness.  There were houses around so maybe it was there.  Then again.  Finally I noticed a couple tucked in the back corner of the beach near the wall enjoying the evening as well.  Not even alone at night!
Of course the obviously difficult thing of shooting stars is that it’s freakin dark out!  With the little bit of moonlight I was able to get my composition pretty close and fired off a test shot.  Keeping one eye on the ocean to my right I spent the next half an our or so adjusting and trying again.  With each shot worried my battery was going to kick out on me.  After seeing this one pop up on the back of the camera I was pleasantly surprised.  The little but of moonlight was enough to give enough color and definition to the landscape without hiding the blazing Milky Way.
Whew.  On ward to my next stop where fingers were crossed I could get a few more shots before I had to call it quits.  What an awesome night!

Milky way over Secrets beach in Makena, Maui, Hawaii
“Secrets Of The Milky Way”

Breakfast Time

While spending some time on Maui a couple of weeks ago I managed to rally back to Ho’okipa to attempt to capture more Honu, the endangered Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle.  This time at sunrise.  At first I was suspect as getting to the beach I didnt see any.  Especially after last time where there were about a half a dozen hanging out.  Walking closer I realized that there was in fact one…and a big un!  As I set up and spent some time with him/her (I didnt check) the sun started to rise behind me over my right shoulder.  The clouds scooted by. Some high clouds lit up and the occasional sprinkle of rain passed over.  As the sky brightened and the waves lapped up around our new friend she (I’ll go with she now) decided it was time for breakfast and started her morning wake up routine.  It was at this time that I had decided to slap (ok…carefully screw on) a 10 stop ND filter.  This allowed me to take 30s captures of the scene while maintaining the proper exposure.  I was able to get 2 shots off before she decided it was time to head in to the water.  As she approached the water she paused as I took one last shot.  And then moved again.  After the camera finally clicked I wasnt sure I got anything as my main subject moving would obviously create blur.  However I was pleasantly surprised to find that she moved the perfect amount.  The balance between movement and stillness.  You can see her motion but still make out the detail in her huge frame.
After that I decided to switch gears and put on my long lens to capture some of the surfers.  Not a bad way to start the day!

Endangered Hawaiin Green Sea Turtle at Ho'okipa beach on Maui during sunrise.
“Breakfast Time”

Red Sands Of Hana

Back in May 2014 I was on Maui visiting a friend, which in turn would lead to the eventual opening of aFeinberg Gallery Wailea.  As we adventured around the island we had the opportunity to check out red sands beach.  A truly awesome place where the sand is red from the surrounding cliffside.  Amazing.  While this was a scouting mission I did manage to take the camera out and shoot a bit.  Even though this was a test shot I still think it captures the uniqueness of the place though I have some ideas for going back  for sure 🙂  To be continued 😉

Red Sand beach during day near Hana, Maui
“Red Sands”

Waimea Canyon and a Rainbow

After living on Kauai for 8 years Waimea Canyon blows me away every time I make the trip up to visit.  I’ll forever remember my first visit, not knowing what to expect, and coming up the path to the great reveal to the canyon below.  Nearly had tears in my eyes.  It’s one of those places that just seems to defy the eyes.  The colors, textures, depth all create this surreal seen that is oh so real.  Now in that last 8 years I still haven’t successfully captured the essence of this spectacle.  Too cloudy, too clear.  Not the right combinations of conditions.  Whatever the reason it just hadnt happened.  After spending the weekend camping with friends in Koke’e (and hiking just before this…but that’s another image for another day….with another rainbow) we decided to hit the main Waimea Canyon overlook on the way down.  Given the conditions we had earlier in the day it was setting up quite well.  Again, coming over the ridge to the view the magnificence overwhelming.  And a blazing bright rainbow off to the right.  Woah!!  Then it was the sit and wait game.  With all the clouds, which are obviously necessary for the photograph, it meant that the light wasnt necessarily in the proper spot (from my perspective).  Over the next 30-45 minutes I probably shot a dozen or more panoramas of the scene as the light changed, the rainbow always there ebbing and coming back again.
Getting back home the process of figuring out which series of images hopefully encapsulated the experience of standing there.  Luckily after going through way too many I came to settle on this image below.  A great combination of lighting and hopefully gives you the feeling of being there with me on that picture perfect afternoon. I’ve included an inset image that shows the detail in the scene as the panorama is composed of 10 vertical images.  The waterfall, Waipo’o Falls, is on the far left side of the image.

Waimea Canyon in late afternoon light with rainbow and waterfall
“Waimea Splendor” (unreleased)

Detail in "Waimea Splendor"
Detail in “Waimea Splendor”

Po’oWow…an adventure in to Po’omau Canyon

Waimea Canyon on Kauai’s west side is still on of the more amazing things I’ve ever seen (even after all the travel I’ve been lucky enough to do).  Not only is it so colorful and different than the rest of Kauai but it is also hides plenty of secrets in its many side canyons.  Having not explored much in the 8 years I’ve been on island (not proud of that), I had the opportunity to go camp up in the mountains in a 4wd access area.  The plan was to get up late afternoon and hike out to an overlook and then back to camp to work on some fire spinning photography.  Of course we were a bit tardy getting up to our hike spot but still managed to get there before the sun had completely set.  However, without any good cloud cover the real show would be the seductive twilight light.   There is something magical in that transition between light and dark.  Where colors shift and the camera becomes a window in to being able to view what nature is offering us.  Getting down to the overlook was an adventure that a goat would be proud of, but standing (securely) photographing this amazing view is why I was here.  As the light dwindled I got the holler from above to start our trek back to the car before all light had faded and off we went.  Back at camp, as the night went on the mist and light rain came in toward the end of dinner I was wondering if we would be able to get to try our fire spinning experiments.  And as luck would have it nature decided to bless us with clear skies for a couple of hours around midnight.  Hiking down these falls in the dark and with all our gear (and after some good solid campfire time) made it all the more interesting.  Once down we were bathed in bright moonlight and a surreal hollywoodesque type landscape.  Then the fun began…. 🙂

Twlight looking down Po'omau Canyon deep within Waimea Canyon on Kauai
“Po’oWow I” (unreleased)

Twlight looking down Po'omau Canyon deep within Waimea Canyon on Kauai
Po’oWow II” (unreleased)

Adrian Nicholas spinning fire in a part of Koke'e State Park
Adrian Nicholas spinning fire in a remote part of Koke’e State Park, Kaua’i

The Great Dunes

Back in August 2014 I had the opportunity to meet a friend from college and head down to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  Arriving late in the afternoon on our first day we quickly decided to change our plans and spend both nights camped at this awesome location.  The tallest dunes in the US (~700′) up against the almost 14k foot Sangre De Cristo Mountains made for a dramatic and beautiful location.  Given the craziness that we witnessed the day before (see High Voltage) I was after more of an overview shot of the dunes as they leap out of the plain below and up against the impressive peaks.   After shooting sunrise up in the dunes that morning under some pretty wonderful light the day quickly went overcast and dreary.  As the afternoon went on I noticed a slight opportunity to the west across the San Luis Valley.  Finding a good spot along the road the waiting game began.  A familiar one with landscape photographers this was no different, except for the proximity to comforts.  The waiting game looked like it was going to pay off as light started to dapple across the grasses below the dunes.  But not quite where it was needed.  Then, as photographer’s tell stories of, the beam of light moved up over the dunes, for a mere 3 minutes.  I rattled off a number of panoramas and then it was gone for the afternoon.  Moments like this are what help keep the photographic ambition alive and chasing those moments. Glad I was there 🙂

The Great Sand Dunes under late afternoon light and dramatic skies
“The Great Dunes” (unreleased)

King’s Cauldron

Back in mid February I had the opportunity to work privately with a client on a workshop this afternoon.  With the surf being up to significant levels, 15’+, I knew that my usual go to spot would be a bit more challenging than usual.  After shooting some waterfalls we made it down to the coast and the waves were POUNDING.  The whole area is a very dangerous spot and normally I would not send people down here on their own in conditions like this.  Having a great understanding of the area and having a plan in case things get dicey is important.  As we watched the surf hit on to King’s Bath there was an area to stand and be safe yet able to scurry away if I thought we needed to retreat.  The amount of spray was incredible and therefore challenging to shoot in for sure.  After I had set up the client I decided I should join the fun.  As we watched, and occasionally ran away, the sun hit this hole right above Mt. Makana and the whole scene became this surreal cauldron of sea, spray and light.  I was able to get off just 2 series of photos before the sun passed behind the mountain for the night.  Quite the experience for both of us.
To see a slo-mo video please check out the link HERE
Much thanks all and be safe out there!

Large surf crashes on the north shore of Kauai as the spray is backlit by the setting sun.
“King’s Cauldron” (unreleased)