Maui, a Sunset and a Parking Lot

“Pau Hana”
So after spending a day running errands and exploring I ended up settling on this small park south of Lahaina.  As I got out of the car I knew photographically it would be a bit of a tricky place.  Even though these palms were pretty there was a property just to my side.  However being the most dramatic composition I careful positioned myself just to the side.  By chance the sun was setting in the perfect spot and was able to get a couple of exposures that ended up working well 🙂   Pau Hana in Hawai’i usually refers to the after work beer that most like to partake in and this spot seemed to collect quite a few for just that occasion.  Perfect end to the day.
Much thanks!

Sunset along the Lahaina coast with palm trees reaching in to the sky
“Pau Hana”

Queens Bath at Sunset

“Bathed In Light” (unreleased)
I find it funny for as many times as I’ve been there and photos I’ve taken around it….I have very few of Queens Bath itself.  One of my favorite locations on Kaua’i it can be tremendously beautiful, or extremely dangerous (think 30′ waves).   On this particular afternoon I was out on a private workshop and were exploring the coast.  As we worked our way down and finally got to the Bath itself we noticed that the waves were just big enough to occasionally refill a pool of water up hill, which would then filter down in to the bath.   With the sky to the west clear I had the feeling that the light would be perfect to possibly illuminate the pulsing water.   The next key factor was, of course, a wave filling the pool above when the sun was in the right position.  For anyone that has been around the ocean, shooting or not, it does not always cooperate.  As the sun got lower the client and I were doing our voodoo dance for that one wave….then…”look out!”.  The biggest wave of the day came through (not dangerously…just shocking), which caused us to pick up our tripods but woah there was a lot of water!  Quickly reset the tripod and started firing off exposures.  The light lasted about 5 minutes.  We assessed our other photographic possibilities then the victory hike back up to the parking lot.   Just another afternoon chasing light (and waves)!
Come join Kory Lidstrom and me in March for a 6 Day Workshop on Kaua’i!  More info here!
Much thanks!

Queens bath at sunset with a small waterfall in the foreground.
“Bathed In Light”

Great Sand Dunes National Park….fireworks?!

So about mid August I had the opportunity to visit the incredible place known as Great Sand Dunes National Park.  This crazy place is located south of Denver and just a bit west in the San Luis Valley.  Nestled up against 14k foot mountains, these sand dunes cover 30 sq miles and rise, at the tallest, about 700ft.  Meeting a friend from college the day before we headed out to our date with the dunes.  Arriving later in the afternoon (maybe a bit later than planned), there was only one thing to do…climb the dune, aptly named “High Dune” of course.  Climbing at altitude is one thing, the dunes start at 8500ft, but climbing up a hill of sand AT altitude….exhausting!  That combined with the fact we were a bit late and hustling to make it up for the good light (ok I was trying to make it up for the good light…he was just along for the ride) made for some huffing and puffing.    Arriving at the top there were a few people already collected to watch the sunset and the monsoon storms that had started to pop a bit.  Then, as sunset wore on, blam!….lighting across the valley.   Luckily…right before this trip I had purchased a Lightning Trigger on the oft chance I would have the opportunity to photograph some lightning.  Quite pleased with that decision 🙂   Setting up the camera and composing the trigger did its job, firing the camera when it sensed lightning.  How?  I can only say SCIENCE!  As the sunset wore on the lightning continued across the valley, approximately 50 miles away.  Then another storm to the south of that as well.  What a scene to watch!   As the color started to fade and the storms seemed to start to move around a bit we made the DARK hike back down the dunes, which made for an adventurous hike.  A few light rain drops hit us as we made the bottom and got back to camp.  Checking my camera I found this set of bolts that came down all at once and knew I had something special.
And that was just the first night 🙂
Much thanks!

Lightning across the San Luis valley as seen from Great Sand Dunes National Park
“High Voltage” (unreleased)


To Infinity…And Beyond…

For those of you who dont remember…I had a massive data corruption in January and have been mostly out of commission since then working normally. Yes, I had a Drobo (4 drive RAID backkup) and also was pushing to the cloud via CrashPlan. However the corruption was also pushed to the cloud before it was caught.
Now…8 months later via some magic I dont quite yet understand….the drives have been fixed and we are back up and running
I tell you this now as there will be some exciting/big/important news next week and this all seems timed perfectly.
Here comes the future….


Killer Bamboo…Big Island!

Recently I had the opportunity to return to the Big Island for a 5 day trip for a friend’s wedding and some more shooting/scouting.  The wedding itself was a very special event with some great friends as well and the weather played a roll in making it all the more interesting.  With rain/fog and clouds off and on the bride and groom made the best of it and we were able to get some special images 🙂
Before and after the wedding I had an opportunity to go out and explore more.  Returning to a place that we got to visit during the 6 Day 2014 Workshop (and will revisit again during the 2015!).  Of course the fog greeted us once again but this time, going off trail, I managed to find this very intriguing (mostly) dry stream bed surrounded by bamboo.  But not any normal kind of bamboo as I was to find out…but this crazy KILLER bamboo!  What the hell!  What kind of bamboo grows crazy spikes??  Understandably that made going up and down a little bit stressful…and much more focused on where the hands were going.  Getting down to this part the fog and light gave the area a very surreal place.  Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on ones perspective), the stream was not flowing, which allowed me to get in there comfortably.  Though…it is now a goal to achieve this shot WITH water flowing…but that will require some luck and timing.  We shot around and explored a bit more then the hike back out in to the fog.  Another fun day exploring what the islands of Hawai’i have to offer 🙂
Much thanks and enjoy!
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A dry stream runs through a bamboo forest in the Kohala Mountains of the Big Island.
“Through The Bamboo”

Foggy trees in the Kohala Mountains
Foggy trees in the Kohala Mountains


A Tale Of Two Falls

“A Tale Of Two Falls” (unreleased)
Another fun title…and project.  This one meandering through my mind for years.  Unsure of what to expect or what would be possible just knowing there was a chance of something…
Getting a chance to head down to the falls a couple of months prior I was stymied by too much water coming over the falls…rendering the scene, wet.   This particular day the timing was correct.  A bit drier over the previous week and the two streams were about as calm as they get.  Approaching the falls itself is a fun endevour.  Down a cliff over some rocks/roots/branches, etc and then of course making the way behind the falls.  For those that have been near a waterfall before of any significant size know about the wind that they create on their own from the force of the falling water.  This one is no different which of course makes shooting behind the falls even more challenging.  Then throw in the dramatic differences in light, and well, there ya have it.  Given that I’m usually end up shooting the most difficult thing possible…I combined those factors with a panorama.  The dance around the camera, light, and spray I’m sure was entertaining to watch.  And the hope was that I would get something with little to no water spots to work with.  Luckily I was right 🙂
Much thanks!

Dramatic light and a waterfalls photographed from behind.
“A Tale Of Two Falls”

Getting After It

Had the opportunity yesterday (6/5/14) to go photograph one of my favorite spots on the island.  One that I havent really visited much in the recent past.  The sky that afternoon was a bit hazy but overcast with high clouds.  Without seeing much of the horizon I made a comment to a fellow visiting photog
Of course the bottom line gives it away.  After climbing down the trail, a trail that has been much degraded in the last few years.  By which I mean slopey dirt/mud and the crux at the end where the ropes are in bad need of some maintenance to say the least).  I dropped my bag in my desired location and walked around a little scouting for future projects.  The sky being very suspect.  As I got back to my bag and wasted some time (read: playing hearts), I poked my head around the rock and the sun was lighting up a tiny section of cloud on the horizon.  Gave me some hope.  As the sun set the glow stayed…then started to grow…that is when I sent the text.  Over the next 10 minutes or so the color crept over the sky causing everything to glow as I giddly laughed to myself….chance of epic.  Of course the hike back up to the car still was ahead of me…but we all know up is always easier 🙂

Intense sunset color as seen between two rocks along the north shore of Kauai
Cloudy With A Chance (unreleased)


2015 Workshops!

Well after a rousing adventure on the Big Island earlier this year Kory Lidstrom and I decided to continue the fun and do it again next year!
Additionally we are adding a Kauai tour as well!  Woah!
Details above and look forward to seeing you next year!

Zodiacal light over Mauna Kea and observatories.
“Phone Home” – Zodiacal light over Mauna Kea and observatories.

Here today…gone to Maui

Recently had the chance to spend a few days on Maui for the first time in about 3.5 years.  Probably a bit too long…and with many projects to shoot and still discover, it was a great time.  Had the benefit of a great friend/tour guide and some unexpected surprises.  Needless to say I have a lot of work to do over there 🙂
This particular image was at the end.  Which is usually a great place to start.  Camping in the back of the truck the night before, 4am is never a good time for an alarm.  Making the drive, finding the pull over and then hiking down in the dark is always exciting, especially to a place unseen (by me) before.  As we got down to our intended location I looked across the pool and saw where I really wanted to be.  Next step, figuring out how to get over there.  Climbing up the rocks, through the forest and then finally figuring out the path we arrived on this ledge.  There is a place in my heart for sea stacks (and similar formations) and this spot had me quite happy.  Then the waiting for the sun.  As it breached the horizon there was about 5 min of good light, then back in to the clouds, then the rain…and more rain.  Sometimes having a good friend along pays off in that finally as the sky started to explode with crazy, I had an handy umbrella holder and was able to rattle off a number of shots trying for different water motion.  The rest of the morning continued with off and on rain.  But finally getting some dramatic light (it has been a while for me), had me in good spirits.
Then of course…was that long, windy drive back to the airport…. 🙂

Dramatic sunrise along the Hana coast, Maui.
Dramatic sunrise along the Hana coast, Maui.

A Trip Down The Na Pali- Lost World

It’s pretty amazing.  In the 6+ years I’ve lived on Kauai I’ve seen the Na Pali coast from the water, twice.  Once I was actually kayaking and focused on self preservation, the other time was a couple of months after I moved out to the island.  So…it’s safe to say this was a long time coming.  So when a friend offered to take a jet ski down the coast for sunset, who was I to argue.
Now, it should be mentioned I am a land mammal by nature.  Once in and around water my comfort level drops by quite a bit.  Now put me on a jet ski, flying/bouncing/jostling across the water and it’s fair to say my tension level raises just a bit.  So…there we go…down the coast, leaving from Hanalei Bay around 430pm.  The coast is truly amazing.  And being that I do not leave it very often to get these perspectives, I am constantly amazed by this island I call home.  The ride is pretty choppy.  It’s been pretty windy over the last few days and the wind swell has kicked up to a solid roll.  Onward we go; past Lumahai, Wainiha, around the reef at Tunnels and past Ha’ena and Ke’e Beach.  And now the epic stretch of coast that is the Na Pali lies ahead.  There are a lot of clouds around and off to the west and north the sun is hiding behind layers of cirrus and a rainy cumulus off in the distance.  I lean forward and say to Joel and say it’s a coin flip…50/50 on getting any light.   As we make our way southwest he shows me the sea caves that I’ve heard and seen photos of but never with my own eyes.  Double Door…with the waterfall falling through a hole in the ceiling; Open Ceiling cave…with a giant opening in the roof that fell in.  It is here we stopped for a while and the thoughts started turning.  Yet another project to chase after.  However, we decided that the chance of the good light was too iffy to wait and went back to Kalalau.
Kalalau is a magical place.  Massive fluted cliffs rise out of the beach, the Valley just to the left (looking at the coast from the ocean).   The only way to reach this mythical destination is hiking a very strenuous 11 miles from Ke’e Beach or by boat.  And it’s worth it.  Just ask someone who’s been.  We sat off the coast and watched the clouds and chances of good light.  Snapping a few photos (yes the camera was in my hand while sitting on a jetski and I was holding it tight).  While shooting we generally have the motor off as to not disturb the water around us and keep still.  I mentioned we should reposition a bit further back and to the left.  **click click click**  motor didnt turn over.  NOT a place one wants to get stuck.  Joel turns the starter again and after sputtering it turns over and the engine is on.  Now it’s decided that we keep it idling, and therefore moving, until we get back as not to risk it.  Yikes.  As we circle back around the sun starts to hit the gap in the clouds we saw across the horizon.  The light is on the beach but the clouds and mountains are still dark.  Clicking away as we circle around.    Then the real show…the sun fills the coast and finally bam!  Because we couldnt shut the engine off I was standing on the jetski, holding on to the back of Joel’s life vest with one hand, and photographing with the other.  Snap snap snap.
Ok…time to get back north!  Pack up the bag, on the back and off.  Even faster than we got down the coast.  The constant shaking is briefly abates every so often as we take air over the waves, only to be smacked right back down to the surf.  Getting back to Hanalei finally we witness an awesome light show.  I take a few more photos but in the back of my mind I already got what I needed from the day.  What a ride!

The incredible Na Pali coast as seen from off the coast of Kauai.
“Lost World”

100% view of the detail in the shot: