As photographers we tend to intake lots of imagery. Being self-taught that is pretty much how I learned over the years. Along this path we come across photographs that tend to stick with us, or at least the idea of a certain scene or conditions. The ‘tree on a hill’ idea is nothing new. But of course I’ve wanted my own version. Well, while on a trip with my partner in March ’17 to the Central Coast of California we had the amazing opportunity to photograph this sunrise. Incredibly this was the property next door from where she grew up. What I couldnt expect was the incredible conditions we were about to experience. As the sky brightened this low ground fog hung around the small rolling hills. Then, all hell broke lose and the sky went nuclear. There are a number of photographs from this morning that are in my back pocket to share along the way but I will say this is a morning that will stay with me forever. Photographs or not 🙂
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.
It’s a funny thing having an image in one’s mind and then trying to go after it. As time has progressed I find my ideas are more and more subject to the ephemerality of nature (yes that’s a word…or should be). This particular afternoon the conditions were aligning to go after one of these such ideas; heavy ehu kai (sea spray) hugging the cliffs of the Na Pali at sunset. With the surf pounding the north shore of great than 30′ I knew the possibility was there. All I needed was a clear (enough) sky to the west and light winds to allow the spray to build. Getting to the trail I had a bit of extra pep in my step and managed to make the first .5mi in about 10 minutes. From there I was greeted with a welcome sight. I had shot from 2 locations in the area before and knew approximately where I should be but allowed some time to scout just in case.
As the sun got lower the clouds out on the horizon helped play with the light as it popped through. This dappling of light along the cliffs was nothing short of magical and a great preamble to the light show that would happen just shortly after this. But that’s an image that will have to wait until another day 🙂
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 🙂
Unreleased Autumn Adirondacks Had the opportunity to shoot fall color in upstate NY in late sept. This was taken after scouting the location the day before. I returned for sunrise and preceded to shoot for for over 2 hours as the fog went from completely socked in to completely gone and blue skies. During this transition phase there was some wonderful light coming over the ridgeline and was able to capture this scene!
Making my way back to upstate NY at the end of September was a long time coming. Having grown up spending a lot of time up in Adirondacks and Lake Placid region it had been almost 10 years since I was last up there. And how good it was to return. The cause for the trip was a close friend’s wedding which I extended in to a fall foliage photography extravaganza. Last year I was able to capture the Eastern Sierra of California but the Northeast is a icon of which to view fall color from. Of course coming from Hawaii to upstate NY there is quite a change of climate…especially in late September. Packing my bag I had the usuals, long pants, gloves, multiple jackets, long underwear…and as expected all were needed.
On this particular day the plan was to catch some of the early morning fog that was occurring each day before the sun had a chance to warm up the air and ‘burn off’ the low clouds. This section of the Ausable is a winding treasure hunt. Wanting a certain flow of color and water I came across this section in the twilight. Bundled up I was ready to wait for the long haul. Poking around I found a couple of different options and then to sit and wait…and wait…and wait. 2 hours pass by. But then almost right on queue the fog began to break and the mountainside in the distance was revealed as the light illuminated the fog above the river. Admittedly the cold doesn’t feel as bad after being able to capture an image like this. 🙂