A number of years ago, while traveling back home from a Polihale mission I had stopped over at the Waimea Pier on the west side of Kaua’i. At the time I had only photographed it 1 or 2 times and I generally like to scout and imagine places under different conditions. Doing some calculations I knew I wanted to return at night. Fast forward way longer than I imagined it would take, I had the opprotunity to get out for some photography and headed to a different location. As the sun set over there I realized that I was in the wrong place and remembered the spot I had imagined long ago. Getting there at dusk there were a number of images (another successful pier shot for another time), I was able to make and then waited for the sky to darken enough for the stars and Milky Way to be seen. This spot is extra tricky as it is right at the edge of town so the light polution becomes problematic pretty quickly. As the sky darkened the stars shown through. The camera’s sensitive settings allowing it to pick up the last little bit of twilight glow in the sky giving the scene a surreal look.
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 🙂
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.
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!
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! 🙂
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 🙂
So this one has been in the archives since 2013. And it’s been a process to get right, and honestly is still not there. This is a very complicated 180 degree view from the rocks at Ke’e Beach showing our place in the Milky Way. As we sit, flying through the universe on the outside edge of the galaxy, this image gives me, maybe too much, sense of perspective. Looking out over the ocean as if space was just over there at the edge of the horizon. Venus along for the ride.
Better late than never. This image was taken on 1/1/2015 in an unassuming kinda place. But the sunset was full on 360 craziness and couldnt resist this simple composition. Here’s to a great 2015! Gonna be a wild ride!
This particular shot was taken after my last post with my photography adventures at sunrise down at the Venus Pools on the East side of Maui. You can read the full (wet) story here. As the sun played with the clouds I decided to put on a strong ND filter (basically a black piece of glass to stop light), and do a couple of longer exposures. One of the problems with using this filter is that once it is on it is near impossible to see the composition as everything goes dark! Then of course is the guessing of how long the exposure should be and dealing with the bright and dark parts of the image. Luckily…in this case, I guessed right 🙂 The combination of filtered light and all the colors from the clouds/water/reflection mixing together gave this image a unique feel.
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!