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Tag Archives: Pacific

Dead Humpback Whale Calf 2

Like a bad penny, the dead humpback calf that had washed out to sea returned again to a beach north of Half Moon Bay.  And so did the spectators, in droves.  News reports, word of mouth, and of course Facebook posts drew more people than the previous day.

While I’m still fact-checking, it seems that the whale did finally get examined by marine scientists, who determined that it was a female, but did not (could not?) determine a cause of death.  And it seems that afterwards it was pulled out to sea behind a boat.

RIP, young one.

I sincerely hope that many of the folks for whom this whale-viewing was a first will be inspired to go whale watching on a boat.  Those of you who have gotten close to whales on the open ocean know what I mean.  It’s there that you can appreciate how big they are, and how quickly yet elegantly they can move through the water.

May all your whale sightings be live ones!

 

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storm clouds over Moloka'i

Storms clouds gather over the north shore of Moloka’i just before sunset.  We were lucky to make it out on several miles of dirt road before rain began to fall.  Those of you who have driven on the red island mud during or after a heavy rain know what I’m talking about.  Even having a 4WD is no guarantee of traction.

It made our darkly dramatic sunset all the more special.

Blue Boat Sunset

The sun sets on yet another perfect day in the islands.  This skiff is moored in knee-deep water.  I know that because I waded out to it to get this shot.  Oh, the things we do to get the shots we want!

I love that the colors of the boat echo the colors of the sky:  bright blues and orange/yellow/browns.  And it’s always fun to get an interesting foreground element in the sunset shots…they can be a little boring, otherwise.

And remember that we don’t need to put our cameras away at sunset…for me, that’s when the fun really begins!  I love shooting during twilight, and even at night.

I fudged the definition of “nautical twilight” a bit here.  Technically, it’s when you can’t quite make out the horizon, and it’s too dark to navigate safely, but not completly the dark of night.

For me, the skiff makes it a “nautical” image…

Rock in Surf

Through the magic of continuous shooting at some crazy number of frames-per-second, I was able to capture the exact moment that this wave came into contact with this rock. This is the sort of thing that happens, quite literally, in the blink of an eye.  Our minds register the water washing over the rock, but the nuances of the event escape our consciousness…like the way the wave explodes into hundreds of individual droplets before “re-forming” as foam…or how the rock, which is clearly a three-dimentional object, appears almost two-dimensional from this perspective…or how opaque the spray of even this crystal-clear tropical water becomes as it literally turns into “white water” before our very eyes.

Look at the shape of the rock, the scalloped edges standing out against the surf, and marvel at how many millions of times that rock was struck by waves to erode the way it has.

So much drama takes place each day in just this one square yard of shore…now multiply that to encompass all the coastlines of the world…most of it unwitnessed by humans…neat.

Fallen Palm

…into the ocean and there’s no one around to hear, does it still make a splash?

Wild Wave

To paraphrase Forrest Gump…Photographing waves is like a box of chocolates:  you never know what you’re going to get.

I’m clearly a diehard foodie, because in this wave I see not only some milk chocolate browns, but also some frothy whipped cream whites and a splash of curacao blues!

What do YOU see?

Cresting Wave

When conditions are right, a wave will make a perfect arch as it collapses.  Shooting late in the afternoon on a west-facing beach on Moloka’i, the waves were backlit by the setting sun, and seemed to be lit from within.

Isolating this section of wave, and freezing it in time gave it a somewhat surreal quality, didn’t it?

A split-second of geometric perfection collapsing into chaos, the smooth green water morphing into frothy white foam…

Every wave is unique, and I never get tired of shooting them!

Molokai View

I’m back!  One of the reasons for my absence was another trip to Moloka’i.  A favorite place to visit and photograph, and it gets harder to leave every time I go.

This image was taken on the east side of the island, looking across the sea to Maui in the distance.  My trip was in early December, so I missed all the fabulous surf the islands experienced this month.  But then I also missed the huge crowds that flocked to the North Shore of O’ahu to watch the waves and those who ride them.

That’s a big part of why I love Moloka’i.  There are no crowds.  And there are plenty of views like this to feast your eyes on.

I’ll be back…

beach 4

This is the last in a series of night beach scenes I shot last December on The Big Island (Hawai’i).  Today’s image, as well as those from the last three posts, were all shot on one night by moonlight.  For the record, it was not a full moon, but roughly about half-full.  These were all 30-second exposures.

I didn’t really set out to do night photography per se that particular night.  Rather, a friend who lives on The Big Island and I were going to hike out to see and shoot the lava.  When we got to the end of the road, we couldn’t see much of a glow from the lava, and rather than “waste” a hike out and back, we decided to try again the following night.

So there we were at 3:00 AM, all dressed up and nowhere to go.  My friend decided to drive along the coast to show me some pretty beaches that visitors seldom find.  Since I had all my camera gear with me in anticipation of shooting lava, I shot some beach scenes instead.

Some people think there’s some trick to shooting these scenes at night.  Honestly, the adage of “90% of success is just showing  up” holds true here.  A tripod is a must.  It helps to have an eye for landscape composition.  Exposure is a little trial and error at first to get a well-exposed image with as slow an ISO as possible to minimize grain.

I’m partial to 30-second exposures because I like very blurry water.  But you can certainly try a 10 or 15 second exposure and see if you like the results.

beach 3

Another image of a moonlit beach on The Big Island (Hawai’i).  This is the third in a series of four images.  Tomorrow I’ll explain how I found myself doing night photography at zero-dark-thirty on these beautiful shores…