Flashback Friday: Pelicans flying over the Sea of Cortez
It has been a couple of years since I went to Cabo San Lucas. Thinking about an image for Flashback Friday, one from a spectacular sunrise there came to mind. The fiery sky had me thinking about where to set up for a landscape shot when I saw a brief of brown pelicans flying low over the water. I switched to my camera with a telephoto lens attached and watched as they rose off the water. This let their silhouettes contrast sharply from the background. That got me excited and I squeezed off a couple of photos before they dropped down again and continued southwards.
If you are interested in seeing a few more images like this one, here is another photo from the same flight which I posted that morning in December 2014. And, another post where one pelican flew very close to me a couple of days later and I isolated the lone bird against the sky and the rising sun.
A few minutes later, I returned to landscape hunting and was not disappointed in any way with what nature laid out before me.
A Cabo dawn on the rocks
When we were in Los Cabos last December, we were able to enjoy beautiful sunrises almost every day. This morning’s dawn was a favourite and I was out early to catch the sun rising out of the Sea of Cortez at these fingers of rock that I had scouted a few days earlier.
Cabo traffic’s night moves
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/10th of a second at f/4.5 on ISO 640
Cars, motorcycles, buses and rickshaws swung by me one evening while I was in the heart of Cabo San Lucas. With the neon signs hanging above many of the shops and the sky still deep blue, I didn’t want to pass on the opportunity to drag my shutter and play with what images I could create.
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/6th of a second at f/5 on ISO 640
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/5th of a second at f/13 on ISO 1600
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 4/10ths of a second at f/5.6 on ISO 200
When practicing motion photography, I like to try different techniques. I switch between keeping the subject sharp by panning in sync with its movement and panning out of sync so that only a small part is sharp or the whole thing has a large or small amount of blur that pushes the image into an abstract shot.
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/15th of a second at f/4 on ISO 640
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/6th of a second at f/3.5 on ISO 640
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 3/10ths of a second at f/8 on ISO 640
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/4th of a second at f/10 on ISO 1600
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/6th of a second at f/13 on ISO 1600
For the better part of an hour, the traffic kept me happily occupied while I waited for my bus to arrive.
Canon 5DIII with a Canon 24mm f/1.4 lens: 1/15th of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 3200
Sunrise and pelican silhouettes
One morning on couple of Brown pelicans were fishing close to the rocks where I was perched. This started before dawn and lasted through sunrise. There were a few great moments to silhouette one against the early sky.
The clouds changed moods swiftly through the morning. It was a very nice moment on a beautiful stretch of the coastline a few miles east of Cabo San Lucas.
Along the coast in Los Cabos, I often came across fishermen casting among the rocks before sunrise. We would exchange greetings on passing by but they, like me, seemed intent on what they were about and enjoying the quiet the comes with the early morning.
I liked making the occasional photograph with them silhouetted against the colourful sky as they provided an interesting element to these beautiful scenes.
El Tule Sunrise
During our stay in Los Cabos last month, each day started with beautiful mornings as the sun rose out of the Sea of Cortez. This stretch of coastline between San José del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas has great rock outcrops wrapped with honey coloured sand. This cove was a few minutes walk from our patio and was a fun place to play and hunt for seashells with the kids during the day. Before dawn, I had it all to my self and it was magic.
One lizard’s camouflage
This iridescent green lizard had a black tail – with that colour scheme and pattern of spots, bands and spikes – he blended in well with its surroundings.
Whether peeking out from the shadow under a rusting metal lid or wound into a wall of leaves off to one side of the garden I found him in, he seemed able to choose when to appear and when to disappear.
And when he chose – to strut like a peacock!
Note: I did include a couple of other photographs of this fellow in an earlier post on Los Cabos lizards here previously.
A stroll through San José del Cabo
I enjoyed a beautiful walk around the art district of San José del Cabo one evening while vacationing in Los Cabos, Mexico. The galleries housed in character buildings stretching across a number of blocks were filled with wonderful Mexican art and we spent hours taking in what we could.
The Mission of San José del Cabo Anuití is a cornerstone of that area of town and I had to take a few pictures of this historic church.
When night arrived, we returned to the main square the church overlooks to see the lights in the pavilion, the big Christmas tree and the life-size Nativity scene. A dog charged out from the shadows as we passed by one gated establishment which served as a good surprise. Once at the square, artists had their paintings and sculptures on display which was a nice balance to the curated work in the galleries.
A great day ended with a beautiful evening in an old part of San José del Cabo that was new to us.
Egret on the rocks
This Great egret (Ardea alba) stepped around the point and into view from the rocks where I was photographing.
After a short pause, she flew across a small gap and began fishing. The head cocks back and then strikes into the water, rarely coming up without a fish.
At home I photograph the Great blue herons frequently which is in the same family as egrets. Their mannerisms are very similar as is their size. The white feathers are the most obvious difference and I love shooting them against the blues of the water and the warm hues in the rocks.
In flight, I find them particularly alluring and this bird flew between several outcrops affording me great opportunities to watch.
Of lizards in Los Cabos
We have relatively few lizards where I live. The same does not seem to be true here in Cabo San Lucas. We have a trio of geckos that come out around our patio nightly. During the day I have seen a variety of iguanas, salamanders and rock lizards. One large iguana was perched in a hedge munching on the flowers when I walked by a few days ago. I was surprised to find it in that spot and have since learned that petals are a regular part of the diet.
Most often, I see them out warming their cold blood on hot rocks in the sun…
Some stay mostly out of sight – this green lizard was shy but easily the most colorful one I’ve seen. After watching me for a couple of minutes, he did come out for a look around.
Hacienda del Mar in Cabo San Lucas
We are staying at a beautiful resort that is along the shore of the Sea of Cortez about ten kilometres from Cabo San Lucas. Hacienda del Mar has colonial style architecture painted in vibrant, warm tones. The villas are surrounded by gardens, pathways and courtyards which attract hummingbirds, sapsuckers and a wide variety of other birds. This is our second visit here and I took a little time to photograph the grounds on the way to the beach before sunrise the other day.
Hurricane Odile hit the Los Cabos area on September 14, 2014 unleashing 210 km/h winds and 6 hours of torrential rain. The aftermath saw heavy destruction all along the coast and an unprecedented disruption to Cabo’s primary industry – tourism. Hacienda del Mar was hit hard but, as seen throughout the area, the people here have done incredible work to get the resort not just back into service but I would say to a better than before state. It’s a great place with very special people – we are lucky to be able to enjoy time with both.