We spent a wonderful week in Jamaica earlier this month. One of the highlights was our night swim in the Luminous Lagoon along the north shore. It was an amazing experience being surrounded by the bioluminescence in that bay. We got there as dusk fell. The sunset was amazing and I took a couple of minutes to enjoy it before we headed out on the water.
Mist rising off the Elbow River near Bragg Creek catches the sun in its own halo of sunlight.
The moon gave it a great try but from our vantage point just west of Calgary, it just missed blocking out the sun this evening. This was in no way a failure on the moon’s part, just our position in the universe relative to it and the sun. As it was, the crescent created by the moon swinging in front of the sun was very impressive.
There was haze in the sky which worked well with the dark glass I had piled on to drop the bright sunlight as much as possible. When a thick cloud pulled above the horizon, I thought it might be too heavy but the colors and textures were amazing.
At this point I thought the moon may move into position in the ring of fire. I hadn’t looked into this solar eclipse much so I did not know if we were in the right location. It was exciting to watch the sun and moon approach. When the moon swung away, it was still great to watch.
On two separate evenings, I photographed the sunset from a viewpoint overlooking Hanalei Bay. It is the wet, stormy season on Kaua’i’s north coast which was still warm and pretty sunny. It does help to create amazing clouds and when the sun was long gone I was still shooting the clouds, the moon and the afterglow. The picture below was from a few minutes earlier when the glow up the coast was at its strongest point.
We went up highway 550 in the southern part of Kauai which takes you from the ocean’s edge up to and along the Waimea Canyon. It is a beautiful drive with great views of canyon and over the Pacific Ocean. The drive up rewarded us with two different rainbows over the canyon which we could stop and photograph both times. We went up in the afternoon so that we would be in nice, warm evening light by the time we were at the top of the canyon. That worked out really well and Bobbi and I both took some lovely images on the way up. After weathering a heavy rainstorm while we were looking over the Kalalau Valley we headed back down and as the clouds cleared we found the sun was falling fast and we stopped at a bend in the road in the Koke’e State Park.
The sunlight on the clouds started out these incredible yellows and golds. Within a couple of minutes, oranges and then purples entered the scene. It was beautiful light and the silhouettes of the trees against these colors were really interesting. It turned out to be an unusual and wonderful place to watch a Hawaiian sunset.
We’re on the cusp of 2012 here in Alberta. The family is streaming in and all of the snacks and beverages are ready for the party. I hope you are having (or already had) a great time bringing in the new year. For many, my family included, I’m sure next year will be even more hectic. I will take this moment to hope for you that you are able to enjoy more than a few moments of calm and silence throughout the year, amid the craziness. All the best to you and yours – Happy New Year!
These images are from Ke’e Beach on the north coast of Kauai in Hawaii. The ocean was unleashing heavy waves on the coast as the high tide was on its march. With the sun just set and daylight leaving the scene quickly, I was able to use a long exposure. This allowed the crashing waves to be softened into a haze and created a peaceful, calm scene. A nice contrast to the usual excitement that accompanies the evening of December 31st. The image above is facing towards the sun the afterglow coloring the scene. The image below is facing west where the sunlight was still hitting the clouds with pink light as it pushed through the atmosphere.
Ke’e Beach is the northern most point accessible by road on Kauai’s coastline. We were there to photograph the sunset on our last night on the island (for this trip). The sun dipped into the water just off of the silhouetted cliffs of the Na Pali coast and was truly magical. I have many images to look through, but this one jumped out at me after a quick review. I was trying to capture the collisions when a large wave would hit off of the cliff face and while returning towards the water would then hit the next incoming wave. The energy was incredible and this wave is higher than sixty feet in the air given that the lowest cliff ledge in the picture was at least five feet above the water. I’m looking forward to reliving this great trip when I am reviewing all of the images back home. For now, this one is a nice finish for my posts from the Garden Island.
Driving west of Calgary last week, the colors in the sky at dusk were beautiful. I stopped at a pullout along a range road and photographed a bit of the prairie and the sky during the sunset. A storm was heading east out on to the prairie, its trailing edges spreading across the sky, catching the sunlight in a variety of hues.
The headlights of a car driving towards me created long streaks during the five second exposure. The streaks adding another element to an already interesting prairie scene.
Sunset along the Rocky Mountains when looking west is often worthy of enjoying when possible. I was able to watch this interesting sky develop a few days ago as the daylight slipped away.
Here the sun just slipped behind the ridges of the mountains of eastern Kananaskis. I underexposed this scene to avoid burnt out highights near the sun. I like the resulting detail in the clouds and the golden hue of the image. Eight minutes later, I captured a larger scene of the sunset. The cotton candy texture and beautiful colour in the upper clouds steal the scene in the image below.
One of the last photographs I made was well above the mountains. Here I did not underexpose yielding a brighter scene. This has a heavenly feel to it that I find interesting.
This is my favourite image that I made last year. Simple composition, interesting patterns, good colour and a great memory behind it.
These monks worked with our small group on and around the U Bein Bridge in Amarapura in Myanmar. We had gone to their monastery and spoke with the Abbott and then with these monks about the photographs that we wanted to make that afternoon. They were interested to see the end result and really cooperative through the whole time.
The footbridge runs 3/4 of a mile long and is made of teak columns salvaged in 1849 under the direction of the mayor at the time, U Bein. He got a bridge named after him and the people got a way to cross Lake Taungthaman from Amarapura to an island in the middle. The traffic is steady in both directions in the afternoon and into the evening with school children, workers, families and monks crossing on foot and bicycle.
Our guide, Win, used one of the boats that take tourists for a float along the bridge to ferry the monks to a small spit of land about halfway between either end of the bridge. At this time of the year, in February, the water is low enough that there are a couple of places that stay above the waterline around the bridge. In the dry season, I was told the lake can be almost empty. In the wet season, the water has been higher than the walkway! I hope to get back to see either of these extremes. From the little island there is a set of stairs that lead up to the bridge deck. The monks and our guide went up and our group of four photographers headed away from the bridge to frame the scene the way each of us were imagining. The sun was dropping slowly at that point and I was starting to get excited because the light was warming up and I was hopeful that we were heading towards something special.
The scene on the bridge was chaotic and our guide was busy explaining to the people lingering around what we were up to, why the monks were standing between the pylons and when we were hoping to get a break in the traffic. The crowd built up slowly but everyone was patient and seemed to enjoy watching us waving and shouting back and forth to get the men on the bridge in place.
Win was fantastic sharing what we were doing with the people as they waited, and they in turn were great, waiting for about 10 minutes on both sides while the sun fell in line with the monks and the bridge. It moved very quickly and as it did the gold colour in the sky gave way to blue and purple tones as the sunlight had to push through more atmosphere as well as the haze rising up from the water and the forest.
The photograph immediately before my favourite was fun because I had just changed lenses to a 300mm with a 1.4x extender to get as much reach as I could. This was the first image where I was able to isolate the blue and purple section of the sky away from the golds and oranges. That allowed these darker colours to really saturate. That’s when I knew I had the background that I had imagined to frame the monks against.
The last shots of this scene caught the sun as it went under the bridge and then disappeared into the hillside across the plain. From the moment where the sun was just above the umbrellas to where it is peeking under the bridge took just over three minutes. It seemed much less as I was photographing the scene – a flurry of shooting, checking histograms and adjusting settings and compositions. It was a very special opportunity so I was doing everything to make sure that I was getting the best that I could out of the moment. A great memory of a wonderful place.
On Boxing day the afternoon gave way to evening in a rush of color that pulled me outside, running down the path to the river. I had enough time to get the tripod set up and make a few photographs before the pastel hues evaporated, leaving the dark shades of blue to fight briefly against the night.
This river is the Elbow and it runs down from the Canadian Rocky Mountains, east through forests in Kananaskis and out onto the Albertan Prairie through Springbank. The Elbow River’s source is Elbow Lake, from there it runs through a large section of Kananaskis, past Bragg Creek and enters Calgary at Weaselhead Flats. West of the Calgary Zoo, the Elbow joins the Bow River and they continue eastward joining the South Saskatchewan River and finally entering Hudson Bay. It does not draw as much attention as the Bow River which runs through Banff, Canmore and Cochrane before reaching Calgary. However it hosts many beautiful locations and is where I spend much of my time photographing when I’m outdoors throughout the year.