With the cold snap of the past week, I found myself thinking about warmer climes. Hawai’i is usually at the top of the list for me and I pulled this 2012 image out of my library as a nice reminder of one of our favourite places in Kaua’i. This photo is from the top of the Koke’e State Park near the Kalalau Valley overlook. The tree is silhouetted against the clouds rising up from the coast far below this mountain ridge just before sunset.
When I was on a catamaran sailing along the Na Pali Coast we had a close encounter with a small pod of dolphins where they swam alongside for several minutes. I loved watching the deceptive power in their movements. The cat was under full sail and the dolphins seemed to expend little effort to speed past the bow and slip in and out of the waves.
On the return trip to the harbour, close to the first visit, a couple more dolphins (different I think as they seemed to be gray coloured versus the blue bodies of the first ones – although that could be a change in the light) came by and this time had a couple of humpback whales with them. The dolphins get very excited when the whales return for the winter and the two species are often found playing together and generally hanging out together until the whales head off around the globe again. The whales did not make any spectacular breaches but I felt no disappointment as just seeing them in their waters was magical.
(please click on each image to open a higher resolution version)
Ke’e Beach is further up the coast on the north shore. The waves were big and came in haphazard sets with some breaks sending waves slamming into other ones. I did not expect to see anyone surfing there but on one of the days we spent on the beach, watching the coastline and keeping an eye out for seals, I saw one fellow sitting on a surfboard watching the waves. He watched for quite a while and then headed out, presumably having found the right spot and the right way to get out to it.
I kept an eye on his progress and when he started catching waves it was awesome. He knew what he was doing and it was great to watch him navigate through the chaos, pick a wave and then grab a good ride.
(please click on each image to open a higher resolution version)
Nukoli’i Beach seems to be an unpredictable surfing location in the winter. The waves moving west were great the first few days on this eastern beach that we were in Kaua’i at the beginning of December. However after one huge storm that raged across the island, they remained choppy and were not frequented by any surfers or bodyboarders for the rest of our stay. Those first few days I did get out twice to photograph some of the bodyboarders. The waves were breaking pretty far out but a long lens helped to make a few images.
This trip to Hawai’i I spent my time in the ocean photographing underwater and that squeezed out any time that I might have gone bodyboarding or surfing. I’ll make up for that on the next visit. It was really fun to watch these guys ripping along the waves. I can’t wait to join in!
That went by quick. Seems like things are speeding up and 2012 went by in a flash. I reviewed a large set of landscapes from the past year and it was fun to recall those moments. But, I was a little surprised that a year has gone by since I pulled together a list of my favourites from 2011. I suppose I have little control over how quickly time rolls – I will just continue to try to stuff as much into it as we go. Before I move with my camera forward into 2013, here are some images of mine that stood out for me from 2012.
The mountains in the Albertan parts of the Rockies pulled me close many times over the year. I really enjoyed photographing Mount Kidd from a new location in the fall. Above, the reflecting pools along Highway 40 just past Wedge Pond were a new place for me. And I enjoyed a couple of mornings down along the shoreline of Wedge Pond with the image below resulting from one beautiful morning.
I also was pleased with the images I put together from Banff, Lake Louise, Moraine Lake and Jasper as well. The photograph of Lake Louise’s canoe cabin is subtle and is a vein of imagery that I am continuing to work in.
The view of the Valley of the Ten Peaks from the top of the rock moraine at the near side of Moraine Lake is spectacular – particularly the alpen glow in the morning. This summer I went up in the evening and was rewarded with a different, and equally beautiful, look at sunset.
This hoar-frost on branches stretching out of a small pool in the marsh west of one of the Vermilion Lakes in Banff provided for a nice abstract composition.
I spend a fair amount of time photographing wildlife and landscapes on the prairie. The storms in the summer can be incredible but the clouds this winter have been really inspiring. In the photograph below I watched a dragon form and stretch towards the east to meet the sun. Beautiful colours and great to let imagination have the reins.
Before the snow flew, I was working to photograph the warm autumn sunrises on the fields. When I had these horses approach as the sun cleared the horizon, the image really came together.
The sunrise photography extended west in Bragg Creek and the image below was made along the Cowboy Trail (Highway 22X) just east of the town.
In the summer I joined Bobbi on a journey to Sedona in Arizona. It was my first visit and is a place I was excited to return to as soon as I had returned home. The variety of landscapes in the Coconino National Forest and the time to hike into a few places were great luxuries I enjoyed on the trip.
Cathedral Rock is an iconic subject and it deserves its high standing with artists. Our first day in Sedona we walked along the river to the base of the rock and watched the shadows climb up the red rock. On a hot afternoon, I escaped to the West Fork Trail which meanders up the Oak Creek Canyon. The calm water, lush forest and red rock made many bends in the creek picture worthy and this was my favourite from a productive hike. And there were wonderful butterflies flitting around in one meadow of flowers too.
One of the evenings, I went out to the top of a mesa and photographed the night sky. It was a bit remote so I had the trees, the stars and a few strange sounds in the desert night all to myself. That was another side to Sedona that I was very happy to have experienced.
There were a few other nightscape photo outings through the year but the highlight was photographing the Northern Lights in October. I had missed several good Aurora nights through the summer so I was excited when I got to watch them rolling down from the north for almost two hours.
Later in October I was in Jasper on a wildlife photography trip. The animals were the focus of the week spent driving and hiking along the Icefields Parkway and around Jasper but this gentle scene where snow had just blanketed the valley along the Athabasca River demanded to be photographed (despite some good-natured heckling from my companions).
And in late November our family headed to Kaua’i the northernmost of the populated Hawaiian islands. Time dripped by and we had a great vacation. I had almost too much fun photographing creatures above, on and under the water and those are the images that first came to mind when I was looking back at our visit. However, once I worked through the catalog over the Christmas break, I realized that the landscape images from this year’s trip to the island were solid additions to my Hawaii portfolio.
We stayed a stone’s throw from Nukoli’i Beach on the east shore so the sun rose directly in front of us each morning. I spent a few mornings down on the beach photographing what the ocean delivered with morning sun.
The warm light following the sunrise provided beautiful illumination on the beach and through the waves. One of those places that is easy to spend a whole day shooting, painting or playing at.
We covered a lot of ground during our time in Kaua’i and one of the favourite places for seals, snorkelling, swimming, waves to watch and coastline views was Ke’e Beach on the northern edge of the Na Pali Coast. The last night in Kaua’i we spent at Ke’e and at one point there was a rainbow over the beach when I looked to the east and the mists and violent waves of the Na Pali in winter to the southwest.
A couple of days earlier, the spray kicked up from the waves hitting the rocks rolled up the forested mountainsides to create another magical scene.
An amazing lightning storm over the Hanalei Valley provided the last image for this collection. The rain held off for almost three hours before forcing me into my car and back to the apartment.
A dolphin slices through the waves of the Northern Swell off Kaua’i, Hawai’i. I was on a catamaran and the dolphin had no trouble keeping up
There is a nice spot to snorkel just off of Ke’e Beach on Kaua’i’s north shore. The fish school in decent numbers and there is often a chance of seeing sea turtles. Before returning to Canada we went up to Ke’e for one last afternoon on the beach and an evening photographing the sunset down the Na Pali.
The water was choppy from high surf coming over the reef which usually breaks down the waves. This made swimming with the kids a more involved process than normal and shortened any snorkelling. I still went out and photographed along the calm side of the coral reef for sometime close to an hour.
The fish were more scarce on the day, maybe due to the turbulence, but it was still pretty busy down below. I had fun photographing individual fish within their environment.
From down below, even looking up was beautiful.
I love the ocean, I suppose many people do. I grew up on Kootenay Lake in southeastern British Columbia and there could be rough water but nothing like on the ocean. Whenever I am on a coast, I enjoy watching the waves. In December, the waves off of Ke’e Beach at the northern edge of Kaua’i’s Na Pali coast are tall and heavy. They can be spectacular to watch.
The last day that we went to Ke’e, the waves were not disappointing.
With the sun falling low, a few waves even tried to take a bite. It was a good day.
Being new to underwater photography there is a steep learning curve to realizing the images that I have in my mind. Along that journey, there has been some frustration but so many new things to enjoy. Probably the most fun I have had is exploring light underwater. Particularly the way it refracts and distorts at the surface and then strikes subjects below. When this Hawaiian Chub (Kyphosus hawaiiensis) swam through lines of distorted sunlight near the surface, these wonderful patterns rippled across its silvery body. It makes me think we should move ocean side somewhere in the world sooner than later…
Having been able to see a Green sea turtle swimming gracefully but using a lot of energy hunting in the reef, it is nice when they can have time to rest undisturbed. At Poipu beach the lifeguards put up a rope with a fair amount of space around this turtle which had come up on the sand. It slept for the most part but I had a chance to get a couple of photographs with its eyes open when one of the sounds of a busy beach reached through the slumber. Very beautiful animals.
I love the way light diffracts, focuses and reflects under water. During my swims with an underwater camera I had a lot of fun playing near the shore. This beach near Kapa’a is called Baby Beach as it has a nice reef that breaks the waves creating a safe place for kids to swim. These silvery fish are curious and they did a nice job filling in the middle of this photograph.