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.
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.
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.
On the rocks with a Brown Pelican
Brown Pelicans are frequent fliers just above the waves all around Los Cabos. I love watching them glide and I had a special encounter one morning when we were staying near Cabo San Lucas in December. Just before sunrise down on the beach near Punta Cabeza De Ballena, east of Cabo, when one landed on rocks near the shore close to me. This pelican came in when it was still pretty dark but there was enough light to make the landing a good photo opportunity.
In the two images above, I brought out some detail by bringing up the shadows in post. Below, I went the other way and deepened the shadows to create a solid silhouette of the pelican.
This fellow flew off before the sun came up. I had hoped he would stay as the sun was at an angle where the sun would be backlighting the feathers which I thought would look beautiful.
Even though he left a bit early for me, it was great when it flew close to the waves in between the rocks and the crests of the waves as it passed me by.
As the sun came up so too did the tide. The waves were breaking around the rocks where the pelican had rested which looked beautiful. I was really happy when another pelican came in and landed very close to the original one’s spot. With the sun and sea spray, it was a great scene to photograph. The first image in this set was from this point in the morning.
The second pelican stayed for a little while and then took off allowing for a nice launch photograph and then headed over the waves in the opposite direction from the first pelican.
Whale tails and more
(click on an image to open a higher resolution version)
When we were in Cabo San Lucas the first week of December, Bobbi and I both went out on whale watching trips. Whales found Bobbi less than a mile out of the Cabo San Lucas Marina while I had a longer travel along the Pacific coastline before sighting one active Humpback. We both had long encounters with these magnificent animals. Our children had enjoyed the dolphin swim the day before but were not excited about the whale watching. So one parent went out while the other patrolled the kids at the pool and beach.
While we went on separate excursions, we went with the same operator and were both similarly impressed. Whale Watch Cabo runs their tours on Panga boats, low to the water and great sight lines for everyone on board. Every tour they run is led by a marine biologist and a local captain. It was nice to hear more information about whales and other local ocean wildlife during the trip.
We enjoyed a close look of the Sea Lion colony and the groups of birds around Land’s End. Then headed out onto the open ocean up the coastline of western Baja. On my tour, we found an energetic whale and it was incredible to watch three separate breaches and numerous airborne tails. Bobbi and I both had great times and thank Janneke and Peter, the owners of Whale Watch Cabo, for making our trips very memorable.
A few mornings off Punta Cabeza De Ballena
Canon 5DIII + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 24mm: 8 seconds at f/16 on ISO 200
When we were in Los Cabos last week, we stayed just off the water near Punta Cabeza De Ballena which is east of Cabo San Lucas. Facing east, the sun rose out of the Sea of Cortez every morning. With my wife’s graceful blessing, I was on the beach before dawn almost every day. These are a few of the different faces the coast presented over the week.
Canon 5DIII + 17-40mm f/4 lens at 25mm: 120 seconds at f/16 on ISO 800
Canon 5DIII + 17-40mm f/4 lens at 17mm: 8 seconds at f/22 on ISO 200
Canon 5DIII + 17-40mm f/4 lens at 17mm: 20 seconds at f/4 on ISO 800
Canon 5DIII + 17-40mm f/4 lens at 17mm: 6 seconds at f/22 on ISO 200
Canon 5DIII + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 67mm: 4 seconds at f/22 on ISO 100
Canon 5DIII + 500mm f/4 lens: 1/15 of a second at f/9 on ISO 100
Canon 5DIII + 24-105mm f/4 lens at 40mm: 0.6 seconds at f/22 on ISO 100