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.
One of my favourite places on Earth is Ke’e Beach at the end of the road on Kaua’i’s north shore. The road ends at the beach and from there the Na Pali coast begins. The beach has been a great location for swims with my kids, snorkelling with my parents, a visit with a beautiful monk seal while the wild coastline has always provided a spectacular background to it all as well as wonderful times spent hiking and sailing with my wife.
(please click on the image to open a page with a higher resolution version)
Last year, I photographed the coastline in the late evening with the waves crashing onto the first cliff face. One of the images from that time on the rocks was one of my favourite landscapes in 2011 and was well-regarded in a National Geographic photo contest. Whenever I’m at Ke’e, I keep an eye towards the sets of cliffs that stretch westward. There is usually something good happening visually – and sometimes it is magnificent.
A couple of days ago, I was knee-deep in the water on the east side of the beach having a great time photographing two very different subjects. One was a large seal that lounged through the day and as the afternoon waned, there was a half hour where it bounded through the shallow water, playfully rolling, swimming and slowly making its way across the submerged rocks out to the reef and the open water. The second was the Na Pali cliffs which were thrown into progressively darker silhouettes down the coastline with the sea spray hanging like textured mist in the air from the endless pounding of the waves into the rocks. The greens and blues in the water reminded me of gemstones while the muted greens hazed by the mist seemed to suggest the breathing of the rain forest. Really great individual details to pull together.
The sunset came and went without much excitement as a low cloud bank out at sea swallowed up the sun before any color came into the sky. I was not disappointed though as the afternoon performance was pretty incredible. Coupled with the seal made for another memorable visit to Ke’e.
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.