The day started as any other Hawaiian day. The sky was cloudy at the northeast end of Kauai just as any other day of the last vacation. My first look out of the window at the clouds, palm trees, the ocean, beach, and mountains in the distance. Hey, there in the mountains something interesting was going on. The sun broke through the clouds and lit up one of the mountains in the ridge.
That was interesting. I setup my tripod in my hotel room, put my camera on, pointed it out of the window at the landscape outside and took a photo.
The fall weather in northeast Kauai is typically very unstable. In just a few minutes the light completely changed. I took another photo. The change itself had become interesting. Thus a day long project was born: the composition was framed and unchanged for the whole day but any time light changed I would take a photo.
Here is the final selection of the images from that day.
Two things inspire me. I’m inspired by great images. But I’m inspired even more by people who go out and make images: no matter the conditions, no matter the mood, no matter anything. This persistence makes me do the same: go out and photograph.
Originally I wanted to write about going back to my old friend – Second Beach in Olympic National Park. When I went there a week ago I expected winter like conditions: overcast, heavy clouds. Instead it was summer like: sunny and clear sky. I’m not very fond of clear sky. It is a lot of empty blueness – boring.
Then I told myself: just do it. Take a camera and make the best images you can from the material you’re presented.
I’ve mentioned this before: the sunset is not over until it is dark. The reverse applies to sunrise: the sunrise is not over until it is day light.
On my recent trip to Hawaii I went for sunrise to this spot that I had scouted ahead of time. I had to scramble thru the bushes in the dark with a flash light but what wouldn’t you do to get to a spot you like.
I started photographing even before sunrise to see if anything interesting comes out from that. Nothing interesting was coming out. Then the color showed up in the sky.
After a few images the light, the color disappeared. It looked like twilight again. I guess the cloud ran over and blocked sun light.
But I knew not to abandon my post. I simply sat and enjoyed the motions of waves back and forth, back and forth. Until the sun broke out in earnest.
I went to Olympic National Park again, just 3 weeks after last time. The last time it was all about visiting old friends. This time it was about making new.
I like the saying “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” by Marcel Proust. It has been my guide in photography for long time. But… sometimes we can let our mind rest and let legs do the work.
I did visit a place I had been to many times – Rialto Beach – but this time I walk past Hole in the Wall, further than I’ve ever been before. I was enjoying excitement of exploration, walking the ground I’ve never been to before, soaking in new landscapes.
That’s where I made this photo at twilight. It has some mysterious feel too it, strangely attracting the eye. I’m wondering if its mystery has anything to do with a you-know-which movie.
It is amazing how many different photos can be made in the same spot and of the same subject. Look at this photos for example. The same sea stack at Second Beach, just different atmospheric conditions, different light and different exposure.
And here is a couple of photos with a different angle:
Yet one more angle:
More photos of this place from my earlier trips can be found on my website: http:///www.vitphoto.com/?folio=Olympic.
I’m not sure whether it is a period in my life or my art but I’m more and more drawn to pastel colors. I remember seeking the brightest most vivid colors possible. I remember pushing colors as much as they’d go. Don’t get me wrong. If a photo has bright colors and it works I’ll keep it that way. But I see more and more photos in my collection with muted soft pastel colors.
Such as this photo. The is no awe inspiring sunrise or sunset on it but there is soft pink glow in the clouds that make my crazy about this photo.
The challenge with sharing such photos digitally is that subtle variations of color in most cases are lost when viewing them on non-calibrated monitors which is vast majority of monitors. Well, not much I can do about that.
Photographing sunrises and sunset is hard on Hawaii. Being close to equator the Sun pops up and quickly rises in the morning and it quickly drops down in the evening. There literally second to photograph sunrise or sunset.
Additional challenge for me was that at the place where we stayed the sunrise was blocked off by a mountain and clouds that the mountain attracted. I would have a peak of great clouds and light over the mountain thru trees, wires and buildings, wishing I’d be there every morning. Unfortunately, the was no road there.
Then one morning the clouds over the mountain cleared out and the light of sunrise spilled over the whole sky. The sky turned red and cast red light on the ocean and the land. And the ocean and the land turned red. Good thing I was persistent in going out every morning, hoping for a great light show. Persistence pays off.
Photography for me is about having fun, experimenting, trying out. It jump starts my creativity. Many of the photographers of the past and of today talk about previsualization, trying to compose and envision photo in your head before taking a photo. For me trying to do that with every image would be a limiting factor because we can only previsualize based on experiences we already have and we won’t learn anything new, gain new experiences.
The element of “randomness” is very important for me. Seeing something for the first time is what brings me joy. So, when one evening when I was ready to photograph sunset that did not happen I looked around what else I might take pictures of. I saw waves running to the shore and surfers occasionally running the waves. And I thought what if I pan the waves by rotating camera horizontally on the tripod with long exposure.
I took one image there was something in it. I started doing more and more. It was fun since I could not predict ahead of time what the image would look like. Trial and error, trial and error. As Jai Maisel once said “there is a reason why it is not called trial and success”. Here is a couple of the best trials:
A few posts back I was writing about blowhole north of Napili at Maui. While I went there because there is blowhole there which I wanted to photograph, I also looked around for other opportunities as I always do. And as I always do I found several more interesting images to make. Here are a couple.
First one with cliffs going into the ocean in a warm light of an early morning:
The second with a violent ocean crashing against the cliffs of lava rock:
I think there are even more opportunities there – as always there is even something better ahead.
If you go over and over to the same place something interesting is bound to happen.
There is a well-known blowhole north of Napili on Maui. I’ve been to it and photographed way back on the first trip. The photos back then were just documenting an event of water blasting up from the blowhole. This time I went there at sunrise. I knew that it was not a great spot for sunset ahead of time from looking at a map. The location of it is such that sunset light is blocked by a mountain.
The wind was great. It was a soft breeze from the show to the ocean. It was blowing off water dust. I remembered last time I had been there there was a strong wind from the ocean and I could come anywhere close to the blowhole. It would quickly soak me with water.
This time I could come close to the blowhole. It turned out there was a nice niche by the blowhole where I could setup a tripod and stay out of the water’s way. It was also facing sunrise – a perfect spot.
The first time I went there the blowhole was putting out a great show but the sky was grey and uninspiring. The second time there was some color in the sky but the water from the blowhole was too dark in a shadow. My persistence paid off the third time. I waited a little bit longer and the sun broke thru the clouds and lit up the blowhole fountain. NOW everything was in place!