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.
There was something new in the way I photographed Second Beach this last time which was different fro previous times. Many photographs are very minimalistic with vast open spaces of sky and ocean. I’m wondering if that an influence of Michael Kenna’s and John Paul Caponigro’s work.
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.
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.
As I mentioned in my first post about my family’s recent trip to Hawaii I bring my photographic gear with me in case opportunity of a lifetime presents to me. I would not want to miss that. And there was such opportunity on this trip.
Most of the time I have my camera with me. Of cause I take memorable family photos with it. One afternoon we went to Lahaina for some late lunch and walk around the town. Lahaina is one of old towns on the west side of Maui with its heritage and famous Banyan tree that makes up the whole park that has become the center of the town.
We were strolling in the Banyan tree park in the warm Hawaiian evening. It was an overcast day. Our son was enjoying his Maui Rainbow shaved ice. Nothing promised a sunset. Then all of the sudden the whole sky lit up with bright red colors. It was amazing.
We rushed to the the boat harbor from the cover of trees and building to get a better look. I started taking photos along the way at least to be able to remember this sunset. Our son got onto excitement and was running ahead of us.
I did not have tripod and other stuff with me but that just made me to push myself and camera to get the best with what I had. I was using whatever I could find to steady the camera for longer exposure. I was taking panoramas handheld rotating it with my body. I was pushing ISO to get sharper images.
I’m proud of what I got. That’s one gift the Nature gave me that I did not miss.
It so happened that our travel coincided with full moon. Every morning for a few days I was going to the same spot and watching moon setting below horizon right before sunrise. It was majestic.
These three very much different photos were taken at the same place. (Click on the images to see them in larger size.)
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!
The first place to look for photo opportunities on a family trip is of cause right next to the hotel. There was quite large area of lava rock right next to the hotel with a sandy beach next to it. Last time I made this photo of that place (Sleepy Beach) my focus was on the beach. This time I focused my attention on the lava rock.