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Tag : ocean

09 Dec 2018

Taking in southern Chile’s coast

Today I drove from southern Chile’s lake region over to the Pacific coast. I had seen some pretty cool photo of the unique coastline and thought it might be a good day trip during my workshop here in 2020. Where I wanted to go was a little over two hours from Pucon and the drive was pretty easy. The land was fairly flat and this is cattle country. We had steak for dinner one night in Pucon and it was great and this was where it came from. 

Bob’s research turned up a little island of Maiquillahue that looked pretty cool and we made that our destination. We pulled into a little fishing village with a small harbor filled with boats. These obviously weren’t for recreation, they were working boats but there were colorfully painted. One boat had a couple of men working on their nets but the rest were just floating. The road went right along the ocean and just across the street were 25-30 picnic tables with small roofs over each one. It being about noon on Sunday they were filled with families picnic, laughing and some kids were kicking around a soccer ball on the not too level ground. I wished my Spanish was good enough to talk with them and make some pictures but I didn’t want to intrude. 

Interestingly, the town’s name is Mississippi. I have to do some research and see what that is all about and I saw a couple of signs that didn’t have enough s’s and p’s but most of them did.

The beach was gravel and stones and there was one little boy playing around several ropes tied to boats. He was cute and didn’t pay any attention to me with my large tripod, the boats were much more interesting. His mother was back up by the road in a stand selling fresh fish and vegetables. Several woman were working cleaning fish and cutting the veggies, I guess they didn’t get Sunday as a rest day.

We could see the island from the beach and it was much small than we thought. The map showed a road that would up a mountain and back down to another beach near the island so of course I had to take it. It quickly turned to dirt and we started climbing. There were several vantage points to look back down on the Mississippi beach. We got to the top of mountain and started heading back down. Google Maps said it was only 1/4 mile down and we had driven several miles up some pretty steep inclines. I knew this would be pretty steep but what the hell. As we were driving down the very steep dirt road I had flashbacks to the rental car’s tires spinning in the dirt a couple of days ago. There wasn’t any turning back now and when we got to the bottom there were a couple of four wheel drive SUVs and a boat. We had thought we could go out on the island but there wasn’t any way. It didn’t have any beaches we could see, only rocky ledges. We shot some pictures but it wasn’t anything great. I figured I better try getting the rental car out of there while there were still a couple of vehicles that could help. The dirt was tightly packed and the little Peugeot climbed right up. We got to a sharp turn and I could see the gravel was loose there from other vehicles spinning their wheels. I told Bob to hang on and got as much speed up as I could. The front wheels spun a couple of times but we had enough traction to make it out.

We went farther north along to the coast toward some other places we had scouted. We stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks that were pretty nice. We were getting pretty hungry and fine eating establishments weren’t plentiful. As we were driving along a nice looking restaurant popped up. It didn’t seem to be near anything but looked nice from the outside. We went in and it was empty, but it was around 3 p.m. and we were famished. The sweet young woman gave us a nice Hola! and we took a seat. Once again she spoke no English, which is what I expected. The menu was on the wall and I could read enough to know a little what they had. I thought salmon would be good since I had seen some fresh back at the little roadside stand. The waitress starting talking fast, smiled when we didn’t understand each other and asked us several questions which I always answered Si! I asked Bob if he would like some empanadas, so I ordered some, which thought were salmon. She asked a few more questions and it seemed like our order was complete. In a while she brought out a large plate of empanadas, which didn’t seem like salmon but were pretty good. Bob and I thought a meal of empanadas wasn’t bad and as we nearly finished the waitress brought out a large salad. Ok, that’s good. We started into the salad and then came plates with large portions of salmon and french fries for each us. I guess I did order salmon after all! Now we were getting stuffed and then came the dessert. It turns out the waitress upsold me on a five course meal! But it was good and only cost about $20 for the whole thing.

We went to the coast where there was rocky ledges and black sand. Some men were fishing on the rocks and kids were playing in the surf. It was a lovely scene and we made pictures there for a while. As we were leaving I saw a lone tree that was wind blown along the beach. We stopped and made some photos and I could see more unique trees in the distance near the water. The map showed a road being there and I put the rental car through a little more than I would my own car. It was a long day and time to head back to Pucon. 

21 Aug 2018

Things that are uniquely Iceland

If I could only spend one day in Iceland and want to see things that are fairly unique to the country, then we went there today during my Iceland Photography Workshop. Since it was raining we started the day shopping in Vic, which isn’t unique, but it is fun to see things made in Iceland. I warned the group to watch for thins that look Icelandic and are made in China. They did pretty good with that.

As we drove the southern coast the weather started getting better and by the time we got to a secluded tongue of the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s largest, the rain had pretty much stopped. This is one of the coolest places I go in Iceland, there are no other people around and the view of the glacier, a lagoon and mountains is stunning. High clouds hid much of the mountain but the color of the glacier and sheer size is daunting.

Then we stopped at Diamond Beach, a truly unique Icelandic experience. Another tongue of the glacier comes down to a large lagoon that is connected to the ocean by a short river. Salty sea water goes back up the river into the lagoon helping break off chunks of ice that float back down the river and wash up on Diamond Beach’s black sand. The pounding waves wear down the ice and when sunlight hits them they look like diamonds sitting on black velvet. Quite the sight. It is fun to make pictures of the waves flowing past ice and see what happens when the shutter is open for a long time. I could spend days on that one beach.

I’m also fascinated by the Aurora Borealis, the northern lights. They are such a weird phenomenon, with the colorful display of light glowing at night. I first saw them during my trip in March and was awed and I keep a eye on several iPhone apps that let me know when they are active in hopes I can see them back in Vermont. The aurora is active all year but it doesn’t get dark enough in the summer months to see them. I checked my apps before this trip and saw the activity level was pretty high and we would have enough darkness to possibly see them. What a bonus! Tonight the activity was fairly high and the sky was giving us some major breaks in the clouds so we went to a hilltop away from town to see what would happen. We got a show! Green light danced along the horizon and an occasional red/orange light popped in. We could see clouds heading our way and knew we wouldn’t have long but what we saw was awesome. I can’t wait to come back in Feb. for another workshop when the main focus will be the aurora!

04 May 2018

A peaceful morning on Cape May beach

Today is the start of my Cape May Photographic Creativity Workshop and I started the day well before sunrise out on the beach right across from my hotel. It was a beautiful morning and one of the great things about being out at sunrise is there aren’t many other people, especially at this time of year. I love the way the world looks before the sun comes up but it is always hard to drag my butt out of bed. I woke up at about 4:30 a.m. and looked out the window kinda hoping to see rain even though the forecast was for clear skies. The moon was shining bright on the beach and I could see stars. Drat.

I threw on some clothes and grabbed a jacket since it is always colder on the beach in Cape May. When I arrived in town yesterday the temperature was 85 degrees until I pulled into Cape May when it quickly dropped to 67 thanks to the ocean breeze. It was pretty chilly as I dragged my photo backpack and tripod across the street and onto the sand. Light was just starting to enter the sky as I looked for something other than sand to shoot. Even though I’ve spend the last 30 years living less than 30 miles from the ocean I’m not an ocean person. I don’t like crowds, especially rowdy crowds and I always seem to encounter them when I go to the beach in the summer. So being here in early May and before the sun comes up is pretty nice. Now to find something to shoot.

I saw some pilings not too far down the beach and I headed that way. When I got there I saw it was actually an ugly drain pipe and the pilings were there to keep it in place. Not my idea of natural beauty but I thought I could work with it. I had a very wide angle lens on my camera and I decided to use the pilings as a graphic feature of my photo. The moon was slowly setting as more light filled the sky, a bank of clouds were coming up from the south and another patch of clouds were out over the ocean to the east. The light was beautiful and I used a five second exposure to make the incoming waves look silky smooth. The pilings reflected nicely in the wet sand where larger waves had rolled in and some nice color hit the clouds over the ocean.

What a beautiful, peaceful morning.

14 Mar 2018

More wind and rain in Iceland

My Iceland photography workshop is winding down and the weather isn’t being nice. Another day of rain and strong wind kept us from shooting much but it was also planned to be a bit of a travel day. We made our way to the little town of Vik and the beautiful black sand beach. The rain was coming down hard and the wind was blowing 50-60 mph, not a great combination for scenic photography. We went to the beach anyway and our driver Eidur positioned the bus so people could shoot from the door and get photos of the sea stacks near the beach. About half of the group decided to venture out onto the beach and see what photos we could get.

Before the workshop I had advised people to be ready for any weather conditions and they were. They had full rain gear for themselves and their cameras so we might as well get out there! With the wind blowing that hard you could only shoot with the wind at your back or your lens would be immediately drenched. I had brought micro fiber clothes for everyone and they were pretty happy to have them today.

I put a 70-200mm lens on my camera and stuck it all in a plastic bag and held it close as I walked to the beach through the wind and rain. The wind was blowing so hard I didn’t want to extend the legs on my tripod so I kept it low and knelt in the sand as I was making my composition. Big waves were crashing into the sea stacks and I was amazed to see bird soaring around the big rocks. I thought the wind was blowing so hard they would get caught in it and end up miles aways but they looked like they were just soaring on a calm day. I guess when the wind frequently blows like this they adapt pretty fast.

I hunkered down in the sand and wrapped myself around the tripod, pushing it down as I used a remote shutter release to fire the camera. Even though I carry a big, fairly heavy tripod I knew that with this wind it would get pushed around. I tried some different exposures, using a fast shutter speed to stop the movement of the waves and a slow shutter speed to give the crashing waves some blur and motion. Both ways looked pretty cool.

11 Mar 2018

There’s a lot of ice in Iceland

We started the third day of my Iceland photo workshop at the largest glacier in the country: Svinafellsjökull. After a little hike we were right at the edge of the glacier, the blue ice offering a great contrast to the snow on the mountain peaks behind it. The grandeur and majesty of the glacier and mountains make for great photos. We started photographing from up on a hill to get overall shots and then moved up closer to the tower chunks of ice. The weather was perfect and it was fun for the group to shoot with no other people around. We spent a good deal of time there but it couldn’t have been long enough.

We then went to one of the places I was looking forward to the most: Diamond Beach. It is a black sand beach where chunks of the glacier break off, float down a river and then onto the ocean beach. A nearby glacial lagoon is where the chunks form when salty sea water melts the glacier and the pieces break off. Seeing the crystal clear ice on the black sand is exciting and I after showing some of the workshop participants how to shoot it, I made some images myself. Looking back at my shots I’m not too happy with what I got, I hope we get another chance later in the week.

10 Mar 2018

A day of color in Iceland

This is our first day of shooting in my Iceland photography workshop. Last night the group got together for dinner and we met our guide for the week, Raymond Hoffmann. We hit the road with our driver Eidur, a fun guy with great stories about his homeland. Our went to three large waterfalls, the first one was filled with tourists but the water was flowing. Near the falls was a stairway to a viewing platform that catches a lot of mist and it had frozen all winter.

Then we went to another falls that wasn’t so well known. It was nearly a half mile hike back to the falls and the scenery was great all the way back. All the snow was melted but there was still some ice around the waterfall. I made some nice photos of the falls and a little rainbow in the mist. After a couple of hours we got lunch and went to another nearby falls.

Skogafoss is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Iceland and for good reason. There were a ton of people there but it was possible to get in front of them for some photos. I tried some from in the stream and our guide Raymond made a nice shot of me in the water. Raymond also had crampons for everyone to put on their boots when walking on the ice. They really made a difference, many of the tourists were sliding around in sneakers and we were just waiting for one to fall on his head.

The mist coming off the large falls caught the sunlight and make for a huge, beautiful rainbow. We made a ton of pictures and I corralled all the workshop participants and we got back on the bus for a long ride to our hotel in Vic where we had dinner. Since it was a clear day we went out to try capturing the Northern Lights. The sky conditions were great but the aurora activity level wasn’t very high. There was a good wind making the night feel pretty cold but we could see some color in the northern sky. One of the great things about digital cameras is they see more at night than the human eye. We didn’t get the “dancing” light we hoped for but it was still a great experience.

 

23 Feb 2017

Sunrise at Juno Pier

One of the nice things about doing art shows in Florida is being able to get out early for sunrise and not freeze. I headed to Juno Pier this morning hoping to get some good clouds at sunrise. I wasn’t disappointed. I had hoped to go at 3 a.m. to catch the Milky Way over the pier but it was cloudy when I got up. I went back to sleep for a couple of hours and by then many of the clouds had cleared away.

The crescent moon was shining bright when I got there before any light was in the sky. As the sky filled with color the became less distinguishable and by the time the sun cleared the horizon, the moon was barely visible.

05 Nov 2016

Hanging out at Pensacola’s pier

Pensacola PierWhile doing the art show in Pensacola, FL, I’m getting lots of requests for local photos. Since this is the first time I’ve been in Pensacola, I don’t have anything to show them so I went to the beach after the show tonight to catch sunset and see what was going on around the pier.

There was some great color in the sky after the sun went down, as I waded in the edge of the surf, I was able to get the pier in the foreground and the sky blazing behind it.

After the color faded a bit I went under the pier but I didn’t want the typical shot of the silhouetted pier and smooth water. I brought a flashlight with me to try some light painting. I did a 30 second exposure and used the flashlight to illuminate the pier and give me a different effect.

Under Pensacola's Pier

01 Aug 2015

Enjoying the LBI sunset tradition

lbi sunsetThis weekend I’m doing an art show on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island and am fortunate to stay with my good friends Marilyn Dillon and Brian Horton. They’ve had a home on LBI for many years, although they took a pretty good wallop by Hurricane Sandy. They had 40” of salt water in the house, which, of course, destroyed pretty much everything. They have rebuilt the house and it looks great.

Each night they and their neighbors stroll down to the end of their street and watch the sun set. It is a great tradition and they have good time talking to everyone. Tonight’s sunset was pretty nice, although everyone said “You should have been here last night.” I’ve heard that before and I’m sure it was great, but it was good fun to share this one with them.

06 Jun 2015

Making the best of a long drive home

permaquidWhenever I make a long drive, like to my Acadia National Park photography Workshop, I try to stop at interesting places during the drive. I plan to find places that are less than 30 minutes off the road so I can get there and back within an hour. I always think I only need a few minutes at a site to either scout it for a future serious shooting session or luck out and get something really good while I am there. I hope to only extend my drive by an hour but it usually ends up adding two hours to the drive.

On my way back from Acadia, I thought I’d check out a couple of lighthouses on the Maine coast. And yes, I added more than an hour to my scheduled nine hour drive. My first stop was the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Bristol. It is a classic lighthouse built in 1835 above cool looking rocks that have been transformed by crashing waves and running water.

I was greeted at the entrance by a friendly volunteer who got excited when I told her I was a professional photographer. She told me all the classic angles to shoot and where to go. I’d done my research, so I had an idea of what to shoot, but it was nice of her to be so helpful. She even told me how to get a reflection of the lighthouse in a little pool in the rocks. (more…)

22 Aug 2014

A great final day in British Columbia

bc-2154My final day in British Columbia was a special one. We took a five hour ride on the Misty Isles sailboat throughout the islands of Desolation Sound. The highlight came quickly as a humpback whale surfaced about forty feet in front of the boat. A couple of other boats were in the area and we all cut our motors to watch the magnificent beast. The large whale came up several more times and then finally took in a big gulp of air and lifted its tail out of the water. Captain Mike said when the tail comes up they are using their body weight to dive deep and you won’t see them again for a long time.

bc-2140Smoke from distant forest fires created a haze in the surrounding mountains but they still were grand as they rose from the mainland. Captain Mike stopped the boat so everyone could go for a swim, it is a rare place where water is warm enough the swim while snow capped mountains loom nearby. As we were heading back, we saw a harbor seal and her pup sitting on some rocks, they were mighty cute.

bc-2106That night when my sister sister suggested that we go down to the beach I didn’t anticipate that a special life-long memory was going to happen.

There are organisms in the water that have the same glowing stuff as lightning bugs but it is only displayed when the water is stirred. I don’t know what causes bioluminescence, but it sure is cool.

Lynda and I sat there in the complete darkness of a cloudless and moonless night throwing rocks in the water and watching the splashes glow. It was a special time for me to be with my sister, who I don’t see nearly enough, together on a Canadian beach with only two lights visible on all the other islands as the Milky Way and billions of stars shining brightly above. There were, two lucky kids who grew up among the Indiana cornfields, tossing rocks, seeing the water twinkle and talking about how good ours lives are. I’m fortunate to have experienced it and will treasure that memory forever.

I am blessed.

Click to see my British Columbia photo gallery from the trip.

21 Aug 2014

A beautiful end to the day in British Columbia

The people of Cortes Island live close to nature and appreciate the beauty that surrounds them. They are big into recycling and reusing, to the point that they have a Free Store at the recycling center that is staffed by volunteers. If you don’t need something, drop it off and it will be sorted and somebody else can take it for free. It is a great idea but I think it takes a special place for it to work.

We had a great dinner outside at Squirrel Cove tonight overlooking the cove as the sun got low. It was a beautiful scene as boats floated in the cove surrounded by mountains. After dinner we went to the west side of the island for sunset. The sun was just dropping as we got there and I was able to catch it as it set behind some boats. The color was good right after sunset but I knew it would get better if waited another 30-45 minutes and we weren’t disappointed. Reds, blues and pinks combined to make the sky glow and the water come to life. A beautiful end to the day.

Click to see my British Columbia photo gallery from the trip.

bc-1971

26 Jun 2011

Lightning off-shore

Lightning lights up the sky over Wrigtsville Beach, NC.

 

I’m at Wrightsville Beach, NC, just outside of Wilmington. After the sun went down, the storm clouds rolling in off-shore and lightning lit up the sky.