One of the best side benefits of golf is spending time outside in Nature. On Florida golf courses, you have the palms, the birds, the Spanish moss, the water and yes, even the alligators to make the links stimulating.
But this morning I’m not golfing, just up early looking for birds and hoping to photograph them. So, I have extra time to look at my surroundings and enjoy Nature.
The Kohala Peninsula on the Big Island of Hawaii is drenched by four meters of rain a year, while the dry side of its mountain range looks parched. On the wet side, you can see some pretty spectacular waterfalls after a good rain, especially from a Blue Hawaiian helicopter.
Alau Island off the coast of Maui reminds me of the small rocky islands in the Great Barrier Reef. As creatures of the 21st century, we can’t help but rejoice to find a piece of land undeveloped and basking in its natural glory. How many places on the planet can we find like this?
Just before sunset, Alau Island was shrouded with a pastel pink and blue blanket of color. I set my Nikon D800 for a long exposure to smooth the waves, the bright surf reflected some of the pink tones as well. It was not long before this scene slipped into darkness, and the full moon rose to give the scene a completely different feeling. See Alau Island with a darkening sky and full moon rising in this earlier blog post.
It’s snowing and blowing outside in Pittsburgh, today, but I am focused on memories of the tropics. This is the highest waterfall and pool of the Seven Sacred Pools in Haleakala National Park in Maui. I could not see over the vegetation myself from the hiking path, but I set the camera and raised it over my head, mounted on its tripod to capture this view.
At the far end of Maui’s Road to Hana, a series of waterfalls splash into terraces on a path to the Pacific. It wasn’t easy to get there through record rainfall, floods and numerous mudslides onto the road. But you can see the Sun God smiled on us late that afternoon, and the scene was brilliant, even though it was backlit. My Singh Ray graduated ND filter enhanced the final image.
We have arrived at the lowest point of the Haleakala National Park, after watching the sunrise at the 10,00 foot summit a few days earlier. (See my Blessed Sunrise post.)
As a landscape photographer, I am drawn to waterscapes everywhere I travel — from New Zealand to Hawaii and many other scenic locations. I find myself watching the surf, the rocks, the sunsets, the weather and the natural vegetation around the world.
When I encountered this scene in Maui recently, I was intrigued by the island — the way the surf had eroded it, the way the surf continued to interact with it and the vegetation that grew on it.
The lava island in Maui reminded me strongly of a rocky island that caught my eye in New Zealand in 2014. The NZ island was also constantly buffeted by the surf within a bay, and supported an interesting crop of vegetation. The two islands actually look quite different, but my fascination with them made a strong echo in my mind.
As the fiery orange sun was moments away from dipping into the Pacific, just below the distant rain clouds, sunbeams also appeared high in the sky. It almost seemed as if the afternoon sun was peaking through that opening in the clouds! Sure enough, blue sky, golden light and a brightening of the ocean’s surface right below created a unique illusion.
Ninety-nine days out of 100, I like to sleep in. On those exceptional days when I wake up in the dark and embark on a photo shoot before sunrise, I find I am drawn to the scenes that just begin to emerge out of the shadows. On the high altitude peak of Haleakala (volcano) on Maui, I noticed this scene while climbing into position to capture the sunrise.
The short stretch of road between myself and the observatories on the peak made a ribbon shape through the desolate lava that looked more like the desert or even the moon than most of Mother Earth. Its leading line and the high horizon guide the eye to the pristine white observatory.
The sky and the lava landscape to the west will only hold these dusty blue and rusty dark and mid-tones for a few more minutes until the brilliant sun will make its appearance and blind all of us staring to the east in search of it.
The red, white and vivid pink Anthurium blossoms caught my eye in Hawaii. They grow in the tropical rainforests of Hawaii as well as central America. Their leaves grow very large and are very bold and graphic too.