Slow motion surf

There is something soothing about watching water break on the rocks.  Watching the smooth and repetitive motion is mesmerizing like watching fire burning logs in a fireplace. While a fire is hot and orange, and the surf is cool and blue — both natural scenes promote relaxation. I wonder why that is.

#surf, #lava, #maui, #hawaii, #soothing, #nikon
Waves wash over shoreline lava on Maui beach, captured by 200mm lens at 1/3 second, processed entirely in Lightroom.

Blessed Sunrise

Every sunrise is a blessing, but when you rise at 3 am and press onward to the rim of a high-altitude volcano, and you are not socked in by clouds, that’s a special blessing. Surely, we were grateful that the skies were clear on this chilly morning in Maui last month.

#sunrise, #sunstar, #maui, #haleakala, #clouds
Sunrise from rim of Haleakala on Maui.

The sun peaked over the distant clouds and began to illuminate the desolate landscape in the crater. Capturing the moment with a small aperture (f/22) on a fine lens (Nikon 14-24), I was able to bring home an image of a sunstar.

Orange and blue

A painter would tell you that the orange plumeria tree is the perfect color complement to the light blue ocean in this image. And that the orange hues of sunset and the clear blue region of the sky echo the contrasting orange and blue hues.

Another person might be attracted to the nearly empty crescent beach and just want to be there. What attracts you to this image?

#hawaii, #kona, #kailuakona, #leeward, #crescentbeach, #beach, #sunset, #plumeria, #peace
Tranquility reigns on Mauna Kea beach at sunset. September 2016.

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Rain isn’t all bad

While we tend to complain about rain often, rain isn’t all bad. Remind yourself that rain feeds and sustains all our plant life, and through the food chain, all of us. If you need a graphic reminder that rain is a gift, just gaze upon a rainbow. Water and light are both powerful life-giving forces of Nature. When they collaborate to form a rainbow, it’s magical and evanescent.

#rainbow, #maui, #hawaii, #rain, #showers, #ocean, #waves, #landscape, #nature
Rainbows appear as often as rain showers in the Hawaiian islands. Here is an early morning brilliant example from Maui, September 2016.

The waves crashing on the lava rocks in the foreground make a dramatic foreground. Maui is well worth a visit, any time of year. Be prepared for both showers and rainbows.

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Sounds of Hawaii

You might think I’m referring to music from a ukulele, but I’m not. I want to tell you about what it’s like to fall asleep in Maui listening to the ocean waves crashing on the shore. It’s quite different from what you might be used to — if your experience is the “hush…hush” sound of waves running up on a sandy beach.

In Maui, my room was right on the shoreline, and waves were crashing a few meters from my bed. They made a booming, thunderous sound as the tide came in, as the waves crashed with force on lava rocks. Sometimes, I even wondered if that sound were thunder.

#wave, #maui, #hawaii, #sound, #nature, #blacksand, #thunder, #naturephotography, #nikond800
Boom! Wave crashes on lava and black sand at the Wainapanapa State Park on Maui, Hawai’i.

I was also fooled by the sound of the wind blowing the palm tree fronds. Frequently it sounded like raindrops hitting the roof, but it wasn’t rain. It was the dry fronds blowing into each other really hard.

Listening to these sounds, I realized what a gift it was to be far from the sounds of traffic, city sirens or even the television. It’s peaceful to hear the sounds of Nature, and think about the power of the wind and the waves — even the power of the rain, too.

 

Maui Evening Moonrise

Night photography that features the full moon is one of my favorite achievements. Add the lapping waves of the ocean and interesting landforms, and you can call that photo a personal favorite. All these elements came together for me at the end of a long day of photography on Maui.

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Full moon rising over Alau Island, Maui.

That morning my alarm went off at 5 am, but we cancelled our 5:30 am departure for a sunrise shoot due to heavy rain all night continuing into the morning. Around 8 am, one of our workshop instructors knocked on my door. The other instructor had ventured out to scout road conditions and was stranded about an hour down the “Road to Hana” with a flat tire. Would I be willing to drive the route right away to pick him up? Of course!

Several hours later (around noon) with rain giving way to overcast sky, we hiked into a nearby state park, Wainapanapa, to do some photography. Later in the afternoon, we drove for an hour back the muddy, partially flooded, winding road to Hana — past the flat tire site — to the Haleakala State Park that features the “Seven Sacred Pools.” Then, we hiked a trail to a spectacular vantage point. Tired, yes. Sweaty, yes. Day is not over yet.

Just as the sun was setting, we arrived at our last location of the day: a little beach where you can see this volcanic mountain offshore “Alau Island” and enjoy some sun tinted clouds paint the sky before the scene disappeared into complete darkness. But this evening, there was something more. The full moon was rising opposite the sunset and near Alau island, while there was still some faint blue light in the sky.

I was ready with my equipment and techniques to capture a long exposure: my Really Right Stuff tripod and camera bracket on the Nikon D800 — necessary to make a long exposure. I knew I needed a long exposure in the very low light, and also that the long exposure would smooth the waves into a shimmering surface, accentuating the mood. I wanted the foreground to be dark, to show realistically the evening light. It was also important to me as a professional to hold back the bright light of the moon, to keep the highlights from blowing out. So, I hand held a graduated neutral density filter on the top edge of the frame.

I maintained the quality of the image by keeping the ISO at 100. I opened the lens up to f/ 2.8, and chose an exposure that allowed the foreground trees and rocks to go quite dark. With the help of the graduated filter, I held the dynamic range of the image well enough to capture this striking scene with one five-second exposure.

With this achievement, the week’s physical challenges all became worth it: the pre-dawn alarm clock, the heavy rain, the hot and humid hiking conditions, the muddy and sometimes precarious driving conditions. I was more than satisfied. I captured an image that exceeded my expectations.

Maui Moonset

With my husband and photography friends having departed, I woke up on my own in Maui this morning, but my productive photography workshop with Gary Hart gave me a tip to start my morning in a unique way. On a rainy afternoon in Hana (on Maui) this week Gary shared his methods for moonlit, full moon, and star photography. Then, last evening I remembered that this morning was just one day after the best day of the month for shooting a moonset — still close enough to capture something.  Yesterday would have been better, but it was cloudy in Hana. On the second morning after a full moon, the moon (waning but 97% full)  will set two hours after sunrise, when the landscape will be gently lit to balance the light of the moon. AND, as fate would have it, my room at Napili Shores opens on the Pacific Ocean, facing west where I saw the sunset last night. I looked up the time of the sunrise and moonset on my Focalware app, and set my alarm. It would only take me five minutes to put my clothes on, grab my camera and set up my tripod outside.

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About 30 minutes after sunrise, when the full moon was about 20 degrees above the  horizon was my best opportunity for an image. I was able to frame the moon with the silhouette of a palm tree, and the sky would only get brighter in the next 30 minutes, making it harder to separate the brightness of the moon from the brighter sky.

I did venture down on the lava rocks by the ocean in an effort to capture the moon sinking into the ocean, but clouds got between us (the moon and me), and that view didn’t happen. (Daily reminder: Mother Nature does whatever she wants. Cooperation is not in Her vocabulary.)  I did capture some other cool images that I will share in future blogs, though. A vivid rainbow appeared for a few fleeting moments, and I captured that. Stay tuned to this nature photography blog…now is great time to subscribe by entering your email address. I’m posting some other cool Maui and Hawaii images on Instagram. Follow me there at @cathykellyphotography.

Haleakula sunrise

Rainy and humid Maui cut us a break this morning. While two other photo shoots have been rained out yesterday and today, the location we woke up at 3 am for, worked out — mercifully.

You have to set the alarm for 3 to drive the windy roads from sea level up at Napili Shores to 10,023 feet above sea level to the summit of Maui’s volcano in time for sunrise. I was pretty surprised to see a nearly full parking lot and about 100 other people crazy enough to be doing the same thing! The park rangers were helping us park, as if we were crowding into a lot for major league baseball or football back at home. After parking, we hiked up a pretty steep trail to this location, breathing pretty hard in the thin air.

Here is one of my favorite images from today’s early photo shoot. I used by Nikon D800 camera mounted on a Really Right Stuff tripod with the wide angle 14-24 mm Nikon lens and a Singh Ray graduated neutral density filter. I shot at ISO 100 to give me maximum ability to make a large highly detailed print later if I wish.

#haleakula, #volcano, #maui, #crater, #sunrise, #clouds, #nature, #landscape
Take a look into the crater from the summit of Haleakala at sunrise today.

Look how the curves in the composition take your eye into the crater and back up the ridge into the clouds to the sun. Haleakala means, “house of the sun.”

Memorial to Dad

Dad, your enthusiasm and curiosity about new places on Earth were inspirational to me. Your generosity to your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will remain as a challenge for all of us to emulate. You wanted me to see the world and keep learning about the diversity in the world. I will always cherish your memory wherever I go. I say a prayer for you here on the coast of Hawaii. I miss you very much. Love, Cathy

#memorial, #hawaii, #missyou, #dad, #loveendures, #forever, #pumice
I miss you and love you forever, Dad. I will always will hold you in my heart.

Baby Dolphin

Kona, the Mama dolphin, led her four-day old baby around by leaning her dorsal fin in baby’s direction. After a one-year gestation period, this baby is now nursing. We observed this special pair at the Hilton Waikoloa in Hawaii.

 

#baby, #dolphin, #hawaii, #mother
Kona’s baby is only four days old.

But I was also fortunate to swim with the wild spinner dolphins yesterday,  watching them speed past in large pods, blush their white bellies pink with excitement and once even swim belly to belly. I’m sorry that I don’t have an underwater camera to have captured those moments.

I also counted a variety of different species of tropical fish feeding in a coral reef near the Captain Cook monument — Kealakekua Bay. My favorites were the brilliant parrot fish, the achilles tang and some cool patterned butterfly fishes. I hope that next time I will be able to photograph them!