Steal Nothing But Photographs
26May/170

The 1908 Barn (Digital Fine Art):

I've got to get back in the habit of Blogging. Life is getting in the way and my photography has suffered. We are going to start slow and then dive into this thing. I apologize in advance if the images are of sports, model airplanes, and other competing activities with my photography.

When I travel to Hobart, NY it is usually bitter sweet. It's usually for daylong meetings discussing the latest engineering and manufacturing challenges in the pharmaceutical industry. The bonuses are the fun and interesting people you attend with and the photographic and visual eye candy. This is a target rich environment for someone who likes old structures and amazing landscapes.

The 1908 barn is a very unassuming structure on Highway 23 in the little town of Davenport, NY between Oneonta and Stamford. Usually when I drive past this location the sky is lame-O, the light is bad, and the field next to it is plowed and rather boring (Nobody wants an image of dirt). Most of the time the leaves on the bushes in the foreground of the image are grown up and obtrusive to the landscape. Other times I just don't want to die standing on the side of Highway 23 to get an image! This is a great example of making sure to visit a location multiple times a year to get an eventual payoff.

You certainly have to be in the right place at the right time.

The 1908 Barn (Leica M, ISO200, 1/350th at f/8, through the Zeiss 28mm ZM)

Sharpened, color corrected, and mildly enhanced in Lightroom.

Don't forget to click on the image above and see it full size on your monitor!

Until the next image theft (Hopefully Soon). Enjoy!

2Jul/160

There be Whales Here! (Juneau, AK):

"Captain, There be whales here"!  Maybe it's the nerd in me but every time I see reference to a hump-back whale I think of Mr. Scott declaring that two  whales were beamed aboard the Enterprise in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  The plot where Mr. Spock and the rest of the team race back in time to capture some whales to keep an alien probe from destroying earth.  If that doesn't make you think that these amazing creatures are important, then just go on a Whale Watching Excursion with Juneau Alaska outfitters "Gastineau Guiding".  After an awesome rainforest hike with biologist/naturalist "Van" who had some serious Alaska wilderness Kung Fu, we boarded a custom build whale watching boat with our guide Lindsey and Captain Scott (Ironic, I know) who got us in the thick of things with Whales, Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, and more Whales.  Here are the images I captured on the excursion.  Don't forget to click on the images to see them full size on your monitor!

The hike began in the wilderness where we go up close and personal with Alaska's rainforest.

Alaskan Rainforest (D3S, ISO800, f/6.3, 1/100th seconds, 14mm through Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8)

We saw some awesome Flora/Fauna and learned all about its uses by the First Nations people of Alaska from Van:

Juneau Flora/Fauna (D3s, ISO1600, f/2.8, 1/500th second @ 14mm through Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8)

The beach-combing with Van and Lindsey allowed us to enjoy the Juneau shore:

Juneau Shore Pano (D3s, ISO1600, f/2.8, 1/8000th second @24mm through Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8)

Then after a short bus ride to a loading ramp we boarded the boat to find some whales.  Lindsey was amazingly knowledgeable about anything living in the waters around Juneau and made the ride interesting while Scott did some whale recon on the radio to the other boats to find some whale action.

We found these lazy sea-lions on the way out, where we learned the difference between sea-lions and seals.  The eagle was a nice touch hired by Gastineau  Guiding to make the scene more "Majestic" :).

Bed and Buoy (D3s, ISO800, f/4.8, 1/800th second @ 320mm through Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 with 1.7x adapter)

Then we got to see what we came for, humpback whales galore!  At one point when I was looking through the D3s at about 320mm I saw at least 4 blows from whales.  It was awesome!

Flukes on the Horizon (D3s, ISO800, f/4.8, 1/1000th second @ 150mm through Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 with 1.7x adapter)

There was one little calf who I think Lindsey referred to as "Smudge" because of the smear on the underside of his flukes that spent as much time out of the water breaching as he did under water.  An amazing show!

Breaching (D3s, ISO800, f/4.8, 1/1000th second @340mm through Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 with 1.7x adapter)


Whale Dancing (D3s, ISO800, f/4.8, 1/800th second @ 110mm through Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 with 1.7x adapter)


Belly Flop (D3s, ISO800, f/4.8, 1/1250th second @ 180mm through Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 with 1.7x adapter)


Flukes Galore (D3s, ISO800, f/4.8, 1/640th second @ 340mm through Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 with 1.7x adapter)

It was an amazing adventure made even better by Lindsey, Van, and Scott of Gastineau Guiding and thanks to Disney Cruise Lines.

Until the next image theft,

Enjoy!

 

Photogs Note:

Shooting whales is a lot like shooting action sports.  The trick is to keep your lens zoomed close to maximize your field of view and keep both eyes open to expand it even more.  When you see some action, be ready to zoom all the way in so you can capture the barnacles on their fins!  I keep track of my shutter speed while in aperture priority (A mode on Nikon) because I want to keep my depth of field as shallow as possible.  It's probably not a big deal on a cloudy day like this one but on a sunny day you could end up with a camera at f/8 or greater if you let the camera adjust aperture.  Not a huge deal when on the open ocean but this photog isn't as religious about keeping my sensor clean so at f/8 I end up cleaning a lot of dust spots off the photo which sucks.  However, you could easily put it in shutter priority (S mode on Nikon).  Either way keep your shutter speed above 1/500th of a second because you don't want any breaching whales to be blurry.  I also make sure that I put the lens in VR mode if you have it and set it for "Active" since you're on a pitching boat.  

All that being said, don't ruin the moment by spending the whole time looking through the viewfinder.  What I missed out on while getting these shots is seeing Julie and the boys enjoying the moment.  Something that really is more important than capturing images.  I screwed up but you don't have to.  We photographers sometimes forget that we need to spend some time watching the people you love enjoy the experience that you have provided too.  It's not all about getting the shot, you have to live and love a little too....

1Jul/160

The Barns of Delaware County, NY (Digital Fine Art):

I have traveled to Hobart, NY at least 100 times for work since about 1998. Hobart, The self proclaimed "Book village of the Catskills" is located smack dab at the beginning of the Delaware river in Delaware county. It is a small sleepy little town that happens to be home to one of Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals (The day job) facilities. In the past, I never took the time to explore the area in search of images because the Nikon D3S was just too much to deal with when traveling light and fast for work. The Leica M 240 has changed that in the sense that I carry it with me at all times. I upgraded to the ONA "Brixton" briefcase which is more of a camera bag with a sleeve for the iPad Pro. It works and it allows me to carry a real camera at all times. The Leica has opened my eyes to how beautiful the area is and forced me to get off the beaten path looking for one of my favorite things to photograph, Old barns, churches, and other structures. Make sure you click on them with your mouse to enjoy them in full sized glory.

I race past this little gem at 80mph+ everyday...

The Little Barn in Harpersfield (Leica M240, ISO200, f/8, 1/180th second through Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar ZM)


The Little Barn in Harpersfield (Leica M240, ISO200, f/8, 1/350th second through Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar ZM)


Abandoned Next to Center Brook (Leica M240, ISO200, f/8, 1/350th second through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 Biogon ZM)

I happened across this old barn on County Road 29 in Jefferson, NY. Its distressed barnwood was calling out for a high contrast de-saturated image!

The Old Barn on 29 (Leica M240, ISO200, f/8, 1/250th second through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 Biogon, ZM)

This Christian Church caught my attention so I stopped to shoot it on the way to Delhi, NY. When I saw that it was named "The Christian Church at Fitches Bridge" I had to find the bridge they were referring to.

The Christian Church at Fitches Bridge (Leica M240, ISO200, f/5.6, 1/25th seconds through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 Biogon ZM)

I totally scored When I found out that Fitches Bridge was a covered bridge! It was lightly raining and very cloudy.

Fitches Bridge (Leica M240, ISO200, f/4, 1/25th second through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 Biogon ZM)

Little did I know that when you cross Fitches Bridge you enter a little slice of rural heaven. By this time it wasn't just slightly raining, it was turning into a downpour. I was losing light and the rain was starting to soften my images. I managed to capture a nice panoramic of Maple Shade Farm before the elements and dinner plans ended the exploration.

Maple Shade Farm (Leica M240, ISO200, f/5.6, 1/12th second through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 Biogon ZM)

Next time I visit Hobart, NY I'll definately be crossing back over Fitches Bridge to explore what else this awesome old Dairy Mecca of the Catskills has to offer.

Until the next Image Theft,

Enjoy!

25Jun/160

Vancouver BC (Street Photography):

Vancouver is definitely very walking/cycling friendly, a trait that I envy. I would love to ride my bike to work and live in a city that was so connected and less sprawling than St. Louis. There are a ton of little treasures found while walking around the city.  Take this little building I found while walking back to the Fairmont from Stanley park. It was screaming for a high contrast black and white and the Leica didn't fail me.

Glass Houses (Leica M240, ISO200, f/2.8, 1/250th second through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 ZM

I'm a fan of geometry and I love to find a structure with a ton of it and just tilt the camera. Here is a great example:

Symmetry (Leica M240, ISO200, F/2.8, 1/500th second through Zeiss 28mm F/2.8 ZM)

The one thing that Vancouver is not lacking is odd geometry and awesome structural creativity. Sometimes its fun to just look "UP". Here is a great example.

Look Up (Leica M240, ISO20, f/2.8, 1/1500th second through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 ZM)

I have a friend that shoots a lot of street photography and his mantra is, "Always shoot a fountain when you find one". Here is my "Fountain" shot:

Always Shoot The Foutain (Leica M240, ISO200, f/8, 1/90th second through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 ZM)

It may seem cliche for a photog but I love the contrast of an "Old" structure reflected in the windows of a "NEW" structure. When I see it I always have to shoot it. When I can incorporate organic help from a tree its instant awesome:

Old and New (Leica M240, ISO200, f/8, 1/180th through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 ZM)

When your walking and you see a funky "Space Needle-ish-thingy" you gotta shoot it. and when its just peeking its head through the other structures with trees its perfect. Convert it to high contrast black and white and you nailed it.

Space Needle-Ish-Thingy (Leica M240, ISO200, f/8, 1/180th second through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 ZM)

Photogs Note:

I am LOVING the Leica. There is something about the manual focus viewfinder that I find forces me to take my time. Manual focus is more work but with the D3s I find myself rolling in, pounding out a bracket of images from -5 to +5 EV and running to the next shot. It's the "Assault Camera" and practically requires a background check before you take it with you. The Leica is my "Art" camera and quickly becoming my favorite. Incidentally, all the B&W images are converted using NIK Silver Efex Pro 2, which is owned by Google or some shit now. Make sure you click on the images to see them in all their full size glory on your monitor.

Until the next image theft,

Enjoy!

24Jun/160

Fairmont – Vancouver, BC (The Castle in the City):

Vancouver Canada was the port in which the Grant family embarked upon their big summer vacation, a wonderful Disney Cruise aboard the "Wonder". I've always wanted to spend some time here after a brief business trip back in 2002 when I took notice of the great architectural features dropped smack into an amazing Oceanside Forest. I knew that there would be some great opportunities to steal some images here so I made sure that our vacation itinerary included a couple of days to explore a little of what this great Canadian city had to offer.  Although I literally have Millions of Hilton Honors Points thanks to a lifetime of engineering travel, we decided to splurge a little on the Hotel knowing we would be on a ship for 7 days.

Enter the Fairmont Hotel at the corner of West Georgia and Burrard, also known as the Castle in the City.  Remember to click on the images with your mouse to see them full size on your monitor!

The Castle (Leica M240, ISO200, f/4, 1/750th second through the Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 ZM)

 

The Castle from West Georgia (Leica M240, ISO200, f/4, 1/2000th second through Zeiss 28mm f/2.8 ZM)

This fantastic Art Deco building designed by Archibald and Schofield opened in 1939 and felt central to a lot of great places.  Even the view from the building demonstrated a nice example of Vancouver's more modern architecture:

The View (Leica M240, ISO200, f/9, 1/60th second through the Zeiss f/2.8 28mm ZM)

The bar at Notch 8 (Named from the fastest speed on a locomotive throttle) posed as an equally great subject for photography as well.  Their dinner was fantastic also!

Notch 8 Bar (Leica M240, ISO800, f/3.4, 1/15th second through Zeiss 28MM f/2.8 ZM)

Photogs Note:

Its time to kick this thing off again. I have been very lax in blogging. This will be the first of several blogs from the vacation to get the habit going again.  To be honest, Facebook has been just so damn easy to share images with friends.  That being said, I don't feel like I can share the photography techniques and inspiration on there with the non-Photogs so I'm anxious to get back to this.

Until the next image theft,

Enjoy!

24May/150

Jefferson Barracks (Digital Fine Art):

So its been ages since I posted on the blog. SEVEN months to be exact. Its hard to believe that something that was such a part of me has taken a back burner to other things. Its not that I haven't been engaged in photography. Lord knows that I have taken almost 7,000 images during that time, none of which were for me. Nothing artistic that inspired me to write about it. Until today....

Reverence of the Fallen (D3s, ISO200, HDR, f/5, 29mm through Nikkor 24-70mm)

This single gravestone caught my attention and I immediately visualized the above image. A simple sepia with the colors of the flag peeking through under the contrast of the amazing God Sky. There was something about how the wind had wrapped the fallen Veterans flag around the side of the stone. It ever so lightly touched the blue and white roses of his Spouses flowers, similar to how a young soldier might lovingly touch his wife's cheek for the last time before he left home to die for his country.  It compelled me to sit down in the grass, on the edge of the sunlight, where I quickly and quietly shot the 5 images that make up the picture above.  Make sure you click on it with your mouse to experience it full size on your monitor.

 

Memorial Day Preparations by the Boy Scouts at Jefferson Barracks:

For 66 years (since 1949) the St. Louis Area Boy scouts have placed a single flag at the base of each grave stone on this hollowed ground. Today, over 4900 people walked quietly and reverently through this National Cemetery and showed their respects for the fallen through this solemn act honoring their sacrifice.  It was an amazing experience.....

Honoring the Colors (D3s, ISO200, f/2.8, 1/4000sec, 24mm through Nikkor 24-70.

You can check out all the images I shot today HERE:

I promise not to stay away so long.

Until the next image theft,

Enjoy!

11Oct/140

Las Vegas (Just Look Up):

Sometimes you just have to look straight up.  You'll be surprised at what you might find....

Wynn Ceiling (D3s, ISO200, f/2.8, HDR Through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

I love to see how symmetrical I can frame images like these "in camera" without using crop in Lightroom. Sometimes you succeed!

Venetian Sky (D3s, ISO400, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye(

Rotunda Skylight (D3s, ISO200, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

Its not often you have a view above you like this at "The Mall"!

This is a mall? (D3s, ISO800, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

I wanted to ride this bad boy at night but it just wasn't in the Cards. Pun intended!

High Roller (D3s, ISO200, f/5, 24mm through Nikkor f/2.8 14-24mm)

Until the next image theft! Enjoy!

8Oct/140

Las Vegas Indoor (Architecture Fisheye Study)

Interior spaces in Las Vegas are awe inspiring. In the more opulent areas no expense was spared to maintain a visual theme. They were meant to be explored. There is no better lens to document a vast space in a creative way like the fisheye. Make sure you click on the images below to experience them full size in your monitor!

This restaurant in the Wynn Casino was extremely interesting. These parisols were rising and falling from the ceiling so getting a crisp shot required a lot of light, provided by the glass wall in the rear. The interesting curves were further enhanced by the fisheye.

Parisol Down in the Wynn (D3s, ISO200, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

This little restaurant called La Cave was reminiscent of a wine tasting cellar. I shot this through the glass when the restaurant was completely dark. The low ISO capability of the D3s never ceases to amaze me. Yes thats right, the notes below the image say ISO 3200!

La Cave (D3s, ISO3200, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

The scale, detail, texture, and lighting of the grand hallways outside the ballrooms in the Wynn were amazing. The fisheye does an excellent job of capturing the vast scale of the space.

Wynn Grand Hallway (D3s, ISO400, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

The Grand Canal Shops at the Venetian were amazing as well.

Canal Shoppes at the Venetian (D3s, ISO400, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

When you see the fantastic space at Todd English's "Olives" restaurant at the Bellagio, you have to go in for a cocktail and check out the fountains on the veranda. Unfortunately the restaurant was closed but they had nibbles at the bar.

Olives Restaurant at the Bellagio (D3s, ISO200, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye

You can't finish without a shot of the Shoppes at Caesars Palace. This isn't your typical Mall!

How Caesar would Shop (D3s, ISO800, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

Photogs Note:

Why the Fisheye you ask?  It distorts the crap out of everything you say!  The secret to the Fisheye is Hyper Focal Length.  At 10.5mm and f/2.8 I can focus on something 4 feet away and everything from about 2 feet to infinity is sharp as a tack in focus.  Everything.  Obviously this is not a lens you want to shoot the bride with unless you want her to look like a horse.  However, for outdoor spaces and complex vast indoor spaces where a little distortion can be considered "artistic" it is a great lens.  At f/2.8 it gathers a ton of light, at f/16 it starbursts the sun like the best of them, and it smaller size make it a pleasure to bolt onto the D3s and run around with.  Did I mention almost 180 degrees of image viewing angle.  The only downside is that you better keep your fingers back when framing if you don't want them in the picture.  In moderation its a great lens!

6Oct/140

Las Vegas Blvd (Fisheye Study):

Every now and again you realize there is a piece of glass in your bag that doesn't get a whole lotta love. The lonely Fisheye got the call for my recent trip to Vegas. As everyone knows, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" so unless your 4 idiots in a Wolfpack, the camera is better used for landscapes than portraiture. I decided that since just about everything is on a grand scale in Las Vegas, the fisheye would be a fun lens to capture the amazing structures on the strip (Inside and Out). Here are a few of the outdoor images I stole. Make sure you click on them with your mouse to experience them full size on your monitor!

There could be tougher views for a Gargoyle at the Venetian..

Gargoyle view from the Venetian (D3s, ISO400, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

Paris Nevada (D3s, ISO200, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

Sometimes you have to take another look from a cooler location:

Paris Nevada from the Shade (D3s, ISO200, f/2.8, HDR through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

The money invested in the Bellagio, Caesars Palace, The Mirage, The Flamingo, Bally's, Harrah's, The Cromwell, and Paris is incredible:

Big Dogs of the Strip (D3s, ISO200, f/2.8, HDR Through Nikkor 10.5mm Fisheye)

In my next post I'll share with you some fun techniques for interior spaces with the fisheye!

Until the next image theft...

3Aug/140

Big Island Hawaii (Lava Flows):

Obviously when you spend an entire week on an island in the Pacific that is constantly renewing itself via fire and earth, your going to get to see some evidence of volcanic activity.  Although we didn't get a chance to see any real lava flows, we did see examples everywhere and although the world was in color, for some reason my photogs eye only perceived it in black and white....

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What I found even more amazing is how the lava flows into the ocean.  For some reason you get in your head the vision that the lava just slips in and forms a kind of charred beach.  You couldnt be more wrong.  It builds a gigantic cliff that gets relentlessly hammered by the ocean and creates what can only be described as the analog of the White Cliffs of Dover

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If you dare to lean over the edge, there are dozens of arches cut into the cliff face.  The ocean cuts sea caves into the wall of Lava and then crumbles away, leaving arches like the following...

width=580Make sure you click on the images to experience them full size on your monitor.

Another amazing day on the Fire Rock of the Pacific.

Until the next image theft...

Aloha!

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17Jul/140

Big Island Hawaii (Akaka Falls):

Just outside of Hilo on the Big Island is a serene place called Akaka Falls State Park.  When you first get there it reminds you of the many other places you visit on the island, just the end of the line on a road to nowhere.  However you quickly get realize this place is a little commercial, people buzzing in and out of the bathrooms, a side effect of the long drive there.  Your immediately accosted by some dude making sure you pay your $5.00 to park and $1.00 per person to visit.  It took some "Essplaining" that I parked on the road but we made it through.  Credit Cards preferred, a machine/kiosk standing at the trail entrance.  All of this threatened to dampen the experience of pretending to discover some hidden gem in the middle of a rainforest but you get over it when you start walking along the "Trail".

The trail is actually a handrail lined concrete sidewalk with rainforest on either side.  The forest is very pretty and worthy of an image...

Akaka State Park Rainforest (D3s, ISO800, f/4.5 @ 14mm, HDR, Through Nikkor 14-24mm Lens)

Its pretty dark and raining but that just makes the images even better. Nothing makes foliage pop like a little water. In about two minutes the rain subsides and a different source of water is the visible to all. The purpose of the trip is Akaka Falls and it is something to see, and hear.

Akaka Falls (D3s, ISO400, f/4.5 @ 14mm, HDR, Through Nikkor 14-24mm Lens)

The overcast sky eliminated the possibility of a rainbow in the crater but lended a hand in giving the sky a little personality.

Definitely worth a detour on the way to Hilo.

Until the next Image theft, Enjoy!

Aloha!

16Jul/140

Big Island Hawaii (Green Beach):

If you ever get used to south point and decide to leave, you can hike 3+ miles up the seashore, through dunes, into sandblasting 30mph winds, and arrive at the most amazing beach. Green Beach at South Point (Ka Lae) is one of two green beaches in the world and the Grants have visited one! The other is in the Galapagos and is a place that is on our bucket list.  I'll get straight to the images....

This is without a doubt one of my favorite images from the trip:

You gotta Click Here to see this baby full size!

Green Beach (D3s, ISO125, f/5.6 @ 14mm, HDR, through Nikkor 14-24mm Lens)

 

Its hard to tell from the image but the entire beach is nestled into a bowl of some type of Volcanic Sandstone.  You can see the green of the beach (From the Olivine in the sand) if you look to the left side middle of the photograph.  Its hard to tell from the wide angle of the image but the beach is about 150' down from the top of the sand dunes.  You climb down this natural stairwell in the wall of the beach to get to the waters edge.

 

The Natural Stairwell (D3s, ISO125, f/5.6 @ 14mm, 1/250, ISO125 through Nikkor 14-24mm Lens)

The Grant Boyz weren't really happy about the hike in.  I hiked at least one mile and climbed about 150' of elevation with Wyatt on my shoulders.  At one point JD was walking with a scowl on his face and both hands were in fists.  I recommend walking in and riding out so that you can see the interesting features of the shore on the way there.  I think you can tell from the image below that the Grant Boyz "Let it Go" and had fun!

Boyz on Green (D3s, ISO125, f/5.6 @ 14mm, 1/500th sec, through Nikkor 14-24mm Lens)

 

The current washing out of the bowl of the beach is pretty strong so I wouldn't let the kids swim here.  This is pretty much at the end of the world here and I didn't want to risk someone getting into trouble.  Get sucked out of here in a rip current and your next stop is Antarctica!

I cannot wait to steal an image of the other Green beach in the Galapagos!

Aloha!

 

15Jul/140

Big Island Hawaii (South Point):

If you drive south on the Big Island until you cannot go any further, you have arrived at the southern most point in the United States of America. Any location that boasts such a important geographical designation obviously must be able to be worthy. South Point does not let you down. It is absolutely beautiful. The terrain is interesting and the Pacific is amazing. The waves and energy here are incredible and the sky is so clear that you swear that if you look hard enough you can see Fiji in the distance. We had a wonderful time hiking around the area and exploring the shore. As always, make sure you click on the images to experience them full size on your monitor...

Southern Tip of USA (D3s, ISO 200, f/2.8 @ 24mm, HDR, through Nikkor 14-24mm Lens)

South Point (D3s, ISO200, f/2.8 @ 14mm, HDR, Through Nikkor 14-24mm Lens)

Is that Fiji in the distance? (D3s, ISO200, f/6.3 @ 14mm, HDR, through Nikkor 14-24mm Lens)

South Point (D3s, ISO125, f/5.6 @ 24mm, HDR, Through Nikkor 14-24mm Lens)

Clark and Ellen Griswold (D3s, ISO125, f/2.8@14mm, 1/2500th, through Nikkor 14-24mm) Photo Credit: JD Grant.

Stay tuned for the next image theft at Green Beach!

Aloha!

14Jul/140

Big Island Hawaii ( Pololu Valley Black Beach):

If you continue north on Hawaii Highway 270 away from the Lapakahi State Park and slowly begin your transition away from the beautiful grasslands through a series of roadside bungalows (many of which are peddling fresh coconut water and fruits from the lush tropical vegetation) everything seems to come to an abrupt stop.

You have arrived at a location known for centuries as the beautiful Pololu Valley Lookout and it is literarily indescribable. You are approximately 550' above the ocean at this point and the scene can only be communicated via photograph:

The Amazing Pololu Valley Lookout (D3s, ISO200, f/7.1 @ 40mm, HDR, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

Further investigation of the area yields a very steep trail that will take you all the way to sea level. Its a very simple descent that gives you very mixed emotions. On one hand You simply cannot wait to get below to experience your first black beach, on the other you know that the only way out is to climb up this trail in which you are descending. The trail leaves you in an odd oceanside forest with only a faint glimpse and echo of the ocean beyond it:

Path to Paradise (D3s, ISO200, f/5.6 @ 70mm, 1/2000th, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

When you leave the trail you have the same feeling as if you walked from a dimly lit theatre into the sunlight on a bright afternoon. Its the kind of transition that makes you sneeze and inhale the ocean air. The scale of the entire area is so immense and you feel so tiny that the view of the valley really hasn't changed much even though you are 550' lower than when you experienced the first time.

Pololu Valley Black Beach (D3s, ISO200, f/7.1 @ 24mm, HDR, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

The sand is a fine powder, further evidence of the beating that the crushing waves have been giving the volcanic rock here for centuries. You cannot resist the urge to remove your sandals and revive them in the cool ocean water after that rocky hike down from the top of the cliff:

Revive Those Toes (D3s, ISO200, f/5.6 @ 24mm, 1/1250 through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

Your so taken with the ocean and its beauty and power that you don't even realize what stands behind you. Your standing at the end of an immense valley that looks like something out of Fantasy Island or Lord of the Rings. This is one of my favorite images from the week.

The Pololu Valley (D3s, ISO200, f/5.6 @ 24mm, HDR, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

Your so awestruck looking at this valley that you hardly even notice the 550' ascent back to the car.

13Jul/140

Big Island Hawaii (Lapakahi State Park):

If you drive north out of Kona on Highway 19 through the Ka'Upelehu lava flows, past the beautiful resorts of Waikoloa, and onto Highway 270 through the countryside west of Kohala Mountain you will find the ruins of an ancient fishing village at the Lapakahi State Park. This was my destination TWICE during my trip to the Big Island with the family. The first time to simply check it out and shoot a few pictures, the second was the turn around during a 56 mile cycling excursion from Waikoloa that almost killed me. The wind and hills of this place are second only to the beautiful vistas along the coast. I think you will agree! Make sure you click on the images to view them full screen on your monitor...

Ancient Fishing Village (D3S, ISO 200, f/6.3 @ 24 mm, HDR, through Nikkor 24-70mm lens)

Ancient Fishing Village II (D3s, ISO 200, f/6.3 @ 24 mm, HDR, through Nikkor 24-70mm lens)

I have a softspot for lonely tree's so I couldn't help but shoot this:

Oceanside Tree (D3S, ISO 200, f/6.3 @ 24 mm, HDR, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

And one of my favorite images from the week is this one.

Northern Kohala Coast (D3S, ISO200, f/6.3 @ 38mm, HDR, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

Who could forget a shot of my photo assistants on the shoot:

Photographic Posse (D3s, ISO 200, f/6.3 @ 24mm, 1/400th second, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

All of the images above were handheld 5 shot brackets processed in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2, color corrected, and sharpened using Photoshop Lightroom. Interestingly enough, I did not boost any of the blues in these images. I did however use a polarizing filter to reduce glare from the ocean and give some "visibility" into the water.

Until the next Images of Hawaii...

Aloha!

 

Photogs Note:

This will be the first of several Hawaii images I shot during a trip to the Big Island. I have to warn you, the images are a bit mediocre. The purpose of this trip was to enjoy Hawaii with the family, not turn it into a photography shoot. I never spent more than about 15 seconds on an image and everything is handheld. Although, I doubt a tripod would have helped much on the island. I don't think I was ever in a place where the wind wasn't howling at 20-30 miles per hour so there are very few shots taken at low shutter speeds. During the week, it seemed that every destination ended with an arrival at 12:00 in the afternoon.  Every landscape or portrait photog worth their weight knows that anytime you visit someplace to take pictures at high noon, you cannot be too critical of the result since the lighting basically sucks.