JAWS – MAUI SURF BREAKS BIG

MAUI JAWS STUDY

In my last post, I mentioned having a workshop on the next day with big waves – and it did not disappoint!  Jackie and I had worked together the last two years and this year we decided to do a two day photo workshop, allowing us more time to get to some of the further out spots of Maui and the Hana side.  The first day, Jaws was breaking BIG – like, 40+ feet – so after a quick sunrise shoot at Ho’okipa Point, we made our way down the road to Pe’ahi.

MAUI JAWS STUDY

Over the course of the next 90 minutes, we both shot many frames of these incredible surfers riding these beautiful epic waves.

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BIG MAUI SURF ON MY MIND

BIG WAVES SERIES

We have had a number of large swells this winter here in Hawaii that has produced waves up to 30 feet and beyond – mostly on the North and West facing shores.  It sounds like the largest swell of the season is happening right now and waves are expected to get to over 40 feet!  I’ve got Big Maui Surf on My Mind!

BIG WAVES SERIES

A few weeks ago I made my way to Ho’okipa Point at sunrise to shoot this series of photographs in this post.  I assigned myself a mini-project so I sat down today, edited the images, developed them, and here they are!

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SILVERSWORD – REFLECTIONS ON A PHOTOGRAPH

SILVERSWORD  Maui, Hawaii 2015

The sun lowers into the ocean and the sapphire blue sky soon revises itself, deepening in shade first to lapis, then navy, and furthermore to an indigo blue with a deep purple influence.  By this time, my focus was no longer on the atmosphere above, but rather on the volcanic cinder underfoot.  My descent into the depths of the dormant volcano, the Haleakala crater of Maui, was underway.  Beginning from the summit, an elevation of over 10,000 feet, my attention was now solely focused on the few feet of area ahead, being lit by my headlamp.  Of course there was still some attention lingering with the atmosphere, but now it was focused on the cool, dry, crispness moving in and out of my lungs.  “That’s reason enough to hike on a mountain – it results in further attention to breath,” I think to myself, as I navigate my way further down the crater interior, nearly 3,000 feet below.

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BEST PLACES TO PHOTOGRAPH IN SAN FRANCISCO

You could spend an entire lifetime photographing the San Francisco Bay Area and still not capture it all.  It is one of those rare gems – packed full of scenic vistas and perspectives that can keep the passionate photographer endlessly inspired.  It certainly keeps me visually interested and coming back, year after year.  I still continue to find new vantages that compose nicely in the photographic frame.  But what if you are only coming to the city for a weekend, where do you go?  I will share with you some of my favorite locations to photograph in San Francisco.  Some of them are very iconic, some of them are a bit less widely known.  Alternatively, you could join me personally and explore my favorite spots alongside me during one of my SF photo workshops.

THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE TOWER AT SUNRISE

GOLDEN GATE SUNRISE  San Francisco, California

#1.  Battery Spencer     This spot is certainly no secret, but regardless, it is one of the most spectacular locations to photograph.  And not just in San Francisco, but perhaps the entire country!  This is called Battery Spencer.  Get up there at sunrise or sunset and be prepared to be blown away!  It feels like the Golden Gate bridge is close enough to reach out and touch, which is a very cool feeling.  If you can translate some of that feeling photographically, you are likely to make a powerful photograph.  You can use wide angle lenses all the way to longer lenses for countless perspectives.  Get creative and experiment.  For the above photograph, I was in position well before sunrise and prepared when the light started to get sweet.  The thick fog helped keep the composition simple and clean – making it all about the light, color and atmosphere.

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LET US NOT ASK HOW TO – BUT WHY – MAKE LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHS

If you were interested in learning about long exposure photography techniques and were to do a Google search: “how to long exposure photography”, you would find 32,300,000 search results giving you 1000 lives worth of information, tips, pointers, techniques and more.  Over 32 million!  Long exposure photography is obviously a very popular topic, and one you could study forever.  However, studying the topic of photography technique is not nearly as exciting as actually going out and photographing, so let’s tweak the question and ask “why”.  Why make long exposures?  Asking “how to” activates something in the thinking-mind that wants to research, study, and gain knowledge.  Curiously asking “why” is born out of a different part of our self and activates something else entirely – the inner creative.  When activated, the inner creative is more inclined to go out and photograph life and experiment with different techniques – not just sit at home and read about them.  When you understand the why, the how to comes quite naturally.

There are countless reasons why to make long exposure photographs.  Let’s look at some of them and you will begin to not only see the endless possibilities, but likely begin to feel sparks of inspiration that with some focused attention, will allow you to go out and make fire with your photographs.

FURY

You can create a hint of movement in the water, as seen here with a 1/15 second exposure of a wave exploding against the rocks.  Why?  Because you don’t want your photos to look like the guy who jumped off the tour bus and took a quick snap.  And, it lends itself more to the feeling that the wave is blowing up into the sky.

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SPACE AND SOLITUDE – BRINGING ATTENTION TO SPACIOUSNESS

SPACE AND SOLITUDE

INTERSECT  Maui, Hawaii

If you close your eyes and visualize your living room and the various elements within the room, what do you see?  A sofa, a coffee table, an entertainment center, a TV, art, and probably quite a number of other elements.  Now, let me ask you – which element is the largest in the room?

If you are like most people, your response might be – the sofa, the TV, or the entertainment center.  If you think a bit more cleverly, you might say – the walls.  What most people don’t recognize is, there is much more “space” than anything else, by far.  Physicists tell us that 99.999% of the universe is space – no-thingness.  Oddly, science can be so much more bizarre than science fiction!  If you removed all the empty space from the entire human race, leaving only electrons and the other subatomic particles, all seven billion human bodies would fit in the space of a sugar cube.  That’s just mind boggling stuff, right?  But that gives you a sense of how much space there is in relation to form – yet we rarely bring our attention to the space.

With the living room exercise, it points out how we as people are living primarily form-based.  That is to say, our attention is always going from one form to the next to the next – whether it be the external forms of the world, or the hyper-active thought-forms continuously flowing through our minds seemingly on auto-pilot.  We are form-conscious beings, but is this our natural state?  Isn’t it odd that 99.999% of everything is space yet we hardly bring our attention to it?

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MAKE FIRE – TURNING A PHOTOGRAPHIC SPARK OF INSPIRATION INTO FIRE

THE WALL  La Jolla, California

There we were on Shell Beach in Southern California’s “Jewel” – La Jolla.  If you consider shorts, t-shirt and flip flops ideal attire, then the mid-August weather was just perfect.  The sweet morning light was just beginning to show herself to those of us eager enough to be awake, which on this morning included myself and seven photography workshop participants who were joining me for one of my California workshops.  Shell Beach seemed like an ideal location to take seven passionate photographers for a sunrise – it’s small and intimate, yet contains many elements that can be arranged well for a diverse style of seeing photographic compositions.  It’s only as wide as a football field, yet both sides lead upward to steep cliffs that stretch out toward the sea, undercut with partial caves on the sides and a scattering of rocks throughout the beach, with a couple large rocks just offshore where pelicans and cormorants linger about.  Having photographed this spot many times before, I knew good compositional arrangements could be made, but of course, it is also quite easy to include too much or too little and fall short of success as well.  So, an ideal setting to place students – a place where they can make it work, or not, and then discuss the why’s and why not’s as to what is working and what is not working in real time.

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VISITING THE LOUVRE AND THE MONA LISA NO ONE SEES

MONA LISA AT THE LOUVREParis Journals, Part 3

We made our way into the vast interior of the Louvre within an hour of the museum opening the doors to the public that day, and still we were swallowed up and taken by the herd of visitors.  We figured we better try and b-line it to the Mona Lisa and then to Venus de Milo, in order to at least witness those two pieces before the masses made it impossible.  The museum strategically places these pieces deep into the maze of corridors.  By the time we made it to Mona Lisa, the large room was already thick with visitors.  Over the next 10 minutes, I was struck, sadly, by an obvious and ugly new truth about our civilization.

  • •We are totally and completely addicted to our devices.  And worse, we are seemingly attempting to experience life through the screen of a device and the resultant images and videos.

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STREET ART IN PARIS

PARIS-BLOG-2AThe Paris Journals, Part 2

Artist John Fekner defines street art as “all art on the street that’s not graffiti”, so please, when I say “Street Art”, do not visualize graffiti or worse, tagging (which I detest), that is not what we are talking about.  We are talking about very talented artists offering their creative works to the world on the most visible and popular canvas – the street.  The street art in Paris was one of the highlights to our time there.  In fact, between the artwork we viewed in the Louvre, the Pompidou Centre, Versailles, and elsewhere, the art on the street was perhaps the most exciting to me!  Yeah, I said it.  Of course, the Mona Lisa is a piece of art of great importance and the Venus de Milo is admittedly beautiful, but there is something wonderfully exciting about coming around the corner of a Parisian street and seeing a stenciled painting like the one above by Nick Walker.

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