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.
Over the course of the next 90 minutes, we both shot many frames of these incredible surfers riding these beautiful epic waves.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
One of my favorite things is to hike down Sliding Sands Trail in the Haleakala National Park, the night before the full moon, during sunset time. It gives me a chance to get down inside the crater, one of my favorite places on the planet, during the time of optimal-sweet light. With or without camera, I recognize this as an incredible life-experience – one that I always try and make time for, at least a few times a year. Last night, I was able to share this experience with a Maui photo workshop participant who was looking for an adventurous photographic expedition during his island vacation to Maui. It so happened that on this particular day, the moonrise was the most dramatic of the year! With the sun perfectly opposite the moon, the light and size of the moon appeared to be 14% larger and 30% brighter than normal! It only made sense for us to venture into the crater from atop the 10,023 foot peak, and put ourselves in an epic and otherworldly place (inside a volcanic crater) for this special moonrise! As good fortune would have it, we were graced with an insane sunset and the light was so sweet.
The Big Island was clearly visible, seemingly close enough to touch, as the large and brilliant moon arose above it. Me – as much as I was ooh’ing and aah’ing the moonrise to the right of this scene, I couldn’t resist focusing my photographic efforts on the sweet, brilliant, and colorful light that presented itself to my lens in this composition. Here, in Hawaii, being much closer to the equator, this period of sweet-light does not last long. It is fleeting. Ephemeral. You put yourself in in the right place, at the right time, and hope for the best. Last night, I found myself at the right place at the right time – very cool to be able to share the experience with another passionate photographer!