1. Be willing to miss Happy Hour and dinner at a popular dinnertime.
Most people seem to eat dinner around sunset. If you’re an outdoor landscape photographer, you’re not sitting at this table. Happy Hour…fuhgeddaboudit! Dinner and drinks both have to come later, after dark, and after the nights shooting.
2. Be willing to wake up earlier than you’d ever consider otherwise.
Most people I personally prefer to sleep in to reasonable hours like 7 or 8am (or, even 9am on occasion), but when you are driven to get dynamic images with Sweet Light, there are times when you have to get up at 0′ Dark Early – times that begin with a 4 !?! Yes, I know…it sounds inhumane, but all is soon forgotten when the magical morning light begins – mixed with your 1/2 sleep stupor, a feeling of harmonious bliss can take you over for a righteous and pure morning Happy Hour that leaves you feeling peachy all day. (Afternoon nap may be required.)
3. Be willing to struggle, suffer, and otherwise torture yourself.
Unless you find satisfaction in only making images alongside the edge of the road or parking lot, the same images anyone else can easily make, then as an outdoor landscape photographer, you’re going to have to suffer at the hand of nature. You will have to spend many hours in the elements, hiking and climbing and waiting in the hot or the cold or the wet, all the while quieting your mind which can get extremely noisy during these uncomfortable times. Fortunately, most of us who choose this photographic path do so because we love nature, whether punishing or not. I always feel that the more one pushes up against the comfort zones of the ego, the more of a gem there is to be found – especially while in the stillness of nature.
This past weekend, myself and a couple of friends decided to push up against these comfort zones and hike from close to sea-level to 8,000 feet over a course of 17 miles and 48 hours – UP! the Kaupo Gap and through the Haleakala Crater of Maui. I carried 50 pounds of weight which in addition to all my camping gear, included my camera and lens, filters and a tripod, with hopes of being able to make an image or two along the way. As it turned out, not much success in the way of an image for my limited edition collection on this journey, but there was still a gem there to be found, shining amongst the struggles and efforts required to make it through this demanding hike.
While living here on Maui, I try and get up to the Haleakala Crater National Park every chance I get. One of my favorite things to do is to head up on the afternoon of a full moon, hike down the Sliding Sands trail at sunset, loop around the cinder cone a few miles down, and head back up the trail to the rising moon and the darkening sky. This is what I was doing a year back when I captured Stillness Speaks, and what Rebecca and I were planning on doing yesterday. With Haleakala being over 10,000 feet tall, it is often engulfed in weather. From the sea-level perspective, you can never tell for certain whether or not you’ll be able to get above the weather, so I generally just go for it and hope for the best. If it’s socked in, as was the case yesterday, then it’s a chance to enjoy a drive.
The University of Hawaii has a live webcam looking into the crater from the summit, but it hasn’t been working for quite some time. Can we get someone on this, please?
I’m heading up the 101 North on my way to Forks, Washington when I come to the South Shore Road that splits off and runs along Lake Quinault. Not being in any particular hurry and remembering some waterfalls listed on the map, I can’t resist the photographic possibilities and excitedly get back into proper exploration mode, versus the Miles-Davis-chill-mode that I had just been in for some hours. Volume goes down, seat comes upright, window down, heater on. Alertness: ON. Okay, I’m in the proper place.
I passed the beautiful Lake Quinault Lodge and found myself wanting to stay. It looks majestic and charming and the view and atmosphere are absolutely stunning. Before too long, I’m exploring the Merriman and Bunch waterfalls up the road, both of which are worth taking a peak at. And then, there it was, this old rusty truck, nearly swallowed up by the mossy rainforest. I suspect one of the neighbors made the sign, a cool addition, don’t ya think? I wonder if they meant Peace…
I spent a couple of nights out camping with family and friends this weekend at Kipahulu Campground on the South East Coast of Maui. This is the place to camp on the Hana side of the island, and also the access point to the Seven Sacred Pools and the enchanting Bamboo Forest. It’s an absolutely beautiful campground along an awesome and rugged coastline, but beware – it is often wet here. This is the wet side of the island so one has to be prepared with the right equipment and the right mindset. We all live in Lahaina where it doesn’t rain at all, so I think we were all kinda enjoying it, but the big blue tarp sure made it easier and more comfortable.
Kipahulu Campground. Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii