Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean is one of my favorite images.  It has a bit of an unlikely story behind it.

I was on a hiking photo tour of Kauai with Kauai Photo Tours.  It was a bit of a last minute thing that Mrs. Frog encouraged me to do, so while I had my basic photo gear that I travel with (Nikon D-7100 body and Tamron 18-270mm and 10-24mm lenses), I didn’t have what I would take on a planned landscape shoot.  (That’s another post and discussion!)

So, our group is hiking down to the mouth of Puukumu Stream. Puukumu Stream runs north from the mountains of Kauai between Kahiliwai and Kilauea carrying rainwater to the Pacific Ocean.

My gear is in my bag.  We’ve crossed the stream and are heading north northeast to a small waterfall where the stream empties into the ocean.  And the group is moving.  And my gear is in my bag.  And the group is moving.  I look to the left and think “hey, that’s a great shot…”  And my Icon is in my pocket.  So, I stop briefly, pull out the Icon and snap a few in automatic mode, and then keep moving.

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean on the north side of Kauai, Hi.

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean on the north side of Kauai, Hi.

I thought it might have been a good grab shot.  And the more I looked at it later in the day, the more I realized that it wasn’t just a good grab shot, but that it was in fact a great shot!

This image was taken in DNG format with a Nokia Icon in Auto mode, ISO 64, 1/1500 second.  Minor post-processing took place in Perfect Photo Suite 9.

Puukumu Stream meets the Pacific Ocean can be found in the coastal and beach scenes gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

This image would be no ka ‘oi (“the best” in Hawaiian) as a metal print or on metallic paper in 1 high x 2 wide format (10″x20″, 12″x24″).

OBX Sunrise

On a clear morning, there are few things like an OBX sunrise.  OBX is the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Don’t know where it originated or when, but it’s saves keystrokes so I’ll take it.

(And yes, to those of you who’ve seen it up and down the east coast, it’s beautiful everywhere!)

If there is no haze or clouds, it’s a pure unadultered and unobstructed sunrise – the sky lights up and the sun edges its’ way above the horizon.  It doesn’t take all that long to happen either – all of the OBX sunrise photos added to the sunrises gallery on Laughing Frog Images were taken within a span of 15 minutes.

If you’re lucky like I was, pelicans, sea gulls and other shore birds will fly through your viewfinder and you’ll end up with the birds in silhouette.

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Making your own sunrise over the water images like this is fairly easy.  First, take the rule about not shooting into the sun and ignore it.  Second, select a low ISO,  Third, select a high shutter speed.  Fourth, select a medium to high aperture.  Then, shoot away!  Vary your exposures by a stop or two up and down so that you get a broad selection of images to choose from.

The image above was made at ISO 100, 1/1000 second, and f8.

If you’re shooting with a smartphone, tablet, or point and shoot, and you can select the exposure point – pick right in the enter of the sun streak on the water.  Then, move the selection point up, down, left and right so that you’ve got several different exposures to choose from.

If you like sunrises, check out the sunrise gallery.

If you like OBX sunrises, or any sunrises for that matter, but can’t get to the shore to photograph them yourself – well, we’ve got you covered – and covered for 25% off of sunrises and everything else on Laughing Frog Images through December 15, 2015.

Pelican Perception Put to Rest

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d always thought that when waterborne birds of prey entered the water, they did so in a sleek and streamlined manner.

That was until I was able to photograph a pelican purposely pursuing breakfast one morning at the Outer Banks.

Naturally, the pelican couldn’t cooperate by being close enough to shore so that I could end up with images good enough to post in the galleries, but it was entertaining nonetheless.

So there I was, shooting away as the purposeful plunge progressed (notice that for some reason I’ve decided it’s time use the letter “P” a lot?) towards the water.

It wasn’t until I was able to see everything on a computer screen that I realized that I managed to catch a pelican at the point of surface penetration…

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At first I thought this was a speck on the lens, or worse, my sensor. Surely it wasn’t a bird, because, well, it looks like it’s going to crash, and crash bad.

But that wasn’t the case at all…

As I zoomed in, I realized that my timing was fantastic – its’ beak is just breaking the water.

And I realized that all of my perceptions about grace and aerodynamics and a sleek entry were, well, quite simply, pelican poop…

This isn’t anything close to graceful…

It’s not sleek.  It’s not aerodynamic.

I’m sure there’s a purposeful reason behind pelican posture at the point of aquatic entry – but it escapes me.

I can’t help but wonder how in the world this entry goes for the pelican.  Logic makes me wonder why this doesn’t tear the poor pelican to pieces.

Maybe it helps with rapid deceleration?

Maybe I saw a mutant band of pelicans that pursues an alternate form of dives?

Maybe these birds are just rugged and strong and virtually indestructible?

Maybe they’ve purposely pursued physics in an alternate perspective that places prodigious force over grace and aerodynamics?

And maybe I’m simply amazed that this is just how a pelican works, because within a few seconds, this bird popped up to the surface and rode the waves until it took off in pursuit of its’ next course.

Did this picture perhaps prompt a change of your perceptions about pelicans?

Do tell…

 

Heceta Head Lighthouse

On a long weekend on the Oregon coast, Mrs. Frog and I crossed one off the bucket list – we stayed in a Bed & Breakfast at the former Lightkeeper’s Quarters at Heceta Head Lighthouse.

(You don’t have to stay there to tour the Lightkeeper’s Quarters or see the lighthouse.)

You can learn more about the lighthouse itself by clicking here.

I don’t know what to say about it other than it’s one of those places that has a sense of place, and you should have it on your list, whether you stay in Florence or at the B&B.

The waves in Oregon are different from what I’m used to – and perhaps for you as well.  They’re constant – you can see that in some of the images in the gallery.

Swimming in many places along the Oregon coast can be hazardous to your health.

Don’t like the weather?  Wait five minutes – it may change!  Like the weather?  It could change in five minutes!

The wind only seems to blow about a quarter of the time.  From each of the four directions, that is.

If any of that sounds like a complaint – you’re absolutely wrong!

It’s beautiful.  It’s rugged.  It’s rainy.  It’s sunny.  It’s foggy.  It’s windy.  It’s breathtaking.

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Heceta Head Lighthouse is in the far left-center, the Lightkeeper’s Quarters are in the center, Devil’s Elbow is the rock formation in front of the Lightkeeper’s Quarters, and the waves. 

Just look at the waves.  This image was made just before the sun disappeared below the horizon, hence the “sweet” light.

Heceta Head Lighthouse is a delight for photographers of all levels and persuasions.

What I found wildly interesting was that over 90% of the people I saw photographing Heceta Head Lighthouse from along the Oregon Coast Highway were using their smartphone or their tablet.  From a snooty photographer’s perspective I was thinking to myself “why are they doing that?” and “where are their “real” cameras?”  And then, I took a breath, and realized that (1) it’s 2015, and (2) maybe they think I’m the crazy one.  Ultimately, images speak to each of us differently, and who I am to question what one sees and treasures in their images.

I made over 300 images of Heceta Head Lighthouse.  In the fog.  In the mist.  At dusk.  At night.  In the few minutes of sunshine that I had.  And then I previewed.  Then, I processed.  And I cropped.  All in, 95% of the images didn’t make the cut for one reason or another.  Mist or fog droplets on the lens.  Mist or fog that made the picture “bleah” as Snoopy would say.  Fuzzy due to the mist or fog.

Seventeen images made the cut, and they are presented for you in the Heceta Head Lighthouse gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

Perhaps the most amazing thing to me was that you could stand at the base of the lighthouse and see eight beams of light emerging from the Fresnel lens.  Yes, eight!  I didn’t know that was possible.  I know that when I was south of the lighthouse, I could only see one light every ten seconds – the pattern for Heceta Head Lighthouse.  I know that I could see two main beams at night from the Lightkeeper’s Quarters.  And I saw eight when standing at the base of the lighthouse.  I don’t understand it.  I can’t explain it.  I don’t know if that happens at all lighthouses.  I haven’t researched it.

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I included an image of this in the gallery and noted in the caption to order this at your own risk.  Due to the fog and mist that night, I don’t expect it to reproduce well.

I simply know one thing about the eight beams of light I saw: it’s absolutely fascinating, no, mesmerizing, no, spectacular.  Yes, spectacular.

And that make me want to go back.

And that makes me tell you that Heceta Head Lighthouse is one for your Bucket List.

I hope you enjoy this gallery as much as we did in making it!

Little Green Bucket.

When I was working on Stories at the Princeville Pier (the previous post), I couldn’t get my mind off of the little green bucket.

The original color image was simply washed out as I was deliberately shooting into the sun to be able to work with silhouettes in the final image.

I was fine with that.

But the little green bucket was calling me.

DSC_6943 lgb 600hI had to do something with that little green bucket…

So, it was back to the digital darkroom.

This time, I opened the image in ACDsee Pro 8 and did something I’ve never done before.

I’d read about it many times, but this was the Frog’s first time removing color from an image.

Using the Advanced Color Feature, I removed all of the color from the image except the greens.

The only evident color in this image is the little green bucket.

Yes, there’s a little left in the water.

But your eye is drawn to the little green bucket.

Depending on how you’re viewing this post, you might be doubting me right now.  If you’re doubting me, click here.

Both images – Little Green Bucket and Stories – are in the coastal and beach scenes gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

Thanks for visiting.

Princeville Pier

When I saw this shot of Princeville Pier, I didn’t see it in color.

I took it in color, but I didn’t see it in color.

Not that there was much color in it.  They say you’re not supposed to shoot into the sun for a reason…

Lost yet?

I saw a some stories at Princeville Pier that could be told in shadow.

I saw a man pondering the rough surf in the harbor.

I saw two children.  Little boys testing mommy’s mettle.

One brave and adventurous – that’s the one on the left that wanted to help the small rocks get back into the water.  He’s deep in his follow-through after one such effort.

One has his bucket and shovel, but slightly more timid.  He wanted to play in the sand, but was not so sure that the cold water was worth it…

I’m not so sure that males ever grow out of testing females, how we do it and who we test just changes throughout lift.  But I digress…

Stories.  In silhouette.  In black and white. At Princeville Pier.

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I saw this as being a black and white, with the people silhouetted against the water.

I was shooting dead into the sun, and I knew I wasn’t going to get any detail of the people in the foreground, but I knew (hoped) that the shot would work in black and white.

So… off to the digital darkroom I went.

The color raw file was opened in Perfect B&W within Perfect Photo Suite 9.5.

I darkened it a bit to bring out the detail in the sand in the foreground, and also to emphasize the silhouettes.

I wanted it to be a bit gritty, especially the tree and hill detail across the harbor, so I selected a film profile that mimic’s Kodak’s legendary Tri-X Pan film.

I adjusted the shadow detail to bring out the detail in the columns supporting the pier.

And here’s the finished product.

Thoughts?

You can find this image in the coastal and beach scenes gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

The original image was made using a Tamron 18-270mm zoom on a Nikon D5100.  Exposure was 1/2500 second at f13, ISO 1000.

Power versus Persistence, Part 2

It has been said to the Frog that perhaps the image of Power versus Persistence was in fact a bit too ominous or haunting.

In looking at it, I can see that perspective.

Recognizing that a picture speaks to different people differently, I asked “what would be different in your ideal image of Power versus Persistence?”

The common answer was along the lines of the untold story in the shadows.

So, off to the digital darkroom I went.

This time, I went to ACDSee Pro 8.  Why, when the original was created using onOne Perfect Photo Suite 9.5?  Well, I really like the Light EQ feature in ACDSee Pro 8 – there are nine (9) separate channels available to adjust an image.  Sometimes, I use this feature to rescue an image from long ago, and sometimes I use this feature to fine-tune an image as I did in this case.

I worked on bringing out the detail in the roots and branches while not washing out the water and the waves.

DSC_6842 power vs persistence copy copy ALT 600 wmAs I was working on the image, I realized that I was telling a story that the original image left untold.  The gnarled roots are part of the story of Power versus Persistence.  You can see the tops of the roots – this is where the land once was.  Power, aided by the wind, has slowly gnawed away at the sand.  Persistence has dug deep and reached out to anything it can to resist power and stay alive.  Persistence isn’t giving up, but you can see that Power is slowly winning.  There will come a day, perhaps in my lifetime, and perhaps not, that Power will prevail.  I don’t know how long the battle of Power versus Persistence has been going on, but I hope to be able to check in on their status from time to time and see how Persistence is faring.

It’s another of nature’s stories playing out before mankind.

Both versions of Power versus Persistence are available in the coastal and beach scenes gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

It would be interesting to see your comments on which version of Power versus Persistence you prefer and why.

 

Power versus Persistence

You might notice an unusual use of capitalization in the title of this post.  Don’t worry, it’s intentional.

Power versus Persistence tells a story.

All the way at the end of the paved road in Kauai if you’re headed counterclockwise lies Ke’e, and Ke’e State Beach.

That’s where the story of Power versus Persistence plays out.

It’s rough water there, and going in for a swim isn’t advised.  There are six different signs with infographics about all of the bad things that can happen to you if you go in if the surf isn’t enough to intimidate you.

But, if you’re a photographer, it’s safe.

One of the first things you see as you enter the beach by the Lifeguard Station is a very prominent tree.  Persistence.

And when you look to your left, you see the pounding surf.  Power.

You feel the wind.  Occasionally, you feel the spray.  And you see the tree.

And you wonder how the battle is going, the battle of Power versus Persistence.

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Persistence wants to stay put and live out its life.

Power wants to control everything in its’ path.

And day by day, grain of sand by grain of sand, my bet is that Power will prevail over Persistence.

Persistence won’t let power win easily.  Persistence is fighting with every fiber in its’ roots.

Someday, when Power has moved enough sand, Persistence will fall prey to the laws of physics, specifically gravity and friction.  And Power will win.

It has been said that there is almost a haunting quality about this image.  Personally, I’d possibly make that association if Persistence were dead.

I see it as a reflection of a struggle among elements of nature.  If you want to go really deep, you could say that it is a visual metaphor of one’s struggle (Persistence) to hold course in what has become a complicated and fast moving world (Power).

It’s likely that each one of us sees something along the lines of just holding on and staying fast, and that’s fine.

If it’s true that a picture paints a thousand words, what would your words be?

Power versus Persistence is available in the coastal and beach scenes gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

Image made with a Nikon D5100 and a Tamron 18-270 zoom; RAW image file exposed at ISO 200 for 1/250 second at f8; processed in Perfect B&W / Perfect Photo Suite 9.5.