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.

DSC_6943 copy 600h

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.

DSC_6842 power vs persistence copy 600w

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Ghost Crabs

In my mind, at least until I did my research, this post was going to be called “Sand Crabs”.

So, I did what any modern researcher would do and went straight to Wikipedia and typed “sand crabs” in the search bar.

And then, I realized, it wasn’t going to be called sand crabs…

I hadn’t photographed sand crabs at all.  I had photographed Atlantic ghost crabs (Ocypode quadrata).

2015_07_12_DSC_0831 copy 600w

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, you do learn something every day…

Anyway… ghost crabs are entertaining and intriguing to watch.  One wonders if they are nervous, hyperactive, stressed, or all of these.

They’re fast.  They move sideways.  They always know where their burrow is.  They adapt when their burrow is wiped out by a wave.  They can move their eyes from a vertical orientation to a horizontal orientation.  They look like E.T. when their eyes are horizontal.  They eat seaweed and things we can’t apparently see.  They vary in color and I learned that they can change color.  They look at us like we’re strange as much as we look at them and think they’re strange.  They can run really fast when there are little kids with a sand bucket and scoop chasing them.

If you find yourself on an Atlantic beach and want to photograph Atlantic ghost crabs, here are a few tips.

Sit in a low beach chair.  If you can, lie on your stomach on a towel.  Use a long zoom lens .  Don’t move much – they don’t like that.  Be observant.  Be patient.  Shoot early in the morning or late in the day for the optimal low angle light – if you shoot in the middle of the day, you’ll probably find that everything looks bright and washed out.  And… have fun!

These photo tips will work for any crab on any beach you might find yourself on.

The Frog shot these images in Nags Head, NC with a Nikon 55-300VR zoom lens on a Nikon D7100 and then processed them in onOne Perfect Photo Suite 9.5.

There’s a new gallery on Laughing Frog Images dedicated to the Atlantic ghost crab.  If you guessed that it’s called Ghost Crabs, you’re right!

Want a unique coffee mug or phone case?  We’ve got you covered.

Or, for those with a warped sense of humor – how about a crab staring at people in your powder room or guest bathroom?  (I don’t know where that came from, but it’s reasonable for me to think that Mrs. Frog wouldn’t let me do that!)

Enjoy!

Ode to a burger.

I like food.

I think and talk about food often.

Mrs. Frog is a most excellent cook.

And this is an ode to a burger…

Almost everyone has a favorite burger.  For most folks, that favorite burger is probably in their town/city, or at least close by.  They don’t know how lucky they are.

And then, there are the tortured souls like me…

I have a favorite burger, too!  Only it’s not in my city.  I can’t even hop in the car and drive to get one.  It’s about 2600 miles away, and my only choices to get there are a plane or a ship.

I have a long-distance love affair with my favorite burger.  Every time I leave, I begin to lust for my return and the next one.

It’s a tortured existence… for I fell for the Feral Burger (which actually isn’t even on the menu) at The Feral Pig in Lihue, Kauai.

WP_20150214_12_23_22_Raw__highres lfi 320

Isn’t it beautiful?! It doesn’t even look like a regular burger.

So, what is this ode to a burger all about?

Let’s see….

  • Kauai ground beef,
  • ground, house-smoked pork shoulder,
  • pork belly,
  • caramelized onions, and
  • secret aioli sauce.

Looking at that list just initiates burger lust, as well as the rational thought that the blood flow in my arteries and veins is perhaps better off because I can’t just drive to the Feral Pig and get one of these on a whim.

And, with airfare as it is now, it’s not like I’m going on a burger run anytime soon.  But one can dream, can’t one?

It’s decadent.  It’s sloppy.  And, it’s soooooo good.  I don’t know when the next time will be, but I’m already looking forward to it.

If you’re in the neighborhood, you’ve got to at least try a Feral Burger (with fries and a Mai Tai, but that’s another post or two…).

You might like it.

You might not like it (doubtful…).

Or, you might just become another tortured soul like me, living vicariously through a picture until the next time…

 

Polarizing Filters, Part 2

A long time ago in the blog, and far, far away… we talked a bit about polarizing filters and the technical details of how they work.

Well, it might have only been a few months, but that sounded like a good opening!

Anyway, we talked about polarizing filters and how they can help with glare, but we didn’t show you anything about them in the blog.

The least we could have done was to have shown you how they work right here in the blog!  We’re going to fix that transgression compliments of back lighting and a koi pond.

First up, here’s what happens if you try to take the picture in these conditions without a polarizing filter:

DSC_6290 lfi 320 wm

[Nikon D5100, 60mm f2.8 lens, ISO 400, 1/200 sec., f4.5, no filter.]

Not so hot, eh?

So, let’s see what happens when you use your polarizing filter – this is the next image I shot:

DSC_6291 lfi 320 wm

[Nikon D5100, 60mm f2.8 lens, ISO 400, 1/200 sec., f2.8, polarizing filter – notice that I lost a stop on the exposure due to the polarizing filter.]

Impressive, isn’t it?  If you’ve never seen this demonstration before, you might say it’s amazing.  The technical details are found here.

I don’t claim to fully understand everything about the physics behind a polarizing filter – I just know that they work, and can help you get an image you couldn’t otherwise get.

If you can get your hands on one, they’re a great addition to your camera bag.

 

Snorkeling at Lawa’i Beach

The Frogs took a snorkel tour with Aloha Kauai Tours to Lawa’i Beach on the south side of Kauai.  We’ve rented gear and snorkeled on our own in the past, but decided to try a tour and see if their equipment and the overall experience was better.  It was!  No fogging in the mask, no gagging from a bad snorkel, and we had wetsuits which apparently make it easier to be a human lump on the surface taking in the sights below.  Our leaders were Paul (All of them!  Unforgettable character!) and Nick.

The winds were out of the south and west, which was stirring things up a bit.  Many images looked OK, at least until you were looking at them at 100% – and then, you saw the suspended sand…  As a result, the initial sorting and selection process went very quickly.

Peace, Harmony and Coral: Snorkeling at Lawa’i Beach

Coral reefs are amazing.  If you’ve never had a chance to snorkel at a coral reef, put it on your Bucket List.  If you can’t make that happen, well, at least you’ve got some pictures to look at.

Coral itself is fascinating, and I’ve only had limited exposure to it.  Some of it looks like a human brain.  Some look like a tree trunk that’s full of termite tunnels.  Some look like rocks.  Some look like debris.  And it’s a living thing that fosters and supports all kinds of marine life.

Then, there’s the fish.  I tried to include at least one image showing every kind of fish we saw.  It’s like viewing things in a kaleidoscope, only the medium for the kaleidoscope is boundless, as is the motion of the colors.  There are a few images where you can in fact see the suspended sand – but this site is supposed to be a fun site as well as a commercial site, so they’re there for the fun and for you viewing pleasure.

What’s amazing is that among all of the species of fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and coral was what we didn’t see: chases, pursuits, fights, or anything swimming around looking for a swimming lunch.  I don’t know if this was an atypical day at the reef, or a representation a typical day at the reef.

But, amongst the coral, there was peace, and there was harmony.

We humans should do so well…

You can check out Snorkeling at Lawa’i Beach gallery on Laughing Frog Images, and check out from your everyday for a bit…  Enjoy!

Sometimes you need a little luck #2

 

Getting images of seals on a beach in their basic form isn’t all that hard.

After all – they’re seals. And, they’re on a beach.  As I said, the basics aren’t hard.

Getting those really memorable photos of seals on a beach isn’t technically hard – it’s not much different than getting an image of a seal on a beach.  You generally just need to capture a seal doing something on the beach other than sleeping.  But that’s the whole point of why they’re on the beach.  To sleep.

Starting to see the challenge?

So, you sit there and focus on a seal and wait.  Or, you scout the seals and, using your best seal sense, try to figure out which one is going to do something photogenic and focus on that one and wait.  At least until you figure out your seal sense isn’t quite as good as what you thought it was.  Then, you start to scan the seals thorough your lens, because you know that’s going to work!

As either and/or both your feet and butt get sore from waiting, you realize that there’s only one thing that is going to work for you.  Sometimes, you need a little luck.

That’s what finally happened here when I caught this guy/gal moving in mid-nap.  A little luck had come my way.  I swung the camera around (Casio Exilim EX-V8) and captured this image.  This is a crop of the original – I had a pocket digital with me, and not my DSLR.

There are a lot of potential captions for this image – and each of us has our own take on that.  We can all relate to having a peaceful sleep ruined by things like an alarm clock, or someone making a loud noise.

There was noise, and this guy/gal wasn’t all that happy.  I’m not sure if I saw the seal version of flipping someone off before the eyes were again closed and it was time to visit Sleepy Town once again.

CIMG0839 4x5 320w

(Yeah, I know, that was an incredibly bad groaner, but if you’ve been following along on the blog, you shouldn’t be surprised by now!)

You can see the original image here in the Galleries on Laughing Frog Images.

Most everyone out there knows someone who deserves this on their coffee/tea cup – and we can help with that!

Thanks for reading.

Sometimes, you need a little luck.

I was asked about this picture recently.  Specifically, “how did you do it?”

DSC_2727 LF

Well, from a technical standpoint, it’s easy to explain.  Nikon D-80 camera, Sigma 18-200VR lens, ISO 320, 1/800 shutter speed, aperture of f/9.

From a practical standpoint, you need a little luck.

We were on a Na Pali Coast cruise from the north shore of Kauai, and we came across a school of Spinner Dolphins.  They seem to be natural hams for the camera, and probably have figured out that we humans act silly when they play for us.  That was the first bit of luck.

Then – the guessing began.  You have to pick a dolphin (or small group of them) and try to track them with your camera.  And repeat.  And then, repeat again.  All the while, you’re hoping for that spectacular break and jump – and when that happens, you have to remember to be quick with the shutter instead of watching it.

What tends to happen is that all of the dolphins that are jumping and making those spectacular displays and memories for the babbling humans are those that you’re not tracking.  By the time you turn and focus on them, it’s over…

Sometimes, you need a little luck.

It all came together for me in a brief moment – the jump, the focus, the exposure, and the timing.  While I wished at the time that it was closer and on the other side of the boat so this wasn’t a silhouette shot – there is something about the shape and form of the dolphin that is accentuated by its’ silhouette.

I wish I could tell you that it takes a mastery of skills that only a few have achieved, but then, I’d be lying to you.  It does take the right ISO, aperture and shutter speed.  It does take patience.  (And, thank the programmers, developers, and engineers that made digital photography a reality – because there would be a lot of expensive and wasted film in the process!)

But, to be honest, sometimes, you just need a little luck…

You can find the image here on Laughing Frog Images, or you can start from the Main Gallery Page.

 

 

Get lost in Tunnel View

No, that’s not a typo – I really mean that this is an invitation to get lost in Tunnel View.

Actually, the name of the print is “Tunnel View two ways”.  Yes, I name some prints!  Some are worthy – and this one definitely is.

Tunnel View is the name of a viewing area at the west end of the Yosemite Valley on the road to/from the south entrance.  It draws its’ name from the adjacent tunnel.  If you enter Yosemite National Park from the south – this is the first view of the Valley you get when you pop out of the tunnel.  Maybe not the most original name, but Tunnel View is certainly now an iconic name.

This image and its’ print are a little different…

Tunnel View Panorama Composite

First, this isn’t just one image at Tunnel View – it’s actually five images stitched together to give a detailed panorama.  The original raw file is over 90 megabytes!

Second, it’s the same image in black and white and color in one print.

I have this at home, and to be honest with you, from time to time, I find myself just staring at it.  And looking up.  And looking down.  And looking up.  And looking down.  You get the point.  I get lost in Tunnel View.

There’s just something about being able to look at the same thing in color and black and white at the same time, and being able to compare and contrast the detail and the imagery, and to wrestle with the eternal question – is it better in color or black and white?

Sometimes, getting lost in Tunnel View is a way to find some peace and solace in a hectic day.  And, sometimes, getting lost in Tunnel View is just a way to admire and ponder nature’s glory.

I invite you to get lost in Tunnel View this holiday season, and every day, by making Tunnel View your own in some way from Laughing Frog Images.  You can find Tunnel View two ways here in the Yosemite National Park Gallery on Laughing Frog Images.

You can also make someone “get lost” this holiday season by getting them Tunnel View two ways as a gift!

Either way, enjoy!