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.

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.