Sunday, June 19, 2011

Turtle Bonanza

        What an amazing morning I had with the turtles. By far the most amazing images I have ever gotten on one day out in the water. After yesterday's snorkel and key fiasco. We decided to go out again this time making sure not to lose the key. There were so many turtles I didn't know where to start. Most of them hung right by us as long as we didn't swim too fast and allowed them go their way. They would swim right by us.

        The topography at this location was amazing. The stark contrast between rock, sand and coral made for a beautiful backdrop for these gorgeous sea creatures. 

         Many of the photos that I have envisioned getting over the years; I was able to create on this one morning out. I could not have imagined ever getting this many amazing images in one morning. It was like I had paid the turtles to model for me.

        The rays of the sun piercing through the water  added to my backdrop. The backdrops couldn't have been better if I drew them myself. For those of you that have seen me attempt to paint or draw, you know this to be true.

         I also loved the perfect ripples in the sands below. I was able to use them to my advantage in many of my compositions. And the sun glistening off the shallow bottom was just icing on the cake.

         The turtles move so gracefully through the water as they travel up to the surface, down to the bottom and over all the different underwater obstacles. Each of these obstacles adding depth and interest to my images. Many of these obstacles were teaming with beautiful fish.

       I love when the turtles would come to the surface and reflect in the mirror of the water above. If the turtles were comfortable they would surface right by me giving me the opportunity to capture images like the ones above.

       I just want to say thanks to Don and Linda Hurzeler for letting me tag along on one of their many snorkeling adventures here on the Big Island. They Snorkel almost every morning. So this is how most of their days start. Not a bad start to the morning if you ask me. And today we didn't have to wait for triple A. So it was just a perfect day in paradise.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

With Friends in Turtle Heaven

       Woke up this morning to an invite to go snorkeling with some friends. So after a mad dash to get all my gear ready; as it hasn't been used in awhile due to my accident. We were on our way to an underwater paradise filled with turtles. It has been almost six months since I have been in the water snorkeling. I was curious to see how my ankle would fair with fins. Especially because the only fins that I had were Cressi long blades. I was surprised at how good it felt in the water even with long fins. I got some amazing shots while out in the water. The turtles were posing today and stayed by us for quite some time.

        Don and Linda Hurzeler are both snorkeling addicts and spend most of their mornings in the water. I've just been waiting to heal up so I could join them. I spent years on the water teaching snorkeling and diving and spent most of my days in the water. Now with my gallery I have not been in the water quite as much, just enjoying the beauty below. Now that I have friends living here that enjoy it as much as I do I have an excuse to get out more often.

         After a great morning in the water, we got out to find that we had lost the key to the Jeep while out in the water. Luckily Don had an extra key in the car and also triple A. So if the worst thing that happens to you on a day in Hawaii is you have to spend another hour and a half at the beach waiting for triple A to come and unlock the car. It's all good! The last shot was accidental as my camera was triggered while I sat and waited for triple A.

       All in all it was a fantastic morning. So good in fact that we are doing it again tomorrow. Minus the key fiasco of course. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Not according to plan

        Well Nick and I headed to Oahu this weekend to photograph waves. The plan was to photograph waves at Sandy beach this weekend while the sun would be perfectly positioned down the barrel of the wave. Well things didn't go according to plan. First of all as seen in the photo above we were given the ultimate tourist mobile (a red pt cruiser look a like). It was a Chevy HHR. In all fairness to Chevy it was a very comfortable car and it drove fantastic. It just was not the car that you want to blend in on the Waianae coast (The most local community in the islands with a well deserved reputation for being rough for new comers to the islands.) I was raised on the Waianae coast and graduated from Waianae High so I knew better but couldn't resist posing with lei's on by our tourist mobile in the heart of Waianae. The photo above was taken at the dead end of the road in Waianae at one of my favorite beaches (Yokes). I love the high surf sign in the background and my handicap placard in the window, but the cheap ABC Store lei's that we went out of our way to get made the photo. The photo below was taken very quickly with Waianae Store in the background.  I had to do these two photos for my friends in Waianae who will get a laugh out of the car Nick and I were driving out there.

       Day one we headed out two photograph with to friends from Oahu, Jon and Kimo.  We got up early and headed to Sandy beach.  We pulled up to a massive thunder storm. The lightning was amazing.  Nick and I were looking for a break in the rain so we could shoot lighting through the barrel. With no break in the rain there was no way to keep the ports clear on our cameras so that plan was shot.  So we called Kimo and Jon and headed to the only place on the island that was not blanketed in rain, Waianae. It was a good call as Yokes was beautiful. Waves were right on the beach so it was fun to roll around in the shore break with friends.

         You can see Jon down the barrel of this wave and Kimo entering the surf in the photo after. Kimo had to leave the break early. While jumping through a wave it pushed his water housing back into his head and split it open a bit. So he got out to apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding. Later we headed to the drug store and got supplies. I had to patch Kimo up on the tailgate of his truck. This definitely was not according to plan. But before that we got these great shots at Yokes.

       After Yokes Nick took off on his own while I went to help my friend Jennie look for a car. He spent the day on the north shore and got this amazing image below at Keki beach.

       The next day the surf was bigger as a south west swell hit simultaneously with a small north swell. We went to over 10 beaches looking for a place to shoot. The plan was still Sandies but the sky was still black and gloomy after the previous days thunder storms. We got in for a few minutes but the conditions were terrible. So we left and checked a few breaks on the south and east shore then headed over to the north shore, and finally after an extended surf check we arrived at Pounders. Conditions were nice other then all the sticks and debris in the water that had come down stream after the thunder storms. These are a few of the shot from the day.

          On our last day we decided to scratch Sandies and head straight for Pounders at sunrise. We got up early and rushed to the north shore with hopes of conditions like the day before and sunrise colors. Once again things did not go according to plan. We pulled up to Pounders to find the winds blowing a gale directly on shore. So Pounders was a no go. We quickly headed back to Waimea bay to get in before the crowds. The back wash was making for some interesting images I just wish there was more color in the sky.

        As the sun finally came over the mountains both Nick and I got some great images just before the crowds of people arrived. I got the one I was trying for with the Waimea church and Nick was just purely on his A game getting many great images in the short time we were in the water.

          Finally we headed back to Waianae for one last chance in the water. Yokes was huge and crashing right on the reef and the sand was closed out. We would have needed fins, which was not an option with my ankle yet. So we backtracked to Makaha Beach Cabanas. A beach that I used to hang at as a kid. The outside was closed out clear across the bay and the inside would wall up steep but every once and a while one would curl nice. It was here that we encountered Scuba Steve. He was determined to get out even after we warned him.

       I let him know on many of his attempts that the surf was big and it wasn't a good idea for him to go out. But my warnings were ignored and he kept trying. Finally I told him the yellow fins might help in locating his body later. Still he didn't get the hint.

       Every time there was a break in the surf, He went for it! Later we saw him on the beach after he lost his fins and got a little scraped up on his legs. I was glad that he made it out safe as it could have been far worse. When the sets came in they were tossing Nick and I like rag dolls.  Scuba Steve was safe, we returned our awesome rental car, and even though nothing went according to plan we got some amazing images.