Dream adventure to swim with whales just got better. One space is available.

I am happy to announce a change in upcoming adventure Sept 12-23, 2014 dedicated to photographing Southern Hemiphere Humpback Whales in Tonga.  The adventure has gone from land based to Liveaboard.

It’s kind of funny because in 2012, my friend and well known marine photographer Mark Strickland and I started planning a special adventure to swim with Southern Hemisphere whales in Tonga.   Mark had been on 3 or 4 of my previous whale trips and we decided to do a trip together. We wanted to take a small group on an adventure dedicated to photographing these gentle giants.  We tried to charter a new 53 foot sailing catamaran called Wildlife but it was booked so we selected Topic Bird, a ribbed inflatable.  Well, the plan has changed.

As a result of the cyclone damage back in January of this year, some accommodations and restaurants have to be rebuilt.  At first the operators had hoped they could do it in time for the 2014 season which starts in July.  It has just become clear that this wont happen due to logistics and infrastructure.  As a result, rooms I had reserved were given away to another group.  So I reached out to Dave Sheen who owns both Topic Bird and Wildlife and asked if he had any ideas. Happily Dave had the answer.  Wildlife was available.  The group that had reserved her canceled. So I happily said ok.

This 11 day adventure is very special as Wildlife is just two years old and quite comfortable. At this time one there is one space open.  That said if a couple wanted to join we could make that happen. We will take a maximum of 4-5 guests. Meals are provided. Alcohol is not. Photography advice from with Master Photographer Douglas j Hoffman and Mark Strickland is included. This will be Douglas’10th season coming to Tonga to photograph and swim with Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales. This special trip will be dedicated to observing, photographing and especially swimming with the large population of Humpback Whales that visit these islands every year to mate and give birth. Douglas and Mark will share insights gained from years of experience, with the goal of helping every guest enjoy this trip to the fullest. There will also be ample opportunities for them to review your work, and critique your images.

From the moment we leave the dock we will be in Whale Country. The boat will pick everyone up in Ha’apai.  This is  not the main island in Tonga, so guests will need to take a 20 minute domestic flight.

The plan is to sail among the myriad of islands looking for cooperative whales to swim with. Each night we will anchor off an picturesque island. This is the ultimate eco adventure! Each day we will check out the channels between the islands as well as shallow bays looking for different whale behavior. Once cooperative whales are spotted we will rotate two groups of 2-4 in the water. Over the years we have learned that passive behavior on our part leads to trust and acceptance by the whales. When this happens, the whales become comfortable with our presence and often hang out for extended periods of time. The feeling you have while swimming in the presence of whales is indescribable. There will also be great photo and video opportunities both in and out of the water.

While these expeditions are perfect for photographers, non-photographers are also welcome… it is, after all, the experience of being among these incredible animals that is our foremost objective. And more than anything, it is the quality of that experience that distinguishes our trip the many others you’ll see advertised. It’s true that you can have good opportunities to see humpbacks underwater on a standard trip, but there’s a big difference between going out on a public boat and a private charter. Standard trips typically take 8-12 people, with the goal of everyone getting at least a quick look at a whale underwater. While this is often accomplished, the mindset is typically geared towards getting everyone in the path of passing animals, which usually results in a very brief, “flyby” encounter. True, most people do get to see whales underwater, but such fleeting glimpses seldom result in quality photo ops or prolonged interactions. With our approach, however, we’ll have fewer people in the water, which in itself is less intimidating to the whales. We will also be more selective about which whales to swim with, by looking for specific behaviors that might turn into extended encounters. By concentrating on whales that are behaving in a relaxed manner, we’ll have fewer “flybys” and more opportunities for the prolonged, quality encounters that we’re after. Private trips are a bit more expensive but worth it because you get a much better experience, with far better chances of those special moments and photo ops that we came for. Less people means more fun.

The 53 foot sailing catamaran called Wild life

Wildlife, the 53 foot sailing catamaran in Ha’apai Tonga

If interested in joining this adventure send me an email, or call 808 870 3686.

This charter is going to be awesome.  If you have ever wanted to swim with whales, this is the right boat, with the right crew, and like minded guests.   This time of the season the calves are a bit more independent and the mothers are happy to have a break for a quick nap. Early in the season the moms are a bit more nervous and hesitate to have long encounters with humans.  The winds are also a bit less time of year.  Less wind makes it easier to see whales exhaling on the surface.

We will witness a variety of behaviors including breaching, head lunges, spy hopping, peck slapping, teen age whales playing and practicing mating behaviors they will use in a few years time, heat runs, nursing, resting, tracking, and much more.

In addition to Humpback Whales we might encounter False Killer Whales, Mellon Headed Whales, Pilot Whales, Bait balls, Manta Rays, and several species of dolphins. In the 2011 season we had one encounter with Pilot Whales, Dolphins, and Humpback Whales at the same time.   It was incredible.

Posted in bucket list adventure, Decor, dive travel, guided whale swimming adventures, Island scenic, marine, photography workshops, Travel, whales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Packing for international travel

Typical amount of camera gear for a dive trip

Typical amount of camera gear for a dive trip

Next month, I am going to Fiji,  to teach a underwater photography composition workshop on the Siren liveaboard, and enjoy 5 days of diving with RA Divers at the Volovoli Beach resort in Rakiraki.  Fiji Airways used to have a divers program where the traveler paid $100 and was able to take an extra bag up to 50 pounds. This was good for round trip travel making it somewhat cost effective.  The program is over now and the airlines want $120 each way.   This added cost is not cost effective, but what can a diver do.

I have decided to bring only one camera system and to rent dive gear in Fiji.  Its a bit disconcerting to leave one camera housing behind and to use rental gear, but it is what it is.  I will take three lenses, four strobes, and a nexus housing.

What I cant get in the travel case, I will wear on my body.  I have a camera vest that will hold all of my strobe and camera batteries, spare camera body, and a few lenses.  It will be a bit of a pain, but the cash I save can be used toward a crew tip, which I feel is a much better way to use my money.   Thankfully it is only a 6 hour flight from Hawaii.

In August I will go to Tonga, and again bring only one camera system.   This is a trip dedicated to whale photography and I will not need strobes.   That saves an incredible amount of weight.

By the way there is a space open on both the Fiji trip in May, and the Tonga trip in September. IF interested send me an email.

Happy imaging everyone!

Posted in bucket list adventure, Decor, dive travel, Dive with a Photo Pro, fiji, Island scenic, marine, photography workshops, Travel, whales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maui’s southern coastline

Ocean Swirl

Ocean Swirl

Each week I drive around the island teaching people how to create photographs that exude an emotional response from the viewer. Most of the time I use a fish eye lens, or a 12-24 Nikon Dx lens.   Seldom if ever do I use portrait lens.  Well a few days ago I wanted to get outside my comfort zone and use a 85 mm lens.   This is one of my favorites for portraiture and I thought I might be able to create some exciting images from a different perspective.   The camera body I used was a Nikon D300 with a 1.5 crop factor.  So the 85 mm really was about 120 mm.

In addition I selected the Hi-tech neutral density 3 stop filter so I could slow the water down using a long shutter speed.   Its great when my mind can see an image, and then I am actually able to create it.   I had hoped the incoming wave would work through the rocks in a s- curve shape as the lines help the viewers eye flow through the image.  As it turned out everything worked just like I had envisioned. This image is proof that it is possible to create portraits rather than take pictures.

Happy imaging everyone!

Posted in Decor, Gallery, Island scenic, landscape photography, marine, photography workshops, scenic photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maui Photo Tour visits Hui Aloha Church in Kaupo

015_Hui Aloha Church_a

This church is an iconic landmark in Maui.  Located in Kaupo, this church is seldom visited nevertheless is rich in history.  I used a fish eye lens to get the widest view possible and to give the image a bit of character.  Besides the color, its the diagonal line of the stone fence that appeals to me.  It draws my eye into the scene to the tree and then to the church.   The palm trees on the right are where my eye goes to leave the image.

Diagonal lines are are effective in guiding the viewers eye through an image. During our workshops this is one of the techniques we practice.

 

Happy imaging everyone!

 

Posted in Decor, Island scenic, photo safari, photo tour and workshop, photography workshops, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Douglas J Hoffman’s scarey portraits in nature.

This spider was in a web just above where I was sitting

This spider was in a web just above where I was sitting

I was sitting under the mango tree in my yard talking on the phone. I looked up and saw this spider.   The wind was really blowing and the web was really getting whipped around.  Regardless I went inside and put the 70-170 mm macro zoom lens on my camera.   I cranked the ISO to 2500 so I cold get a shutter speed of 1/125th of a second.  I tried to make some photographs but the wind make it impossible.  I simply could not focus on the spider before the wind shook the web.  I tried patience and waited for what seemed forever but was really about half an hour.  I was poised with the camera in hand just waiting for a lull so I could focus and squeeze the shutter button.  But alas the sun had set and the light was low so I went inside.

I did not give up and made a plan to use a 105 mm 2.8 lens that was much faster in focusing. Being a fixed lens not a zoom it was also smaller, lighter and easier to hold. So the next morning I went outside to see if the web and spider survived the wind and happily they did.  So I got under the tree and positioned myself and waited till there was a lull in the breeze that would allow me to make some photographs.  The wind was ever-present but I was patient. I created a lot of blurry images but did get a few that captured the spider with its decorative back and great lines from web.

Spiders are not my usual subject matter.  They are creepy and crawly. That said I do like to like capture creating portraits of nature.  Most of the time this is done in a peaceful and serene environment.  Sometimes however, I find myself photographing subjects that are in a way frightening.  The spider is one example and there are a few more.

This is a lemon shark.  Notice its teeth.  They are scarey looking but I couldn’t help but want to capture that smile in a photograph.  I was in Fiji on the famous shark dive and saw 6 species of sharks at one time.  Lemon, Bull, Nurse, White Tip, Black Tip, Silver tip, & Grey reef.  At one moment there were at least 25 Bull Sharks, 15 Nurse Sharks, 2 Lemon sharks, and five Silver Tips swimming in my field of vision. I have to admit I was scared for about a minute but  the feeling turned into excitement and while intense  it was really fun and I knew what it felt to be alive and truly living in the moment. Perhaps there is a bit of thrill seeker inside my photographers soul. I used a Nikon D300 in a Nexus housing with a 10-17 Tokina fish eye lens.

Lemon Shark

Lemon Shark

Below is snake eel.  This creature appears quite alien and scarey looking. It was created with a 60 mm macro lens and two off camera strobes. The eel is a camouflage predator that blends with its surrounding and eats unsuspecting prey.   Being so colorful I don’t know how it blends in but nevertheless it seems to work as this guy seems to stay in one spot for long periods of time. I did the same dive site three times over a week period and this guy was in the same spot.

colorful eel that lives for the most part beneath the sand

colorful eel that lives for the most part beneath the sand

Many times when diving in Indonesia, I came across this fish called Iminicus or Devil Fish.   Looking at it I can see why.   This fish is scarey, and it carries a nasty venom in its spines.  This is one fish to stay away from.  Good thing it walks along the bottom and does not swim up into the water column.  devil fish

The scariest fish I have encountered is a trigger fish from Papua New Guinea.  It’s been a while since I have thought about the fish but I think it might be called the trident Trigger.   Anyway this fish has vicious teeth and no patience when guarding eggs.  I have been chased away by  this fish but at least I don’t have scars or a broken dome port.  I have no pictures of this fish because as soon as I see one I swim the other way.

While diving in Chandrawasih Indonesia, I came across this Japanese airplane wreck.  I find the idea of a human life ending alone alone at sea fairly scarey.  Enough said.

This is a stargazer a very unique looking fish.  While it is kind of scarey to look down and see those eyes and teeth staring back at you it is also very exciting. I had heard about this fish for years and never seen one, then when I did, I was so very happy.   This is one case where the anticipation of the moment was not better than the moment.  So many times in life we can be disappointed when events we’ve hoped for finally arrive.

stargazerThat about wraps up this fun look at scary photographs I have created in Nature.   If interested in traveling to exotic locations to dive, snorkel, and photograph marine life and nature check out the website or send me an email.  Stay tuned for more fun and excitement.

Posted in bucket list adventure, dive travel, Dive with a Photo Pro, fear, guided photography tours, marine, Nature Photography, photography workshops, Travel, underwater photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whale Photography Workshops in Tonga with Douglas J Hoffman

Waving aloha

Gentle Giant

I have been organizing and leading Whale Photography Workshops in Tonga for the last 10 years.  I do back to back 10 day charters and take groups ranging in size from 4 -7 people.   In 2014, the adventures are in Ha’apai and are land based.  We will stay at the Sandy Beach Hotel and each day go out on a ribbed inflatable boat called Tropic Bird.    In 2015, the adventures will take place from a 53 foot sailing catamaran called Wildlife. The 2015, trips will be limited to just four people. Guests will get on oand off the boat in Nukualofa, saving time and the need for inter-island flights. Couples are preferred as the cabins have double beds. Please check out the travel page on the web site or email me at dhimages@maui.net  Below is an in-depth look at Tonga and Whale swimming.

In the world of adventure and dive travel, Tonga is one of those destinations that has yet to be discovered by the mainstream. While the diving in Tonga is very good, this remote destination is one of two places in the world where the government issues a set number of permit that allow people to snorkel with, and photograph, Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales.  The Dominican Republic is the other. Tonga is more remote and has clearer water. When it comes to whale swimming the fewer the boats and people the more whale swim opportunities there will be.  When it comes to photography clearer water is always preferred.  So, I decided to go to Tonga.

Each year, Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales leave their feeding grounds in Antarctica and swim to the tropical waters of Tonga to mate and give birth. They like the shallow protected waters between the islands to nurse and the deeper water for mating. Wisely, the Tongan government has realized the value of Humpback whales in terms of eco-tourism and the money it brings into local communities in the form of charter fees, souvenirs, restaurants, hotels, taxis, and taxes. The fact that the whales come each year and are a resource for tourism out weighs the value of selling a whale for its meat. The money generated flows through the islands and affects a lot of Tongan families, rather than making one family rich, which is what would happen by selling the fishing rights.

An independent kingdom, Tonga is comprised of 176 coral and volcanic islands, thirty-six of which are inhabited. As planes fly, Tonga is about an 90 minute flight from Fiji. On the atlas the islands are on the eastern edge of the Indo-Australian Plate, not far the Tonga Trench. This is a long oceanic valley reaching depths over 5 miles deep. Tonga is made up of three major groups. Nuku’alofa, the capital, is located on the main island of Tongatapu and is the most developed of the islands. The Ha’apai group is in the center, and contains numerous flat, low lying islands. The Vavau’ island group is home to most of the tourism with many hotels, restaurants, and about 13 whale watch companies. Many of these run two boats. The islands feature tall hills, volcanoes, jungle, sandy beaches, and safe anchorages for boats.

The Ha’apai group is made up of a group of flat, low-lying islands. It is idyllic in perfect conditions, but when there are storms there is nowhere to hide and it can get rough. Currently there are four land-based operators offering whale watching and swimming tours. Very little whale watching is done from Tongatapu. This is the area I have chosen for the 2014, and beyond.  The reason is it’s more remote so there are fewer boats and people.

Whale in Paradise

In order to keep the whales as a natural resource, rules and guidelines have been established.  The regulations make it clear that there can only be four swimmers plus a guide in the water at any time. Swimmers must float together with the guide and are prohibited from free diving on mother and calfs. It is not legal to scuba dive with the whales. Whales must be given a 90-minute break between the time one boat finishes and another boat starts. This is to keep other boats from lining up and starting to swim just as soon as one boat falls off. Encounters are limited to 90-minutes with the clock starting just as soon as the first group of swimmers gets in the water.

Unfortunately this rule is not enforced all the time. When this happens many of the boats in Vavau’ que up. This means they wait for one boat to finish and then they move in without giving the whales a rest.  I have seen three and four boats waiting for their turn. It makes me sad when this occurs as its bad for the whales, as well as the tourists.  I don’t think this is an every day occurrence but it is still not something I want to be a part of. and one of the key reasons I have decided to go to Ha’apai.

There are many kinds of behavior going on while the whales are in Tonga. Participants will likely encounter single males singing, heat runs which is when the males are fighting for dominance and the right to mate, calm periods when the mother whale is resting and nursing, and active periods when the mother is teaching baby how to breach and slap their flukes on the surface.  Swimming with whales is unlike any other experience on earth. Besides being a surreal it is quite humbling. Literally your floating next to a leviathan that could crush you easily but instead is gentle and curious. When a whale swims by and looks at you there is an instant connection that will change your life and make you an advocate for preserving and protecting these magnificent mammals.

incredible encounter with baby Humpback Whale

incredible encounter with baby Humpback Whale

There are two types of charters for swimming with whales. Open or share boats, and private charters.  Open boats are affordable and cost between $200-250 US per person per day. These boats take around 8-12 people, and are perfect for visitors planning a week vacation and want to enjoy a few days whale watching, scuba diving, sailing, relaxing, or exploring the island. These tourists are going for the novelty and are satisfied with a few glimpses of whales underwater, as well as seeing breaches, spy hops, and tail slaps from the boat.
Avid underwater photographers and naturalists might get frustrated coming so far to get to Tonga then having to wait for a turn in the water. For that reason it might be worth the added cost of going on a private charter dedicated to whale observation and photography.  Private charters are for small groups whose expectations are higher than average tourists and are perfect for scientists, naturalists, and nature photographers.  On a private charter there might be four people so everyone is able to go on every drop. However, there are also many private charters that take six to eight people and rotations are needed.  If the group leader manages the peoples’ behavior in the water so that the whales are comfortable they will hang around for hours allowing each person on the boat a lot of time observing from the water as well as from the boat.

Captains that work with photography groups understand why its important to keep the boat on the sunny side of the whales, as well as recognize behavior that indicates if the whales are on the move or if they want to interact with people. If a group of whales are sighted but not right for swimming the captain will keep looking for cooperative whales.  In comparison, a captain of a open boat might elect to put his swimmers in the water with whales he knows are on the move just to be sure all of the rotations of people get at least one chance in the water.  So each captain has different motivation depending upon the group he/she has onboard.
Private charter fees are based on a day rate for the boat plus fuel consumption. Boat owners will determine the private rate based on the total number of passengers allowed regardless of how many people are on the trip.  These businesses have a three month season to make their money for the entire year.  So they charge what they have to.

traditional sailing canoe

traditional sailing canoe

Some private charters are organized by marine naturalists and professional photographers and their expenses are usually covered by the participants. The added costs are well worth it as the professional can share tips and techniques that can really make a difference and save you from making costly mistakes. He or she can also manage the group in the water so that everyone has a good time and the whales are not stressed. Depending upon the size of boat and number of engines those considering a private boat can expect to use anywhere from 100 to 500 liters of fuel a day. At $2 US/liter, this can really add up. With these costs in mind participants can expect to pay at least two times that of going on a share boat. But s they say you get what you pay for.

The daily plan is to spend 8 hours a day in the boat keeping your eyes on the horizon looking for blows of air, and breaches on the horizon. In marine and nature photography, there is the old saying “hurry up and wait”. This is definitely true when it comes to whales. Mother nature takes her time to deliver cooperative whales, good visibility, and nice weather. For those that really want a good experience plan on 8-10 days on the water. Remember, patience is a virtue.  Once whales are sighted, experienced captains and guides will observe and recognize behavior patterns and know when when its time to get in the water and when its best to keep looking for cooperative whales.

When it is time to swim, it is very important to be as quiet as possible when entering the water. Whales do not like a lot of noise coming from the surface and their reaction is to simply disappear. As each boat is configured differently the crew will explain entry techniques that enable participants to get into the water while creating as little noise as possible.  Big fin kicks that break the surface and create a bubble wake are bad and can also end encounters. Depending upon style of fin used it might be wise to swim side-ways in order to keep the fin tips underwater. Large fins made popular by skin divers are not needed as they are designed for ascending and descending not for floating at the surface. They are also big and cumbersome on the boat.

whale 5
When in the water always stay together in a group and if swimming travel in a parallel course to the whales. Never swim straight towards the whale. Do not separate and approach whales from opposite sides as this causes stress for the mother whale and is the fastest way to end an encounter. Imagine how you would feel if an animal came at you at full speed and you did not know its intentions. Keep in mind that when the mother is relaxed the calf is free to explore its world and check out us humans. This is when wonderful encounters take place and lifelong memories are made.
In the event a swimmer loses position during an encounter and is separated from the group, or finds themselves on the far side of the whale, its best to avoid the urge to swim fast to catch up. Chances are the whale turned, the current picked up, or the swimmer simply got lost in the moment. Should this happen its best to fall off and wait for boat pick up. If appropriate the captain will drop you close to the others.

There have been cases where whales and people have come in contact. Most of the time it’s because the baby is curious. Swimmers and photographers need to pay close attention at all times and do everything possible to stay out of the whales way.

Whale Photography tips
When photographing large animals in the blue, strobes are not used. They create drag and are not powerful enough to light up a sharks, school of dolphins, or whales. So the best thing to do is work with Ambient light. When possible keep the sun behind you and allow it to illuminate the subject.  Using a fast shutter speed helps problems like image blur from ruining portraits and can help overall image composition by freezing rays of sunlight that dance in the water column, adding a sense of drama and dimension to the scene.  Underwater speeds like 1/250th and 1/500th work well. On days when the sky is dark and overcast turn up the ISO from 100 or 200 to 400 or 800. Todays cameras make it possible to set the ISO much higher than ever thought possible without noise issues.
Select shutter priority. This lets the camera select the f-stop. In blue water work there is not a big issue with depth of field so let the camera does what it wants, as long as it freezes the motion.  Set the focus to single, and the drive to continuous high.   Shoot short bursts at a time and try to avoid filling the cache. Even though high shutter speeds will minimize camera shake swimming and moving in the water has an effect. Shooting in bursts provides an opportunity to create a crisp image as the first and last image might be soft as a result of motion, but the frames in the middle are sharp.   Short bursts are written to the card in less time than a sustained burst.  As for lenses the widest the better. Any of these will do the job (14 mm, 15 mm,  10.5 mm fisheye, 16 mm fish eye, 10 – 17mm fisheye, 12-24, 16-35, & 14-24, and 17-35 mm).  The higher quality lens the better image you will make.  Some zoom lenses like the 12-24 require a close up filter of +3.

Just getting to Tonga can be an adventure and is most likely a major part of the reason the Friendly Isles have not yet become popular. From LA it takes 10 hours to get to Fiji. Depending upon airline and routing, a layover in Nadi Fiji, or Tongatapu, Tonga is required. Keep in mind in Tonga, domestic flights do not operate on Sundays. In most cases the international date line will be crossed and a day will be lost. The good news is you get a day back upon return.  The distance to Tonga from LA, is 5167 miles and from Hawaii is 2,965 miles.   Air New Zealand offers flights to Tonga arriving at Fua’amotu Airport (TBU).  Fiji Airways  offers flights from LA and Honolulu. This is one destination not the worth the effort it takes to research and book flights on your own.   Using a travel agent that has done business in the Pacific and knows the airlines will save hours of strife and frustration.    Flights don’t always operate as advertised. Be prepared to pay excess baggage fees, and to have your carry on weighed on all domestic Tonga flights.  Don’t forget trip insurance as well as Dan insurance.  Real Tonga Airline is currently the only domestic airline.

Swimming with whales is a life changing experience.   For more information please email me dhimages@maui.net

Posted in bucket list adventure, dive travel, Dive with a Photo Pro, incredible adventure, marine, once in a life time, photography workshops, swim with whales, Travel, whales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fiji 7 day liveaboard trip on Siren Fleet- Space available May 19-26, 2014 Special Price

fiji wide2 .20

Divers wanted to spend their tax returns on this upcoming Fiji dive adventure on the Siren Liveaboard. The dates are May 19-26th, 2014.  As of now there are 8 spaces open. The owners are letting me offer the trip at a special price. Fiji is the best place to see color underwater. The soft corals are amazing.  The fish life is incredible. This is one destination I never get tired of.  In fact each time I go there it seems to get better.  If the color is not reason enough then consider adding a few days and doing the world famous shark dive in Pacific Harbor.

lemon shark

Contact me by email at dhimages@maui.net

Posted in bucket list adventure, dive travel, Dive with a Photo Pro, marine, photography workshops, scuba diving travel, Travel, underwater photography workshops | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

B&W photos add a sense of emotion and drama to the scene

_DSC9025

 

This image is much  more powerful as a black and white, than it was as a color image.  The reason is drama.  Or, it could be because we live in a world where everything is in color.   When we make it black and white its all about shades of gray and shadows….   Learn more about how to evoke an emotional response with your photography by taking one of my image composition workshops.

 

Posted in bucket list adventure, dive travel, Gallery, guided photography tours, Island scenic, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Whale swimming adventures in 2014 and 2015

In Sept of 2014 I have organized 2 whale swimming adventures and might add a third. The first adventure sold out fast.  The second adventure Sept 12-23 still has two spaces.  Once full a third adventure will open up Sept 24- Oct 2nd.   All of these adventures are land based using the Sandy beach hotel in Ha’apai Tonga as a base and the boat Tropic Bird run by Whale Discoveries.   These adventures are limited in size to make sure everyone has an incredible experience and as much time in the water with whales as possible.   This is my 10th season leading groups to Tonga  and I am really excited.

For those that have not been to Tonga it is referred to as the friendly isles and is located a few hours flight from Fiji, right in the middle of the south pacific.  This destination is off the beaten path and offers incredible experiences with whales.  The infrastructure is not as developed as other world class destinations, and that is one of the reasons the location is not mainstream.  Don’t expect a Hilton type experience with room service, instead envision individual bungalows with all the charm of a tropical paradise.

The adventures include accommodations and 9 days on the whale watching/swimming boat.  Photo tips are included.  Our goal is to put you in the position to create incredible memories and images.

In 2015, I will lead as many as two 10 day adventures on a 53 foot sailing catamaran called WildLife.  This boat is perfect for whale swimming.  Not too big and not too small.  Each cabin has double bed, so couples are preferred.  Only 4 guests per charter.  Each person will have unlimited access to the whales.  The dates are Aug 24-Sept 3 and Sept 4-13.   Contact me by email for details at dhimages@maui.net

incredible encounter with baby Humpback Whale

incredible encounter with baby Humpback Whale

Posted in bucket list adventure, dive travel, guided photography tours, humpback whales, Island scenic, marine, photography workshops, Travel, whales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Landscape Photography Presentation

Three Bears Maui

Three Bears Maui

 

On January 25th from 5-7 PM I will be doing a presentation on landscape photography and composition.  The event is free and at the Maui Art Expo located next to Pacific Whale Foundation in the Harbor Shops in Maalaea Harbor.  Park by the aquarium and walk into the shops.  The event is free, parking is free.   The Expo will be closing on Jan 31st and all art is on sale.   In addition to landscape photography the expo features award winning underwater photography. The event is sponsored by Maui Photo Tours

Posted in bucket list adventure, Decor, Gallery, Island scenic, photography workshops, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment