Whale watching in Maui!

I went for a whale watch yesterday and since I have seen so many images the last few years created by people whale watching that dunked their camera over the side of the boat that I decided to bring my underwater set up just in case we got mugged.    And, as it turned out it was a good call as we did get surrounded by whales and had to shut down the motors for a while.

Now I have 9 seasons experience swimming with whales in Tonga but I had never just leaned over the side and prayed to get a photo.  I learned it is not easy.  The first problem is not seeing the animals so there is no composition. Simply dunk and fire.  Second, bubbles from dunking stick to the front and preclude getting a good focus. Still it was a ton of fun.

Beautiful Maui Whales

Beautiful Maui Whales

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Maui, is a photographers paradise

Enjoying the beautiful landscapes of Maui

Enjoying the beautiful landscapes of Maui

Maui, has beautiful bamboo forests, sandy beaches, rugged and rocky coastlines, waterfalls, verdant valleys, streams, the pacific ocean, and so much more.  Indeed the island is paradise for photographers.  That said the quality of light in Maui can at times be challenging to manage. That’s why everyone that wants to make the best images possible should use tools like graduated neutral density and polarizing filters.

I use filters so I can create the best image possible in the camera in order to minimize my time at the computer.  If you have never used filters take some time and do a search on YouTube for “using graduated Neutral density filters”.   There are hundreds of short videos to choose from.

In my camera bag I currently have both HI-tech and Lee filters, and use them almost every time I go out in nature.  For forests where there is no clear horizon line I use soft neutral graduated filters.   When making images along the ocean where there is a clear horizon I use hard Neutral graduated filters.  When making images of sunrise or sunset when the bright sun is at the horizon reverse neutral density filters lower the the light in the brightest area of the image and then tapers off.

Using filters allows you to slow the shutter speed and get creative. Keep in mind that when using slow shutter speeds a tripod is required.  Using a remote shutter release is also a good idea as it minimizes camera shake.

using filters in the middle of the day

using graduated neutral  filters in the middle of the day

This image was created around noon in the harsh light of day.  Using neutral density filters allowed me to manage the light enabling an exposure of  F-20 @ 1 second.  Notice how the water has a nice smooth flow and looks like a capa frapachino……

 

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Hawaiian Monk Seal

This morning I had the good fortune to see a pregnant Hawaiian Monk Seal resting on the beach.  These animals are endangered and seeing one is very special. From what little I know these seals hunt at night so she was likely very tired.  To make sure she does not get disturbed a team of volunteers was keeping humans away.  These guys have to deal with everyone that walks by and wants to know why the beach is taped off and why cant they get closer.  I watched from a distance for a while and saw what they go through. While there patience is certainly tested their hearts are in the right place and they are doing the seals a great service.

Rare sighing of Hawaiian Monk Seal

Rare sighing of Hawaiian Monk Seal

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Rainy days allow photographers to create images with a bit of drama

I was hoping the low clouds would allow for great light at sunset but that did not happen.  Instead the cloud cover intensified and rain came.   This image was created only seconds before the deluge that came.

Clouds and dark skies add drama to a scene

Clouds and dark skies add drama to a scene

Happy imaging everyone.

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Pleasant Dreams Maui

Sunset in south Maui

Sunset in south Maui

Another beautiful day in Maui, comes to an end.  Soon the stars will shine and the sound of the waves lapping on the beach will be heard only by the wind and tiny crabs scampering in the sand. So glad I live here, and cant wait to see the dawns early light.

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Let the appreciation for whales continue with this drawing

As a father, conservationist, educator, and whale photographer, I am so proud of the drawings created by the students that attended my recent whale talk.  Each drawing is special and unique and shares a message of love, hope, and conservation or our planets natural resources.

kids art 2This is the second of many whale drawings children have given me.   I just cant help but share.   This one is by my youngest daughter Aya, who is 5 years old.   Stay tuned for more.

Posted in children, drawing with crayons, education, Island scenic, marine, maui, Maui community, maui photo safari, maui photography workshop, Nature Photography, once in a life time, paradise, photography workshops, whales | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crayon Whale Art by Children from Maui’s Upcountry Montessori School

Just recently I did a presentation on whales at a local school.  In attendance were about 130 kids ranging from 5-11 years old.  I have dozens of presentations like this before but I never had as much fun as this one.   These kids were listening, participating, and asked incredible questions.   Towards the end of my program I pulled out four photographs and signed them.  I told the kids that each one of them that made me a whale drawing would have their name put in a hat and later, the teacher would pull four names out and those kids would receive one of the photographs.

Whale Art from Children at Maui schools

Whale Art from Children at Maui schools

This week I got the children’s art work and was so impressed.   This is just one of the pictures.   More to come!

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Before the Dawn

Sunrise on Maui's north shore.

Sunrise on Maui’s north shore.

This morning the sunrise had a bit of color in the sky.  The light in the clouds only lasted a few minutes and then daylight was upon us. Thankfully, only a few moments were needed to create this portrait as the surf was big and the tide was coming in.

There were a few times where I got splashed pretty good and had to clean the ND filter covering my lens to remove salt spray.  Good thing I had on a camera vest loaded with things That might be needed like lens tissue paper, cleaning solution, remote shutter, extra battery & media card, and a selection of graduated Neutral density filters.

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Sunset in south Maui

Maui is a beautiful island with limitless beautiful locations.   That’s one of the reasons it’s called paradise. I created this image yesterday.  The skies were cloudy and it rained most of the day but around 5 PM the weather changed and it was a beautiful sunset.

I used a Nikon D810 and 14 -24 mm lens with a 3 stop hard neutral graduation Lee Filter. This filter allowed me to lower the amount of light coming into the camera so I could use a slow shutter speed and include the motion of the incoming tide as a element in my composition.

 

 

INfront of the old Maui Lu resort and future home of the Hilton

In front of the old Maui Lu resort and future home of the Hilton

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Following your passion

Say hello to Flavio, and his passion is photography. We got up before the chickens and roosters and headed towards Maui’s north shore for sunrise.   While there were not a lot of clouds, to catch the pinks in the dawns sky, the tide was low and so was the surf.   This enabled us to get close to some cool looking rocks that kept getting slammed by the small shore break.  I used a very slow shutter speed to slow the water and capture Flavio contemplating his next photograph.

Working with motion to create stunning compositions

Working with motion to create stunning compositions.

This image was created a few minutes prior to the sunrise.

DJH_8055.web

Wherever there is water you can use your shutter speed to slow it down and create these kind of effects.

Happy imaging everyone.

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