FEBRUARY 2015 TRIP TO FIJI
Great way for me to start off the 2015 year was a trip to Fiji. Developing my property there takes time so I try and go as often as I can. On this trip it was the middle of Fiji's summer so it was very hot and extremely humid. Luckily the thunder storms would come around 2pm every day to shower us with rain and cool off everything... plus the cloud formations from these storms are perfect for photos. So I found myself chasing these storms around when I had some extra time and caught some amazing images.
This is a great Fijian family beach that me and some friends visited on my day off from working on my property. I was surfing this little right-hand break with the locals when I saw a thunder storm start forming to the south in the distance. As it built larger and larger I got out of the water and grabbed my camera. As I was shooting different angles and scouting for the best vantage point of the approaching storm these three Fijian kids riding horses came out of the jungle from nowhere and started racing up the beach. I couldn’t believe my luck as I started firing off frames before they were completely out of my view. Right place, right time and lots of luck from Nature...and three little Fijian boys.
This image sums up Fiji in so many ways for me... great beautiful beach, blue warm water, unbelievable approaching thunder storm and smiling Fijians loving life and their island... say no more!
As I’ve captured sunsets from different locations around the world I’m always amazed how uniquely individual these sunsets differ from each other. Climate and atmospheric conditions play a huge roll in the formation of clouds... and how these clouds capture the colors of a setting sun.
A tropical place such as Fiji has thunder storms almost every day during it’s summer months. Gigantic cumulus clouds reach for the sky in an extremely hot, humid environment. Wind and rain keep these clouds shifting in all directions so you have to pick your location wisely and hope the clouds form and capture the setting colors perfectly into your frame.
This day I obviously got it right... but always have a little luck involved as well since you never know what dusk will bring. The palm trees, jetty and entrance to the harbor make a perfect composition. The clouds were spectacular this day and I shot a few amazing images before sunset... but once the colors started entering my frame I knew I had a spectacular image. Patience always seems to pay off... and also visiting amazing tropical places like Fiji.
This was one of those sunsets that I will never forget. It lasted for over an hour and the colors of the upper clouds kept getting more and more intense while the lower clouds moved slowly from left to right into my frame while changing shapes colors and different patterns. The upper clouds were revealing patches of blue sky through them that looked like florescent algae floating upon the heavens.
As all of this was happening in front of me a couple of Fijian girls came out of the jungle to take a dip in the ocean and watch the sunset. They didn’t even notice me in the distance... and this unexpected, human element was displayed right in front of me totally by chance.
Talking with a local named Derek that night after the sunset he was blown away at the image I captured. He had watched the whole event just as I did from 30 yards in front of me but never saw me shooting and commented that I captured the whole scene perfectly and couldn’t wait for me to release this image.
Photographing in bad lighting is always a challenge, but also brings out your creative side... using color filters, long-exposures and unusual angles to your subject helps create an image all to its own.
During my first night stay in Fiji during my February 2015 trip I was anxious to shoot something after my 10.5 hour flight. As the sun was setting I wanted to capture Beqa Island out in from of my hotel so I set up my camera, threw on a filter and took a long exposure. Not knowing what I would get is part of the fun of shooting in imperfect light. After a few exposures I nailed this haunting image of the mostly abandoned island. The just off-center angle really makes the island very pronounced and brings to mind an aura of mystery... and misdirection.
I love the way clouds form in the tropics. They have so much character and moods like a drama movie... always changing and redirecting their path as they build and dissipate.
Setting up my camera at the end of the jetty I sat and waited for the right cloud composition to enter my frame. As the sun was moving towards its final destination for the day the clouds started capturing some of the yellow colors. Since I wanted to also keep some white color in the clouds I released my fast shutter to stop motion the clouds and water...keeping the formation, and moment, completely in tacked.
Since this day was so spectacular, I took quite a few shots from this location... “Palms”, “Single”, “Cumulus” and now “Follow.”
With this image I wanted to keep the elements minimalistic while revealing the lush greens of the distant island and foreground jetty. The clouds were changing colors and shapes rapidly as the wind started to pick up. Having the island of Beqa shaded in cloud cover was not my vision. I wanted the lushness of the vegetation to be revealed through the passing cloud cover. Patience again pays off and with the right timing I capture the vision I saw for this particular image. Follow me to the South Seas.