The weather was poor at times on our eastern Caribbean cruise late last year. We had strong winds and high seas on two days that kept us from doing things we wanted. And it seemed like clouds and rain followed us everywhere.
I didn’t mind. I’ve written before about the benefits of clouds in landscape photography – clear blue skies can be boring! And so I looked for interesting clouds and lighting:
Saba Island – Near the British Virgin Islands. 9 frame stitched panorama.
And started noticing rainbows too. You can’t have rainbows without rain clouds!
Double Rainbow at Saba Island – 4 frame, iPhone, RAW, stitched panorama.
We were in Road Town Harbor as squalls moved through, and saw this rainbow develop across from the ship. I looked for but didn’t see a pot of gold (or leprechaun) in the water at either end!
Rainbow in Road Town Harbor – 3 frame, iPhone, RAW, stitched panorama.
On another day in San Juan harbor we saw this:
Rainbows over the cruise ship, San Juan, Puerto Rico – single frame, iPhone, RAW
Cloudy skies add interest, and chasing rainbows is fun photography. I really didn’t mind being followed by rain clouds. You shouldn’t either – look for all the opportunities it creates.
I was lucky to have some downtime in Seattle before a recent business trip to Vancouver, so one of my best friends – Jessica – popped up from San Francisco to join me for some National Park adventures and whale watching! I love exploring our National Park system and its jewels – and we packed a lot of them into one weekend.
Our first stop was Mt. Rainier National Park – America’s fifth oldest national park. Blessed with amazingly perfect sunny weather, we spent Saturday driving through the park and stopping along the way to appreciate its beauty. The Nisqually Entrance is open year round, and with an SUV its an easy drive through the park with lots of scenic overlooks. But winter at Mt. Rainier means renting chains to carry in your car – even if you’re not required to put them on – or you’ll have to turn around and drive to the nearest rental place (like we did!). Plan time to stop at the Longmire and Paradise Visitors Centers to learn more about the park’s history, ask a ranger questions, or get a souvenir!
On Sunday, we took a 4-5 hour whale watching trip with Island Adventures out of downtown Seattle – I’d highly recommend this company, and Tyson our naturalist was very knowledgeable! While January isn’t peak whale watching season, they still run a trip everyday and have luck spotting resident orcas or a humpback here and there. While the first few hours of our trip were pretty quiet and peaceful, we were excited to find Speckles the Humpback Whale – a juvenile humpback that has been spending a lot of time in the area. Named Speckles for his distinguishing marks on his back and tail, this little guy gave us a show for about an hour fishing, surfacing, and even blowing his whale stench in our direction (quite a smell if you’ve never experienced it!).
Speckles and his Speckles
Speckles really gave the two guys on this boat a close encounter!
Speckles the Humpback Whale
We finished the weekend with a scenic drive through the Western part of North Cascades National Park. While there were many breathtaking views, it was mostly closed for the season (or for Martin Luther King Day) – so we’ll have to come another time when its warmer. It was still worth taking the longer loop back to the airport (vs. the interstate) for views like this:
North Cascades National Park
More photos from my trip can be found in my album here, or check out Ed’s previous post with additional whale photos.
Thanks for reading about my whale of a trip. Now go make some photos!
When I left to meet Kevin K. and Tom M. for some photography before dawn last Monday, the sky was clear, the stars were shining and I didn’t think the sunrise would be very good. If I hadn’t been meeting friends, I might have gone back to bed! Looking at the photos in this post, it’s easy to see I was wrong – the sunrise was beautiful.
Observation 1: Go. You can’t always anticipate what you’ll see when you’re out photographing. But if you stay home, you know you won’t see anything.
Calm Blue Hour. 14mm (equivalent), ISO 64, f/5.6, 10 sec., Hi-res mode.
We ended up at Cocoa Riverfront Park. The clouds were moving in and the light and colors changed as we watched. There were several interesting directions to point the camera.
Observation 2: Arrive early and stay for a while when photographing sunrise. Watch all directions. Bring several lenses to vary your exposure, composition, and perspective. Work the scene!
Fire in the sky. 70mm (equivalent), ISO 200, f/5.6, 1/50 sec., multi-frame stitched panorama
Observation 3: My conclusions from the earlier post are all still true – except for one. I’m happy to report that with the E-M1 Mark II camera, Olympus has made a great deal of progress with hi-res mode. I didn’t have to fix any motion anomalies in either of these photos. Well done Olympus.
Dew on the Boardwalk. 14mm (equivalent), ISO 64, f/5.6, 8 sec., Hi-res mode.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. Now, go make some photos!