Since the beginning of the year I’ve been working on renovating a condo that I bought. This is the second one in less than a year, and like the first one, I’ve been working day and night to get it done so that I can put it up as a vacation rental on Airbnb. Because I’ve been doing all the handyman work myself, I haven’t been out shooting nearly as much as I would like. Actually, not at all. Thankfully, however, I finished the project and it is live on Airbnb (check it out!).
With that project behind me, my wife, son and myself spent a few days down at the condo to enjoy it for a bit before we welcomed our first guests. During our stay I walked across the street to one of my favorite photography spots on the island and took out the camera. It felt amazing. Seriously, all the stress of the previous few months just washed away within minutes of being behind the camera.
Behind the camera
I knew right away where I was going to photograph this image. There is an area in South Maui that is ripe with landscapes like this. The problem is that a lot of photographers don’t see them, or aren’t as aggressive with their cameras. (I say aggressive, but you can easily substitute that word for careless. The number of cameras I’ve dumped in the drink is absurd.)
The tide was coming in and I watched the swells come in and dance around the seaweed before retreating to the sea. I knew if I could get close enough to the greenery I’d be able to compose a really nice image. So, I took my Gitzo tripod and spread the legs as far as I could. Then I lowered it all the way on top of the reef and waited. At this point I left the lens cap on as the water was splashing right onto the camera from the incoming swells.
Only about 6″ above the reef, the camera was positioned to get a dynamic image. As each swell retreated I took off the lens cap and fired. My settings were already where I wanted them to be and my cable release was in my hands and ready to be fired. I spent about 20 minutes here as the sun descended below the horizon. This gave me a nice even lighting on the rocks and sea. Once I was satisfied with my takes, I grabbed the camera and headed for higher ground!
That night I took about 5 pictures home with me. Being a landscape photographer, sometimes I don’t even get that many. Heck, sometimes I may not get any! But this night I got 5 and this is my favorite of the bunch.
A Second Glimpse was photographed on the Island of Maui, Hawaii in April 2019. It was shot in RAW format on a Nikon D850 with Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens. Aperture was set to f14, shutter speed was at 1 second to get the water movement. It was shot at an ISO of 400. The camera was sitting on a Gitzo 3540L tripod about 6″ off the reef.
Before and After
On the left is the original image. First and most importantly, a photograph needs to have good composition. If it doesn’t then I probably don’t even start editing it. This one has a nice flow to it so I decided to process it. From the photo on the left to the final image on the right took about three hours of editing. It was accomplished with the help of Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop and the image was shot with a Nikon D850 camera with Nikon 14-24mm lens. No filters were used, but the camera did sit on a Gitzo 3540L tripod. Not too shabby, huh? Want to learn how I make the image on the left look like the image on the right? You can with The Landscape Photographer’s Field Guide. Get it now!
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