Tag Archives: Baja

“Sierra de la Laguna and Estuary” – San Jose del Cabo

“Sierra de la Laguna and Estuary” - San Jose del Cabo

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” 
― John Muir

I realized, as I was posting this image, that the same scene is the background for a previous post. But, that’s how I create many of my compositions. Several images from the same vantage point, as I take in my surroundings and observe the various elements that make up the broader scene.

What resonates with me in this image is the stark contrasts between the lush vegetation of the estuary in the foreground and the stark mountains of the Sierra de la Laguna in the background. By the way, all the green you see on the slopes of the mountain are various varieties of cactus and other brittle and spiky desert plants.

This image was made close to mid-day and a fine veil of mist hangs above lush palms like a halo, creating a slight haze across the lower mountains.

The Sierra create what I often term a ‘spine’ down the centre of the Baja Peninsula. Though rugged and mostly arid, I have noticed a few places which are green and inviting. These places will need to be explored on future visits to this region which beckons my back.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 300mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0 ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Voice of the Pacific”

“Voice of the Pacific”

“I spent uncounted hours sitting at the bow looking at the water and the sky, studying each wave, different from the last, seeing how it caught the light, the air, the wind; watching patterns, the sweep of it all, and letting it take me.
The sea.” 
― Gary Paulsen

As in the quote I selected, I spent a lot of time sitting on the shore, filling my lungs with the wonderful smell of the ocean, watching the waves as they thundered to shore, and listening to the complex sounds of the waves as they crashed, churned, and receeeded . The sound is the inspiration for the title of this image. The words “Voice of the Pacific” resonated through me, as I sat entranced the marvel and sheer power of this mighty ocean.

I was trying to do it justice through many shots of waves captured at different speeds and different times of day and then felt inspired to use the same technique I use for my abstract tree images and tried a horizontal pan. It took many shots to get what I was after but I am pleased with the result.

The image above captures many of the elements which I found myself observing from the shore: the roll and foam of the waves as they crashed and collided with the shore and each other, the subtle shades of green and aqua within the waves, the movement of the water, and the vast expanse of water on the distant horizon. From this vantage point, looking due south, there is only ocean for thousands of kilometers, till the ocean meets the far distant shores of Antarctica. it’s quite overwhelming.

As I look at the image, It brings back very clear memories of this time I had with the sea, mere weeks ago now. I still here the voice of the Pacific becoming my return and I will return to hear what more it has to offer me.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 116mm
1/4 sec, f/36.0 ISO 100

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Monochrome Mondays | Week 19, 2017

“Silence”

“Silence”

“The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.”
― Christopher Paolini

I find myself constantly going back to my time with the whales of the Baja. It was a deeply emotional time. As the associated quote states so well, there are so many things about this experience that defy language. Leaving me in silent reflection.

To see these beautiful creatures, in their natural habitat, rising gently from the depths and gliding next to our boat ,with virtually no sound except a gentle bubbling of the water, was a profound and life changing experience for me. The photos, while making great memories, pale in comparison to the actual experience, the combination of sensory perceptions of sight, sound, and smell are needed; even that is hard to articulate. There is a spiritual sense here, among the giants of the deep that defies expression.

So, I joyfully go back to the images and allow them to rekindle those emotions, once more placing in on the surface of the Sea of Cortez, sharing a brief moment in time with these magnificent animals, and silence prevails.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 220 mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0 ISO 200

Thursday Doors – April 27, 2017

“Gloria’s - San Jose del Cabo”

This week’s submission to Norm 2.0‘s Thursday Doors.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world.

“Gloria’s – San Jose del Cabo”

I thought it would be a good day to revisit one of my Mexico photos today. You see, I had the full intention to build a large collection of Mexican doors from this trip. What I learned was, never try to do it before 9:00am, as they are all locked up.

In this case, and in many others, not just the doors are locked with wrought iron gates, but so are the windows. This practice seemed to be quite common in San Jose del Cabo, a moderate sized town at the south end of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. The concept of locked doors has also been replaced by a preference for chains and padlocks, which was evident even on the modern doors of some of teh local banks.

Sadly, I was not able to return on this visit to get a shot of the door by itself, it looks like a beauty, so will have to plan a return trip 🙂

iPhone 5S back camera @ 4.2mm
1/2000 sec;   f/2.2;  ISO 32

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Surf Fishing” – San Jose del Cabo

"Surf Fishing" - San Jose del Cabo“In every outthrust headland, in every curving beach, in every grain of sand there is the story of the earth.”
― Rachel Carson

My first real memory from my recent trip to Baja was hearing the Sea of Cortez surf pounding on the beach at San Jose del Cabo. I don’t mean surf ‘rolling’, I mean the surf here literally explodes as sea meets sand, on the steeply inclined shore, which causes the water to quickly recede, leading to strong undertow and rip-tides. It’s not safe for swimming, at least in this section of the beach.

While this image was made seconds after a large wave broke, and the surface seems relatively calm, you can see the explosive spray of waves as they break further along the beach, an area frequented by surf fishermen. I wondered why the surf was so much more intense in this area. While looking at satellite imagery, I noticed that the seabed is a bit shallower at this point, making for higher surf. It also makes it an ideal place for smaller bait fish to collect, attracting the larger sports fish, such as Dorado,  Jack Crevalle, Sierra, California Yellowtail, and Wahoo. And that, attracts the surf fishermen, which you can see on the sandy point.

The view here just resonated with me, as I looked across the bay to the distant hillside, the morning sun warmed my face, the sound of surf echoed in my ears, and the tang of the salty air, filled me with joy. It brings a smile to my face and a sense of calm, just recalling the moment.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 300mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

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Monochrome Mondays

“The Arch” - Cabo San Lucas

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
― Gustave Flaubert

“The Arch” – Cabo San Lucas

Above is another image of the “Arch” at Cabo San Lucas. What I feel makes this image unique is that there is not a single tourist boat in front of it. The photo was made early one morning as we were heading out for a day of diving, too early for most of the tourists. There were still a few boats milling about in the waters near teh Arch, but I was able to time the shot to keep them out of the frame.

Again, the wonder of photography allows me to look back on  this moment and see the fine details that I missed, or rather ignored, when I made the photo. For example, the water in the foreground is already starting to show a slight ‘chop’. My memory of that time was that the water was smooth and the day windless. I also did not notice just how fragile this massive structure is. Looking at it now, it looks like it could fall apart at any moment, even though it has weathered eons of pounding surf and hurricanes.

Producing it as a mono image just makes all those fine features jump out a bit more and highlights the range of tones in this iconic symbol of Cabo. Somebody told me that going to Cabo without seeing the Arch was like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 70mm
1/100 sec, f/5.0, ISO 200

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“The Spine of Baja”

“The Spine of Baja”

“The vastness of the desert frightened her. Everything looked too far away, even the cloudless sky. There was nowhere you could hide in such emptiness.”
― James Carlos Blake

Today, I’m turning my lens inland and sharing an image of the landscape of the coastal region of Baja, actually, Baja California Sur, the name of this Mexican province. Not far from the coastal resorts, on the road between Cabo san Lucas and Todos Santos, the lush and artificial greens give way to a fairly inhospitable, yet beautiful landscape of thorny shrubs and cacti.

Yet, despite its seeming desolation, if you look carefully, there are splashes of colour everywhere. Though it may be more difficult to see in this image, the link to my 500px collection will offer a high resolution view.

The landscape of Baja was not at all what I expected, in fact, i’m not sure what I was expecting. Based on the resort photos, I was expecting something lush and tropical, not semi-desert, let alone mountains. The Baja also surprised me when I say bright orange blossoms appearing on what appeared to be dead and dried out bushes. It’s also crisscrossed with numerous dry river beds, which hint at days of plentiful water. In fact, the day we landed was one of the few rain days the region experiences and it poured for a few hours, refreshing the landscape and causing water to flow again, albeit briefly.

I had considered going on a hike to make photos during my visit, but other than the dry river beds, I did not see many opportunities to walk very far without getting impaled by a cactus or scraped by some thorny shrub. So, a roadside image will have to suffice, for now.

Nikon D300
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500 sec, f/11.0, ISO 200

High Resolution image on 500px

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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