Tag Archives: ocean

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

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“The Breach” – Chileno Beach

Breach at Chileo

“Every now and then one paints a picture that seems to have opened a door and serves as a stepping stone to other things.”
― Pablo Picasso

Though this is my photo blog I have, recently, posted a few paintings. Actually, they are photos of paintings, so I’m really not crossing a line, am I?

As those of you who follow this blog regularly would know, I’ve commented in the past about the idea that I can’t paint, and that I have used digital painting as a proxy for this deficit. However, those digital paintings stirred something inside me to give painting a try. It was a big risk on my part. What if I proved myself right? Well, no harm in trying.

I was surprised to find that something that sat dormant for so long could be so easily awakened, simply by listening to my inner voice and a bit of preparation. I went out and bought some good quality paints and an assortment of brushes and really surprised myself. It has been a LONG time since I put brush to canvas and I never really enjoyed it, because I was just not good at mixing colours.

Time, and experience with photo composition and colour balance has taught me why my colours were off and a few online beginner courses in acrylic painting technique made me somewhat ready to try it again.

My recent whale watching trip and subsequent photos inspired me to attempt a painting of the whales breaching. So, here it is. I believe I have a long way to go to get my paintings to the level I desire, but I’m not disappointed in the result. This is my third painting since I started in mid-February.

“Tranquility”

“Tranquility”

“We must believe that there are places where tranquility exists and nature is given back her power to speak…”
― Nanette L. Avery

Seriously, I am trying to move away from whales, and the ocean, but the draw is too strong. I’m still going through the many photos I made on my recent vacation and finding images that simply resonate with me.

The image above of one such photo. Made around eight o’clock in the morning, as we were heading out for a day of diving.

The Sea of Cortez was calm, with a slight pinkish haze on the horizon. In the distance, the sparkling spout of a surfacing whale drew our attention from the stillness, yet not a sound was heard, other than the lapping of the water beneath our dive boat. Then the  dark outline of the Humpback Whale’s back broke the surface, with barely a ripple, just the smoothness and shimmer of its inky skin, which slid into the depths, just as it had appeared, soundless and gentle.

Then, as a finale to this act, the massive tail appeared, suspended above the waters like a flag, waving slowly, serenely. Till even it, disappeared, leaving a small pool of bubbles as evidence of its existence.

Just recalling this moment, bring an incredible sense of peace to me. It’s one of those moments I will cherish and will become one of those places I can go in my mind when life gets busy. I also have this photo, which I will hang on my wall, to look at, and remember, tranquility.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 110 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Pacific Surge”

“Leading Edge”“Passing Wave”“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.
― John F. Kennedy

On this rare occasion, I am posting two photos on the same post. The two are necessary to show just how intense even a slight surge can be when it come to the vast body of water known as the Pacific Ocean.

The photos were made on our way back in from whale watching. I had not paid much attention to the water, since I was so focused on observing and photographing the whales (see my previous posts). In a few of those photos, you can see other vessels dropping behind waves but it was even more pronounced as we came closer to shore and I could see just how high some of these swells really were.

At first glance, you might think it’s simply my horizon that is off, yet the horizon is perfectly level, but the boat I was in was riding the lead edge of a wave. Again, I was really more focused on photographing the surf on the rocks and it was not till I started reviewing the images that I noticed just how intense these surges really were. I guess I had my sea legs, since it did not bother me at all.

The first image is of the rocky coast just north of Cabo san Lucas, Mexico. The rocks are polished smooth by eons of wear by the ever active ocean and are part of the thirty million year old granite structure that makes up most of the Baja Peninsula. A pelican graces the top of one of the lower spires. Can you see it?

The second image shows the wave as it passes by next to the boat, obscuring most of the rocks visible in the first image. I’d estimate the swells to be about two to three meters high. It’s a bit disappointing that I did not use a narrower aperture because the camera now focused on the water, rather than the shoreline. Next time I’ll manually focus. I also zoomed out a bit to show the size of the waves.

Image 1.
Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 300 mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200

Image 2.
Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200 mm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Splash!”

“Splash!”

“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’m noticing that all my titles have become single words. That’s partially because I’m struggling to find suitable words to describe this experience fully, so it’s coming in snippets.

This image is of a female Humpback Whale as it crashes to the surface after a breach. She has propelled her massive body from the water and twisted in the air, to return to the sea on her side. The other thing this photo shows is the ocean conditions when the image was made. If you’ll notice the fishing boat to the far right, you will see only part of it behind one of the large swells we were experiencing on this excursion.

The Pacific Ocean is not for the faint of heart. Even on this relatively calm day, the swells were over two meters high, so our small Zodiac disappeared into the troughs, obscuring our view of anything but water. Interestingly, I hardly noticed it at the time, being so focussed on the marvel playing out before my eyes, though I do distinctly recall my legs cramping up from bracing myself against the continuous rolling movement of the boat.

Of the numerous images I made of the breaching ritual, this one, I think, best shows the shear force of the whale’s bulk slamming onto the water surface as well as giving a glimpse of the rugged shoreline of the Baja Peninsula.

It’s also been recently discovered, in theory, why the whales expend so much energy in these breathtaking surface activities: they are communicating, and surface activity (breaching and fin/tail slapping) increases on windy days, when the oceans are more turbulent, and thus, noisier.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 300 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

“Tall Tails”

“Tall Tails”

“There are in life a few moments so beautiful,that even words are a sort of profanity.”
― Diana Palmer

I made this image last week, while out whale watching off the Pacific coast of Baja. I’ve seen many images of Humpback Whales but never thought I’d witness these majestic animals in the wild.

The day started out with sightings of several Grey Whales, which surfaced around us, blowing spouts of air as they surfaced to breathe, offering a tail flip on occasion. We were aware that Humpbacks also inhabit these waters and are known to ‘breach’, whereby the leap from the waters, and asked the on board biologist about them.

Shortly thereafter, we spotted a cow and calf at the surface, splashing and flapping their tails, as the calf learned from the cow. What I was not prepared for was the true size of the whales. Photos rarely provide points of reference for us to assess the size of the whales.

As this cow submerged, the other boat from our group was directly behind her, and her massive tail offers a sense of scale in the photo above. This particular whale was somewhere around fifteen meters long and would weight around thirty thousand kilograms. Seeing them right next to the boats was one of the most awe inspiring experiences I have had.

More photos to follow, with their own stories, over the next few days.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 240 mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

Monochrome Monday

“Land’s End” - Cabo san Lucas

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love—then make that day count!”
― Steve Maraboli

“Land’s End” – Cabo San Lucas

A brief post today from this beautiful place. I made the photo as we were pulling out of the harbour to do some diving along the coast. It was a good time for the photo, as this location gets very busy with tourist boats.

When I made the photo. around 8:00 am, there was only one dive boat out, just to the left of the rocks and a very fine mist in the air added some ‘mood’ to the image.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 145 mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/EdLehming
or my website (some images available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com