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Lots of excellent surfers were out on Saturday at the Juno Pier surf spot in South Florida. Hurricane Irene left plenty of great waves in her wake. Waves of this size are not a regular occurrence in South Florida so everyone comes out, surfers, observers and photographers…I had a great time watching and shooting. Pura Vida!
Just in case you want to shoot some of your own pix, here’s what I used. A Canon 5D Mark II body with a Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L zoom lens, a tripod (monopod would be better) and a polarizing filter to bring out the color of the water. In some cases I added as much as one full stop of exposure to compensate for the polarizer. I shot in shutter priority mode, and used iso settings between 160 and 300, that gave me f stops between 5.6 and 9 depending on the shot.
Here are some pix from Delray Beach on Friday evening in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Sorry about the noise in the photos, I got to the beach pretty late and ran out of light. It was beautiful out there…
I ran out of light, but the surf and surfers kept on! Keep on keeping on!
If you are looking for a good time on Cape Cod check out the Hyannis Whale Watcher. It’s a trip you will remember.
Last week I took a ride on the Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruise, for the second time. www.whales.net. The whale-friendly (no propellers), water jet propulsion cruiser leaves from Barnstable Harbor (Cape Cod) and shoots you right out to the whales. If you like speed, you’ll enjoy the ride. We passed by the beautiful Sandy Neck lighthouse and cottages on their barrier beach at the mouth of the Barnstable Harbor. That view is incredible itself. I was so inspired last time I went out that I created a large, digital painting of the Sandy Neck Lighthouse. You can see it here.
Once we were out of Barnstable Harbor and in the open waters, the jets kicked in and we were whisked out to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. I sat outside at the stern and watched the power of those engines pushing the water. Unbelievable. It felt a bit like flying.
If you like photography and wildlife you will really enjoy the challenge that whale photography presents. I brought along my Canon 5D Mark II and my Canon 100-400 f4.5-5.6L Series zoom. I set my ASA to 320 so I could use a fast shutter speed and still get decent depth of field. Most were shot at 1/1600 at f6.3, f7.1 and f8. It seems to have worked. The whales and water are dark in color for the most part so you have to compensate for that too. I added between one third and two thirds of a stop more exposure in most cases.
The crew know their whales and they know where to find them. We had whale visitors within moments of arriving. We saw lots of Humpback whales on the day we went out so we learned a lot about them. They got their name from the hump on their backs, just in front of their small dorsal fin. Humpbacks are baleen whales, meaning they have no teeth, but they have baleen plates made of the same material as our fingernails (keratin). The plates hang from the whales upper jaw and allow the whale to filter its food from the water. Humpback whales can be 35 to 50 feet long and weigh between 25 and 40 tons, and they’re mid-sized whales. The underside of the tail, or flukes, is like our thumb print, no two whales have the same markings, making it possible to identify individuals and track them.
We learned that the Humpback whales that we were seeing spent the winter in the Caribbean where they breed and birth their young, their calves weigh about a ton, and are 13 to 15 feet long. Talk about labor! The Humpback whales travel up from the Caribbean in the spring and they hang out in the Gulf of Maine from late spring to early fall. They spend the entire time feeding. That’s why they’re up there—to eat. They eat krill, herring, mackerel, and other small schooling fish. They have to eat enough during their months up north to get them through the lean times in the Caribbean where there is little food.
Some of the whales came right up beside our boat. They seemed to be really curious, even playful. They were lolling around on their backs, lifting their heads out of the water to get a look at us, slapping their fins on the surface, they were acting like they were genuinely happy to see us.
Humpback whales have lots of bumps on their heads. Each of these bumps, called tubercles, contains one hair. Scientists believe that these hairs are used as a sensory device.
Here’s a Humpback whale waving his flipper at us as we head back to the harbor.
Please protect the welfare of our whales, dolphins and porpoises for their future and ours. For more information visit the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society at www.wdcs-na.org.
She’s sailed away. The HMS Bounty is heading toward Baltimore now, on to Greenport, and Newburgh, NY then to Portland, ME. Check out the schedule if you’d like to see her, and if you’re lucky, the Bounty will be under the control of pirates. (If there’s a Pirate Fest where you are.) The ship’s position on the schedule is currently 9 days out of date according to their website. http://www.tallshipbounty.org/schedule/
When the HMS Bounty docked at Peanut Island in Palm Beach Florida, we went for a visit, of course I had my camera in tow. I brought my 100-400mm Canon L series zoom, and my 24-105mm Canon L series zoom along with me.
We not only saw the Bounty we also got to see the tall ship, Privateer Lynx of Portsmouth, NH, a square top sail schooner which is an interpretation of a privateer or naval schooner from the War of 1812, we saw the entrance to the Kennedy Bunker, and the historic Coast Guard Station.
You see the Lynx was in Florida to offer the crew of the Bounty a pardon if the ship was returned to her home port by April 5th. The crews of the two ships got friendly and decided to party! You can see more info on the Peanut Island Pirate Festival theme here http://www.peanutislandpiratefest.com/eventtheme.html
You can only get to Peanut Island by boat. We rode over on a ferry which picked us up at the Riviera Beach Marina. While we were waiting for the ferry, this hard-working sea turtle swam by us busily paddling against the current. It was not an easy task, the wind was fierce that day. He gave us a look that said, hey can you help me!
For those that don’t know, this Bounty is a replica of the original ship that was used by the British Admiralty for a special mission in 1787. That special mission was to sail to Tahiti, halfway around the world, collect sapling breadfruit trees and bring them to the West Indies so that the British plantation owners would have a cheap source of food for their workers. Lt. William Bligh led the mission, and after much difficulty in traveling they arrived in Tahiti in October of 1788. During the five months that the crew stayed, they gathered more than a thousand breadfruit trees. The crew lived onshore to take care of the trees, and became quite attached to the Tahitians while they were there.
After five months in Tahiti, the Bounty set sail with its load of breadfruit trees on April 4th 1789. Nearly 24 days later mutiny broke out. (Acting Lieutenant) Fletcher Christian, totally fed up with the continual abuse from Capt. Bligh took the ship and sailed it to the island of Tubuai. Three months later, after a failed effort to settle on the island, they sailed back to Tahiti, and left sixteen of the crew on the island, some of the crew were loyal to Bligh, some were mutineers.
Then Christian with eight Bounty crew members, six Tahitian men, twelve women and one baby, sailed off in an effort to hide from the Royal Navy. They sailed through the Fiji and Cook Islands, but didn’t feel safe there. On January 15th 1790 they came upon Pitcairn Island, an island in the middle of nowhere in the Pacific, which had been misplaced on the Royal Navy’s charts. They decided to stay on the island, they took the livestock and other provisions from the Bounty, and they burned the ship on January 23rd 1790, in the hope that they wouldn’t be found, and to keep anyone from escaping the island. The ship sits in what is now called Bounty Bay. No one found out about their dirty deed for 18 years.
The replica was built in 1960 for MGM studios’ Mutiny on the Bounty, starring that hunk, Marlon Brando. The movie studio execs had a new Bounty built from scratch, and they built her just the way she would have been built in 1760. They used the original ship’s drawings to construct the replica. The Bounty replica has starred in many productions since then, and in 1986 Ted Turner purchased the MGM film library and he got the Bounty with it. He used it in the movie Treasure Island with Charlton Heston in 1989, she also played many other roles along the way. In 1993 she was donated to the Fall River Chamber Foundation, in Fall River, Massachusetts. They began the Tall Ship Bounty Foundation, and used the ship for educational purposes.
In February of 2001, when the Bounty was in serious need of repairs she was purchased by HMS Bounty Organization LLC. They took her to the shipyard in Boothbay Harbor Maine for work. Once the Bounty was ready to go again, her first stop was to go back home to the United Kingdom. The organization keeps the Bounty sailing and uses her to teach square rigged sailing and seamanship.
You can almost feel the history as you wander around the Bounty. You find yourself wondering what life was like then. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Captain Jack Sparrow showed up and took control. Of course if you visit during a Pirate Fest, he just might!
This weekend in southeast Florida was unusual in that we had waves, big 5 to 6 foot waves. Exciting stuff for all of the surfers in our area. This only happens once or twice a year, and only when the weather is just right. The weather was just right this weekend and people were loving the big, crashing waves. They were such an incredible color too, it looked like they might have gotten some of their color from the sand they picked up as they came roaring toward the shore. That picking up sand business is not such a good thing, the erosion has been out of control this weekend too.
Of course I had to head out to the beach with my camera, and big, heavy 100-400mm lens which let me get in pretty close on the surfers and the surf. I had to shield my lens from the salt, the wind was kicking up pretty good out of the north. I actually just pulled the bottom out of my camera bag (it was a small one) and used it to semi-protect my lens from the onslaught of salt. Even though my camera and lens are weatherproof, I try not to abuse that. In fact, it’s a very good idea to clean your camera and lenses when returning from a shoot at the beach. You don’t want to leave all that salt on your equipment.
I can’t seem to go anywhere that an osprey might be without seeing one, so I’ve included some pix of a young male osprey that circled by me several times on Saturday and another one came by on Sunday. What a beautiful sight silhouetted against the deep blue sky.
We had a really great beach weekend. The surf looked more like Daytona Beach than Delray Beach, ok, I’m pushing it, but one can dream!
Check out the sights for yourself!
My friend Janet and I went to the water’s edge, wine glasses in hand, Sunday evening around 7pm to wait for the moon to rise. As I set up my photo equipment, the sky was just starting to turn that really great cobalt blue color that it gets right before dark sets in.
The moon was due to rise at 7:07 and we didn’t see anything until our friend Marlene called us over to a spot where you could see through the Australian pines, and there it was….big, beautiful and amazing. It was already 7:21 by then.
Check out the cool shot of the American flag and the moon. Janet worked hard to try to get that flag to fly and it did.
It was so nice to slow down and enjoy all that nature had on display for us Sunday evening.
For those that might be interested;
I was using a Canon 100-400 mm f4.5-5.6L series lens on my Canon 5D Mark II body, I had it mounted on a tripod and had to use manual focus, auto focus only worked for the super close ups.
Most of the shots were hit or miss. I tried different exposures until I got the ones I wanted. Even though, it was impossible to get detail in the moon and get the reflection of the moon on the clouds. I had to overexpose to get the clouds, which ends up blurring the moon somewhat, and underexpose to get detail in the moon. I decided to combine a properly exposed shot of the moon with a good exposure of the overall shot. That worked.
The early shots, with the dark blue sky were shot at 1/40 f5.6 -1EV. The night shots were 0.5 sec at f7.1 and 0.8 sec at f5.6.