Posts Tagged ‘hawaii’

Story and Tips

One of my favorite pictures from my trip to Hawaii in November of 2009 (I went there for a wedding but spent 9 other days traveling around the big island and Oahu)

We had just got done taking pictures at Sunset Beach on the north shore of Oahu. The sun had set and most of the people had departed the shores. I had gotten a lot of great shots of surfers with the sunset. (I’ll have to share some of them later… you can see them here for now

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If I was on my own schedule
I felt pretty done for the day… I wasn’t looking for any more pictures. I was ready to drive back to the hotel. I like doing night shots but you really have to be in the mood for it. Most of the time I travel alone and I don’t find joy in being outside taking night shots alone in strange places. Therefore I just don’t do many, so when the sun set and twilight was over… I was ready to go.

Two Things that happened
One of our friends +Dustin Bess was on his phone (to a girl), he seemed pretty intent on carrying out his conversation so we rolled with it. Meaning we waited on the grass near our Jeep… we were kinda sitting under the palm trees. This also meant we had more time to be there and take pictures.

My other buddy +Clint Louish kept on taking pictures which kept me moving. (I wasn’t about to be the first person to stop taking pictures… I was the full time photographer, can’t let these others show me up… haha)
Since my mood was different… I decided to just try something unique and lazy… because I really didn’t want to move from where I was.

30 Seconds
I didn’t just start taking the picture at 30seconds. That’s a big commitment for one single picture. I started shooting at a higher ISO to test my shot.
I situated the camera under the trees shooting directly up and let it go for a few seconds. Then when I saw it was gonna be pretty cool I put the ISO down and upped the shutter speed. I got all the way to 30seconds. I would have gone longer using Bulb… but did not have the remote trigger that made that easy.

There was a light wind that ruffled the leaves but you can mostly see that effect on the outside and not the inside portions near the base of the tree.

The street lights weren’t your normal colors they were really funky… so I kept on getting really funky colors. So I decided to use the kelvin scale on the WB selector… I set it all the way down to the very lowest it went to. (Which is like 2500? )
It brought the trees back to the correct colors… but it did make the sky a bit cooler than perhaps it might have been. (I added a Color version)

Personally I like the B&W version. You?
I want to print it big for an upcoming gallery setup… what should I print it on?

There are no overt tips in here… they are hidden in the story.
Things like sticking with it even after you are “done” taking pictures. Take advantage of all situations.
Experiment with WB and Long shutter speeds.
Even if it’s very dark a really long shutter speed will counteract.

Hope you like these stories with tips. I’ll keep doing them… at any point you can get me links to the pics and I’ll see what I can do.

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What I wanted is what I got!

Where it all started….
I was planning a destination wedding to Hawaii and all I wanted was amazing pictures. I tried searching photographers in Hawaii and was finding disappointing results. That lead me to a google search and that linked me to Scott’s work from a previous Hawaii wedding. The pictures were beautiful and I had to contact him. The things that were really important in my search were…..someone who was really creative with a good personality, price was obviously important as this was a destination wedding, and even more was the time that would be allowed on the actual wedding day.

I talked with Scott on the phone and then decided to send out my sister and mom to actually meet him. My sister told me that he was very “artsy” and the pictures would turn out, and more importantly we would get along with him.


I’m from Utah but living and working in Wisconsin and my husband was living in Utah so we decided to take our engagements and bridals in Utah. It was a little crazy because I had to 1 week of vacation and took engagements on a Wednesday and bridals on a Friday. I was so excited because it was April and I was thinking outdoors, sun, tulips etc. It just so happened that of course it was sunny and beautiful all week, except for those 2 days. I was getting ready for pictures and it starting hailing and my dreams were almost crushed. I didn’t have time to reschedule and when I called Scott he said that sometimes overcast days make for the best pictures.

I was also a little nervous because my husband has never been a big fan of getting his picture taken. Within 5 minutes we were smiling and comfortable. Scott gives great cues like “hehe” for smiling, serious, and our favorite “having a moment” which to us meant kissing (if you look at our galleries we loved having lots of moments). I really loved that we had some individual shots as well that is a fun idea.

See more from all of the 5 photoshoots here


I want everyone to know that this is pic 13 of over 300. My mom was looking over his shoulder and after this pic she smiled and said…we have the picture! At that point I knew we had made the right choice

My fave pic of Greg and his fave pic of me

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These are some of my favorites bc these shots were captured when we were not paying attention. This is our real smiles and laughs. I would hear the camera snapping and think to myself I wasn’t ready




Here is the set up…..we were at our first location and the weather cleared for a few minutes and Scott said we need to run up the canyon right now. We were at a park and after 30 min we could see the storm coming. It started hailing once again, Scott asked if we were up for it (of course, it’s all for the sake of the pictures). We ran into the hail and all we heard was smile, kiss, smile, kiss, and we are done! These are incredible




Ok ok so it’s not exactly molten lava coming down a mountain… but it was once upon a time.

You should just be happy I wasn’t cheesy enough to title it “Whole Lava Love” – (Though I wanted to)

Anyway… expect a few more posts on this wedding. We did wedding pictures at the Kona LDS Temple and on the way to the resort we stopped in the middle of no where and took some fun pictures. It was like going to the salt flats for something totally unique, but obviously it’s not salt and we weren’t there at sunset, but where we were at sunset was pretty amazing and those will be coming… when I get back to Utah.  I leave Hawaii tonight and will be back in utah tomorrow. I have 3 weddings next week, so it’ll be busy.

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By the time it posts these two will be married in the LDS temple in Kona Hawaii.

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Last night we took the chance to walk the beach and take some pictures. No wedding dress as he hasn’t seen her in the dress yet. But they got some more great pictures to show off at their reception in Utah in one month’s time.

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Now it’s time to get ready and head out to do the wedding. Since it’s only close family everyone is going in the temple and Scott is left to play babysitter for the one baby that made the trip.




I guess you won’t know where I’m putting all the Hawaii pictures and stories unless I tell you.

So this is me telling you where to find them.

They are located on Envision the World Blog

More specifically the hawaii pictures will be right here… so far there are 6 posts listed with just a smattering of pictures. I’ve taken a whole lot more but I’m still here in Hawaii so I am just randomly going through them now.

The purpose of Envision the World is to help people understand about countries and cultures from all around the world. There’s an ongoing story on Europe from pictures I did from 2006 there are 9 posts so far with a planned 70 more throughout the rest of the summer. One representing each day in Europe. So that should be fun. Go here for Europe


Consider adding the Envision the World blog to your blog reader with this RSS Feed

Also each post is mentioned on the Envision the World page on Facebook… so following there might have the same effect.

Maybe I’ll mention it from time to time here… but this was your fair warning that most of my travel stuff will be going on to Envision the world. Even some of the older stuff.

On that note… if you have some great travel pictures consider a guest post on the Envision the World Blog. If you take lots of travel pictures perhaps a more consistent presence.

Every post starts out “Envisioning … ” So think of your pictures in that way and tell us a good story to bring the other places to life. Far far away and near and next door.




What was gonna be

OK I meant to post this like months ago.
As you can tell… I didn’t.

And maybe that’s to your advantage.
I wanted to do a small workshop for either 4 or 8 people in Maui for 3 days.

Not so much to make money but to have fun and of course pay for the trip and to share.

Well I’m still going to Maui June 6th-11th, I have a condo, I plan on getting an off-roading Jeep and just going everywhere and taking tons of pictures.

But I doubt in 2 weeks time we’ll get the people together to do a workshop. People seem to plan months in advance for large expenses like that… and let’s just say Jarvie isn’t the best at planning that far in advance so I don’t know if workshops will ever be the road I go down.

What is now gonna be

SOOOOO…. Who wants to go on a Photographic Guided Tour?

1 or 2 people can even jump over to Kona to help photographic the wedding that saturday.

I kinda figure if you’re interested enough and have the time you’ll probably make it happen.
If you want to, you can think of it as a cheap priced 4-day workshop.

But in the end I’ll probably just end up having you split costs (housing, transportation)

Heck I know most of my friends are poor so I’ll give the fun/cute people a deal. Like you know they can be the model or something.

Why have people go?

Because last time I went i found that having other people there kept me motivated and sane.

Motivated: because I need to get my butt out of bed at pretty darn early times for sunrise and there are times when you just don’t want to but I know I can do it when I have someone else to help or when I feel responsible for providing a great experience. (Unless you’re hardcore don’t ask what time it is)

Sane: I enjoy talking. I enjoy sharing. I enjoy teaching. I feel that all of those make me a better photographer, and knowing I’m helping someone else become a better photographer makes me happy as well.

Qualified? Worth it?

Well I don’t know… I’ll show off what I did last time and personally I hope to get twice as good of stuff next time.

My style is this: I drive around a bunch and just capture everything and everywhere and hold up for a little while during sunrise and sunset.

So if you like 100% structured then you’ll hate this. I structure just enough and then allow for amazing opportunities and inspiration.

The results

Go Here for 200 more


Cliche – yes sunset beach at sunset… of surfers!

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Wait for it… sunset is cool… but twilight things get crazy!!



Snorkeling is a must!! (Maybe some scuba)



My Last Wedding > Is the new standard

I view my most recent wedding as a standard for things to come.
Let me explain why and how.


What I did to make this possible

A couple months back I was so busy that I opted to raise my prices in a deliberate attempt to have more time.
More time for my photo projects.
More time to have a real life.
More time to focus on each photo shoot.
More time to UP my standards.

And so far it’s worked.
It’s been weird to not book as many photo-shoots, I’ve learned to deal with it.
I’m learning how to fill in all that available time.

New Pricing – Thoughts About

I didn’t want to simply raise costs just because, but I wanted to raise them at the same time raise the quality of the product.

Over the years I’ve raised my prices many times… back in 2005 with the first few weddings I shot for as low as $250 for a wedding.

I didn’t just raise costs because I wanted more money, but because I felt the product was worth that, because I had worked hard at improving with talent, time and equipment.

Now I finally have pretty much every tool I’ve wanted for a long long time.

Weddings I’m searching for

This Hawaii wedding is also an example of the types of weddings I want to focus on working on.
Nicely organized weddings, with people who are very interested in a higher level of photography.
I want to be dealing with brides who don’t simply want A photographer but are in search of A great quality photographer.

I understand for some photography isn’t their #1 concern.
And I also understand there are many who really want great pictures but can’t usually afford them.

I want to still be in an affordable range… as a bargain for an educated shopper who can understand what I’m giving when they compare it to other options.

I want to deal with people that stretch to reach the cost (even if i have to help them with the cost) so that they’re appreciative of the product.
But I also want to deal with people that understand the bargain.
I am in Utah where the wedding photography costs are way down in comparison to many other parts of the country.
I suppose this is why I travel a lot.

Give more

If you compare straight up prices it can be deceptive.
But when someone sees I don’t charge by the hour and they could have me for 10hrs + on a wedding day.
And when they see how many pictures I typically give to a client.
When they recognize things like how I review and edit Every picture I give to them.
Many of the intangibles such as the experience which will help me deal with any possible situation that might come up for a wedding.
Or the demeanor and attitude that helps me deal with weddings perfectly. Not too formal, not too informal.
Not just the quality of the picture… but the feel of the picture.
The speed with which the sessions go… not rushed and not dragging along.


I’ve always prided myself on the consistency of my weddings.
I felt confident telling clients that they were assured of great wedding pictures.
It wasn’t hit and miss. It was hit after hit.
And sometimes of course there were some big hits.


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New Standards



Good things happen when the sun goes down… twilight is often more exciting… and then there’s a clear evening with the stars coming out and some nice palm trees.

In this post I’d love to drive home the point:

Make wherever you happen to be work for you.
And get good at seeking out spots and SEEing the spots you’re at.

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity… make it the perfect opportunity.


(Above) As you see these pictures you might wonder why they call it Sunset Beach… haha

This day was proof-example, after example, of why going out with a set purpose (set picture) in mind is in many (not all) ways is retarded.
But having a “way point” can be smart.

Yes have plans… but be open to all the amazing things that surround you.

In this case we penciled in Sunset beach for sunset.
When you’re on a road trip with me you realize I’m using a pencil and that pencil has an eraser.

But beyond that when you are wherever you are… be ready to shoot them when they happen. (know how)
And be ready to SEE them.

It makes me wonder how/why those photographers who set out with one specific shot in mind do it.
That would drive me batty… and doesn’t seem like a good idea. (Open for discussion, as long as we’re trying to understand eachother)
(Though perhaps having fewer pictures would sure cut down on processing and make picking easier)

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Going back to the car to grab the tripod… low and behold, I saw the light.
I was saying to myself… how do these things like this keep happening to me?
I really couldn’t have planned the mist, the sunlight angle because of clouds, the color of the sunlight is beyond our control as we know.


Yes I put myself in a situation where i could get back lit pictures of surfers when they came out… but I certainly wasn’t expecting this.
I can’t move this dude I’m not in charge of the posing.
I just frame it up to tell the story and wait for the elements to be in a good spot.

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This is a big example of just wandering around searching and being in the right place at the right time.
We didn’t write Hawaii 2009 in the sand but we came by literally seconds before the wave washed it away forever.
I barely had time to aim and spray fire shoot it as it got washed away.
The lighting was hardly what people aim for, but I knew that it would make it unique and that I could add back some of the contrast from shooting towards a setting sun.


This was not planned it was a result of waiting around for other people to be ready to go and getting bored and saying… hey why not take pictures of the palm trees.
If only I had my cable release to take longer than 30 second exposures. But that’s what I could do…
and I set the White balance to 2500 kelvin to bring out the blue because the street lights were throwing off the colors.


On this trip I discovered the joy of setting my white balance to Shady A2 to really bring out warm colors
I think any white balance could have worked for this evening and the camera itself would have been stumped with the colors of the sunset at sunset beach.
Don’t just take good pictures and call it good… add spice.


OK obviously the above picture was taken a while before sunset colors hit… but I wanted to show the kind of waves they were looking at.
You’ll see some better pictures of waves coming up… but I take pictures to document what was going around a whole lot.


Now planning your shots ahead of time is not a bad thing… don’t misunderstand.
I planned on being at sunset beach at sunset.
And when I got there an hour before sunset I said I wanted to  be on such and such side of the water/beach.

But the point is: Up until that time (your way-point time) and after and maybe even instead be willing to let your hunches, ideas and the light take you where they will…
Kinda like the waves of see, they go here and there and wherever the wind and tide takes them.
Yes there could have been other paths… but make the path you decided on, or were thrust into work for you

You’ll find some amazing things start to happen.
And you’ll learn to deal with (photographically) what you’re given… and not just search for what you want and always see the green green grass just beyond reach.

I’m saying both things can be good when done correctly.
But don’t wait for the perfect opportunity… make it the perfect opportunity.


A lot of my pictures are a testament to my laziness… i was shooting sunset here and just didn’t feel like moving.
I was hoping more surfers would just walk past me. (They’ve done it in the past)
So i just sat around, not being pulled in any other way.

So I made where I was Work.
Instead of perhaps finding another better location. (Which might have been good too)


People almost seem to refuse to take pictures when the light is not perfect for them.
I say learn how to deal with the light no matter what it’s giving you.
Use it to your advantage… take the pictures the present light situation is giving you.


Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity… make it the perfect opportunity.
Even better if what’s been given is pretty darn nice!


This was a very short day of shooting, we mainly spent our day taking pictures at pearl harbor shortly after we flew to Oahu.

And those pictures were very symbol based taking specific elements of the tour. (But not limited to that)

I also took a picture from our condo we stayed in for 5 days and from the plane.



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Dustin wanted some pictures while we were traveling around in Hawaii.
One evening after sunset (twilight) I decided I could take a break and do some.

I laid the flash on a few rocks pointed it in a direction and told him to stand in front of it.

I walked around him shooting pictures and doing some different poses.

After a while I realized I didn’t have move at all… he stood in the same spot the whole time and I just moved around and adjusted my settings.
In fact the flash stayed in the same spot on the same settings the whole time.
I did have him jump in that spot so at the end he did move a little.

Just goes to show what you can do.
Here are some examples



To change it up I shot through things.

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Shooting away from the sunset/twilight made things much darker background obviously.


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This day we took it easy only leaving later in the day to pick up two more photographers from the airport and then shooting in two locations in town (Kailua Kona)

You can see the full gallery (of the recap) on SmugMug


Oh how I enjoy Wide angle (14-24 2.8) and having a flash to illuminate both spots was fun.


I have forgotten the name of this.

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I did go snorkeling for about an hour earlier in the day.




The plan was go up the mountain… but they didn’t let us… so we went around.

They closed the mountain because of snow and ice, so we decided to take a small dirt road accessible by 4wd only.
This is the same road we played on, on a previous day. So thus we were back on the road.

Probably one of my favorite places on the island and for sure one of the least traveled areas of the island.

You’ll also see some pictures of the north east coast of the island where we went later in the day.
You’ll recognize it as the places with water, ocean, waterfalls etc.

Full gallery of this recap is available here


yes that’s snow… yes it’s hawaii


Let’s just say that a rental jeep can go more places than a regular jeep can go.



So what’s the deal with the loner cow?

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This is the Nene, the state bird of Hawaii.
They don’t fly, well at least they didn’t feel like flying away from me.

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This is my recap of the wedding pictures.

There were many many pictures taken that day, but I was able to skim through them and pick out some of my favorites so I could do a recap here.

It’s gonna be a long post because I have lots of pictures to share.
And also a few words about how to make every wedding this great.

Perfectly planned

I really had a great time doing this wedding.
Being in Hawaii certainly didn’t hurt.
They were also a great looking couple, had a great family, picked a wonderful place for the wedding and reception.
They had everything planned out very well and that makes my job so much easier and makes for better pictures.





So if a future bride is reading this.

Please note that it just doesn’t naturally happen with no effort.

What to do?
This bride seemed to almost plan the day around wonderful picture opportunities.
From the fans and the parisols the brides mades used to flying her stylist over from her island.


She seemed to pick the location based on her own estimation and advice from the hotels as to which one had the best photography spots.
And she picked well.

So therefore… pick a great place to get married or time to travel to a spot on that day.

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She even organized the banquet/reception to end in time to have her be able to do photography at sunset.
Most people seem unwilling to do that sometimes planning a reception during sunset.
Perhaps it helped since she had a captive audience since 70 people flew from another island.

I can’t and won’t just pull you away from whatever you’re doing to get sunset pictures.
But I will be willing to do them if that desire comes from you.

I’ll do my best to take amazing pictures. But if you aren’t willing to go the extra mile with a smile… well… you understand.


She got tons of pictures during the reception that she will be using for several projects that would have not been possible unless she had 2 people helping organize those shots. I could have done them but not effeciently in the time that it needed to, because we had the help of others to cut down drastically on the time and have me simply doing the shots, what I do best.
Besides she planned a banquet/formal reception which allow for better pictures than a “lined” reception.
The program allowed for great pictures as well as the nice decorations.


Finally they were troopers.
I pride myself in making the shoots fun and creative.
But they were more than willing to make the pictures happen.

Those who are more interested in and excited about pictures will more often get the better pictures.
We photographers feed off of that energy.

They didn’t just wait for instructions (slowing the process down) but they put emotion into their pictures.
And they acted quickly to help utilize effectively the short time we had.
I’m not saying they were the best actors or characters I’ve photographed. In fact I did most of the ideas, but it just happened that I was on a roll. but I think their attitude played a big part and the way we interacted.


Never once did I hear… “But I’m not photogenic”, or “I don’t look good in pictures”
It’s our job to make good pictures and I’d like to think I do a good job and everyone is always pleased, so if you just trust us and just relax and have fun.
Remember we thrive with the emotion of the moment.


Having tons of time to shoot isn’t the key, it’s a team effort to act effectively with the time given.

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(Above) Two poses they made happen entirely on their own. The prep dancing they didn’t even know about.

The photographer and those being photographed should both be creative together working to make things happen.
The emotion and feeling of the picture needs to flow from them.
I tend to put them in the poses that match the mood coming from them and from the light of the day.

Even though I scouted out the location in advance to see what could work, we still were open to any possibility that night.
We had to roll with the time and situation given to us.

Just exactly how the light would be hitting at the moment we passed by the location we were walking around.


And it all went down perfectly. And part of that perfection comes from moving fast and taking advantage of every picture we had time for. But not limiting ourselves to expectations of pictures and then not having time to make them happen.
Having wants and desires is great but we need to be able to roll with the flow and settle for the best pictures possible.
If she had wanted a picture that took 20 minutes to travel to or create then we would have missed out on soo much.

There was trust that I would do my job but it wasn’t a blind relience that it only depended on me and that the subject didn’t have to do anything nor did they even have to care.

Hawaii sure didn’t hurt, nor did their good looks of the bride and groom, nor Dustin assisting me that evening with lighting and bags.
And creating and inviting to more opportunities is very helpful.



But the moral of the story is…
It’s partnership of creativity, we all work together to make great pictures.


More pictures after the jump
or more pictures on smugmug



This day seemed like several days all rolled up into one!

I guess that happens when you get up at 4am to go shoot sunrise a ways away and then shoot all the way until sunset.

When you are taking pictures and think back to that previous day when you were shooting near the lighthouse… oh wait that was earlier today.
Or when at the end of the day you can barely remember the beginning of the day because it seems like you’ve done sooo much since then.

That’s when you know you were pretty effective with the scheduling of your day.

The First “day”

Sunrise on the north point.
It included quite few miles of driving along along the coast line on fun dirt roads.
This was the longest day and we were in a bunch of different towns all along the northern coast.


“Day” 2

This day came in two distinct parts, but felt like they should be combined.
We went snorkeling in a bay and then met up with the wedding family and friends for some lunch and fun on the beach.


Using my little G11 to take some fun underwater shots.

The final “day”

We scouted out the location for the wedding and did sunset shots.

I don’t usually go visit the location before hand to figure things out, but we usually look for a place to do sunset and this was a phenomenal location.
I enjoyed being able to spot the possible locations and possible routes for the sunset since it comes and goes quite suddenly.
Turns out that info came in very handy for the wedding day and being overly prepared helped move things along smoothly.
I was also glad the element of spontaneity was still very much there and the pre-visit didn’t spoil it at all.


Sunset at this beach is pretty crazy awesome, but I thought i’d highlight some late twilight pictures taken a while after sunset.
Tripod required for this long exposure.

Look at the bunch of other “Day 3” sunset pictures later in this post.

See all the Recap pictures after the jump



So here we are at day 2

And we begin the post with a nice end of the day shot.
These types of trips you plan on picking a great spot for sunrise and sunset.
Well I think we got ourselves a nice sunset location.

There are a lot of rocky beaches, but this one was a nice sandy beach and I made it work.

Here’s some more stuff from the story of the second day.

Check out the full gallery of 28 pictures from the day 2 recap go here

This was only a few of the 1200+ pictures taken on day 2 (yesterday)

Cresting over the mountain, the unofficial west island sunrise.
Sunrise on the west side has some nice light but no color like I suppose you’d see if you were actually seeing the sunrise earlier in the morning.


Mid-morning holds some surprises on secluded beaches you get to with your 4wd vehicle


Mid-afternoon can be fun when clouds start participating a bit more.


Clouds block the sun but they’re just about to release their captive prisoner the sun, for that little gap between heaven and earth.
Can you spot where the sun is about to drop down below the cloud level?


Get your butt down in that water, get the camera low, not for the faint of heart, but it’ll make the great pictures.


Ahh the reflections!


Dang it people don’t even think of walking in the path of my picture…
…oh wait… now that I think about it… walk right in front of me.
That’s right, hold hands,… that’s cute!
Thanks for playing.