Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Withdrawal symptoms

It's been two months since I was last at the summit of Mauna Kea. I knew this was going to happen with the change to remote operations, but I can't tell you how much I miss the place. Well, at least my few readers won't be subjected to picture after picture of sunsets from the mountain, so thought I'd start boring people with Puna sunrises instead.

Only joking, but I need to find a new outlet. The thing is, I don't think I can take a better picture of Puna than the one in "Cliff watching", but here are two or three more from that morning (but nowhere near as good, aesthetically or technically). I'm not a morning person so please bear with me. This is a very beautiful place but sometimes only comes out at sunrise when the light is just right.

Same location as the cliff watching photo, just in a slightly different spot and well before sunrise, so it's a very long exposure (15 secs). There's enough light to illuminate the cliffs though and smooth the water. That lava rock really is dark but seems to become a little lighter at dawn.

This one's an HDR shot and not my best effort, but looks OK. Having the sun rise in the same picture as black lava means you're going to get one of them wrong, so bracketed three shots and tried to make it look the same as my eye was seeing. It's not quite right but not terrible. This is a typical scene around here - the edge of an old pahoehoe lava flow and vegetation growing where it didn't quite reach. Of course the vegetation is growing on an older lava flow...

A sunrise and a young tree growing from an old lava flow. There's even some dew on the branches, or perhaps it's sea spray. Not sure. I think it's a young ironwood which is very common on the shores here, I even have a couple in my yard. But I'm in unfamiliar territory, there's no observatory in sight. I don't know one tree from another and there's no snow and ice! Disorientation looms...


Anonymous said...

my favorite shot is the first one. absolutely beautiful.

I don't know much about cameras. I just point and shoot, not paying any attention to length of exposure, etc. Lots to learn from you.

boo said...

And my favorite is the last: the crepuscular rays bursting in all directions, painting the sky golden wherever they touch; the water droplets on the boughs bringing the distant sea to the fore; and the timid little naupaka hiding from the sun behind the stalwart ironwood.

I don't know much about what makes a photo "good" in terms of technical proficiency but I know that some grab my attention more than others and it appears to be a function of which photos invite me to read into them, as this one obviously does :)

Tom said...

Interesting that neither of you preferred the second photo - and I'm not surprised, I don't like it either!

Have to admit I'm learning lots more about photography in the last couple of weeks than I did for a year or so with the old point-and-shoot camera I had. The new lightroom software is helping as well (plus a Scott Kelby book!).

As for the technical side of things - well, I work at an observatory and we do our best to make sure images and spectra have the least noise in them plus the data we release should have no manipulation in them at all. Sometimes my mindset is that way when I take photos but then have to forget it and remember I'm trying to take pictures I enjoy looking at and hopefully one or two others will as well!