Lighting the Lamp

Lighting the Lamp

We were cruising in the Bahamas early this year and one of our layovers was Hope Town in the Abacos. Hope Town is home to the iconic Elbow Reef Lighthouse, just a short walk from our marina berth. This classic red and white candy-striped lighthouse is over 150 years old and still in working condition. It is the last remaining kerosene powered lighthouse in the world.

This photo is a bit outside my usual style, but I thought it would be fun to share. The lighthouse attendant has just lit the lamp and he is watching to make sure the flame has stabilized. What makes this image work for me is the way his eyes are illuminated by the beam as the mechanism rotates. Handholding the camera in low light conditions is always a challenge, and it took several attempts before I was able to catch just the right angle as the beam passed over the keeper’s face.

The Hope Town lighthouse was built in the 1860s by the British Imperial Lighthouse Service despite vehement opposition from a local populace that had been profiting from a lucrative ‘wrecking trade’, luring ships onto the reef and salvaging the contents of the resulting shipwrecks. It took quite a long time to complete construction of the tower as repeated vandalism slowed progress.

Now, of course, the lighthouse is the pride of the island. It is even featured on the Bahamian $10 bill. The Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society works hard to raise funds to contribute to the maintenance and continued operation of the light, and vigorously opposes any effort to automate the operation. It is open to visit, free of charge, seven days a week. And, by request, the lighthouse keeper will allow visitors to come after hours to observe the lighting of the lamp shortly after sunset. This is a lengthy process that requires a period of slow heating before the light finally catches fire and begins casting its beam out to sea, slowly revolving as it warns ships away from the dangerous rocky coast. Another unusual job requirement for the lighthouse keeper is the task of winding up the mechanism every two hours, day and night, a process that has been going on without fail for the past 150 years of the lighthouse’s existence.

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Sony a7Rii, 1/60 sec at f/4.0, ISO 3200, 25mm (16-35mm F4 AZ OSS), hand-held

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy but please respect.

 

Posted by Carol in Bahamas, Humans, Night Skies, 2 comments
Storm Flight

Storm Flight

 

 

Hurricane Matthew’s devastating march up the southeast coast of the United States this past week brought back memories of all the places we visited last year as we sailed northwards from Ft. Lauderdale to Morehead City in North Carolina along the Intracoastal Waterway. City after city making the news as they suffered from wind and extraordinarily high levels of storm surge reminded me of stopovers aboard AVATAR in happier times – Fernandina Beach, Flagler Beach (where my husband Mike grew up), and St. Augustine in Florida, Cumberland Island, Jekyll Island and Savannah in Georgia, Beaufort, Myrtle Beach and Charleston in South Carolina, and so many more.

This photo of an American White Ibis flying into a stormy sky was captured near Southport, NC. I spent a lot of time stalking ibises, my interest piqued in part because it is a bird never seen in the western part of the United States where I live.

For this shot, I had staked myself out on a lengthy wooden pier raised high above the sawgrass marshes flanking the waterway at the marina where we were tied up for the night. The ibises were sailing overhead and landing in the nearby green meadows. It was a breezy day, and I was constantly putting on my prescription eyeglasses to review my shots, and taking them off again whenever I raised the camera to my eye. After repeating this routine multiple times – suddenly my eyeglasses were nowhere to be found. I searched the deck with blurry vision, finally concluding that the wind had blown them off the boardwalk and into the swamp some 10-12 feet below.

Husband Mike was called into the search, and with his unusual eyesight – far worse than mine but with an uncanny ability to focus on minute objects – he did indeed spot them below in the sawgrass. How to retrieve them was another question. Wading into the marsh was an exercise in sinking up to the knees in muck that sucks the shoes off your feet leaving your bare soles exposed to beds of sharp-edged clams embedded in the mud…this scenario derived from personal experience on a previous bird-stalking expedition!

We decided to create an impromptu rope ladder for Mike to climb down and I was sent back to the boat to fetch several lengths of line. Luckily, on the way I spotted an extraordinarily long boat hook belonging to the marina management. Thanks to the boat hook, we snagged the glasses on the first pass, quite possibly saving this post from a much lengthier narrative if our rope trick had proven to be folly!

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Nikon D4S, 1/1000 sec at f/6.7, ISO 400 mm (80.0-400.0 mm f/4.5-5.6), hand-held

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy but please respect.

 

Posted by Carol in Birds, North Carolina, USA, 2 comments
Splash

Splash

 

Another image taken last year during a photography workshop in Iceland, focused on the native Icelandic Horses that have lived on the island for hundreds of years, dating back to Norse settlements in the 9th and 10th centuries. This was photographed on a day when the herd was taken on a beach outing where the ponies enjoyed a gallop through the surf. I’ve applied a little artistic license to this photo to give it a more ‘painterly’ feel. Beautiful on canvas!

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Nikon D4S, 1/1000 sec at f/4.0, ISO 800, 200mm (200.0-400.0 mm f/4.0), hand held

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy, but please respect.

Posted by Carol in Animals, Horses, Iceland, 1 comment
Caribbean Storm

Caribbean Storm

Confined to port on a day of blustery winds in the Bahamas, we elected to take a day trip to Harbour Island via high speed ferry that makes a daily round trip from Nassau to Spanish Wells to Harbourtown and back again. Wind and surging waves made it hard for the ferry to tie up to Harbourtown’s concrete sea wall, and as soon as all the passengers disembarked it made a hasty departure and we were informed it would not be returning for the afternoon run and that we would be taking alternate transportation home.

Harbour Island is known for its pink sand beach named, appropriately, The Pink Sands Beach, considered to be one of the ten most beautiful beaches in the world. Despite the windy weather, due to the wind direction on this day the Pink Sands Beach was tranquil and calm, protected in the lee of the island even though the sky threatened on the horizon. Although we toured the island end to end (via golf cart), we lingered here the longest in pursuit of a worthy addition to my wave studies collection.

We were back at the dock for transport home by 3 p.m. Small but powerful water taxis loaded up groups of passengers and then took off at high speed straight into the wind and waves, crossing the strait between Harbour Island and Eleuthera Island in excellent form. On Eleuthera we were shepherded into waiting vans which then transported us some ten miles or so across the island, where we were shuttled again into another flotilla of water taxis that sped us back to Spanish Wells. Happy to have arrived at our final destination, we didn’t envy the Nassau bound passengers who were in for a rough ride home on the final leg.

Sony a7Rii, 1/400 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100, 200mm (FE70.0-200.0 mm f/4 G OSS), hand held

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy, but please respect.

Posted by Carol in Bahamas, Caribbean, Scenic, Seascapes, 2 comments
Desert Kaleidoscope

Desert Kaleidoscope

Early this past spring I headed outdoors to photograph a white egret that had been hanging around our property. The egret never cooperated, staying far out of range of my camera lens, but a roadrunner on the hunt showed up instead. I captured several satisfying images of him as he darted by in pursuit of a lizard or whatever a roadrunner eats! I especially enjoy this capture for the kaleidoscope-like effect of the background created by the lens bokeh, while the roadrunner emerges into focus with even his tiniest feathers rim lit by the sunlight.

Nikon D810, 1/1600 sec at f/5.6, ISO 1100, 500mm (200.0-500.0 mm f/5.6), hand held

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy, but please respect.

Posted by Carol in Arizona, Birds, USA, Wildlife, 0 comments
Bridle Portrait of Nouska

Bridle Portrait of Nouska

 

Nouska is a Dutch Warmblood mare imported from Great Britain to compete at showjumping’s Grand Prix level. I captured this shot while she was waiting at ringside to compete, and processed it using a high key effect to blow out the background. I like the limited color palette and the great detail that reveals even the stitching on her bridle. Nouska went on to win the Grand Prix that day. She is now retired to broodmare status.

Nikon D700, 1/750 sec at f/4.8, ISO 400, 125mm, hand held

Unfortunately, my online Store|Gallery crashed late last week and the weekend has interfered with a quick fix from tech support. Hopefully all will be back to normal in a few days. You can check in at cbparkerphoto.com – but if you see blank white where the images should be, have patience (mine is wearing thin!).

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Enjoy, but please respect.

Posted by Carol in Animals, Arizona, Equestrian, Horses, USA, 0 comments
See You Later

See You Later

 

 

The summer of 2014 we spent cruising the chilly waters near Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Especially at the north end of the Johnstone Straits, near Blackfish Sound and Echo Bay, marine wildlife was abundant. We enjoyed multiple sightings of humpback whales, orcas, dolphins and more. I spent hours on AVATAR’s foredeck, wearing cold wet socks on my feet, trying to capture photos of these impressive creatures. Sometimes I scarcely knew which way to point my camera as the whales surfaced on all sides of us, announcing their presence with the whoosh of their exhaled blows. This humpback whale swam past our small open boat in Echo Bay, then showed his tail as he dove down deep. I was also captivated by the beautiful scenery, especially the way the mountains were silhouetted in the moisture laden atmosphere into multiple shaded layers. I count 15 layers in this photo – how many do you see?

Composite of two images:
Whale: Nikon D4S, 1/2000 sec at f/11.0, ISO 800, 180mm (80.0-400.0 mm f/4.5-5.6) hand held
Mountains: Nikon D4S, 1/1000 sec at f/11.0, ISO 200, 160mm (80.0-400.0 mm f/4.5-5.6) hand held

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Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Please respect.

Posted by Carol in British Columbia, Canada, Landscapes, Marine Life, Scenic, Seascapes, Underwater, Whales, 0 comments
Early Start

Early Start

 

Only a week ago we were cruising in Maine! On our last morning before heading south again, I woke to the most spectacular sunrise I have seen in years. The intense colors only lasted for a few short moments before fading to softer shades of rose, then gold. I could hear the engines of nearby anchored boats as they warmed up for an early departure, and a small fishing boat was already on its way. We were anchored in a quiet cove near Penobscot Island, and the tide was out – exposing shoulders of boulders draped in weed. Every detail was reflected in the quiet glassy water for double impact. I captured what I could from AVATAR’s deck while the colors were at their peak, then went kayaking to further enjoy the moment.

Sony a7Rii, 1/320 sec at f/4.0, ISO 400, 119mm (FE 70-200 F4 G OSS), hand held

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Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Please respect.

Posted by Carol in Landscapes, Maine, Scenic, Seascapes, Sunrise/Sunset, USA, 0 comments
Coming At You

Coming At You

It’s been raining a lot here in Tucson during monsoon season – which put me in the mood to feature this image taken last year during a workshop in Iceland. A group of like-minded photographers shared a dormitory at a horse farm near Skálakot, where we had access to barns and pastures full of these furry, sturdy horses. On this day the herd was wrangled down the driveway and country road to the beach where they splashed through the shallows for our benefit. One of our young lady wranglers bit it and was tossed into the surf, breaking her finger in the process and earning a damp trip to the hospital for a splint. She was back in the saddle the next day, unfazed by her mishap.

Nikon D4S, 1/1000 sec at f/4.0, ISO 800, 400mm (200.0-400.0 f/4.0), hand held

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Please respect.

Posted by Carol in Animals, Horses, Iceland, 2 comments
The Odd Couple

The Odd Couple

Culebra Island in Puerto Rico offered a snorkeling beach a short hike from our anchorage. Mike and I loaded ourselves down with assorted beach-going paraphernalia, masks and fins, and I refused to go without my heavy underwater camera – just in case. It was almost a disappointment on the heels of some spectacular scuba diving. The scenery was very average, water cloudy and the outcroppings of coral dull under a coating of sand. But in the end my decision to lug the camera along paid off. We found a stingray in the shallow water escorted by a trevally that resulted in a photo that strikes my fancy. The rays always seem to have a fish accompanying them; in this case another trevally tried to join in, but the first fish aggressively drove it away. Back in the states I googled the behavior and came up with the term ‘commensalism’, in which one species benefits by hanging out with another. In this case the fish snags up the scraps of food stirred up by the stingray as it feeds along the sandy bottom.

Sony a7rII, Nauticam Underwater Housing, 1/350 sec at f/3.5, ISO 100, 28mm (FE 28mm F2)

Photo is copyrighted and registered with the US Copyright Office. Please respect.

Posted by Carol in Caribbean, Puerto Rico, Rays, Underwater, 0 comments
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