South Pacific

Contest Results!

Contest Results!



For those of you who voted in my Favorite Photo contest, thanks for playing along! It was fun for me to watch the results of the polling and see which images rose to the top! The winner? It’s a tie! Sunrise Flight and Fringing Reef Wavelet were the winners. Close runners-up, only a vote or two behind, were The Bobcat, High Heels, and Sail Into Sunrise.

I won’t keep you in suspense any longer – the winner of the drawing for a free 12 x 18″ print is Mackenzie Sullivan. Mackenzie’s vote, maybe not so coincidentally, went to Sunrise Flight. Congratulations Mackenzie!

Sunrise Flight is an image captured as we sailed out of an anchorage early one morning in the Solomon Islands. A couple of summers ago it was displayed in an exhibition hosted by the San Diego Museum of Natural History, where it won an honorary prize. I actually use this photo as the wallpaper for my iPhone! It works just as well in both vertical or horizontal positions. It never fails to bring back memories of those tranquil but dramatic early mornings at sea.

Again, thanks to you all! And better luck next time!


Posted by Carol in Birds, Cook Islands, Seascapes, Solomon Islands, 1 comment
Sunrise Flight

Sunrise Flight


Sunrise Flight is a composite image created from two photographs captured in the Solomon Islands. We left our anchorage at dawn one morning to get an early start for a long day’s passage. The rising sun lit the cumulus clouds building up on the horizon, giving them an internal glow. I was concentrating on capturing images of the dramatic sky when a booby joined us briefly, winging his way parallel to the boat, his eye reflecting the early light. Two captures taken just moments apart – the empty cloudscape and the sunlit bird in flight – were meant for each other, so I married them in one image that captures the essence of the moment as I experienced it.

The vast expanse of sea and sky and the perfectly positioned wings of the bird together create an image that expresses the unfettered freedom of flight.

Sunrise Flight has been exhibited from coast to coast, including the San Diego Museum of Natural History and, most recently, PhotoPlace Gallery in Vermont, a contemporary photography venue. Prints of this award-winning image are available for purchase HERE

Nikon D4, 1/500 sec at f/2.8, ISO 100, 165 mm (70.0-200.00 mm f/2.8 lens)

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



Posted by Carol in Birds, Scenic, Seascapes, Solomon Islands, South Pacific, Sunrise/Sunset, USA, Vermont, Wildlife, 0 comments
Eye To Eye

Eye To Eye


This is the wildlife image that holds the most meaning for me of all the photographs I have taken over the past ten years. I have it hanging in my kitchen where I see and marvel at it each and every day.

My husband and I are fortunate to have had access to a cruising yacht based in the South Pacific over the past several years. One of my favorite destinations is the small Kingdom of Tonga, where humpback whales migrate each year from the Antarctic to give birth and mate. We have visited several times during whale season and each time I took the opportunity to go out with whale watching professionals, over time learning the basic elements of locating and interacting with the whales in the water.

On our last visit in 2013, we were out for a cruise and scouting for whales on the way. The ocean was empty, no whales or whale watching boats in sight. Then suddenly we spotted a blow quite nearby.
Luck was entirely on our side. We had found a mother and very young calf that were floating quietly near the surface. They showed no signs of avoiding us or moving on, and no licensed whale boat operators were in the vicinity to ‘appropriate’ our find. I couldn’t resist such a golden opportunity. I quickly peeled off my clothes down to the swimsuit underneath and grabbed my underwater camera, fortunately already assembled and leak-tested and ready to go. There was a mad scramble gathering the bare necessities – fins, mask and snorkel – and then I eased into the water off the boat’s stern.

The two whales were maybe 150 feet away and I located them instantly through my camera’s viewfinder. I swam slowly and carefully towards them, minimizing any splashing or sudden movement, and they allowed me to approach without showing any skittishness. After a few minutes, mom turned and started swimming slowly away, giving me a rear view of her tail. But as I watched her go, snapping my last few photographs, I realized that her path was curving back in my direction. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the pair drifted back towards me until I found myself so close that I started backpedaling to avoid making accidental physical contact with mama’s long pectoral fin.

I spent nearly twenty minutes eye to eye with this calm and generous whale, while her baby slept and breathed above her, as we silently communicated with each other. I finally cut the session short when a third whale, probably her escort, arrived on the scene.

In itself the opportunity to swim alone and close to a cooperative whale is a rare and awe-inspiring experience. For the whale herself to voluntarily initiate that interaction was such an amazing, incredible privilege, never to be forgotten.

CBPP_20130831_Whale2-103-MI don’t often post photos of myself (especially in a swimsuit!), but my husband took this photo of the three of us from the deck of the boat.

Nikon D4, 1/180 sec at f/2.8, ISO 400, 35mm (17.0-35mm f/2.8)

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

Eye To Eye is available for purchase HERE.

Posted by Carol in South Pacific, Tonga, Underwater, Whales, 2 comments
Perfect Storm

Perfect Storm


A new addition to my online gallery. This is PERFECT STORM photographed at Cape Reinga in New Zealand

Cape Reinga is the northernmost tip of New Zealand, reaching into the sea and marking the meeting of two oceans – the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. On this day a perfect storm of weather convergence zones created fierce winds that whipped the ocean into a froth. The Cape is a narrow spine of land stretching its finger out into the ocean, and the footing was precarious as the 60 mph winds threatened to topple both my tripod and myself.

PERFECT STORM is available for purchase HERE.

Nikon D3S, 1/750 sec at f/8.0, ISO 400, 200mm (70.0-200.0 f2.8 lens).

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

Posted by Carol in New Zealand, Scenic, Seascapes, South Pacific, 0 comments
Fringing Reef #4 Wavelet

Fringing Reef #4 Wavelet


The 29th Annual Fund-Raising Gala for Salpointe High School here in Tucson is scheduled for this Saturday, April 23, at the elegant Cross Creek Riding Club estate. I’m pleased to support them by donating a 24″ x 36″ canvas gallery wrap to the text-to-bid silent auction. FRINGING REEF #4 WAVELET is one of my more popular images – I hope it generates a nice contribution to a worthy cause!

More information about the gala HERE:

FRINGING REEF #4 WAVELET is an artistic interpretation of dawn rising over the Pacific Ocean as it meets the fringing reef surrounding a South Pacific atoll, as a small wave breaks over the shallow coral.

In 2009 we were sailing our sailboat Raven from French Polynesia to Tonga, a distance of some 1300 miles. Mid voyage we laid over in the remote Cook Islands. It was a pleasure to pause and take respite in the quiet anchorage of uninhabited Suwarrow Atoll, protected from the open Pacific Ocean by the shallow circle of coral reef that surrounded the inner lagoon.

Early one morning I paddled my kayak to the reef to catch the sun as it rose. The corals of the reef were only submerged by a couple of feet, and their vibrant colors were visible beneath the clear water. I came back with so many stunning photos from that session, I can hardly choose which is my favorite.

FRINGING REEF #4 WAVELET is available for purchase HERE.

Nikon D700, 1/45 sec at f/4.8, ISO 200, 14mm (14.0-24.0mm f/2.8), hand held.

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

Posted by Carol in Cook Islands, Scenic, Seascapes, South Pacific, Sunrise/Sunset, 0 comments
Reflected Sky

Reflected Sky

The International Masters Exhibition 2016 at the Southern Nevada Museum of Fine Art in Las Vegas will be closing this coming weekend after a three month run. I’m pleased to say that two of my images in the exhibition, ‘Reflected Sky‘ and ‘Sunrise Flight‘, have been added to the museum’s permanent collection!

One of my favorite things about being at sea is that the sky is totally uninterrupted by buildings, telephone wires, city lights, and all the other trappings of civilization. Cloud formations, sunrises and sunsets are visible in all their expansive glory above the backdrop of the ocean surface.

In 2012 we were cruising aboard our boat AVATAR in the Solomon Islands, a remote South Pacific island country, where calm weather and seas created a multitude of opportunities to photograph reflections in the glassy water. We anchored overnight in Mbaeroko Lagoon, where this sight greeted me early in the morning as we pulled up anchor and prepared to depart.

Nikon D800, 1/125 sec at f/9.0, 2/3 EV, ISO 100, 14mm (14-24mm f/2.8), hand-held.

REFLECTED SKY is available for purchase HERE

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

Posted by Carol in Scenic, Seascapes, Solomon Islands, South Pacific, 2 comments
Wings Over Wairarapa Air Show

Wings Over Wairarapa Air Show


A couple of weeks ago while vacationing in New Zealand, we stopped off at Wings Over Wairarapa, Australasia’s largest air show taking place that weekend right on our route to Wellington. The weather forecast was for rain and we thought it quite likely the air show would be canceled or curtailed – but although we drove through drizzle and mist on the way down, it cleared by the time we reached Wairarapa.

Some 45,000 spectators attended over Saturday and Sunday, and the air show was terrific! On display and in the air were some of the finest privately owned collections of First & Second World War aircraft in the world. Although there was a strong emphasis on the historical airplanes, New Zealand’s armed forces had an impressive showing of their jets and helicopters. The action was non-stop as a variety of aircraft, from WWI triplanes to modern day jets, followed each other into the sky, while spectators camped out on grassy fields by the runway overlooking a scenic rural landscape.

I brought a lot of camera gear on the trip, but my new 200-400 zoom needs a suitcase unto itself, so it stayed home.  Instead I put my 70-200VR on my D3, added an old 2.0 teleconverter, cranked the shutter speed up to 1/1000 second, and fired off nearly 1,000 shots (in motor-drive) filling up two 8 gigabyte cards and getting some fun action shots as a result.  Today I read on Moose Peterson’s blog that if I had slowed down to 1/250 second I could have captured the blur of the prop in motion.  Next time!

Wairarapa Air Show Gallery

Smoke Trails

Posted by Carol in New Zealand, South Pacific, 0 comments