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A Mother of a Day

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day, but it was also a Sunday, which means that it was time for our regular Sunday morning neighborhood walk. Although it had seemed that we have been under a rain cloud all week, the weather cooperated and gave us a gorgeous morning to enjoy. I grabbed my camera for our walk. as I am still getting comfortable with my new Tamron 18-400mm lens, so I took it out for another spin. If you have the time, the best way to learn something is by making mistakes. This concept is epitomized best in the world with digital photography. You can take tens of hundreds of pictures of something, adjusting your settings as you go, until you finally dial in on what you want your image to look like. If you fail to do this out in the field, or live, the world of post-processing is another possibility to make your image appear as it does in your mind’s eye.

Below are a few moments that caught my attention.

This picture of the open field and jacaranda trees in the background is one that I have posted before. I wanted to try to shoot the same view with the new lens to see how it turned out.

The contrast between the rusted roof and the mango tree leaves behind it is the focus of this image. I was trying to get the entire roof, but there were too many power lines in the way, so I just zoomed in a bit closer and lost the distractions.I found this a fitting statement on Mother’s Day. In Hawai’i, Mālama (mah-la-ma) means to take care of, preserve, protect, save, attend to.

After our walk, Emily and I spent the rest of the afternoon doing schoolwork and yard work, but eventually had to get out of the house. We decided to head down to Kihei to try and catch a sunset. Our first choice of shoreline was too far north, so much so the sun was going to set behind Mauna Kahalawai (Mow-nah Ka-ha-la-vie), also called the West Maui mountains, and we would not get the full effect of the sun disappearing below the Pacific. Scraping that plan, we drove south through neighborhoods in Kihei looking for the ever present shoreline access signs to find a new place to set up before the sun set.

Tucked between two multi-million dollar houses, we stumbled upon a tiny strip of sand and broken coral. I’m not sure if this place would even count as big enough to be called a cove or an inlet, but for us it was our own private beach. I thought this spot was perfect! Nobody would be jumping in the water here, which meant nobody would be in my shot. Normally, when shooting sunsets at a beach on Maui I like to shoot at my widest focal length, which is 14mm for my ultra-wide lens, but this secluded beach was so tiny, I had to zoom in to the narrowest focal length (24mm) and even that was still too wide.

Earlier in the day I got to test my newest lens, but I left that at home when we ventured down the hill because I have an entirely different set up that I use for sunrises and sunsets. Shooting ocean vistas, looking out towards the horizon is the domain of ultra-wide angle lenses, tripods, and filter systems. I have been using a Lee Filters SW150 system with neutral density filters when shooting sunrises, sunsets, or waterfalls because they help me achieve the shot I imagine right there, on the spot. Neutral density filters help me to control the amount of light I let in, while keeping the aperture open longer. In layman’s terms; I can shoot long exposure shots and make the moving water look silky and smooth.

I recently purchased a, get ready for this mouthful, reverse graduated neutral density three stop filter that is specifically designed for sunrises and sunsets. The filter has a dark band, think sunglasses tint, right above the half-way mark in the six inch tall filter. Directly above that dark band is a lighter band of tint, and above that an even lighter tint. The idea behind the filter is that you place the sun right along the darkest band of tint and as you take photos the sky above the sun and the ocean below it will not be too dark, or too different in the amount of light being let in. I have other neutral density filters that have half the filter dark, and the other half light, but what  usually happens with those at sunset is that the sky above gets super dark, while the ocean below stays light. It’s a challenge that can be solved editing in post-processing, but this new filter is an easier way to achieve the results I want.

Below is the actual filter in my hand. I took the picture with my iPhone, but you can clearly see the different bands of tint I was trying to explain.

The images below were taken with the new filter.I hope to have a few more days of practicing with my newest toys before we head out on our adventure soon, but overall Mother’s Day 2018 was a productive and fun day. We got our work done for the day, and still had time to play.