I think this is the fourth or fifth consecutive year my wife and I have traveled to Hawaii, but its our first time in Maui. The previous years, we've always gone to Honolulu but this time around, we really wanted to escape the madness of Waikiki. Hyatt Regency in Maui was kind enough to let us crash at their resort. Did I mention that also had some kick ass views of the Milky Way right in their backyard?
Having been over 6 years since I last paid a visit to South Lake Tahoe, I definitely knew this time around what to expect and what [few] images I wanted to grab during a short, little family trip away from the San Francisco Bay Area for Labor Day weekend.
Luckily for us, especially in today's day and age, we are exposed to a number of amazing social media platforms that allow us to fuel our wanderlust, experiment different styles and techniques, and ultimately -- expand on our creative horizons. Of course, these kinds of things always come with their caveats. Too much of anything isn't always the best policy, no matter how good. That said, I was fortunate enough to know what I wanted on a one-night stay in South Lake Tahoe, and given that many photographers and creatives enjoy capturing light primarily in the golden hour, blue hour, and night time, I was still able to fully engage in maintaining presence throughout the normal part of the day.
Bonsai Rock and Emerald Bay were the two locations that were on my list for this little trip, and it goes without saying that both of those locations truly delivered. After experimenting with numerous long exposures at Bonsai Rock - both as the sun was setting and as the milky way was rising, the end products definitely justified the means.
As for Emerald Bay, there has always been a saying that... waking up for sunrise is never fun, but we never actually regret it when all is said and done. Mornings like these solidify that statement for me, and much, much more.
a couple weeks back, i found out that the Perseid meteor shower was taking place over the weekend. I've always been super excited when hearing news like this. the whole space/astronomy idea has always been so fascinating to me because its truly the one thing in our world that we will never know anything about. astronomers, scientists, even John Glenn will never figure out what's floating around hundreds of millions of light years away. every time i stared up gazing at a clear night sky, I'm always amazed at just how much I'm looking at. so when there is a bunch of fireball rocks flying across the sky, do you go out and shoot? fuck yea.
it was a pretty last minute decision to go out looking for a good location. i didn't want to stray away too far from home so my first pick was going out to davenport since it's one of my favorite places to shoot, especially the milky way. its far enough from the city's light pollution so a very star lit sky was promising... well until someone texted me and told me that it was super cloudy there. so i decided to head up north since south was plastered in clouds. i had asked a couple of homies to go but a bunch of texts back and forth, i decided to just go alone. when i finally made it up to Mt. Tam, it was pitch dark. I sat outside for awhile with my camera and tripod but i kept hearing branches and noises all around me and not being able to see anything definitely tripped me out. I ended up just locking myself in the car and shooting out the moon roof for about 2 hours. the sky wasn't as dark as i would've liked, i was still too close to the city but after a couple hundred of long exposures, i was able to capture one that i really liked. the photo above is compiled of over 150 images stacked.
Although i am not totally stoked not the final shot, the fact that I now can say i was able to witness a meteor shower is pretty dope. it's definitely not easy capturing shooting stars. these things fly by super fast and if you're not positioned or firing at the right split second, you will miss it. i decided to just let me camera run for an hour while i just stared up and it was much better watching the stars fly across in every direction with my eyes.
With the lack of free time in the past couple of weeks, I just haven't been able to shoot as often as before. The frustration of not having the time, and when I did have time, I had no energy.. all that gets built up and I feel like I'm about to lose it. Yesterday I actually had a free day, a completely free day with no obligations to do anything at all so of course I had to cap on the opportunity to go out and shoot. I forgot how much I missed just hitting the road and aimlessly explore. Somehow, I just always end up back here; Davenport. It's definitely getting a bit too popular these days. The past 3 times I've been back, I've ran into people and its cool and not cool at the same time as one of my favorite spots is becoming a place I try to avoid now. It's definitely sketchy getting down to the arches, and only the brave will take on the climb down. Definitely give props to the people I've met down on the beach here because I remember the first time I climbed down, I was pretty fuckin' scared. It's always entertaining watching people climb down and climb back up for their first time, but just be warned.
The first time that I ever shot the Milky Way was about 3 years ago up on the west side of Lake Tahoe. I can still remember that experience, it definitely felt like a lifetime achievement for me. It meant a lot for me back then because it was something that I never thought of capturing since it was definitely unexpected. These days, I see Milky Way shots way too often but I'm glad that I caught it when I did because it really meant something to me. As we approach the end of Summer, I decided that tonight would be the perfect time to try and get it. Clear skies, chill night, New Moon, couldn't have asked for anything better. The experience of shooting stars and the Milky Way is always awesome. When you see your photo process, you're immediately in awe.
fuck, there it is.
Exhaustion was beginning to set in as I pulled up to the gas station just outside of Grants Pass, Oregon. The clock had struck 10pm and I was dreaming about getting back to my room and a bed to crash on. After having just finished photographing a wedding 20 minutes earlier and driving 9 hours from San Francisco the previous day, the last thing on my mind was another photoshoot. Until my phone rang.
"Are you in Oregon" said my good buddy Bryan in a text.
"Yeah, just got done shooting a wedding in Grants Pass" I responded.
"You should meet Alex and I at Crater Lake" He said. "we'll be there in an hour".
And in that moment, I knew that I wasn't going to bed, I wasn't going to get the rest I desired. But that what was about to happen next would likely be one of the most incredible experiences I had had to date.
And it was.