Week 8 – Rainbow in Costa Rica

Rainbow

Rainbow

The definition of a rainbow is “an arch of colors formed in the sky in certain circumstances, caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere”.

We have all witnessed rainbows from time to time and I have also photographed many rainbows over the years. What makes this one special for me is the fact that I am looking down on it from a high point on a road and that there is something of interest under the rainbow. Typically, most rainbows that I have seen are high in the sky. While the rainbows themselves are still beautiful there is little else for the eye to see.

When I look at this image my eye goes first to the rainbow and from there I take a quick glance around the scene. Then I notice what appears to be a corn field in the foreground that falls away downhill to settle on new crops planted on a mound or small hill. The freshly tilled soil makes the new crops really stand out. Beyond that small mound of freshly planted crops I notice a road curving through the trees with houses below it and more houses above it. All of this fits neatly under the rainbow. The sky is a pleasant blue-grey with a hint of a reflection of the rainbow in the sky itself. So unlike most rainbow compositions, there is much to look at in this image.

The rainbow was in Costa Rica along the road from Grecia to Fortuna. The trip was composed of eight photographers, arranged and led by Darcy Pino (www.darcysphotography.com). Darcy lives in Georgia but grew up in Costa Rica and does a wonderful job of arranging and leading her photo trips. John Mariana, who also lives in Georiga, (www.marianaphotography.com) was a co-leader.

Technical data:

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 body with a Lumix G Vario 12-35 mm f/2.8 lens set at 12 mm.
  • ISO of 200 and shutter speed of 1/500 sec. at f/7.1.
  • Taken January 27, 2015 at 2:48 PM

Week 7 – Celtic Sea Oil Rig

CSF Celtic Sea Oil Rig owned and operated by Transocean Ltd pulled out to sea by 7 tugboats from Valletta, Malta (c. 1998, w/drilling debth of 25,000 ft.)

CSF Celtic Sea Oil Rig owned and operated by Transocean Ltd pulled out to sea by 7 tugboats from Valletta, Malta (c. 1998, w/drilling debth of 25,000 ft.)

This week’s picture is selected not for its quality or artistic value. It is selected for being an unusual subject rarely seen. I have observed off-shore gas/oil drilling platforms in various seas and oceans around the world, but this is the first time I have seen one being moved and the first time I have seen one up close. I was in Valleta, Malta on my way to catch a ferry to a nearby island. I had a photo guide for the day and was busy taking pictures along the harbor when Dragana Rankovic, my guide, called me to come see what was happening. There were seven tugboats pulling the GSF Celtic Sea drilling platform out of harbor towards the sea. This platform was huge and a sight to see.

This was the GSF Celtic Sea deepwater semi-submersible drilling platform. It was built in Brownsville, Texas and was put in service in 1997. It is 240 feet long and 240 feet wide with a height of 118 feet. The draft is 68 feet when in operation and 28 feet when in transit like you see in this picture. It can handle a 140 person crew and can drill to a depth of 25,000 feet. The in transit speed can be up to 5.75 MPH. Should you be interested in additional information you can go to the following web site:

http://www.deepwater.com/Documents/RigSpecs/GSF%20Celtic%20Sea.pdf

Technical data:

  • Camera was Olympus OM-D E-M1 body with Olympus M. Zuiko 7-14 mm f/2.8 PRO lens set at 9 mm.
  • Exposure was 1/2000 sec at f/4 and ISO 200.
  • Capture time was 9:08 AM, Nov. 30, 2015.

Week 6 – Patagonia

Torres Del Paine Massif viewed from Pehoe Lodge in Chile

Torres Del Paine Massif viewed from Pehoe Lodge in Chile

Patagonia encompasses the southern section of the Andes Mountains as well as deserts, steppes, and grasslands. It extends to the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

The Paine Massif of the Paine mountain range is in the Chilean portion of Patagonia and it is there we find the Torres del Paine which is the distinctive granite peaks of the mountain range.  The peaks rise up to about 8200 ft. above sea level.  Surrounding the mountain range are scenic valleys, rivers, lakes, and glaciers.  I was there during their fall (April 2011), and I must say that it was the windiest place on earth that I have ever been other than Antarctica.

Our group of about ten photographers had four full nights at the Pehoe Lodge (pronounced pay-way). This lodge is located on a 12 acre island in Lake Pehoe, so from our lodge we had a wonderful view of the Paine mountain range.

My goal was to get a good picture with morning light on the peaks of the Torres del Paine. Each morning I would spring out of bed, grab my camera and tripod and hurry out to a chosen spot along the lake. Each morning I would come back to breakfast without getting my shot due to clouds blocking the sun or clouds surrounding the tops of the mountains. Each day we ventured to other places in Patagonia and had great success. It wasn’t until the fifth and final morning and we were packing up to leave that the clouds parted and the tops of the peaks showed their splendor. Finally, I was able to capture the illusive peaks I had been seeking.

Technical data:

  • Picture was taken with a Nikon D3s camera and a Nikon 24-120 mm f/4 lens set at 58 mm
  • ISO of 400, 1/180 sec at f/5.6
  • Time was 9:00 AM April 20, 2011

Bonus

Andean Condor, Vultur gryphus

Andean Condor, Vultur gryphus

I am including a picture of an Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) flying in Patagonia. It is rare to see this bird flying below eye level since they typically sore high in the sky. We were on a high road overlooking a valley. These birds had been sitting on rocks and when they flew from their perches they would sail down towards the valley below. It is also rare to get this close and see several dozen at one time. The condor is a very large bird with a wingspan of about 10 feet. It is a very revered bird and a national symbol of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru. Notice that the condor soars with its wings held horizontally and its primary feather bent upwards at the tips, not flat like our vultures. The condor nest on inaccessible rock ledges high in the mountains and are one of the world’s longest-living birds, with a life span of over 70 years.

Technical data:

  • Nikon D3s camera and Nikon 200-400 mm f/4 lens with 1.4X tele converter.
  • A focal length 550 mm, 1/2000 sec at f/5.6 and ISO of 800.
  • Time taken 2:42 PM, April 19, 2011.

Week 5 – Naadam Festival in Mongolia

Uurga competition at the Naadam Festival in the Gobi near Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia

Uurga competition at the Naadam Festival in the Gobi near Three Camel Lodge, Mongolia

The Naadam Festival is a traditional festival in Mongolia, and takes place each year throughout the country. There are three main games; wrestling, horse racing, and archery. Until recently the games were mostly for men. This picture is the Uurga competition. The uurga is a pole lasso 10-12 feet in length with a leather loop at the slender end. The uurga is used to catch horses and other livestock and is generally used by a rider on a horse. For the Naadam games the uurga is placed on the ground. A rider approaches at full gallop and tries to grab the uurga as he passes. He gets two more tries should he miss the first time. This sport took place for perhaps an hour with many men taking their turns. I found a location with a clean background and front light. I experimented with a variety of shutter speeds beginning with freezing the action all the way to a very blurred capture. The one I have shown is partially blurred but sharp enough to see the expression and strain on the riders face. You can observe the dust and the motion of the horse’s legs. This young man grabbed the uurga on his first try. Notice his position. He is holding on with a rope and one leg, and is on the side of the horse.

The Naadam festival that I attended was in the Gobi Desert in southern Mongolia near the Three Camel Lodge. For many years I had the conception that a desert was sand dunes. The Gobi does have areas of sand dunes but for the most part it is covered with rocks, grass, and low shrubs. My first trip to Antarctica taught me that Antarctica is the largest desert in the world and it is covered in ice and snow, not sand. I looked up the definition of a desert and it was said to be a barren area of land where little precipitation occurs and consequently living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. The Gobi is the fourth largest desert in the world and extends into China.

Technical data:

  • Camera Panasonic mirrowless micro four thirds DMC-GH4
  • Lens was Lumix G Vario 35-100 mm f/2.8 lens.
  • Exposure was 1/60 sec. at f/22, ISO 200 at 89 mm
  • Taken August 1, 2015 at 3:39 PM

Week 4 – Old Mississippi State Capital Stairs

Old Mississippi State Capital in Jackson, MSW

Old Mississippi State Capital in Jackson, MSW

My photo roots began with nature subjects but were soon concentrated on architecture. I have always liked architecture lines and shapes. Did you know that in high school I wanted to be an architect? Yes, I took my first drawing class and after sitting on a hard wooden stool I nixed the idea because with my boney rear end. I could not fathom sitting on a hard stool for days on end (pardon the pun). Therefore a business degree in college was for me. I did not learn until about forty years later that architects used nice seats with cushions.

The Old Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson, MS served as the Mississippi statehouse from 1839 – 1903. It is now a museum. The 3-story building exterior is composed of brick, limestone, and stucco with a copper rotunda dome some 94 feet above the first floor. Unlike our modern buildings the interior is composed mostly of wood, with the exception of brick partition walls and flagstones on the rotunda floor.

I have always liked stairs and have some very elaborate stair cases in my collection. The stairs in this picture are so simple and elegant that to me less is more. I also like the door at the top of the stairs that takes the eye to a short hall on the upper floor. This doorway seems to give the stairs a reason to exist. There are no distractions on the walls. As I remember the stairs go from the second to the third floor. The light is from a window off to the left of the stairs.

I have a B&W picture hanging in my home of the chairs in the Supreme Court Chamber in the same building. This courtroom scene would be one of my very favorite pictures of all time.

Technical data:

  • Camera Nikon D70 camera and a Nikon 12-24 mm f/4 lens.
  • ISO was 200
  • Focal length 12mm and exposure was 0.7 sec at f/11 on a tripod.
  • Taken February 23, 2005 at 12:36 PM