Daring To Toe The Thin Line Between Fishing and Just Standing On The Shore Like A Cloud Gawking Idiot

Djúpivogur, the tiny fishing village and childhood home of our Ring Road tour guide Biggi.  For this shot, he drove the fan up onto an overlook hill and we stared out at a quintessential Icelandic fishing village, pointing out the colorful buildings
the black one has bathrooms” and “there’s an antique shop where you can find stuff my grandma makes”. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to meet the local legend “Yan the Blacksmith” as his place was under construction, though we could see the sculptures outside his place.  And we saw the row of rock bird egg sculptures on the harbor – top notch work.  Must be interesting for Biggi to live in West Iceland and yet his work takes him repeatedly to the opposite side of the island to say hello to his Mom and family and friends he grew up with every few weeks  Anyhow,  jeez, lookit those insane clouds, will ya? Iceland, people. Get here.

Sensual Scuba And The Cracks, Pops, And Bubbles Of Fish

Sea Saba Dive Boat, Fort Bay, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Sea Saba Dive Boat, Fort Bay, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

The more powerful of the two Sea Saba dive boats I dived with on Saba is Giant Stride, pictured here along with the teeny little work hard workin’ truck Johnny Boy that the SS crew uses to ferry daily gear, tanks, and water back and forth between the dive shop and the pier. I used infrared processing on this pic to bring out the clouds on the horizon against the foreground harbor, truck and boat. Cool beans, n’est ce pas?

An Iguana With A Wet Hacking Cough Runs The Power Plant

Fort Bay Harbor, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Fort Bay Harbor, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

The series of diesel pipes visible on the main building in this harbor photo are the Linzy Power Plant, conveniently built down in the harbor such that when a hurricane warning is imminent, it has to shut down, thereby shutting down electricity to the island for the duration of the warning or storm event. Now, to be fair, they likely built it down there to have easy access to both cooling water and the diesel barges that come in weekly. Moreover, we had only a couple blackouts while I was on Saba, and power was generally restored pretty quickly; I’m told the plant prides itself on rapid restoration of power. I’m told the surge waves of most tropical storms that get within 100 miles of Saba reach the level of the Saba Deep sign on the far left of the cluster of buildings (click to see full sized photo), which means they fully engulf all the harbor buildings. Ah, rugged hurricane life on Saba. On the positive side, Saba hasn’t had a big hurricane event since Omar in 2008. Before that was Lenny in 1999 and Georges in 1998.

The Winding Road Gathers Chess Playing Rock Rats

The Road Winds Down To Fort Bay, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
The Road Winds Down To Fort Bay, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

10am WinAir flight out on this sunny Easter Sunday, a fifteen minute jaunt over to Saint Maarten, where I’ll switch off to USAir, bop over to Charlotte, North Carolina, then across the expansive continental US, landing in San Francisco International Airport near midnight, a taxi to my brother’s place in Bernal Heights, a sleepover, then a BART train to the city, where I’ll walk a couple blocks to my loft, pick up my keys, drop my bags off, journey to Sacramento via Zipcar to retrieve my furry friends Snoopy and Lucy; they will meow the whole way back, no doubt, as they are unfond of car rides.

*Sigh* Exit island life, back to city life. Saba is an utterly lovely island. If you haven’t been, then go. You’ll see. If you have been, well, isn’t it about time you planned that return trip? In any case, put it on your bucket list, regardless, and find all the places I took my photos. See, a scavenger hunt challenge 😉

As for this blog, it probably transitions from a travel blog to a blog of adventures in SFO, though daily blogposts are unlikely to continue…that’s high commitment with regular life. But that’s ok, I imagine. One writer’s sojourn to the tropics becomes a traversal through quirky city life.

So long, and thanks for all the fish! See you in San Francisco…soon, I hope.

Who’s Mutty, Why Is He Proud, And Who Cuts His Hair?

Weekly Supply Ship At Fort Bay, Saba, Dutch Caribbean
Weekly Supply Ship At Fort Bay, Saba, Dutch Caribbean

A Short Treatise On My Photographic Approach

My commitment to a new picture each day on the blog until I leave this tiny island in the Caribbean demands a degree of photographic creativity; I’ve rejected a number of pictures that look too much like direct repeats…same color palettes and/or too similar views from a particular location. Saba is five square miles of paradise, but any creative photographer like me still needs to keep an eye out for transforming even the mundane aspects of their surroundings into something new, fresh, or dramatic for a compelling image, and that can happen in a few different ways:

  • Macro or Micro Zooming in much closer than the level of detail the brain normally pays attention too or vice versa, zooming out for a far wider perspective than most photographs.
  • Geometric Perspective Much is written about having a photographic”eye”, and while some talent is undeniable, I still believe certain aspects of pleasing visual geometry can be taught or learned through the glory of digital image trial and error, myself as one example. The trick for me was learning how to flatten the 3D my brain perceives the world with into the 2D world the camera sees, then take a boatload of pictures and figure out why I did or didn’t like a particular image, which in my reptilian simplicity, was figuring out how my brain was reassembling a 2D image back into 3D perspective. A big part of that is geometry within an image frame, and how it leads your eye to construct depth.
  • Digital Post Processing Folks who’ve been reading my blog a long time know my philosophy on images, and opinions of images…you either like a picture or you don’t, you either hold on it and take it in longer than a few seconds, or you move on with a Ho-hum. “Did you Photoshop that?” seems to be a question that implies something about the image is false, or faked, and therefore either too good to be true or not worth looking at. But that’s at odds with images as art, which is that digital post is part of today’s creative imaging process. Leave the f-stop and technical discussions to photographers who feel that’s important stuff. In any case, digital post might be as simple as taking the clutter of colors on a photo competing for eye attention and making it black and white and shades of gray, which gets immediate oohs and ahs. Lots of creative options in the post.
3 Original Images Used For Today's Final HDR Blog Picture
3 Original Images Used For Today’s Final HDR Blog Picture

Today’s photograph takes on a mundane subject–the 60 meter 681 ton supply ship Mutty’s Pride
that arrives in Saba’s Fort Bay harbor weekly with essential food and supplies. I’ve taken a bunch of pictures of the ship over the months, but never had one that rung my bell. This time I took 3 pictures exposure bracketed for the different light…the dark mountains, the clouds, and the brightly colored ship, and combined them to create a High Dynamic Range (HDR) photo that attempts to balance the contrast that our eyes can see, but cameras can’t, then played with exposure and saturation to rebuild the true colors washed out by the intensity of the Caribbean sun. The result takes on an painting quality I like, and I hope you enjoy it as well. I won’t always yak on about process like this, but for the new and learning photogs out there, maybe this will be a helpful post. Cheers!