Archive for March, 2013

Port Antonio_Jamaica_6128

Sunrise along the Caribbean Coast in Drapers, Jamaica

Still busy processing the image files from my recent trip to the Port Antonio region of Jamaica. Here are three of my most recently processed photos that I thought I would share. For the image above I used my Singh-Ray 3-stop reverse graduated neutral density filter. The reverse grads are deadly at holding back the brightness of the sun as it rises above the horizon.

The image below is a scene of the lush, low-lying mountains surrounding Port Antonio which was captured at dusk.

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Dusk near Port Antonio, Jamaica

And in the final image that was photographed at a private, secluded beach I chose to sit down on the ocean floor to photograph the scene looking up at what I believe is an almond tree over-hanging the Caribbean Sea. To darken the sky and cut down on unwanted reflections I used a Nikon neutral polarizing filter.

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The Caribbean Sea near Drapers, Jamaica


On the weekend of April 13, 2013 the Latow Photographers Guild will be having their Annual Photography Weekend at the Burlington Art Centre with one of Canada’s finest landscape photographers; Mike Grandmaison. Mike has traveled throughout Canada extensively building a photographic collection of stunning imagery that you are sure to find inspiring. To find out more about Mike’s seminar on Saturday April 13th, from 9:00 am to 4:30pm, and the Annual Photography Weekend please click here. Mike’s latest book ‘Mike Grandmaison’s Prairie and Beyond‘ has just been nominated for two Manitoba Book Awards. Mike’s other books; Canada, The Canadian Rockies, Georgian Bay and Muskoka are all impressive collections bound to inspire and get your creative juices flowing too.

Hope to see you there 🙂

Please click on each of the images to view the larger, sharper version of each.

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Ava on swing at Boston Bay, Jamaica

A few happy snaps of my daughter Ava on the swing at Boston Bay, Jamaica. Who would have thought that two lengths of rope and a log could provide so much fun! Ava had a ton of fun on this swing as she could swing out over the waves as they came into shore.

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Rio Grande River, Portland, Jamaica

The Rio Grande river in the parish of Portland, Jamaica is fed mainly by rain fall rushing down from the Blue Mountains. This majestic river was named by the Spanish during their 15th & 16th century occupation of Jamaica. Today the river is a popular tourist attraction for travelers rafting down the river on long bamboo rafts that were originally designed for transporting produce such as bananas from the island’s interior regions. In some of the images within this post, especially the last photo you can see the lush stands of bamboo that grow along the river. On the day I chose to do the rafting the weather was quite pleasant for travel, however the light was a little harsh for landscape photography so I made sure to use my polarizing filter to eliminate the glare from the lush jungle bordering the river. The entire trip down river takes roughly 2 1/2 hours to complete and covers some 8 miles of river. Here are a few photos from the trip down this lovely river. Please remember to click on the photos to see the larger, sharper version of each.

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Rafting down the Rio Grande, Portland, Jamaica

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Rio Grande, Portland, Jamaica

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Rio Grande River, Portland, Jamaica

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Rio Grande River, Portland, Jamaica

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Bamboo growing along the Rio Grande River, Portland, Jamaica

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Frenchman’s Cove, Port Antonio, Jamaica

One of the prettiest beaches visited during our 10 day stay in Port Antonio, Jamaica was the very lovely Frenchman’s Cove. So lovely in fact it has been declared as one of the finest beaches in the world by the luxury travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller. This small sandy cove is guarded by a rugged shoreline that extends out from the cove and a small river empties into the cove as well. My daughter had a great time playing and snorkeling in the gentle current of the stream which was teeming with several species of fishes that are tolerant of the brackish water at the river’s mouth.

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Small River at Frenchman’s Cove, Port Antonio, Jamaica

After photographing a few beach and river scenes I made my way up to an elevated patio area of the restaurant at the beach to gain a higher perspective for photographing the rugged coast that guards the cove. Since I was handholding each of these landscape scenes I also wanted to use the railing of the elevated patio to help stabilize myself for the resulting images. Once I had composed each photograph, and before clicking the shutter, I would hold my breath for a second or two. By doing so will provide you with another means of gaining further stability for handheld photography.

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Frenchman’s Cove, Port Antonio, Jamaica

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Frenchman’s Cove, Port Antonio, Jamaica

Above the rugged coast of the Caribbean Sea at Frenchman’s Cove sits what appears to be an abandoned villa, or one damaged by past hurricanes. I could help but think of Robinson Caruso when I saw this old villa a-top the rugged shoreline. Looks like Home-Sweet-Home to me 🙂

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Frenchman’s Cove Villa, Port Antonio, Jamaica

Please remember to click on each photo to see the larger, sharper version and let us know which one is your favorite image.

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Johnstone's Whistling Frog_5985

Johnstone’s Whistling Frog (Eleutherodactylus johnstonei) with vocal sac inflated

Every night as the sun began to set during my stay at Search Me Heart in Port Antonio Jamaica, the nights would begin to fill with the choruses of the Johnstone’s Whistling Frog, also known as the Lesser Antillean Whistling Frog. This tiny little frog, which measures roughly 3/4 of an inch in length, is one of the most widely distributed frogs in the Caribbean, mostly due to trade among the islands. It would be very easy for these frog to hitch a ride among bananas and such being traded between neighboring Caribbean islands. These little frogs do not require water to reproduce as the female will deposit her eggs among leaf litter from which tiny froglets will emerge.

Prior to departing for Port Antonio, Jamaica I did a ton of research to learn of various landscape locations I would want to visit and what wildlife species may be indigenous to the region. During my research I discovered that there is roughly 27 species of frogs in Jamaica. Knowing that in advance I decided I should take along my gear that I frequently use for frog photography, however I did not really want to carry the additional weight of my Nikon 105mm micro lens, so I decided to leave that lens at home and follow my own advice here about the Nikon 80-400mm macro lens solution. By using my Nikon 80-400mm VR lens with the Canon 500D Close-up filter and my Nikon SB400 Speedlight, on a flash bracket, I was well equipped to capture these tiny frogs. I did not know that these tiny frogs would be so plentiful among the vegetation of Search Me Heart’s gardens. Each night before heading off to bed I would spend about an hour or so wandering about the lush gardens with a small flashlight, trying to located the frogs as they sang. In the photo above I had to wait patiently for this little fella to commence singing again after I discovered him among some yellowed foliage of wild banana plants and the frog below would show up virtually every night on the very same leaf to chorus. By frequently searching out these subjects I was able to capture some of my most favorite frog images to date.

Please click on each photo to see the larger, sharper version.

Johnstone's Whistling Frog (Eleutherodactylus johnstonei)

Johnstone’s Whistling Frog (Eleutherodactylus johnstonei)

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Daybreak along the coast, in the village of Drapers, Jamaica

Not far from our accommodations at Search Me Heart (which I will go into detail about in a future post) in the village of Drapers, in Portland Parish near Port Antonio, Jamaica I discovered a small footpath that led down to the sea. I was immediately drawn to the wave battered rocky coast at the end of this footpath and subsequently spent several mornings here awaiting daybreak. I much prefer to capture images such as this, before the sun has risen above the tree-line. I just love the pastel tones in the sky at this time of day. After composing the image I activated the live-view function of the Nikon D800 and zoomed in on a section of rock and water to adjust the focus manually, ensuring a razor-sharp capture. Once the focus was set I waited for the cloud movement to place the tiny dead branch against the sky rather than merged in with the cloud formations. I also utilized my Singh Ray 3-stop reverse graduated filter here to hold back the brightest portions of the sky and an exposure time of 0.6 seconds provided enough time to create an interesting blur to the undulating ocean.

Please remember to click on the photo to see the larger, sharper version.

A reminder for all photography students enrolled in an accredited Canadian university or college photography program shooting with Sigma lenses, don’t forget to enter Sigma Canada’s Scholarship Contest for your chance to win $3000 towards your tuition or to win a second prize of a $1000 photo gear package from Gentec International, the Canadian distributor of Sigma lenses in Canada. For more information be sure to click on the Sigma Scholarship Contest logo in the sidebar.

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Reich Falls on the Driver’s River, Jamaica

As I work my way through the edits from my recently completed 10 day trip to the Port Antonio area of Jamaica, I wanted to share this image of Reich Falls – pronounced Reach Falls. This waterfall is found off the beaten path within the John Crow Mountain Range, in the Portland Parish, on the Driver’s River and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Jamaica. I will feature some additional photos from this waterfall and scenes from down-river shortly. This can be a very popular destination for tour buses operated from the tourist resorts, however, by connecting with the local folks we were able to visit the falls at such a time that was absent of crowds of people.

After I completed the photographs I had hope to take, it was time for a relaxing swim, at the base of the falls, in this cool, clear mountain stream – simply amazing! By the time we had hiked back out to the car we were greeted with a torrential downpour that lasted for most of the rest of the day.

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