Thursday, December 25, 2014

New Release, "Hoku-Noho-Aupuni" by Bodhi Smith

New image entitled, "Hoku-Noho-Aupuni". The name translates to the term used to describe the Milky Way in Hawaiian.

All I can say is that here are gorgeous stars and night skies in Hawaii. The beauty of this island does not disappear when the sun sets...

This image was captured in Kihei at 4am, a couple hours before sunrise

Camera Settings: iSO-1250, 24mm at f/1.4 for 13 seconds.

I hope this message and image find you well.

Mahalo and Maluhia,


New Release, "Poseidon Smiles" by Bodhi Smith

New composition entitled "Poseidon Smiles" for overly obvious reasons...

This is another image taken in Corona del Mar, CA similar to the last one I put here on my blog a week ago...this has a bit of a "shorter exposure" by ten minutes at 1 min, 11 seconds...There is more emotion and movement in this compoistion, so it is quite a nice compliment to the other composition taken just after this one...

Camera Settings: ISO-100, 20mm at f/8 for 71 seconds using one Lee Proglass 3.0ND Filter (10 stops) and one Lee .75ND Grad filter to balance the sky with the foreground (2 stops). Image captured just before sunset.

D. "Bodhi"

New release, "Unruined Radiance" by D. "Bodhi" Smith

This another new release named "Unruined Radiance". This composition was captured under the old decomposing pier in Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui. The title comes from the radiantly glowing colors and the idea that this pier is in ruins .

At first glance, this pier looks like an eyesore. This pier is literally condemned to just wither away and crumble into the sea eventually. My girlfriend and I were visiting the giant Buddha at the Jodo Buddhist Mission just south of the pier in Lahaina, and I was taking a bit longer than she was with the site, So she went ahead to check out the pier...she came back and told me that she did not think I was going to like the pier because it was falling apart. But after we left the temple and went around the corner onto the beach, and i caught my fist look of the pier, I told her it was perfect and exactly what I was looking for: Ugly on top, but beautiful underneath.

The sun was getting close to setting and I promptly set up under the pier. The winds were really up and some sets of waves were coming in pretty big across the open Pacific to the east. I originally wanted to set up at the back of the pier by the break wall, but found that impractical soon after taking a couple hits from waves coming in AND banking of the break wall creating a node of intensity, This was was not conducive to taking long exposures, Plus there was a huge chance of getting me and my gear both soaked with salt water. I was going to have to set up further out under the pier away from the banking action of the break wall.

We had driven only about 45mins to get to Lahaina from Kihei, but I did not want to get wet/soaked since I did not bring a change of clothing. Simple and fast problem solving, I would just have to take off my shorts to keep them dry...go wading in my boxer briefs. It was getting dark as the sun was setting, and nobody was around under the pier, so for me it was not a big deal. It was wierd to be taking pictures under a pier in Hawaii at sunset in my underwear, but I did not give it a second thought.

I waded out under the pier about 100 feet and I anchored my tripod as best as i could in about 3ft of water. The air and water were both ultra warm, so temperature was not an issue as I stood waist deep in the Pacific ocean under a crumbling pier catching a beautiful sunset.

I thought the pier was giving way. As every so often when big set would come in, dust, debris, and smaller chunks of concrete would fall off the pier down into the water. I thought the pier might collapse on me at anytime, or at least a big slab let go and tumble down into the water as the sea continued to erode the old wretched salt and weather beaten concrete. Later, my girlfriend told me that there were idiots walking around on top of the this extremely unstable pier while I was shooting, which was what was causing the cracking and dust to fall of the pier...still, they could easily have fallen through at an moment while I was shooting...

I shot several longer exposures of 4 mins plus, but could not keep the tripod from moving during these more lengthy exposures because of the larger waves hitting me chest high (any movement of tripod = blurred images = trash). So, I had to settle for what the conditions would permit, which were much "shorter" (for me) exposures of 30 seconds where I could keep the tripod stable in between the bigger waves rolling in at intervals of about every 50-60 seconds or so.

The colors of the decomposing concrete were luminous and radiant, especially in the red light waves of the sunset...mix those colors with the crystal blue Hawaiian waters and what you see here is the result, I hope you enjoy it, and the impression i want you to feel when looking at it ...

Camera Settings: ISO-100, 48mm at f/8 for 30 seconds using one Lee Proglass .9ND Filter and 2 Lee .75ND Grad filters inverted at 90 degrees to bring down each of the bright sides of the pier compared to the underbelly of the pier. Image was captured just as the sun had set at 6:05pm.

I hope this message in image find you well

Mahalo and Maluhia,

Friday, December 19, 2014

"The Afterglow" - New Composition by Bodhi Smith

This is a new composition entitled, "The Afterglow." It was captured well after the sunset, but the ambient light was still glowing in the sky and sparkling off the waves...hence, the image's name.

We have been getting some very nice clouds here in Southern California with the numerous weather systems that have been blowing in off the Pacific Ocean the past couple of weeks. For almost every night this week, I have been on the beach at different locations (dependent on the best location for sunset each night based on the tide heights).

On this particular evening a few nights ago, there was a low tide. So, me and my trusty companion, the Dude, headed up to Laguna Beach, CA for sunset. Victoria Beach in Laguna is a spot I often go to as Victoria's Tower located around the north point of the beach can only be reached at tides lower than about 2 feet. Often I can be found here on nights like this, as a stellar composition of the tower itself has repetitively eluded my capture for well over a year now, and I keep going back when the conditions are right trying to finally catch it.

This composition is an example of how sometimes we go after something that we though we really wanted, but something else much better finds us instead. I was on this beach in Laguna on this evening to capture Victoria's Tower, but I instead got this more fascinating composition. Go figure, eh?

For this image, I really ventured deeper into the world of impressionism. I really feel like I am "painting" an impression here with my long exposure techniques combined with my use of selective focus. The long exposure played with objects in fluid motion along with the light to create a unique smooth glow around the rocks in the ocean and the clouds in the sky. My choice of a big aperture at f/2.8 blurs and softens the rocks in the foreground (and thus de-emphasize them) so as to draw your eyes towards the wave glow around the rocks at sea and the sunset. All of this really makes me feel like I truly created a painting here and not a photograph, and I think the results back up that opinion. But do not be overly fooled, this is a photograph...

Btw, Catalina Island (60 miles away) can be seen in the background of this picture on the horizon...this shows how clear this evening was at the beach...

I hope you enjoy this unique perspective of the night's fading light out over the ocean...I really like this one.

Camera settings: ISO-100, 70mm at f/2.8 for 420 seconds (7 mins) using one Lee Proglass .9ND filter (3 stops) and one .75ND Grad to balance the brighter sky. Image was captured at 5:55pm, about 1 hour and 10 minutes after the sun had set

I hope this message and image find you well.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

"Under the Kukui" - New Composition by D. Bodhi Smith

Here is my newest composition entitled, "Under the Kukui"...This is another new image from my recent trip to the Hawaiian island of Maui. There are so many beautiful waterfalls on the island, that it could take years to capture them all with a lens in a way that did them justice. I hope I did that for these falls.

The waterfall pictured here is one of the more famous and better known called "Twin Falls" located a few miles east of Paia alongside the road to Hana via a short hike of about 1.5 miles. The falls are on private property, but the owners run a fruit stand and permit people to access the falls if they stay on the trail and "behave" themselves.

When I woke up in Kihei, I went outside and saw that there were no clouds, but this is not a problem for a photographer on Maui because there are several micro-climates on the island. Kihei is on the Southwest corner of Maui and is easily of the driest places on the island with a climate similar to what I am used to here in my native San Diego. But the opposite side of the island, the Northeast, has rainforests and it actually rained on that part of the island every single day we were there.

So I decided to drive at sunbreak to Twin Falls and try my luck. And it worked, except I got a little more weather than I had bargained for. It started raining about 1/2 an hour into the drive just outside of Paia, which is about 10 miles from the falls. By the time I got to the trailhead, it was really raining. So I put on all my wet gear and headed off down the muddy trail to see what I could capture.

After a very easy gradual uphill hike of about 1.5 miles is where the trail ends into the stream that has the falls upstream. It had rained pretty hard for the past couple of days here, so the water level was pretty high and very cloudy. I used my tripod as a probe to check the depth of the water and thankfully it never got deeper than my shoulders. (But I imagine that many people would probably turn around and not got the rest of the hike to the falls because of this small pitfall).

I made my was across the stream to the opposite bank and then made my way through the forest to the falls. At first glance, they are quite breathtaking and eternal in their fall. I walked all the way around and under them to scout out the best angle for me to shoot. The spot I chose (the vantage in this image) was right underneath a Kukui tree--which gives the image its title. There were fallen nuts all around, so I guess I fit right in ;) Btw, I love kukui nut necklaces, and I own close to 20 different ones, many of which I brought back from Hawaii on this trip. Simply put, I believe that they bring me luck, so I frequently wear them.

Because of the rainfall over the past couple days here, there was much debris of broken tree limbs in the pool beneath the falls that I has to clean out before I could shoot. Some of the limbs were pretty damn big, so it took me about half an hour to "tidy" up my scene. I figured that all the tourists who would end up shoot here later in the day would never know how cluttered it was, so I guess i did a nameless and thankless job that other benefited from.

I really had to fight with the rain for every exposure i took, especially the longest ones with keeping my filters dry and unfogged. Man, was the rain coming down...but even though I was soaked to the bone, I was really never cold, which is a cool thing about being in the rain on a tropical island I guess.

With the downpour from the heavens and the earliness of the morning, I had the place to myself for almost two hours, which was very tranquil and special considering that this location gets pretty packed with tourists every day. I had plenty of time to capture the images I wanted. So when the first group arrived, a party of 4 who showed up to swim under the falls and film themselves with a GoPro, I was done and ready to head out.

Of course, right then as I was leaving, the skies opened up and the rain stopped. Go figure.

On the hike back, which always seems longer than the hike in, I walked by hundreds of people headed up to the falls. It was like a dam of people broke open and they were all flooding to Twin Falls. Crazy amounts of people, of whom half must have asked me "Is this the right way?" and "How much farther are the falls?" To which I gave the same response, "Yes, you are almost there" no matter how far away I was getting from the falls. In a world where everything is relative, they were all almost there, no matter how far down the trail they were in reality.

Camera Settings: ISO-50, 24mm at f/22 for 610 seconds using one Lee Proglass 3.0ND Filter (10 stops) and one inverted Lee.75ND Grad to stop down the brighter pool of water 2.5 stops. I chose a f-stop of f/22 and an ISO of 50 so that I could get a longer exposure without having to put another filter on the holder and have to fight with an additional filter getting wet. Btw, to qualm my obsession with numbers, this image was exposed for 10mins, 10 seconds and captured from 10am until 10:10am...

I hope this image and message find you well.

Mahalo and Maluhia,


Friday, December 12, 2014

New Composition entitled, "Winter's Prophet" by Bodhi Smith

Okay, looks like i am on a here is another new composition entitled "Winter's Prophet." Next weekend on December 21st marks the official start of winter with the solstice, and I am hoping this storm is a prophet of good things to come. And right now, it looks to be true as it appears storms are lined up to hit us every few days over the next couple weeks. I guess I named it this because I am hopeful for this winter to bring us some needed rain to SoCal and in the process give me some excellent clouds to photograph above the ocean over the next few months.

So with the approaching Pacific storm hitting us here at low tide, I chose one of my favorite low tide spots on the coast. So me and my pup and muse, the Dude, met up with a friend and made our way to capture something special of this great place just south of Newport Beach and just north of Crystal Cove, CA

This long exposure was captured at Arch Rock in Corona Del Mar. This location can only be reached at low tide, unless you are one of the multi-millionaires with one of the three private homes on the cliff above the arch's alcove who have staircases down to the beach. You can get to it from "Little Corona" Beach and just start walking south about half a mile under the cliffs and along the rocks and reefs between the cliffs and the ocean. Rocks are slick and some are quite sharp, so caution is always a must with never being in a hurry literally taking it "one step at a time." Almost never is anyone here, and it is really a magical spot. I have been shooting this spot for months now, but until last night I have had nothing to show for my efforts. Again, proving my point that patience is necessary, along with good planning, and a bit of luck thrown into the recipe of success (I will be publishing a book called "Planned Chance" soon detailing all the methods I use to capture my impressionist photography).

I love the cool blue and silver tones in the image created by the sun dropping below the cold cloud deck on the horizon which was the start of big Pacific storm blowing to the north and coming ashore...the same system that is pounding us with wind and rain here in San Diego as I type this...

I also decided to make this composition prefect;y square with the length the same as the height (1x1) for reasons only known in my strange working mind...

Camera settings: ISO-100, f/8 at 18mm for 671 seconds (11 mins, 11 Secs) using 1 Lee 3.0ND Pro Glass filter to bring down the light 10 stops and one Lee .75ND Grad to balance the bright sky with the darker rocks in the foreground. Image was captured about 10 mins after sunset under clouds and quickly dimming light at 4:55pm

I hope this message and image finds you well.

D. "Bodhi"

New release by Bodhi Smith - "El Matador"

This new composition is entitled, "El Matador," and was captured recently in Malibu, CA at El Matador State Beach. The image simply gets its name from this gorgeous beach just along CA Highway 1.

I had to make a trip up to Santa Barbara close to two weeks ago during the Sunday after Thanksgiving--an awful day to travel, especially back into the LA basin from Santa Barbara. I had just ended my association with Oreana Winery and needed to pull my artwork off the wall and take it home to distribute to other venues for sale.

Having to drive on this notoriously ugly travel day on the roads here in California, I definitely wanted to make my efforts pay off more than just picking up my artwork and going home. So, I decided to drive the PCH-1 out of Oxnard along the ocean towards Malibu and Santa Monica, take some pictures and kill time, and let some of the nasty traffic diffuse....the traffic on the 101 was getting all constipated badly anyway in Ventura and Oxnard so it was a brainless decision for me.

It was raining off an on, and at times was very heavy. So heavy in fact, that I was one of the last vehicles to go through before they closed the PCH-1 down north/west of Malibu due to mudslides. When I went through, there was plenty of rock debis everywhere and a couple pretty muddy water falls flowing out onto the highway gaining in depth (looking like Willie Wonka's chocolate river). But I threw my Xterra into 4WD and had no issues what-so-ever navigating through the mess.

As I approached Malibu, I could see that there was going to be a bit of a break in the weather, and it was getting close to sunset, so El Matador SB pretty much chose me. This is a VERY nice beach to shoot, full of little arches and sea stacks of all type and characters. Normally a pretty easy climb down to the beach below, but the rains had washed out a large portion of the path above the staircase and made things very sticky-muddy. Took me quite a bit of time to get all of the packed mud off my shoes and my feet (I had to take my shoes off because the mud got too caked on them).

Once down on the beach, I did my usual survey of all the elements for about 20 mins and I chose this little alcove to shoot--only issue was that it was high tide, and to get the angle I wanted with the sun setting, I had to stand pretty deep out in the water and take a beating from the waves.. I managed to anchor my Dolica tripod very well into the rock/sand beneath the surface of the water--so well, that it never moved once despite the battering waves. And amazingly, my gear never took a single splattering of salt water (but plenty of salt in the air, of course, that would require quite a chore of camera cleaning later). I, on the other hand, got soaked from the waste down of course.

I chose to shoot an extremely long exposure of 10 minutes so that I could smooth out the violent seas and create the effect I wanted...I think my decision for this composition worked well for the conditions, but I really want to go back soon at sunset and a low tide to shoot this spot.

Camera settings: ISO-100, f/8 at 22mm for 610 seconds (10 mins, 10 Secs) using 3 Lee ND Pro Glass filters to bring down the light 15 stops (.6ND, .9ND, 3.0ND) and one Lee .75ND Grad to balance the bright sky with the darker rocks. Image was captured about 10 mins before sunset at 4:35pm

I hope this message and image finds you well.

D. "Bodhi"

Thursday, December 11, 2014

"Kihei Kiss" ... Newest release 12-11-14 by Bodhi Smith

Wow, with my shows happening last week and next week I have been very busy, it seems like I have not put anything new out here in a while...but ahoy, despair no more! Here is my newest composition, entitled "Kihei Kiss."

This was the best sunset we saw during our week on Maui, so it is my first release (of many more to come ranging from waterfalls to ruins to sunrises and stars)) from my trip to this beautiful Hawaiian Island. Btw, the image gets its name from the Hawaiian town where it was captured (Kihei - pronounced Key-Hay), along with the fact that the solitary rock in the composition looks like a Hershey Kiss.

This long exposure capture (sort of a "short" one for me recently) was taken with my Nikon D800 using a 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens... Image was captured a few minutes before sunset on the main beach in Kihei while me and the girlfriend enjoyed some local Maui brews together. Really one of the easiest and most relaxing compositions I have taken to date. I truly had to do little to capture this scene other than walk across the street from our condo and just be present on the beach while the sun set. The beer was smooth, the company was phenomenal, and the scenery was exquisite. We were literally in our own little Corona commercial that says "find your beach." Fyi, the two smaller Hawaiian Islands of Kaho'olawe (left) and Lanai (right) can be seen at the edges of the composition.

The only thing really missing from this image was that my muse, The Dude, could not be there with us to share this special and beautiful moment in my life...the Dude does not fly well, but he was extremely well taken care of by the owner of AMC pet services who was house sitting and watching the Dude and our cats for the entire time were were on Maui.

Camera settings: ISO-100, f/8 at 34mm for 111 seconds using one Lee Proglass 3.0ND filter (10 stops overall) and one .75ND Grad filter to bring down the brightness of the sky two and a half stops Image was taken at 5:36pm, about 8 minutes before sunset.

I hope this image and message find you well.

Mahalo and Maluhia,