Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Fall in Love" is a new release from D."Bodhi" Smith

New composition of the Dude named, "Fall in Love." This image of the Dude I took during my trip up to Northern California in early November 2014...the title of this image is easily one of my most appropriate. smile emoticon

The Dude's coat literally blends into this scene full of fall foliage...Of course, I truly dig this image as I am quote partial to the subject...

Camera Settings: ISO-100, 70mm at f/2.8 for 1/60th second. Image was taken under a shady grove of oak trees at about 2pm in the afternoon (about three hours before sunset)

I hope this message and image find you well.

D. " Bodhi "

‪#‎Nikon‬ ‪#‎D800‬ ‪#‎Nikkor‬ ‪#‎Dolica‬ ‪#‎tripods‬ ‪#‎LeeFilters‬ ‪#‎BodhiSmith‬‪#‎Impressionist‬ ‪#‎expressionist‬ ‪#‎fall‬ ‪#‎leaves‬ ‪#‎dogs‬ ‪#‎Golden‬ ‪#‎Retriever‬‪#‎GoldenRetriever‬ ‪#‎California‬ ‪#‎RussianRiver‬

"Venerable Astronomers," new composition from D."Bodhi" Smith

This new composition is entitled, "Venerable Astronomers" and is my newest release from my recent trip to Easter Island (Rapa Nui) back in December-January. These are the two most famous moai in the Rano Raraku Quarry on the island and get hundreds of visitors a day.

This island will always be one of the most special places I have ever had the privilege to visit and photograph. It is so remote, so uncommercialized, so beautiful, so magical, so mysterious, and so mystical that I actually miss being there only 5 months removed from my visit...so, I have been waiting to process this image for some time now, and it is honestly my first image from Rapa Nui thus far which I am the most pleased with...truly another dreamy image somewhere between surreal and expressionist.

Camera settings: As is common with many of my nightscapes, this also is two separate images merged together into one composition to create the emotions and effects I want my audience to see and feel (impressions which would be impossible to capture in a single frame)...one is an exposure of the statues and the wispy clouds, and the second image is for exposing the stars correctly. Settings for the first exposure: ISO-100, 29mm at f/8 for 284 seconds using 5 stops of Lee Proglass ND filters....second exposure for the stars is ISO-1250, 24mm at f/1.4 for 13 seconds

I hope this image and message find you well.

D. " Bodhi "

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

"A Dream Approaches"...a new release from D."Bodhi" Smith

This is my newest composition entitled, "A Dream Approaches." It was captured on Coronado Island in San Diego this past Friday May 15th during an extremely high tide event right at sunset.

Unfortunately, this scene needs many factors to align: a high tide of 6 plus feet is a must, clouds coming in off the Pacific, and both have to happen at sunset. A tide of this magnitude happens only a few times a year, and I was lucky this time that it was occurring as a Pacific storm was hitting us here in Southern California, which is rare for the month of May. Thus, my alignment was possible, and I had a widow of about three days to get lucky with a capture...and of course, I was at this spot all three days.

I have had this picture in my mind for close to 9 months now, but had to wait through numerous occasions of getting washed out with no luck because one of the factors was not present. And ironically I LITERALLY got washed out during my first attempt in the 3-day window of opportunity that was given me from mother nature. For as the night before I captured this image, I fought that strong Pacific storm in a torrential downpour hoping the clouds would break at sunset, but there was no such luck and all that happened for me and my dog was that we got on heck of a natural shower, absolutely soaked, even drenched through my rainwear because of the veracity of the wind and rain.

But as you can see, the next night was much more kind for me and I caught this image. And consequently I managed to get another great shot on the third night that maybe someday I will process and put out there.

Anyway, this image is dedicated to the Annets (Jean-Luc and Julie) for their patience with me in trying to catch this scene for them...

The title is derived from one of Salvador Dali's paintings similarly named "The Approaching Dream"...since his surrealist influence is very strong in my photographic visions.

Camera Settings: ISO-100, f/8 at 45mm for 915 seconds using 2 Lee Proglass Filters (3.0ND and a 1.6ND) to drop the exposure 16 stops... this is two 15 minute exposures composited into one image using Photoshop CS6, which creates a perfect square for the final composition. The sun was setting about 45 degrees opposite of the reef and not directly over top of it as I wanted. So one long exposure is for the sunset and one long exposure is for the rock reef.

I hope this message and image find you well.

D. " Bodhi "

#Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #Dolica #tripods #Lee #Filters #Big #stopper #LongExposure #BodhiSmith #Impressionist #expressionist #Sunset #SanDiego #Coronado #Island #reflections #reef #Beach #Seascape #California #Pacific #Ocean

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book #4 "Bodhi Simplique Part Quatre"

"Les Champs Infini du Sauvignon" ... Most recent composition from D."Bodhi" Smith

Entitled, "Les Champs Infini du Sauvignon," this is my most recent composition captured last Saturday morning in wine country of Temecula, CA. The name is French and roughly translates to: "Endless Fields of Wild Grape Vines"...I chose French because cabernet sauvignon grapes originated close to Bordeaux, France combined with the fact that this is a field of cabernet sauvignon grape vines in the spring which will eventually produce grapes that will be harvested by Lorimar Winery and Vineyards in late summer.

For this composition, I wanted to create something different from my other impressions from this spot...Many of you know that I have shot this location numerous times since it is just down the road from where I make my home in Temecula, CA. It is great to have such a beautiful locale to shoot almost in my backyard at five mins away, one where I have to exert very minimal effort to visit. This is also the spot where I created my signature "Four Seasons of Temecula" piece that consists of each of the 4 seasons from this very spot, which took me over one year to capture to my satisfaction. This series of compositions can also be found as the artwork on the label of the current bottle of Chardonnay from Lorimar Winery in Temecula....and the summer scene in the series can be found as a 5ft long panoramic metal print on permanent display at Temecula City Hall.

As I do with all my photography, I pre-vision exactly what I want my final image capture to look in my mind's eye. My goal with this composition was to try to capture the clouds streaking in such a way as to mimic the simplicity of the rows of grape vines on the ground. This is a task which I believe I succeeded in completing with this image, and in doing so, created a version of this scene different from all my others shot at the same spot. Still, getting what I wanted was not without effort and patience, for I tried numerous exposures both longer and shorter before I found the right time limit to capture the effect I was hoping for. I am very thankful to mother nature for letting the clouds hang around and not burn off while I did my trial-and-error process of finding the right exposure. I shot one at 15 mins, but the clouds were smoothed out way too much; I shot another at 60 secs, but the clouds were not streaked enough; then another at 8 mins, but again, the clouds were still too smoothed out; then one more at 3 mins, but the clouds were just not quite right...then I tried my good old faithful 260 secs time limit (4 mins, 20 secs) and the exposure was dead on with my pre-vision...what you see before you are the results.

The actual raw image had a lot of blue haze in it (color cast from the morning sky as well as the Big Stopper filter I was using), and I was not crazy about this at all. It muddled the composition making it dull and not withstanding, full of a lackluster "ho-hum" boredom. So, when I processed the image, I unsaturated all of the blues to create the color profile (silvers and greens) your see here using Adobe Lightroom 5 which made the rows of green grape vines jump out vibrantly under the silver-toned rows of clouds streaking in the sky. Thus, this final composition has an eloquent simplicity to it that I really like...and I hope you find it just as pleasing.

Camera settings: ISO-100, 18mm at f/8 for 260 seconds using one Lee Proglass 3.0ND Filter (10 stops) to create the streaking clouds and two Lee ND graduated filters to allow me to balance the brighter foreground as well as the sky at the same time in-camera during the composition (.9ND Grad for the sky and a .75ND Grad for the foreground placed inverted to each other in the filter holder) 

I hope this image and message finds you well.

#Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #Dolica #Tripods #Lee #Filters #Big Stopper #ND #Graduated #Long Exposure #LE #Bodhi #Smith #California #Wine Country #Vineyard #Winery #Lorimar #Temecula #Grape #Vines #Wine #Cabernet #Sauvignon #Spring

D. "Bodhi"

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Into the Magic Door" is a new composition from D. "Bodhi" Smith

"Into the Magic Door" is my new composition captured during the "Scripps Solstice" which is a special event here in San Diego that happens twice a year in late April-early May and then again in mid-August when the sun aligns perfectly in a sunset directly through the window at the end of the underbelly of the Scripps Pier.

Unfortunately, successfully photographing this phenomenon has many problematic facets:
  1. Many other photographers crowd (horde often literally) into a small tiny space to capture the alignment--so to secure a great spot, gotta arrive about 2.5-3 hours before sunset
  2. A heavy cloud deck on the horizon kills the view, and these heavy clouds are common in early May
  3. There are 3-4 days where the sun is aligned in the window, but it is hard to gauge exactly which day will have the sun dead center
  4. Having clouds over head is a bonus, as long as they are not out on the horizon blocking the view
  5. Parking is at a premium...And if you listen to friends (ahem--Jeff) and park in the wrong spot, you will get a $65 ticket.
I had been fighting a sickness all weekend, but still could not pass up this small window of opportunity occurring here only twice a year to capture and witness something spectacular.We were there the night before this image, and there was a media circus there. Literally. The Channel 10 news crew was there to film a guy putting on a light painting show using a pixelstick to add to all of the photographers crowded in hoping to see some magic with the setting sun. I made the comment that we "were all truly paparazzi photogs waiting to catch that rare photo of out favorite star" ;) The weather did not cooperate and the sunset was flat with the sun partially obstructed...I was sick and just went home and did not stay for the light painting show.

Monday (the night of this photograph), I had to make a delivery of three of my newest large pieces to the Fallbrook Artist Guild Show, and then friend and fellow photog, Jeff Deveau and The Dude, and I headed down to the pier to take another shot at it for the second night in a row. We arrived about 5:30pm, two hours before sunset to find only two others there (both upstanding great fellow photogs). We were NOT disappointed. It was a perfect setting with only a handful of other photographers there (all very cool and great group to chat with while we waited), a perfect level of the tide coming in to keep the sand extra reflective, great clouds--a nice cloud cover that was NOT on the horizon to block the sun, and the sun aligned underneath almost perfectly. It was centered and just barely touching the top of the window.. We knew that the placement of the sun was better the previous night, but half of it was obscured by a cloud deck...For this night, I could not have asked for a better night, other than maybe having the spot all to myself (impossible pipe dream) and NOT getting an annoying parking ticket for parking in a place that was on the UCSD campus but I was assured was safe and never checked for parking passes. Um, Yeah, $65 wrong call..oh well... ;)

I wanted to create another composition, but unfortunately I did not bring my spikes for my Dolica tripod so I could drill it deep into the sand (I was sick and forgot them for the second night in a row like a doofus). As a result, my tripod moved a couple times making it impossible for me to create my first vision from two images...but this one did not come out too bad, I am quite happy with it.

I have long called the end of this pier as the "Magic Door" and this title is derived from my idea of this mixed with the sun dropping right in to align in the middle for this image. It is pretty cool to watch and witness and the sun comes down in from from the south to the north at an angle of about 70 degree or so as the sun is setting in all it glory of color.

Camera settings: ISO-100, 29mm at f/8 for 29 seconds using two Lee Proglass ND filters (.9ND and 1.8ND) to block down the light 9 stops. image was captured just before sunset at 7:23pm as the sun was in the upper middle of the "window" at the end of Scripps Pier

I hope this message and image find you well.


#San Diego #Scripps #Pier #LaJolla #Sunset #Alignment #Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #24-70mm #Dolica #Tripods #Lee #Filters #Little stopper #ND #ND Grad #LE #LongExposure #Expressionist #Impressionist

Thursday, April 30, 2015

New composition, "Liquid Light" by D. "Bodhi" Smith

This new composition is entitled "Liquid Light" for the way everything made of water was flowing and glowing around me in this extremely long exposure. It was captured on my trip last month during my brief visit to Lake Rotoiti in Nelson Lakes National Park on the South Island of New Zealand.

This image was captured on Lake Rotoiti's boat launch dock. It was difficult to finally get this long exposure (15 minutes plus) with numerous boats coming and going, which would always result in them bumping the dock which would move my camera and I would have to start all over...I took some other shorter exposures ranging from 2 minutes to 8 minutes, but really liked the results of this composition better (after finally capturing it cleanly without having my camera bumped). Of course, with such a long exposure, all movement on the lake gets erased (boats, wakes, waves, and ducks).

The light you see here is actually 180° away from the sunrise that happened behind me. But for some reason, the cloud deck continued to hold color well past the sunrise and change colors from a red glow to a softer grayish-blue-yellow.

Btw, the dock is not actually this reddish, I took some artistic liberty in changing the color from brownish red to more red to contrast better with the yellow clouds in the sky which creates a nice color profile much different than any of my other works.

One neat thing about this spot was that swimming around and under the dock were numerous very large eels...many people were pulling up to the dock especially just to see them. Strange, scary, and quite ugly looking fish...

Camera Settings: ISO-100, 24mm at f/8 for 915 seconds using 15 stops of Lee Proglass ND filters at 8:30am about 1 hour past sunrise on a cold cloudy morning on Lake Rotoiti in Nelson Lakes National Park on the South Island of New Zealand

#Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #24mm #Dolica #tripods #Lee #Filters #Proglass #Big #stopper #LongExposure #BodhiSmith #Impressionist #expressionist #Sunset #dock #Lake #Rotoiti #New #Zealand #Nelson

Friday, April 24, 2015

New Composition, "Broken Emotions" by D. Bodhi Smith

Entitled, "Broken Emotions," this is my newest composition...it was captured last night at on Broken Hill in Torrey Pine State Reserve just south of Del Mar, CA.

I guess you could say that Broken Hill and much of the Torrey Pines State Reserve is San Diego County's version of Bryce Canyon with all of the eroded sandstone formations. Quite beautiful, and located right next to the ocean in a park that is protecting the last grove of Torrey Pine Trees in the world (it is an endangered tree). And, of course, I have been trying to catch a special image of this spot for close to one year now, having shown up to this place numerous times only to go away empty handed. But alas, finally last evening I was able to capture something worthy of my own liking. We had a system coming in off the Pacific late yesterday afternoon, and it looked extremely good early on for some great clouds at the coast. But then as I was driving down to Torrey Pines, I could not believe my eyes as it started to clear up (this is a bad thing for a landscape photog). 

After getting to my "short-cut" parking spot close to the golf course, I figured I would still hike out to the point and see what was presented to me through the lens of my camera. I just never give up, you never know, and once again, this image is the result of my persistence and patience. Besides, it is a very beautiful hike and it was a cool spring evening here in San Diego, so I took off my flip-flops, threw on the hiking shoes, and strolled down the 1.5 mile trail out to Broken Hill. I have had my composition picked out here for a considerably long time now, as I have just been patiently waiting for the right conditions (clouds, sunset, springtime)...so when I got to Broken Hill, I did not need to figure out where I was going to set up for my shot...

After getting my Nikon D800 situated up on my trusty Dolica Tripod, I dialed in with my focus, and got my Lee filters all in place. But the skies had now gone total bluebird. Really?!? Was I going to get shut out of getting the image I have been trying to capture for a long time one more night, again??? There was still about 45 minutes until the sunset, so I just waited--maybe the heavy cloud deck on the distant horizon would roll in....and that is exactly what they did. Right as the sun was getting ready to set, the clouds rolled back in with a vengeance. In fact, they rolled in so fast that the window of opportunity for my image opened and slammed shut extremely quickly. I was able to take just 2 long exposures in that short time frame (this one and one a bit longer), and that was all, before the cloud deck was too thick and destroyed of the beautiful sunset hues and long shadows of contrast. Poof, the gorgeous light was gone. But who needs extra shots? Of the two, this one came out pretty good I think.

I hope this image and message find you well.

Camera settings: ISO-100, 24mm at f/8 for 83 seconds using one Lee Proglass 3.0ND Filter (Big Stopper) and one Lee .75ND Grad filter. Image was capture at 7:13pm, about 10 minutes before the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.


#Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #24mm #Dolica #Tripods #Lee #Filters #ND #Proglass #BigStopper #Bodhi #Smith #Expressionist #Impressionist #Surreal #LongExposure #LE #SanDiego #Torrey #Pines #Broken #Hill #Sunset #Pacific #Ocean #LaJolla #DelMar

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Newest image is entitled "Noche de Coronado." by D."Bodhi" Smith

This newest image is entitled "Noche de Coronado." It was captured last Wednesday on a very calm, windless, clear, and moonless evening here in SoCal. This is a bit of a departure for me, as I seldom, if ever, take images of city buildings...but the stars and the reflection, well, I guess that is more like me.

The name is literally translated as, "Crowning Night" but could also mean "Night From Coronado"...both translations apply quite well to this image, so hence the title...

As many of you know, for the better part of 8 months now, I have been trying to capture a magical image of a reef on Coronado beach for clients of mine who were engaged and married on that very spot close to the Hotel Del Coronado. I have been patient (and thankfully so have they) waiting for the conditions to be right for the image i have in my mind's eye: I need a very high tide of 6 feet happening at sunset combined with clouds in the sky.

Last Wednesday I drove down to Coronado Island to give it a try and see if I could get lucky with mother nature, for the conditions were close with a 5 foot tide happening at sunset, but no clouds showed and the tide was ultimately not high enough. Closed out once again, bummer. Of course, I will not give up and I will be trying again in mid-May when the conditions are perfect hoping to get a cloud system passing over one of the nights during a 96-hour window of opportunity.

So while I was walking back to my Xterra along the beachway, I noticed that it was unusually calm for Coronado Island. I got in my truck and went over to the other side of the island to try my luck with another image I have had a vision of taking for a couple of years now...my vision needs a windless calm in order to optimize reflections I want to capture in the San Diego Bay at night...

This is another one of those famous scenes that is photographed by millions of people...it is taken from a vantage point across the bay on Coronado Island showing the San Diego skyline at night and its glowing reflection in the water. Easy spot to find, easy composition to make, easy to take with a little bit extra exposure time....but I wanted to capture something especially different, something my style of uniqueness. I wanted to create something that is impossible to capture in true reality at this location with one or even multiple exposures with a camera, as there is just too much light pollution created by the city lights to pull it off.

To get my vision, an image would need to be created from two separate exposures...using an exposure taken of the stars in the San Diego desert which I already had captured to be combined with the image of this Skyline taken on this evening. Of course, things would be considerably more technical for me to get the composition I wanted to create, along with needing things in nature to align correctly for me to match the image in my mind's eye with those taken by my camera turned into one composite image....

I needed the calm night to enhance the reflection of the lights and eventually the stars in the water. It also had to be clear and cloudless, with no moon to help create the final blended composition. This is an image composed of 2 separate exposures: one for the city and the skyline reflection in the water; the other for the stars in the sky (the stars' reflection is explained below). Using Photoshop CS6, I had to manually blend these two images together to create the composition you see here.

Camera settings: For the city and city lights reflection part of the image (not stars): ISO-100, 52mm at f/2.8 for 123 seconds using two Lee Proglass filters (.9ND & .6ND) to block down the light 5 stops and permit a much longer exposure while using such a large aperture as f/2.8. I wanted the larger aperture to soften the sky behind the city and the lights in the foreground as much as I could. For the stars part of the image: ISO-1250, 24mm at f/1.4 for 15 seconds using no filters (this is also a different lens than the one used to capture the skyline scene). The stars' reflection is a post-production addition using editing software to create the final effect on the image, an effect that is made further possible by the use of the long exposure of the city lights in the water making the bay flat and glasslike...

I hope this image and message find you well.

‪#‎Dolica‬ ‪#‎Tripods‬ ‪#‎Lee‬ ‪#‎Filters‬ ‪#‎Proglass‬ ‪#‎ND‬ ‪#‎LongExposure‬ ‪#‎LE‬ ‪#‎Nikon‬ ‪#‎D800‬ ‪#‎Nikkor‬ #24-70mm ‪#‎Seascape‬ ‬ ‪#‎Bay #Harbor ‪#‎Pacific‬ ‪#‎Ocean‬‬ ‪#‎Landscape‬ ‬ #Coronado #Island #San #Diego #Skyline #Reflection #Stars #Night #Sky


Newer image, Entitled "The Greeters" by D. "Bodhi" Smith

My newest composition here is entitled "The Greeters." This was captured during my recent trip to the south island of New Zealand in March/early April, 2015.

After my plane landed in Christchurch and I gathered my luggage and got my rental car, it took me a bit to get acclimated to the left-side road driving and opposite instruments and controls in the car. But soon after I was headed down the left side of the highway towards the south parts of New Zealand. My first stop was to be the Moeraki Boulders on the coast but was unable to capture anything because of a massive rain system hanging over the area that was also dropping many lightning bolts onto the beach...so I relegated this spot for capturing later (images to come of these soon) and drove to the city where I was staying for the next couple of nights, Dunedin, for sunset...

Pictured here is the old pier on St. Clair beach located just south of Dunedin, New Zealand. On this evening there was a fairly low tide, so I got right down into the middle of the old pier posts to take this one amidst the waves. I liked the way the red illumination from the sunset was just creeping into the right side of the image and glowing off the pier posts and the wet beach sand. There was no way to get the setting sun into the frame because at dusk its aspect was behind some quite large hills that are just west of this beach, so I decided to center the island just off the coast between the pier posts. The island was named "Ponuiahine" by the indigenous Moāri which oddly means "The Girl's Great Night"...the local English name is much less original, it is named "White Island" because of the island's appearance from all of the white bird droppings that have built up the island over the centuries.

This is the actual first image I took during my recent trip to New Zealand. So the title of the image comes from the fact that this composition "greeted" me to the beauties of New Zealand combined with the way the pier posts look to have faces on them (at the top) and are all lined up like ushers greeting people as they come off the ocean and "walk down the aisle" of these greeters onto the beach and then into Dunedin...

I hope this image and message find you well.

Camera Settings: ISO-100, 24mm at f/11 for 381 seconds using one Lee Proglass 3.0ND Filter (10 stops) for the longer exposure and on Lee .75ND Grad (2.5 stops) to balance the brighter sky with the foreground...image was captured at 7:30pm as the sun was setting (off camera about 90° to my position)...

D. "Bodhi"

‪#‎New‬ ‪#‎Zealand‬ ‪#‎South‬ ‪#‎Island‬ ‪#‎Moari‬ ‪#‎Dunedin‬ ‪#‎SaintClair‬ ‪#‎Dolica‬‪#‎Tripods‬ ‪#‎Lee‬ ‪#‎Filters‬ ‪#‎BigStopper‬ ‪#‎ND‬ ‪#‎LongExposure‬ ‪#‎LE‬ ‪#‎Nikon‬‪#‎D800‬ ‪#‎Nikkor‬ ‪#‎24mm‬ ‪#‎f1‬.4 ‪#‎Seascape‬ ‪#‎Pier‬ ‪#‎Ruins‬ ‪#‎Beach‬ ‪#‎Ocean‬‪#‎Waves‬ ‪#‎Landscape‬ ‪#‎Sunset‬ ‪#‎Dusk‬ ‪#‎Reflection

Newer image, entitled "Ambivalent to Becoming" by D. "Bodhi" Smith

Entitled, "Ambivalent to Becoming," this is another of my newest compositions captured recently on my trip to the South island of New Zealand. I am telling you, without hesitation, go visit this country...it is a very beautiful land.

I named this image "Ambivalent to Becoming" as I can personify these rocks as unhatched eggs...only these eternal eggs could care less one way or another if they ever hatch to become something else...they just sit and bask in the sun as they lay on the beach day after day, year after year, century after century, relishing in the idea that being is better than becoming. This might be my best title for an image of mine ever, IMHO.

I got up a few hours before sunrise and set off on dawn patrol for capturing the Moeraki boulders (pronounced "Mow-racky") at sunrise during a low tide event. My drive to this spot was a little over an hour, but because of the time in the morning, there was absolutely no traffic on the highway and I made it in less than one hour. Under darkness i headed out in search of these gigantic boulders. I was shut out by rain/lightning for capturing a sunset at this spot a couple nights previously, but luckily I was able to return to this unique scene before I headed over to the west coast of the island on my third day in New Zealand.

This is a well known spot for visitors and photographers alike to visit. Pictures of these boulders were even on the promo images for New Zealand Airlines during my arrival flight listed as a place tourists "must see." So it is not a surprise that this beach gets extremely crowded as people relieve their curiosity and get up-close and personal to check-out these egg-like rocks. And to boot, they are very easy to find with signage right off the main highway and access via a short, easy stroll on the beach.

I made the stroll up the beach in the dark to see the large silhouettes of these boulders in the dim glow of my headlamp at low lumens. Impressive in the dark, I could not wait to see them in the reds and purples of the morning light. But that would not turn out to be the case on this morning as the tide and the clouds just did not cooperate.

I was then joined by another aspiring NZ photographer, Mason Osborne as the sun was starting to rise. We were both comparatively disappointed because the cloud deck was just too thick on the east front to permit any of the red wavelengths of the rising sun to shine on the clouds overhead, resulting in a very lackluster and unspectacular sunrise. Bummer. Double Bummer. My idea of "Planned Chance" working against my favor once again...or maybe not?

As I pointed out previously, this location is well known, so before I ever stepped foot on the Moeraki Beach, I was told over and over by numerous guides and photographers to shoot here at low tide. I will tell you now that this is not so. Do not shoot this location at low tide, ever, period. This is identical to California's Bowling Ball Beach as it is best shot at middle-high tide. Low tide is too low. High tide is too high. Middle-high tide is Goldilocks just right.

At sunrise, the tide was honestly just too low to really get anything spectacular with my style of long exposure photography anyway. The waves were not coming in far enough and flowing around the most interesting of the boulders on the beach. So my Options: 1. leave and make my way early to Lake Wanaka, or, 2. stay 3-4 hours longer on this beach until the tide came up and was surrounding the rocks and hope the cloud deck lingers to help block down the sunlight. #1 had no risk or variables. #2 needed allot to happen for it to work out. I opted for #2, I would wait, reasoning that it might be a long while before I made it back to this beach in the future. I decided I would hang out until the clouds started to break up or the tide came in and permitted me to shoot these rocks in the manner I wanted to capture them.

A few hundred people milled onto the beach and played around and on top of these boulders as the clock ticked away and the tide came in more and more favorably. The clouds hung out with me, as if wanting me to capture something special from this spot to take home to the other hemispheres of the world. I set up on these three rocks at the north end of the formation, more remote and aways from most of the tourists on the beach. I liked their roundness and contrast to the waves rolling in around them. I waited. The clouds waited as well. Then it happened, I got an image I really liked, this is the result. Glad I chose that second option, but I know I could have easily wasted my time and got nothing for my efforts, but "Planned Chance" did work in my favor after all. As I walked down the beach to the carpark, the clouds broke apart and the sun came out in its full bright glory. Insert a smile on my face as I strolled off the beach, got in the car, and drove off down the left side of the road to Wanaka singing to the steering wheel my rendition of Men at Work's "Overkill" which was playing through my iPod into the car stereo ...

By the way, these boulders make up a rare rock-reef formation whose only equal is actually found in my native California on the northern coastline in Mendocino county on "Bowling Ball Beach" (see my image a few posts below this one that is named "Idiosycre Sea"). I am not certain, but I think that I might very well be the only professional photog to have captured gallery images from both of these beautiful and eerie seaside rock formations located on opposite sides of the vast Pacific Ocean. And I hate to admit it, but this set of rocks is more photogenic and eloquent than the ones found in my homeland...I will be going back to revisit this scene as a sunset, and at mid-high tide in the near future. Beautiful rocks in a beautiful land.

May this picture bring a smile and brightness to your day

Camera Settings: ISO-100, 28mm at f/8 for 355 seconds taken at 10:56am under a canopy of heavy clouds...using the Lee filter holder system, I stacked four filters mounted in front of my Nikkor 28-70mm f2.8 lens for this exposure: three Lee Proglass ND Filters (3.0ND (a.k.a. the Big Stopper),.9ND, and .6ND for 15 stops in total) for permitting me to capture this extreme long exposure and one Lee .75ND Grad (2.5 stops) to balance the brighter sky with the foreground...

I hope this message and image find you well.

D. "Bodhi"

‪#‎New‬ ‪#‎Zealand‬ ‪#‎South‬ ‪#‎Island‬ ‪#‎Moeraki‬ ‪#‎Boulders‬ ‪#‎Dunedin‬ ‪#‎Dolica‬‪#‎Tripods‬ ‪#‎Lee‬ ‪#‎Filters‬ ‪#‎BigStopper‬ ‪#‎ND‬ ‪#‎LongExposure‬ ‪#‎LE‬ ‪#‎Nikon‬‪#‎D800‬ ‪#‎Nikkor‬ #24-70mm ‪#‎Seascape‬ ‪#‎Reef‬ ‪#‎Beach‬ ‪#‎Pacific‬ ‪#‎Ocean‬‪#‎Waves‬ ‪#‎Landscape‬ ‪#‎Reflection‬

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New composition, "Surrealist Dreams"...fourth in New Zealand Series

My newest composition entitled, "Expressionist Dreams." This is the fourth in my series from New Zealand, and the first of my seascapes from the south Island.

The beach pictured here is called Wharariki (pronounced "far-a-ricky") and the rock formations in the image are actually part of the Archway Islands. This beach is located at the extreme north top end of the south Island of New Zealand and it is remote enough to get few visitors. Because of the inanely steep and curvy Takada Hill, it took me a little over two hours (each direction) to drive from Nelson where I was staying to the trailhead parking lot. The path to the beach is a little over one mile and is easily walked in 20-30 mins. The track is well marked up until the sand dunes, which are about a quarter of a mile wide, and where the path becomes your own footprints.

Wharariki beach is extremely beautiful and quite diverse with all sorts of different formations such as sea caves, natural bridges, tide pools, arches, sand dunes, channels, sea spires, waterfalls, and seals (even baby seals playing in the many tidepools). The actual beach is over two miles long and very wide and flat, perfect for a long stroll at sunrise or sunset, and is a must see if you ever find yourself in New Zealand.

Wharariki beach is famous for being insanely windy all the time (as it was on this evening), which is evident from all the pristine sand dunes surrounding the beach. While I was there, the high winds even erased all traces of my footprints and all others from existance off the dunes. I recommend that if you are ever visiting this beach and plan to stay after dark, be certain of your route back using GPS or other means as the trail home over the dunes might no longer be there when you head back (as with what happened to me).

While I was there, there were only two other couples on the entire beach, possibly because of the high winds and it being mid-week...but totally abandoned is my kind of beach. One very nice bonus about the winds is that they blow all the pesky black sand flies away--so no human blood-crazed sand flies, hoo-rah! The winds were howling close to 50mp and I had to drill my tripod deep into the sand and anchor it with sandbags to ensure it and my attached camera did not move during the entirety of both long exposures used to compose this image. This composition is comprised two long exposures taken about 15 mins apart, without moving the tripod...one is for the exposure of the Archway Islands and the other is for the moon exposure. At low tide, the flatness of the beach kept the sand very wet and super reflective as the waves would roll in and out for several hundred feet while only being less than an inch in height. This is absolutely perfect conditions for this sort of a long exposure mirrored photograph.

I truly love the range of color tones in my image here as they are reminiscent of the exact same color blends that can be viewed in my personal surreal favorite, and Salvador Dali's most famous painting, "Persistence of Memory."

I am glad to be able to share this gem with you, but the pleasure was all mine in getting to experience this enchanted and wondrous beach on the northern tip of the Southern Island of New Zealand.

Camera Settings: ISO-100, 34mm at f/8 for 260 seconds using one Lee 3.0ND Proglass (Big Stopper) Filter, one Lee .75ND Grad Filter to balance the sky down 2.5stops, and one Lee .3ND Grad Filter to balance the reflection down 1 stop--this filter was used inverted. Both exposures were taken a short time after sunset using the same filter setup...

I hope this message and image find you well.

D. "Bodhi"

#Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #squaredroid #Dolica #tripods #Lee #Filters #Big #stopper #LongExposure #expressionist #Impressionist #Surreal #Bodhi #Smith #New #Zealand #Beach #Seascape #archway #islands #Sunset #moon #rise #reflections #Wharariki #farewellsplit #Motueka #Takaka #Nelson #Tasman #Sea

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

First release from New Zealand series: "Ancient Congregation" by D. "Bodhi" Smith

Entitled "Ancient Congregation", here is my newest release--the very first composition in my series from New Zealand. !!Click on this image to see the full version...it's another tall panoramic!!

I had a 2 night and 3 day stay in the middle of the South Island in a small town called Wanaka.The location of this village is central and really close to a lot of different things giving me a wide of range of subjects which I can go shoot, especially if the weather changes giving me a lot of different options to turn to. And in the long run, things worked out very well for me having all these different options at hand choose from...

I came to Lake Wanaka with the full intention to shoot the famous tree that is surrounded by water and has been shot by just about every New Zealander photographer on the island as well as the many thousands of visiting photographers as well. The image in my mind's eye that I had for this tree was really the top photo I wanted to get on my visit to New Zealand. This composition I hoped to capture was the first one I wanted above all others, and I started actually planning the trip around how I was going to give myself the most opportunity to shoot this tree.

Of course, as luck would have it, the area has been experiencing the worst drought on record over the last month and the lake is down over 5 feet...this relationship to the water level basically exposes the tree and it is no longer surrounded by water, which really destroys the composition that I saw in my mind's eye. Total bummer..."it's a bummer, man..." < the voice of The Big Lebowski> It was actually so awful, that I didn't even bother to take my camera out of my backpack to shoot the tree while I stayed here. Because what I like, and what I wanted, did not exist as a result of the crazy extra low level of the lake. When I was planning this trip and scouting the location before I arrived in New Zealand, the lake was at a normal level just a month ago, but now 30 days later, its just pitiful. Kinda reminds me of California with our drought. But hey, it's part of my world as a landscape photographer...gotta have patience. My idea of "Planned Chance" literally in action again, except this time the chance and luck did not go my way--yet, as it turned out.

So, even though I don't live here, I'll just have to come back...something which I definitely have plans to do as the south island of New Zealand has quickly become my second favorite place to be, right up there next to my native home of Southern California. While here so far, I've only been able to catch about 1 out of 5 things that I had on my list to scout, which was honestly as expected. But what I didn't expect was how beautiful everything has been--there truly hasn't been a bad thing on the list. Usually there's a couple duds here and there, you know, things that just don't translate into a good picture...but, wow, this scenery here has been just absolutely phenomenal!

But things in my world do seem to balance out between the negative and the positive in my life...as did happen with me on this occasion. I did not get the picture that I wanted, but I've probably managed to capture something every bit as spectacular, maybe even more. Plus, this scene was actually more difficult to have all the variables to align together correctly all in such a small window that was really only a matter of about 3 hours during my entire stay of 8 days. If even one variable was off, the composition just wouldn't have be possible, and I would have driven for many hours out of the way in the middle the night all for naught.

So, last night I made the decision to go after an image I had in my mind under the stars. Since the weather looked very very good-- in other words, being cold and clear overnight to shoot the Milky Way, I decided to drive 2 hours in the dark on a winding twisting road that I did not know (nor have driven) out to Lake Tekapo. Beside the lake is an old historic building made of stone called the Church of the Good Shepherd. My data had the Milky Way as possibly being positioned over top of the church, which of course as it turned out, it was. And man, the Milky Way is beautiful and full of personality here on this island in the southern hemisphere.

Once I arrived at the church, I chose my position, set up my trusty tripod, selected the settings from my Nikon D800, dialed in my focus on my Nikkor prime 24mm f1.4 lens, created my composition, clicked open the shutter, and 13 seconds later--wow! After taking just a couple snaps, I knew this was going to be something very very special... well worth the long drive in the middle of night, and the frigid chill that was in the air which was freezing me to the bone.

I do not usually post an image when I'm in the middle of a trip, but this composition was one I was really excited about...so, instead of taking a nap during the day as I often do, I decided to process this image at my motel here in Wanaka, New Zealand.

On the long drive back from the church to my room in Wanaka, I had to pull off the road for an hour and sleep because I was so tired. As I was dozing off into my power nap, I decided I was going to edit this image and I already had named it in my mind...the name, "Ancient Congregation" is a title which is really just perfect for this picture. I can imagine the stars banding out over top of the back cross, which seemingly are coming and rising out of the church, as spiritually representing the residual of all the people that have sat in that church over the last couple hundred years. This is a neat ethereal effect in my honest opinion, and I hope you enjoy this as much as I loved capturing this beautiful image.

This capture is actually two images taken consecutively, and then stitched together on top of each other to enable me to get the full colour at the top of the Milky Way which could not be done in just one composition as it was just too tall.

Camera settings: ISO-1250, 24mm at f/1.4 for 13 seconds captured at 4:45am. The church was being illuminated by the lights from the town of Lake Tekapo, so for this composition, I had to use one Lee .3ND Grad Filter inverted upside down (sort of in reminiscence of being in the southern hemisphere I guess) to bring down the church one stop as it was much brighter than the fainter stars the sky I wanted to have in my detail. To get the illumination of the windows from inside the church, I placed my headlamp on low lumens and shown it in through the back window.

If you like my photographic impressions here, please check out all of my work on:
And especially please remember to check out the works of my two friends and fabulous photographers, Chip Morton http://500px.com/Chip_Morton and Jeff Deveau http://500px.com/JeffDeveau , who are also my associates in our workshop endeavor at http://www.californaicaptures.net .

I hope this message and image find you well.

D. " Bodhi "

#Dolica #Tripods #New #Zealand #Tekapo #Church #Good Sheppard #Milky Way #Nightscape #Stars #Lee #Filters #Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #24mm #f1.4 #long exposure #impressionism #expressionism #Bodhi #Smith #photography #landscape #stars #

New release, "Haast To Be" by D."Bodhi" Smith

Entitled, "Haast to Be" this is another new compositions from my trip here to New Zealand's south island this week...

This is an image of an unnamed waterfall close to the well-known and well-visited Fantail Falls in the Haast Gorge. It is not an easy hike to get to, but with some trail finding and unwillingness to give up, it can be done. You have to ford a rocky bottomed and frigid stream numerous times...and then scramble over some slick talus rocks and moss-covered deadfalls. The water was beyond cold, and my feet were frozen by the time I got to the falls, but I am soooo glad I made it. Awesome cascade dropping their tiers into a gorgeous glacier blue pool of water. Wow. I climbed up above the pool about 15 feet and set up shop to take some long exposures of this sweet waterfall. Life is good...but then a big oh-oh happened...

A couple of shots just before taking this image, I had a bit of a monstrous scare with my camera as I got an SD memory card failure error. An extreme panic attack seized my entire being. Oh-oh. I could not take any new pictures onto that card, and the ones I had shot all night/morning and afternoon were on that card. I could not even view those images through the camera. My heart sank. I was sick to my stomach. 

I always back up my images at the end of a day of shooting for just this reason--fear of losing them due to a memory card failure. I had some of the best images taken on this trip unbacked-up on that card--including the first one I released from New Zealand of the Church of the Good Sheppard under the Milky Way (post directly below this one). What if I had just lost all of those images? I was feeling more and more sick, literally. I had no way to view the images, none of them. No way of knowing for certain if they were gone or if I could still pull them off the card. In the past, I have seen it go both ways--sometime relief, with a big "whew" as the images are still there, and other times dismay as all of the images are lost.

My computer was back at the motel, which was about an hour's hike out of the canyon back to the trailhead and then another hour and a half drive away. Nothing I could do right now. Worrying does no good. The light on this waterfall before my eyes was still getting better, and even though I desperately wanted to hike back to the car and drive back to the motel to put my mind at rest about the images that were either still accessible or simply lost for good, I persevered and and decided to just keep shooting--I put in a new memory card and took a group of successful images, including the one you see here before you. I pack up and headed back, with only one thing on my mind, my body almost numb in deep though and regret for not backing up the star images from last night when I stopped by the motel before heading out to shoot this waterfall. if i just would have done that--you all know how we torture ourselves with "what-ifs"

The trip had gone so splendidly well up until this point, but now all I could do was drive back to the motel and hope that a separate card reader I carry with me would be able to view the images so i could copy them onto my computer and back-up hard drive. 

As I took the card out of my camera bag and inserted it into the reader, I could barely breath...but as it turned out, I got lucky--they were there. I had all of my images. Card was dead and useless, but I had all of my images. It was the "whew" option that i got. The "I dodged a bullet" feeling coupled with deep thankful relief as all the images were transferred safely to my permanent storage. "WHEW!"

So, I hope you enjoy this image of mine, one that i went through quite all physically and emotionally to get...and if you ever go to new Zealand, these spectacular falls should be on your must see list...

Camera settings: ISO-100, f/8 at 24mm for 480 seconds using 15 stops of Lee ND Proglass filters (.6ND, .9ND, 3.0ND) taken about 11:30am in a dark narrow canyon.

If you like my photographic impressions here, please check out all of my work on:
  1. Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Bodhi.Impressions
  2. Instagram - http://instagram.com/bodhismith 
  3. My website - http://www.bodhismith.com 
And especially please remember to check out the works of my two friends and fabulous photographers, Chip Morton http://500px.com/Chip_Morton and Jeff Deveau http://500px.com/JeffDeveau , who are also my associates in our workshop endeavor at http://www.californaicaptures.net .

I hope this image and message find you well.


#New #Zealand #Waterfall #Glacier #Blue #Pool #Falls #Haast #Gorge #Dolica #Tripods #LeeFilters #Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #Lenses #24mm #Prime #Bodhi #Smith #Landscape #Surreal #Impressionist #Expressionist #LongExposure #Lee #BigStopper

Newest release, "Impressions In The Mist" by D."Bodhi" Smith

This is my newest release entitled, "Impressions in the Mist"...it is the third photo in my series from New Zealand taken during my recent travels to the south island.

This is a composition where I zoomed in on the details of the lower cascade of the Devil's Punchbowl Falls rather than try to capture the falls in their entirety (sometimes I wonder just how many natural geographic formations have the word "devil" in their names?)...this image was captured on Easter Sunday morning on my last day on the Island at Arthur's Pass, and is sort of NZ's kindly parting gift to me before I had to catch my long flight back home to California...

These falls are located just off the main pass through the mountains that connects the cities of Christchurch on the east coast with Greymouth on the west coast. The setting for Devil's Punchbowl Falls is Arthur's Pass National Park which is located in the mountains in the middle of the island. They are really quite easy to access since the short trail (called a track in NZ) is very close to the road and is a very well maintained path by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Only issue is the long climb up to the falls, as they are located uphiill from the trailhead and are reached after climbing 316 steps at higher altitude in the mountains (I was a bit winded when I arrived at the falls)

This waterfall is very majestic and impressive dropping 112 meters (350ft) from the cliffs above. I could have taken images of the entire waterfall, however, I was really fascinated instead by just the lower part of the falls for their personality as the water cascaded over numerous spire shaped rocks. A bonus in the composition was a small evergreen tree that was jutting out from the cliff closest to the observation deck, which could easily be included in the composition in many different ways using a longer zoom lens. The foggy morning and misty air also added some character and depth to this composition as well.

Btw, if you are ever on the South island of New Zealand, be sure to ALWAYS carry deet/insect repellant...do not ever think that because of the weather you will not need it. The pesky little black sand flies seem to pop up out of nowhere and seem to be everywhere unless there is wind. These little blood-suckers are persistent and if you are bitten by them, the result is an itch 100 times worse than any mosquito bite ever could wish to become. It is always good to be prepared. I kept these pests off of me the entire trip by coating exposed skin with bug-spray, especially my lower legs, right up until the last day.

On my last morning, I packed my bug-juice in my suitcase in prep for my flight home (too much liquid content for a carry-on) thinking that there was no way these bugs would be in the crisp cool mountains to bother me--WRONG! two days later, and I am still itching from only a couple bites from those little kiwi nuisances...just an f.y.i. heads-up to any future traveler to this great little island in the southern hemisphere. In fact, the black sand fly was really truly the only bad thing of any sort I have to mention about New Zealand. I am sure that the New Zealand national travel/promotional bureau wants to keep a tight lid on any sort of advertisement of the problems that these pesky little bugs have created for tourists on the island. Famous British explorer, Captain James Cook, stated that these tiny little flying insects were the fiercest creatures he had ever encountered in all of his travels!

Camera Settings: ISO-100, 155mm at f/8 for 55 seconds using one Lee Proglass 3.0ND filter to bring down the entire image 10 stops. Image was taken at 10am under foggy and misty conditions.

If you like my photographic impressions here, please check out all of my work on:
  1. Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Bodhi.Impressions
  2. Instagram - http://instagram.com/bodhismith 
  3. My website - http://www.bodhismith.com 
And especially please remember to check out the works of my two friends and fabulous photographers, Chip Morton http://500px.com/Chip_Morton and Jeff Deveau http://500px.com/JeffDeveau , who are also my associates in our workshop endeavor at http://www.californaicaptures.net .

#New #Zealand #Arthur'sPass #Waterfall #Devil'sPunchbowl #Falls #LeeFilters #Dolica #Tripods #Nikon #Nikkor #D800 #Impressionist #Expressionist #Bodhi #Smith #LE #LongExposure

I hope this message and image find you well.

D. "Bodhi"

Friday, March 27, 2015

"Eternal Denizens" an image by D. "Bodhi" Smith

Image entitled, "Eternal Denizens"...Since, I am headed off halfway around the globe to the south island of New Zealand tonight for the next 10 days (Woo-Hoo!), and in Dunedin, NZ there is a pier formation similar to this, and one of which I hope to capture an impression this upcoming Sunday or Monday evening...

As a result of this trip, It might be a bit before I release any photos here on FB...So in the meantime, I thought I would re-post this photo here along with the one below...as both images are amazingly similar two compositions I will be seeking in South New Zealand over the next week and a half.

Btw, this is an image I captured in Naples, Florida back in August of 2014...it is one of my own personal favorite images (to me, a classic representation of my style) and appears on the back of many of my business cards

Camera settings: ISO-100, 16mm at f/8 for 180 seconds using 15 stops of ND filters (Lee Proglass Filters - 3.0ND filter a.k.a.Lee Big Stopper, .9ND, and .6ND) to bring down the bright light facing directly into the sun (albeit overcast) since this image was captured about 1.5 hours before sunset - I also used one Lee .75ND Graduated Filter (resin) to bring down the brighter sky 2.5 stops to better balance it with the blue waters and pylons.

I hope this message and image finds you well.

D. " Bodhi "

‪#LeeFilters‬ ‪#Dolica #Tripods‬ #LeeFilters ‪#Nikon‬ ‪#D800‬ ‪#Nikkor‬ #Bodhi #Smith‬ ‪#LongExposure‬ ‪#expressionist‬ ‪‪#Surreal‬ ‪#Impressionist #Naples ‪#Florida‬ ‪#Gulf #Coast #Pier #Ruins #Sunset

"Idiosyncre Sea" an image by D. "Bodhi" Smith

The image is named "Idiosyncre Sea"... and just a heads up: I am off to the south island of New Zealand tonight for the next 10 days! This is an exciting trip for me, and I am very hopeful to bring back some stellar impressions from the other side of the world. So, it will be a while before I am able to release any new images (unless while I am there I manage to edit something special)...

In the meantime, I though I would re-post this photo here...an image which is actually composed of a very rare sea formation whose only other match is located in South New Zealand (Moeraki Boulders)--and that is a scene I truly hope to capture and have both of these locations represented in my library of images.

The image is named "Idiosyncre Sea" and was taken at the end of December in 2013 during a trip up the Northern California and Oregon coastlines. This place is south of Mendocino on the N.Cali coast in a location known as Schooner Bay--it has the nickname of "Bowling Ball Beach" to photogs and travelers alike. It is a must see for anyone who is driving the US101 from Point Reyes to Fort Bragg (or vise-versa).

Camera Settings: ISO-100, 18mm at f/8 for 260 seconds (4 mins, 20 secs) using 15 stops of Lee ND Proglass filters (3.0ND, .9ND, .6ND) and one Lee resin .75ND Soft Grad filter to brings down the sky an additional 2.5 stops over the rest of the composition.This image was captured at mid-tide shortly before sunset as a wedge-shaped cloud formed over the beach to the south.

I hope this image and composition find you well.


#California #Coast #Seascape #Pacific #Ocean #BowlingBallBeach #Reef #Schooner #Bay #Mendocino #Sunset #Surreal #Impressionist #Expressionist #LongExposure #LE #Landscape #Bodhi #Smith #Nikon #Nikkor #D800 #Dolica #Tripods #LeeFilters #Lee #BigStopper #ND #Filter

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"Murmur of a Sigh" newest release from Bodhi Smith

Entitled, "Murmur of a Sigh," this is my newest release from my Easter Island (La Isla de Pascua or Rapa Nui) series of compositions. 

I captured this composition during my recent trip to the island a few months ago at the end of December and beginning of January. As it turns out, this was my last picture taken in the calendar year of 2014. Looking back, this is really a mighty nice image to cap off what was truly a very, very good year for me. 

For this image, I again traveled from the town of Hanga Roa where we were staying across the island to the Tongariki Ahu (ceremonial platform) to try to capture these magnificent moai (statues) under the stars, and then stick around to be hopeful of a stellar sunrise. I got the former, but not the latter on this morning. But the things I got to see, memories to behold which no camera could bring justice to, emblazoned images found only in the recesses of my brain, sights to behold for my eyes only on that morning...this all just left me longing for the moment in this picture with a big sigh (and hence the image's title). 

This composition is really a segue image between a full blow starry sky and a morning sky with a glowing sun. In this image you see the longest rays of the sun starting to awaken the sky and wispy clouds, but you still can catch a fleeting glimpse of the brilliant stars of the southern hemisphere before they go to sleep for the day. It is a departure from my ultra long exposures into the world of just a few seconds of exposure, but is still retains my dreamy style...the impression I am trying to give is of elegance that routinely wakes up every morning like clockwork; its excruciating exquisiteness repeated, over and over, day after day, year after year, and all the same while being unbeknownst to itself; the beauty goes to sleep at the end of the day to rise and shine and repeat it all over again, never knowing how discerningly lovely it really is...<sigh>

I can only hope that you enjoy this image a fraction of the amount I enjoyed being there to witness and capture this image...

Camera Settings: ISO-1250, 24mm at f/1.4 for 4 seconds at 5:30am this past New Year's Eve at about one hour before sunrise. 

I hope this message and image find you well.

D. "Bodhi"

‪#‎LeeFilters‬ ‪#‎Dolica‬ #Tripods ‪#‎Nikon‬ ‪#‎D800‬ ‪#‎Nikkor‬ #24mm ‪#‎BodhiSmith‬ ‪#‎LongExposure‬ ‪#‎expressionist‬ ‪#‎Impressionist‬ ‪#‎Surreal‬ ‪#‎EasterIsland‬ ‪#‎SouthPacific‬ ‪#‎Ocean‬ ‪#‎Nightscape‬ ‪#‎Stars #Moai #Tongariki #‬RapaNui #Isla #Pascua 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

New image, "Ojos Fantasmal" from D. "Bodhi" Smith

This is my newest release from my Easter Island series (yeah finally!) entitled, "Ojos Fantasmal" which translates in English roughly to spooky or ghostly eyes...

While I spent time on Rapa Nui ( a.k.a. La Isla de Pascua or Easter Island) , I kept coming back to this lone moai (sacred statue) that's right next to the ocean on a cliff close to the island's only town of Hanga Roa which is located on the west side of Easter Island. Hanga Roa is quite small and is the only place to find lodging and modern amenities while visiting this remote island. Since this is where I was staying, and this moai is located just north of town, it was an easy hike to visit this statue almost daily (either at sunrise or more often at sunset).This particular statue stands alone on the north section of the ceremonial Ahu Ta'hai and is named the "Ko Te Riku" which translates to "with abundant growth."

I was absolutely entranced by the eyes on this particular moai...a unique trait of the Ko Te Riku that set it apart from all the other moai on the entire island, for no other moai on any ceremonial ahu have eyes. The whites of his eyes are made of white coral and the pupils are made of red obsidian and are really offset beautifully by the Ko Te Riku's maroon pukao (tophat). And under the moonlight, his eyes glowed with an eerie effervescence which is what instilled the desire in me to capture this impression as I did.

All of the moai on this tiny island (it is only about 35km across) in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean were symbols of authority and power, both religious and political. But they were not only symbols....to the native Rapanui who erected and used them, they were actual repositories of sacred spirit and centers of ancestral respect. Carved stone and wooden objects in Rapa Nui, when properly fashioned and ritually prepared, were believed to be charged by a magical spiritual essence called mana. Mana is a form of spiritual energy and also healing power which can exist in places, objects and persons. Also, almost all of the moai (statues) face away from the ocean and inland towards the settlements as if to watch over the people of the island. The lone exception is the seven moai on Ahu Akivi (that are inland but much higher in elevation to the coast) which face out to sea...myth has it to they were placed to help travelers find the island. There is a legend that says there were seven men who were waiting for their king to arrive. Sorry, I guess as I ramble here, you can see my fascination for this special little island in the middle of nowhere...

Anyway, this new image is just the first of a many compositions of this moai that I will be releasing since I was so transfixed with the eyes of the Ko Te Riku, I was almost hypnotized by them....

Camera settings: ISO-100, 24mm at f/4 for 30 seconds at 10:05pm under moonlight and clouds (about 45mins after sunset) on December 27, 2014...using one Lee Proglass .6ND filter (2 stops) and one Lee .75ND Grad filter to balance down the sky 2.5 stops...and for two seconds using flashlihts, light was painted on both the right side of the moai (by me) and the left side of the moai (by my friend Sam)

I hope this message and image find you well.

D. "Bodhi"

#Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #Dolica #LeeFilters #EasterIsland #RapaNui #Ahu #Tahai #KoTeRiku #HangaRoa #Chile #Isla #Pascua #Expressionism #Surreal #Impressionist #SouthPacific #Moai

Friday, February 20, 2015

This is my newest composition, it is entitled "Ascension." I captured this composition under the brightest and deepest Milky Way that I have ever witnessed in my life during a recent trip to Natural Bridges National Monument in south central Utah about a week ago.

This night was a beautiful evening that I got to share with my dog and my muse, the Dude. And I think that this photograph does manage to give the scene justice for what I saw with my own eyes...which is difficult at times for a photographer to translate from what is actually seen into what is actually captured by their camera lens

This was taken both before and some time after (I explain this more below) my other image of the same natural bridge in southern-central Utah (my previous image is called Owachomo and can be seen directly below this post). This is very much a similar capture, except I stepped back from the edge of the pool about 10 feet to create closure with the pool of water at the bottom of the composition which also creates a bit more of a wider view of the entire scene as well...

I consider this one as the expressionistic version and the previous one as the impressionistic version. For this composition, I used the stars more boldly and aggressively to create a different mood and bring out other stronger emotions. This one is not soft and subtle like its predecessor--this one is more vivacious, dynamic, and resonating. Both taken together, the two different compositions really evoke quite separate moods of mine under this spirited sky on this particular night.

Like all of my recent images, without planning, this composition could not have happened (unless someone was just crazy lucky). The correct conditions were absolutely perfect for this image to be possible and it will be quite some time before all of those wide-ranging variables align once again. This is yet another example of what I call "Planned Chance" in photography,which is the title of my upcoming book on photography due out sometime this fall of 2015.

There was a perfect alignment a week ago of a deep and dark Milky Way over top of Owachomo Bridge with close to a new moon cycle under crisp cold cloudless skies (gonna be a long while before it aligns overtop to the due north like this again)...no winds what-so-ever to keep the trees sharp...there still is water in the big pool to its south down below in the dry wash that will dry up soon without more rain....pre-scouting to find this elevated vantage point about 20ft above the pool to capture deeper reflections...and cold conditions to help limit some of the color noise pollution in the image (it was 20°F and I was freezing my rear off!)...

Result: A vivid reflection of the stars and Milky Way in the pool, along with the dark shadow of the bridge reflecting in the pool, and then a giant and vigorous Milky Way up above the natural bridge.

However, this ethereal image would NOT be impossible to capture in just a single framed exposure. To create this composition, I had to manually blend three separate images. Each were taken during the time span of about an hour, each with a different exposure. Because the images were taken with such a gap of time between each and at varying camera settings, Photoshop couldn't automatically photomerge the 3 images, so I had to go about the tedious and meticulous process of blending these together manually. It has taken me about 5 days to process this composition, with me having to walk away from it at times during periods of frustration. But alas, it is now complete, and you can witness my efforts here now for yourself. The first image was taken of the bridge and rocks; the second was used to capture the sky and get the Milky Way as deep and dark as I could; the third was to capture a reflection in the water of the stars as richly as I could. The result of this blending created this vibrant portrait view panoramic composition you see before you at about a 1:2.5 ratio.

I hope you enjoy this image as well as my efforts here to create an entirely different feeling in this composition. This evokes emotions that are quite different from my last similar composition of this same spot on this same night.

Camera settings were slightly different for each composition, but all were shot at 24mm. The ISO, f/stop, and shutter speed varies on each. The exposure on the rocks and natural bridge was ISO-100, f/8, for 1/13 sec taken right around sunset; the exposure on the sky was ISO-1250, f/1.4, for 15 seconds; the exposure on the pool was ISO-2500, f/1.4. for 13 seconds...

I hope this message and image find you well.

D. " Bodhi "

#Dolica #LeeFilters #Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #24mm #BodhiSmith #Utah #NaturalBridges #Stars #MilkyWay

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Newest release, "Owachomo" from D. "Bodhi" Smith

Here is my newest composition entitled, "Owachomo." I captued it a couple nights ago at Natural Bridges National Monument in the middle of Utah. To see the full image, you might need to click on the image. (btw, this is another LONG post). This image is also dedicated to my good friend's sister who just recently passed away the night after I captured this image...He stated it was a perfect image to symbolize her going up to the heavens (Jeff, this one is for your sister and please accept my humble condolences once again).

Sometimes my life is stranger than fiction...following here is a mega strange story of what happened to me while I was capturing this image.

Crazy story: the Dude and I hiked down to Owakomo Bridge about 2 hrs before sunset at 4pm and stayed until 10pm when the stars were brightest and the Milky Way appeared perfectly over top of the bridge and at the same time reflecting in the pool in front of me...

I chose to hike down so early so that I could scout the area and set up cairns (stacks of rocks that are like bread crumbs for a hiker) for my route back in the dark because I've never been there before and wanted to be extra sure the Dude and I could safely find our way back to the main trail... especially since there was some scrambling involved on some steep rocks to get down into the dry wash and then back up about 20ft again to this vantage point overtop of the pool of water...

It all went great as planned: had perfect stars to photograph; got to spend a beautiful sunset and a few hours under the brightest Milky Way I've ever witnessed; I was spending quality time with my muse, the Dude; I was on a beautiful hike in the middle of nowhere in the middle of Utah under a Natural Bridge that most people never see...perfect.

After I was done shooting and repacked all of my camera gear, I began to head back. My network of cairns to mark my path in the dark under stars worked brilliantly to reunite us safely to the main trail...but the steep hike back up to the truck made me quite winded (Dude was leashed and literally dragging me). Damn, he's in so much better shape than I am right now, especially with me fighting this flu cough thing that I have...but we got back to the truck at the top of the lookout feeling absolutely great about this fabulous experience.

So here is the inane-weird part. A few feet away as I approached my Xterra, I noticed something on my truck's hood and scattered things under my windshield wipers that sort of looked like small branches. I quickly realized it was bird crap all over my truck hood, and it was everywhere. Great.

Upon closer inspection, those were not small branches, they were instead the thin metal strips that run along the length of the rubber in the wiper blades. My windshield wipers WERE shredded like they had been badly abused and became a very old set of windshield wipers. I was really cold, very tired, and this was the last thing I really wanted to have to deal with, especially since I had a new truck. At first, I was furious with what I saw in front of me. This is a brand spanking new loaded 2015 Nissan Xterra I just purchased in January.

So with my judgement clouded by anger, my first reaction was that some idiot had bad wipers and swapped them out with mine. Then common sense set it. Because, why in the world would a thief put their old torn apart wipers back on my Xterra? It just didn't really add up. I was perplexed.

Then, when I got in my truck to head back to my campsite, I noticed my side mirrors were all screwed up...they were not bumped out of place, the mirrors themselves were all pushed in...really, what in the world? I gave it all some deep thought as I drove the short distance back to camp...

So... My brand new truck now has no wipers, and I find myself literally in the middle of nowhere in one of the more remote places in the entire United States. I can't use my wipers to clean my bug-riddin dirty windshield or they will scratch the windshield...so, the mystery remains, what happened to them and why the messed up side mirrors? Was someone messing with me?

I put more thought into it and then I remembered seeing a warning sign posted on the bulliten board at the park visitor center earlier that day about ravens in the area, but I didn't read it (of course, why should I? Dolt=Me)... I put all of the different pieces of evidence together in my mind and thought some more. So, did birds eat the rubber off of my windshield wipers? And then try to get at the rubber in my side mirrors?

The mystery would have to wait till morning, I was tired, in dire need of some sleep, and I just didn't feel like driving up to the visitor center in the middle of night. It could wait until morning.

So the next morning, I stopped by the visiter center. Sure enough, that warning about Ravens that I did not read stated that if you're down underneath the Natural Bridges for any extended period of time, to be sure to take your windshield wiper blades off of your vehicle. Ravens in the area had been witnessed messing with windshield wipers on parked vehicles. So, if wipers were left on an unattended vehicle for an extended period of time, there was a high risk of the ravens tearing them apart.

Really?! You have got to be kidding! Who in the world would have the foresight to think to take their wiper blades off of their vehicle before they went on a long hike? Well, with this weird situation happening to me, I guess I do now wink emoticon

So the mystery was solved. It was NOT an inconsiderate self-absorbed thief stealing my wiper blades and then rearranging my side mirrors to mess with my mind, at least not one that was human anyway. I had devious ravens in the middle of nowhere eat my windshield wiper blades...birds with much bigger-than-normal bird-brains did this. Wow. Truly crazy stuff like this only happens to me I think... wink emoticon

Goofy wierd, eh?

The next day, I did end up stopping at the Walmart in Page, Arizona so I could buy new wiper blades for my truck and hose the bird crap off my hood.

Of course, I really really dislike devilish ravens even more now..."Nevermore" will I leave my windshield wipers on my truck for a long hike in Utah I guess. wink emoticon

So, what you see before you here is the image I took while the ravens were eating my windshield wiper blades....

Without planning, this composition could not have happened (unless someone was just crazy lucky)...conditions were perfect for this image to be possible and it will be quite some time before all of those variables align again. This is yet another example of what I call "Planned Chance" in photography.

There was a perfect alignment a couple nights ago of a deep and dark Milky Way over top of Owakomo Bridge with close to a new moon cycle under crisp cold cloudless skies (gonna be a long while before it aligns overtop to the due north like this again)....no winds what-so-ever to keep the trees sharp....there still is water in the big pool to its south down below in the dry wash that will dry up soon without more rain....pre-scouting to find this elevated vantage point about 20ft above the pool to capture deeper reflections....and cold conditions to help limit some of the color noise pollution in the image (it was 20°F and I was freezing my rear off!)...

Result: A reflection of the stars and Milky Way in the pool, along with the dark shadow of the bridge reflecting in the pool, and then a big giant long Milky Way up above the natural bridge.

You know I have to be charged up about a pic to process it while I am still on the very trip I shot it during...

To create this portrait view panoramic composition, this is actually two images shot back to back (remember stars move pretty fast) at identical camera settings and then photomerged together to create a 1:2.5 ratio

Camera settings: ISO-2500, f/1.4 at 24mm for 15 seconds. I selected the higher ISO (2x higher than my usual star settings) so that I could better illuminate the bridge and rocks around the pool (with out light painting) as well as to better catch the stars reflected in the pool...

I kept the title simple and named the composition after the bridge itself, "Owachomo," which means "rock mound" in Hopi... Hope you like it.

I hope this message and image finds you well.

D. " Bodhi "

#Dolica #LeeFilters #Nikon #D800 #Nikkor #24mm #f/1.4 #BodhiSmith#LongExposure #expressionist #Impressionist #Surreal