April 2016

Caribbean Round-Up

My trip has now come to an end, I am home and back to (some kind of) normality. It’s been over a week since I returned to blighty and by scheduled content has all now been posted, which means it’s time for a round-up of my favourite images from the trip!

Before I start though, if you have missed any of the posts from the last 4 months then they will all be linked throughout this round-up.

 Propellor - Grenada Marine, St. Davids, Grenada 07/01/2016

Propellor - Grenada Marine, St. Davids, Grenada 07/01/2016

Our trip started in Grenada, where the boat had been played up at the end of last season, and when we arrived our first full day was spent at the boat yard checking the boat over and starting to get things in some kind of order. I really love this pictures of one of the propellors, it’s closed and still and had been like that for the past 6/7months but still looked barely used. It was quite an obvious picture to take but i’m pleased with the way it came out. I actually had trouble taking this image as there was a support right in the way so I had to contort around it to get the composition that I wanted.

This picture features in my Hello Grenada! post.

 Bonfire - Mount Cinnamon Hotel, Grand Anse, Grenada 08/01/2016

Bonfire - Mount Cinnamon Hotel, Grand Anse, Grenada 08/01/2016

The next picture that really stands out to me is this one of a bonfire. This was actually taken the day after the picture of the propellor. We were sat at the beach bar one evening, knowing there would be a bonfire that night but we never expected it to be as big as it was! The thing was huge! Almost 10ft tall before it was lit, and the flames jumped and danced up to well over 15ft. I had taken my camera down with me that night to photograph the bonfire but never expected the magnitude it would be. All the images came out perfect but this one if my favourite from the set.

This picture also features in my Hello Grenada! post.

 Ivan & Brenda - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

Ivan & Brenda - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

After a mishap in Grenada we skipped up to St. Lucia for some emergency repairs to our water maker. Whilst waiting for the parts to arrive we headed down to the Pitons for a couple of nights. On one of the days myself and our crew headed out on a hike to find the start of the Piton trail. As we neared the trail head we came across these 2 little guys. This picture will always stand out to me when I think of that hike. I named them Ivan and Brenda, don’t ask why because I don’t know. This picture actually started the whole naming thing I do. Oops.

This picture features in my Pitons Bay post.

 Tall Ship - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

Tall Ship - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

The same evening as our hike we saw this magnificent boat anchored up at the edge of the bay. Normally boats drop their sails at anchor this this one still had them up, so whilst I had the opportunity I grabbed my 100-400mm Superzoom to snap some images before the sails were dropped. I really love the colours in this picture, the sun was setting so all the colours around us were a chalky, muted tone which came out perfectly when I edited the photo.

This picture also features in my Pitons Bay post.

 Old Fig Tree - Wallilabou Gardens, Wallilabou Bay, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 06/02/2016

Old Fig Tree - Wallilabou Gardens, Wallilabou Bay, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 06/02/2016

Our next stop after St. Lucia was St. Vincent & The Grenadines. We first stopped in a place called Wallilabou Bay, where some scenes in the Pirates Of The Caribbean films were shot. The place wasn’t big at all but just a short walk away was a small botanic gardens were we spent a morning. The images that stands out to me from that morning is this one of the Old Fig Tree they have there. From just the right angle the tree blocked out the visitor centre and makes it look like you’re in an abandoned village. This was a tricky picture to get because I wanted the stream flowing, so needed a long exposure, but without a tripod or flat surface it did prove difficult. I managed in the end and I am still super happy with the results.

This pictures features in my It’s A Pirates Life For Me post.

 Green Sea Turtle - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 14/02/2016

Green Sea Turtle - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 14/02/2016

Still in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, but this time in a cluster of islands called Tobago Cays. Now, Tobago Cays is famous for its abundance of Turtles that live in the area and we were not let down. We must have seen dozens of them swimming around in the area. Being one not to miss an opportunity I jumped in with my GoPro and saw around with the turtles, I got so many pictures but this was by far 1 of the best. To make sure I got plenty of pictures without missing anything I had my GoPro set to time-lapse mode taking a picture every half a second.

This picture features in my Tobago Cays post.

 Trafalgar Falls - Trafalgar Falls, Dominica 07/03/2016

Trafalgar Falls - Trafalgar Falls, Dominica 07/03/2016

Heading into March we started the month in Dominica, with our first shore excursion being up to the Trafalgar Falls. We had to take the bus up from Rosseau, the capital, and by bus I mean mini-van packed with far too many people. I still feel sorry for the little girl crushed between me and her mother. Anyway, when we got to the falls we were amazed by the sheer size of them! There wasn’t much water flowing as you can see but there were so tall the water was sticking the rocks with immense force. I have so many great images from the falls but this one is my favourite as it shows the sheer scale of them!

This picture features in my Trafalgar Falls post.

 Tommy Turtle - Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 18/03/2016

Tommy Turtle - Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 18/03/2016

Throughout March we spent time in Dominica and Guadeloupe. This next image is from Guadeloupe, and my favourite place to dive ever! We stopped off at the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve specifically to do diving as we had heard it was world class. Boy did it live up to the expectations! We did 3 full days of diving and this picture came from the very last dive. I must have been 3ft from this turtle and could have easily reached out and touched him, I didn’t as I didn’t know how he would react. I did name him, like many other animals on this trip. I gave him the name Tommy, doesn't he just look like a Tommy?

This picture features in my Diving Guadeloupe post.

 Archway - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

Archway - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

From Guadeloupe we headed up to Antigua to change crew. While we were there we headed round to a place called Deep Bay, a beautiful anchorage not too far from Jolly Harbour. One morning I hiked up to the fort to catch the sunrise. As I got to the fort the sun had already started to rise but it was no big deal. I found this archway, which actually led me to the very top of the fort, and it made the perfect image. The way the light comes in at an angle and falls onto the wall and floor just mesmerised me, and the landscape and water in the background just top it all off.

This picture feature in my Deep Bay Photo Mission post.

 Ripples II In Deep Bay - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

Ripples II In Deep Bay - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

This next image is also from Deep Bay and makes us look like we have the bay to ourselves. We didn’t but with careful composition it worked just the way I wanted. The hotel slightly ruins the picture, and the area for that matter, but the bar is right at home. Like I said careful composition lead to the result I got, but mainly thanks to dad liking to be close to shore and brave enough to only have 1.5m of water between the keel and the sand means that all the other boats were far enough away that I didn’t have much to hide.

The picture also features in my Deep Bay Photo Mission post.

 French Angelfish - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

French Angelfish - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

April ended with another trip to the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve as we made our way back south from Antigua. Our first dive site was the Fran Jack Wreck, which is where we met the French Angelfish you see above. It was pure luck that this picture came out the way it did, again with my GoPro in time-lapse mode taking pictures every 0.5seconds this guy swam straight past me as if I wasn't even there! He then hung around as we snapped some more pictures at the bow of the ship.

This pictures features in my My Favourite Place To Dive post.

 Lenny Lizard - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Lenny Lizard - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

From Guadeloupe we were back in Dominica, and that meant another trip down the Indian River. I have actually done 2 posts about Indian River but this image is from the second trip. At the halfway post of the trip you stop at a bush bar with a small nature walk. This guy was hanging around on a fallen tree and just let me snap away as many pictures as I wanted of him. I named him Lenny and he wasn’t the last animal I named on this trip.

This picture features in my Exploring: Indian River - Round 2 post.

 Cannon - Pigeon Island, St. Lucia 29/04/2016

Cannon - Pigeon Island, St. Lucia 29/04/2016

When we arrived back in St. Lucia we took a trip over to Pigeon Island and up to the fort. Pigeon Island was actually the first fort I visited in the Caribbean when I visited in 2015. The cannons at the top of the fort lay there broken and battered but they make great subject to photograph. With this image I wanted a different angle to the rest of the cannon pictures I had taken throughout the trip. The angle makes the cannon look sad and lonely while the wall draws your eye towards the tip of the cannon.

This pictures features in my Exploring: Pigeon Island post.

 Glowing Trees - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

Glowing Trees - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

From St. Lucia it was back to St. Vincent & The Grenadines which meant back to Tobago Cays. Towards the end of the trip I really got into making Long Exposure Time-Lapses, you can see a couple on my Instagram. This particular picture though i thought had been ruined! Some people on the beach, bearing in mind it was about 10:30pm, decided to shine their torches towards and in front of my as my shutter was open but in actual fact it really improved the picture! I only found this out as I came to editing all the images and putting the time-lapse together.

This picture features in my Time-Lapsing: Tobago Cays post.

 Driftwood - Sandy Beach, Carriacou, Grenada 11/05/2016

Driftwood - Sandy Beach, Carriacou, Grenada 11/05/2016

The last image I chose for this round-up was the above one of a piece of driftwood. Our final destination before getting back to Grenada was a place called Carriacou and a little sand island, aptly, named Sandy Island. This piece of wood was left after a storm that pretty much destroyed the island a couple of years ago. To me it made an interesting subject and I only actually took 1 picture of it, this one. It came out perfect and the black & white edit really makes the picture.

This picture features in my Sandy Beach post.

So there you have it, my favourite pictures from the past 4 months. If you would like to read any of the posts from the last 4 months most of them are linked under their respective picture but you can check out my Caribbean Archive for the rest.

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

Which of these is your favourite image? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

Exploring: Pigeon Island

So whilst in Saint Lucia I decided to head over to Pigeon Island to take some pictures to make into this post. I visited Pigeon Island at a similar time last year and came away with some great pictures but I wanted some updated ones to make into a post. My style and eye for images has changed slightly over the past year as well so I wanted to use pictures that show my current style instead of old, outside ones.

Myself, mum, CP and Nena set out from the Ripples II, in the dinghy, at about 2pm to head over to Pigeon Island. In the marina there is a speed limit to all vessels of 4knots (4.6mph) so we can’t go anywhere fast just yet. On our way out with need to manoeuvre around some others boats that are moving around. We whisk past one turning catamaran before entering the channel to the bay then cut behind a monohull as we exit into the bay. As soon as we’re out the channel I twist the throttle wide open, get us up on the plane and aim us on a direct course to Pigeon Island. We rocket across the bay, gliding across the water with the swell barely affecting us. It takes us a matter of minutes to get to the dinghy dock at the other side of the bay where we tie up and start our adventure.

 Palm Lined Path - Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia 29/04/2016

Palm Lined Path - Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia 29/04/2016

From the dinghy dock we are directed to the park entrance to pay our entrance fee, Pigeon Island is a National Park and has an entrance fee of EC$18.90 per person. From there we wander north and around the preparations for the Jazz and Arts Festival that is happening at the weekend. The path around the base of the island is lined with palm trees that hang over and provide excellent shade to the full width of the path. As we leave the shade of the palms mum and myself divert off to have a look at some of the patterned rocks where the small waves are breaking. Lots, if not all, of the rocks have been worn down over time by the water and all have a unique pattern to them.

 Weathered Rock 2 - Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia 29/04/2016

Weathered Rock 2 - Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia 29/04/2016

From here we circle round to the other side of the island to make our way towards the fort. The path that takes us up has a gentle gradient but the dust and small rocks can make it slippery, especially if you’re wearing flip-flops like myself and mum, but we don’t slip or come into any trouble as we ascend. Before we reach the fort we get to the saddle of the 2 peaks of Pigeon Island, the path splits left and right, we take the path to the left towards the fort. From here the path steepens and twists its way up before turning into steps for the final section. When atop the fort the views are panoramic over Rodney Bay (on a clear day you can see Martinique which is 36miles away) and Gros Inlet, the nearby town. There are cannons, as you would expect, just like everywhere else in the Caribbean and a small room, the former power store, you can clamber into. You have to get down on hands and knees and crawl backwards to reach the ladder that takes you down. The room is dark with only 3 sources of light. I manage to get a couple of useable pictures so it’s not a wasted effort.

 Cannon 2 - Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia 29/04/2016

Cannon 2 - Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia 29/04/2016

I spend some time atop the fort, admiring the views and snapping away pictures of the cannons that lie scattered around. After some time I make my way back down to the saddle stopping at the lower viewing platform to get some pictures from that perspective. I meet mum at the saddle and we make our way up the higher peak. After scrambling up the rough path we reach the peak and are disappointed as there is noting up there to look at other than the view. We head straight back down and meet CP and Nena at the bar for a quick refreshment before heading back to the dinghy dock.

 Looking Out 2 - Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia 29/04/2016

Looking Out 2 - Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia 29/04/2016

After finishing our refreshment we head back to the dinghy dock to make our way back to Ripples II. I climb in first, mum follows then Nena drops her glasses into the water! Being the only one in swimming gear I jump in to retrieve them. Luckily there isn’t enough of a swell to take them anywhere, the water is crystal clear and shallow so I have no trouble finding them. After retrieving the glasses and everyone, and everything, is in the dinghy we shove off, hit the throttle and skim our way back towards the marina. The journey is a little rougher on our way back due to us heading slightly into the waves. As we get to the channel we kill our speed back down to 4knots and follow a cattlemaran (a cattlemaran is a day trip boat that tourist get on and are herded round the island in the blistering sun to go snorkelling in some of the bays around the island) in. When we reach the end of the channel we dive away from behind them and back round to where Ripples II is tied up.

Our adventure ends hear with a beer back on board. I do recommend visiting Pigeon Island if you visit Saint Lucia, there’s lots of history in such a small area and it’s just a generally nice place to spend the afternoon.

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

Do you have any stories of crawling into small darks rooms? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

Time-Lapsing: Rodney Bay

As you may have noticed we have be retracing our steps back down to Grenada over the past month, therefore we have returned to Rodney Bay and the marina. This will be the 5th time I have visited Saint Lucia and Rodney Bay in just over 12 months.

I knew we would be tied to a jetty and pretty stable so could take the opportunity to try my hand at some more long exposure photography and a long exposure time-lapse. I did this over a couple of nights, the first night being a test run, getting settings and composition right and to do a practise time-lapse to get to grips with the process.

 [1/3] Night Sky - Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, 25/04/2016

[1/3] Night Sky - Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, 25/04/2016

The first test picture was from behind the helm of Ripples II looking out over the marina behind us. It took me a few attempts to get my setting right but settled on f/3.5, ISO400 with a 5s exposure. As you can imagine I still got some movement and blurring in the image but not as often as you’d imagine.

 [2/3] Night Sky - Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, 25/04/2016

[2/3] Night Sky - Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, 25/04/2016

My next test picture was looking up the mast. I thought this would be the best composition but I couldn’t get the full length of the boom in the frame. The picture still turned out great though and I’m super happy with it. My settings here were the same as the previous pictures, f/3.5, ISO400 with a 5s exposure.

 [3/3] Night Sky - Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, 25/04/2016

[3/3] Night Sky - Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, 25/04/2016

 

My final test image was taken from the port (Left) bow stern (Front) of the saloon and the mast/boom. I thought this would be the best composition and it was. I changed my settings slightly due to more light from the nearby building site illuminating the front of the saloon more that the other 2 images. My settings were f/3.5 ISO400 with a 3s exposure to compensate for the extra light.

That was the end of my tests and I used the images from my final test to practise putting together a short time-lapse using Final Cut Pro X.

 Screengrab 1 - Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, 28/04/2016

Screengrab 1 - Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, 28/04/2016

3 nights later I did the final time-lapse. I adjusted my composition to be looking front on to the saloon with the nights sky above it. I also adjusted my settings again to bring out the stars in the sky. My settings were f/3.5, ISO400 with a 5s exposure. For the full time-lapse I took 500 images with 492 being useable, and I was sat with my camera for just over 2 hours with it taking a 5s exposure with a 10s interval. Instead of just sitting there like a wet lemon doing nothing I took my laptop up with me and watched a couple of episodes of the TV show Black Sails. I started at about midnight and finished just after 2AM.

 Screengrab 2 - Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, 28/04/2016

Screengrab 2 - Rodney Bay Marina, Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia, 28/04/2016

I’m super happy with the way the final time-lapse came out. It was a big learning curve for me and such a long process but well worth all the time and effort I had to put it. I’ll definitely be doing more in the future so make sure you follow my Instagram to see them. If you want to see the full time-lapse here it is below, I’d really appreciate it if you’d go give it a like on Instagram if you do like it.

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

Have you ever made a time-lapse? If you have I’d love to see them. Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

Exploring: Fort Shirley

On the morning of April 17th myself, mum, CP and Nena went to explore Fort Shirley. Fort Shirley is an old military garrison dating back to the 18th century, first occupied and built by the British but later taken over and improved by the French. The garrison was abandoned in 1854 but restoration work started in 1989 by Dr. Lennox Honeychurch and so far the Officers’ Quarters, Soldiers’ Barracks, Powder Magazine, Ordnance Store, Guard House and Ramparts have been fully restored.

 Welcome - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Welcome - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Our trip started by taking the dinghy from Ripples II at 9am, arriving at the dock shortly after. From the dock we walk through the cruise ship terminal to be abruptly stopped by a rather rude and unnoticeable security guard. He asks us if we are going to inform him about us leaving our dinghy at the dock so we tell him we were just looking for someone to tell. After a short encounter with him we are on our way to the ticket office, which is actually a café, where we purchase our park tickets before heading up the trail to the fort.

 Trail Head - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Trail Head - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

We reach the fort and are amazed by how well restored everything is. All the building are tastefully painted and all look original despite the level of restoration that has gone into them. We wander around the buildings, most of them are locked so we can’t actually explore the insides but we can only imagine what is inside. One building we can get into is the Gun store. A few cannons site in the entrance and at the end of the long, thin, white room is a cage with cannonballs of various size lie on the floor and shelves.

 Cannonballs - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Cannonballs - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Just like everywhere else we have visited, cannons are in plenty and all look untouched and original, all pointing out to sea as they would have been when the fort was in use. As we look out over the bay the view is breathtaking, we can see straight out to sea one way and over the entirety of Prince Rupert Bay and Portsmouth the other. The Officers’ Quarters impress me the most our of all the buildings. It sits loud and proud at the centre of Fort Shirley, again it is locked but I can only imagine what lie inside.

 Officers Quarters 1 - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Officers Quarters 1 - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

As we meander around the grounds we notice lots of small, skittish, lizards amongst the grass. I spend far too long trying to get good pictures of these lizards, sitting right in the sun with the heat beating down on me with no mercy while I balance my camera and 100-400mm superzoom lens atop my small travel tripod. I succeed in my venture and come away with some great pictures of the small, skittish, Lizards.

 Laurence The Lizard - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Laurence The Lizard - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

From here mum and I part ways with CP and Nena while they head off further up the trail to explore more of the area. Mum and I head back down to where we started to go snorkelling round the corner in the next bay. On our way down though we come across more lizards, a little less skittish this time. The one I got the best photo of was sat in a patch of sun that had made it’s way through the canopy above us.

 Leo The Lizard - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Leo The Lizard - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

When we finally arrive back at the bottom of the trail we quickly grab a drink in the café, cool off in the shade and notice another Lizard perched on the windowsill above us. We try our best to grab some pictures, which we succeed at, before finishing our drinks. From there we head back to the dinghy and off to snorkel in the cool clear water in the next bay.

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

Have you ever explored an ex-military fort? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob