Derelict Boat with Blood Moon

Sometimes, You Take What The Sea Gives You

I understand the technique of blood moon and moon eclipse photography, but I have never done it. So there we were in the Bahamas on our boat, when the “never again in my lifetime” blood moon eclipse arrived. Damn.

I re-read the blogs and DIY sites (600-800mm telephoto, 30 second or so exposure, ensure true infinity focus, place an interesting object near or over the huge orange moon for perspective). Check. I put a 300mm Nikon 2.8 VR and a 2x teleconverter on my D800e. Check. And I scouted for a suitable object at a great enough distance to give the giant orange moon a fascinating perspective. Oops.

We were in Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands, Bahamas. With work I could maybe have highlighted a palm tree. Blecch. But I had recently done work photographing the wreck of the fishing vessel “Summer Place” in daylight. Hmmm. I arranged the gear, looked at the charts, and realized there just was no way to get the shot. We would have had to anchor our dinghy a few miles from our trawler Largo, set a tripod on the ocean floor in 5 feet of water, and take the shot with wind and tide slapping the tripod, blurring the long exposure, and splashing $20K of camera and lens into a salty mess. Sigh. Nope.

I grabbed a Nikon 14-24 f2.8 wide-angle instead, and a fishing rod, and off Karen and I went on our dinghy in the dark. The moon was hazy just above the sunset. Damn. But we motored up very close anyway and drifted quietly by the wreck, and I was able to get a few shots at a high ISO and wide-open aperture. The results are above, which had the seagulls quite upset at roosting time. Sometimes, the classic shot won’t work. This shot was a compromise with the ocean, and we took what she gave us. Good sailors and photographer’s always do. Ā šŸ™‚

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We’re Back!

Seahorse, Key West, Nikon 105mm f2.8 AF micro, Nikon D800e
Seahorse, Key West, Nikon 105mm f2.8 AF micro, Nikon D800e

Ā We’re Back!

Wow! It’s been 3 years since we posted here, and so much has happened. Karen has refreshed the page, so we can bring everyone up to date. We have sold the houses and cars and sailed away from the USA on our trawler, Largo to cruise the Bahamas and Caribbean full time. We don’t plan to return. The great folks at PassageMaker Magazine have hired us as masthead columnists writing our own “Fitness Afloat” piece in every issue, and also named us regular contributors with our own blog. Our photography is being sold in Key West at the out-of-the-way “World Famous Blue Flamingo Cafe”, and we have wrapped up real life work affairs enough to pick up our cameras seriously again. We are diving and fishing and cruising, while our new home base is the wonderful Great Harbour Cay Marina in the Berry Islands, Bahamas. In this post is a new seahorseĀ image, and we will begin to post tips and tools for outdoor photography in coming weeks. Feel free to contact us with ideas and questions anytime! Ā  Jaycampbelljd@gmail.com

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Great Blue Heron

Ā Heron with Sunset

Sunset Session 1

We worked on our trawler Largo in Palmetto most of the day, building a chute to divert the anchor chain from the new hawser pipe to the starboard forward locker. With the piece glued up and an hour of sun left, I took a D-7000 and a 300mm Nikon on a monopod. I put a SB 900 flash in my pocket. There was nothing – no gulls, pelicans or people. When I turned to leave this Heron stepped away from the breakwater, staring and fidgeting, ready to fly. I could not get his whole body. Instead I moved closer, collapsed the Monopod, and sat as low as possible. As the horizon flared the sun filled the lens and framed the heron’s head. This lasted maybe two minutes. I programmed the flash to remote, full power (it would have been better at a lower setting, I believe) and held it camera left. I alternated between natural light with a two-stop over-exposure to compensate for the backlight and fill flash, but the natural light shots were still a bit washed out. This is the best of perhaps 12 good shots. The Aperture Post-production rating system (today we use Lightroom), combined with the screen view that compares one large image with others in a film strip helps make the final selection and edits easier among similar images.
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WHAT’S NEW!

(Sealboat. Seals on Pender Island, British Columbia. Nikon D-70, 28-70 f2.8)
Nicaragua!

Karen and I are booked for a photography and flyfishing adventure in Nicaragua in July with old friends. Our hope is to spend a great deal of time on the water and in the jungle, building a portfolio of the people, places and animals (big snakes and monkeys) there. And maybe scouting a place to sail our trawler Largo down the road. You can see a gallery of color photographs from our last South American flyfishing/photography adventure in Los Roques, Venezuela, at www.jaycampbellphotography.com.

Our New Book!

Our new book with RavensEyePress (Longbow: A Hunting Life) is out and available signed and personalized at www.campbellsquest.com or on E-Bay (search the title) for $19. It’s also at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.   This is a book of wild adventure with the old-school longbow on mountains, islands, tundra and in jungles all around the world. You can see a gallery of the color photographs from the book at www.jaycampbellphotography.com.

New Gear!

We have the new Nikon D-800E and D-800 full frame 36 MP cameras on order, and we are hoping to have them in hand for Nicaragua. We will be starting a “Gear” Post on this Blog soon, to discuss what we use now, and our choices of bags, tripods, monopods, and lenses for the trip. We have lots of new options from Nikon, Benro, Lowepro and Manfrotto to mull over.

New Website!

Karen is building our new photography website, which should be done in a month or so. This blog will be transferred there when its ready.

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Key West – Mallory Square


Fire Eater

Key West grows on me. I used to think it was a place everyone should see once in a lifetime, but only once in a lifetime. I’m more tolerant now I suppose … or less attentive. Each night at sunset, the town and its showy entertainers and shadowy merchants gather on the docks to celebrate the sun’s passing. This shot was taken in natural light, if “natural” is understood to include the fire spray. 1/125 of a second, Nikon D-200, Nikon 28-70 f2.8. 

 Formal Wear – Mallory Square

This young lady is gloriously outfitted in a genuine Swarovski crystal thong, Vuitton bag, and a Hard Rock Cafe Glass of “walking -around” Magarita, riding her Pedicab standing up through the cheering throngs of Key West’s packed Duval Street. Nikon D-300, 28-70 f2.8, camera mounted flash, very late at night with unsteady hands.

One Man, One Band
Sunset Swami
Pit Bull, Key West Style


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Los Roques – Flyfishing Venezuela

Lobster Dinner

In March 2010, Karen and I joined good friends and noted outdoor authors/photographers Don and Lori Thomas in Los Roques, Venezuela. We planned a week of flyfishing for bonefish and destination photography and were not disappointed. It is important to use sound, welded-seam dry bags with padding for boat travel of this sort, especially wading to photograph persons flyfishing. Today I use a Pelikan waterproof rolling case for the plane overhead and on the boat, but a dry bag (sometimes one inside another) on the water.

The Panga boat design is wet and bangs like an M-80 even in flat seas, drenching the foredeck. But it is stable and fast and cheap, and draws less than a foot. The sun in Los Roques is brutal. Everyone wears face shields.

We found a graveyard of sea turtles, reminding me of poor Yorick in Hamlet. All illegally killed for meat, their bones and skulls hidden, grown through with beach plants.

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Conceptual/Poster

Jukebox
Gray’s Sporting Journal bought a piece from me titled “Jukebox,” about a legendary Florida turkey that bested every hunter for a decade. Good friend Steve Ewing and I conceived this illustration, and he arranged for the use of a 1950’s Wurlitzer and an 1890’s side-by-side antique shotgun. I was pleased and felt we had captured exactly the image we set out to produce. Gray’s felt differently. They published the article, but not the photo. šŸ™‚  This was a Nikon D-300 and a Tokina Pro 11-16 f2.8 DX VR lens, and a lot of time laying on the floor of a wonderful private “jukebox” museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that included an original Nickleodeon.

Waiting on the Goose Set
Any time spent with Steve Ewing is good time. Here, I was waiting with Steve for Geese that never came to the decoy set. I passed the time creating a poster in my head, then making it happen with the Nikon D-300 and a 28-70 f2.8 lens.

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First Hug

First Hug
In Annapolis, at the Naval Academy, first semester students are locked away for 3 months. When their parents finally get their boys and girls back its emotional and a bit of a shock. This shot was tight, full frame, but seemed to catch the moment when mom and son were reunited.  

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Pelican Nation

Pelican profile
Dockside Ā Pelican
In Palmeto, Florida, our 50′ Trawler sits surrounded by Ospreys and Pelicans. Now and then its worth the time to take the Nikon 300mm f2.8 out for a chance to catch the action around sunset. Nikon D-300.
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Wild Turkey

Turkey profile
The Close-up Osceola
Turkeys are striking, extreme and brilliant in their behavior and color. Hunting turkeys with a camera is a difficult game. Big fast lenses, tripods, and higher ISOs are helpful, but an understanding of turkey behavior and where to set up a blind in relationship to the light is the key. This shot, and the series below, was taken in a Ron LaClair blind, with a Big Bogen Tripod and Manfrotto head, Nikon D-300s and two Nikon lenses, a 300 f2.8 autofocus and a 600mm f4 manual focus lens. Above, the warm early light was just hitting the gobbler’s face, giving great color saturation.
Turkey standing
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