Sunday, December 26, 2010

Last Post of 2010

Well another year has come and gone. It has been a good one for me and I hope the same is true for you and yours. If things weren't as you would have hoped this past year it is my wish to you that the next year will be filled with renewal.

As I look towards the future it truly seems bright to me. Although it is impossible to know how things will unfold I do believe that I and my family are truly in control of our destinies! It is my sincere wish that the same will be true for yours.

This will be my last post for 2010 and perhaps maybe for a few weeks as I head back home to rejoin my family. I do have full intention of posting while I am away from the Maldives's. I have many images I have yet to share!

I hope you will like the ones I have selected for this week!

MBC launching off the Westbound waterway at our seaplane base in Male.

It is a cool looking plane not to mention rugged! I love catching her face to face!

The boys are usually pretty happy to indulge my photographic fetish! On this day it was Mike Yorkston who brought her in close for a picture. Hand out the window flashing the universal hand signal!

The trusty cabin attendant ever the ready to hop off to tie the heel to the jetty!

I am so lucky to be able to catch these fleeting moments of the day down here! This one I got while staying at Chaaya Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa for the night.

A very low tide on this evening!
A lovely place with friendly staff. Always treated so well by these guys!

Morning sun breaking the clouds to cast it's golden light on the calm seas of the Baa Atoll.

Love it when the cloud builds and provides this kind of shot!

South Male Atoll looking North. The city of Male' is on the far horizon.

I have managed to get some pretty cool shots this year and if I was forced to pick a favorite this would be a top finisher for me!

I wish you all a happy new year!

One of the many barefoot pilots!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset And The Glassy Water In Between!

Hello and welcome to my blog. A platform for my photographic images as well as pulpit, so to speak, for my ideas and observations about/of the world I live in.

This past week has been one of reflection for me which is coincidental with the Monsoon transition. The Maldives is in the midst of the Monsoonal shift. The winds have calmed to barely a breath and the seas have gone as flat as the surface of a mirror. Hence my comparison to my reflective mood and the changing of the the season here.

A few things were asked of me earlier this week that had me thinking for the rest of it! So I thought I would share with you my thoughts in the context of that conversation.

If you have read my profile you will see that I have taken on few things in my career to date, though I suppose I must admit I'm not all that specific in my profile. Suffice to say leaving an Airline job after 10 years of service of my own free will in order to get back to the hands and feet style of flying the Twin Otter can cause people to wonder about, perhaps even question my motivation.

Some of that motivation came from the fact both my wife and I were working for the same company which spent , if memory serves, two years in bankruptcy protection not so long ago. Add to that the many changes in corporate culture along with the inter mixing of union politics we felt that we no longer controlled our own destiny. In fact we both left our positions to take on new and interesting challenges. I think that our lives are the better for it. My wife is now a successful photographer and with her support I have found my calling in the aviation world.

As for the flying side of it I have followed a winding path to the aircraft I fly now. I am so addicted to the this Twin Otter I drive now that the lure of it keeps drawing me back. The aircraft is fantastic.

My evolution as a photographer is also timed with my passion of flying the DHC 6. As time goes on I know that this plane will transport me to even more unique opportunities to capture images. Some that very few people will ever have the chance to get, well that is with out spending a ton of cash!

Another question I was thinking about is "what inspired you to become a pilot?" You know I honestly don't know of any other desire I have had in my life other than to be a pilot and at the age of 42 that passion has not diminished one bit. I think that the early inspiration and most certainly ever present one is that I feel I am walking in my fathers footsteps. Truth be told probably the greatest influence on me.

I do not remember a time where I was not proud to say my father is a pilot. I remember as young boy having arguments with other kids who wouldn't believe me when my I would tell them my dad was a pilot.That made me proud after all to think your dad had a job that seemed unbelievable to your friends! When we lived in Charlottetown , P.E.I my dad would,from time to time, land his helicopter across the street on the river side and pick me up to go flying for the day, how special is that! I remember those days as vividly as remember the birth of my two son's!

Perhaps in some ways the writing on the wall in terms of my career at the airlines the day that security procedures changed to no longer allow most people into the jump seat, including family members . I have to admit I was devastated at the thought of not being able to take my boys to work with me! Just for the record my boys have been flying with me in the Twin Otter, perhaps the proudest I have ever been while flying an airplane!

Well I hope that my text hasn't gone on to long for you! This past week I managed to capture some images I have been waiting for. The glassy water and cloudless sky's of the lull period between the Western and Eastern Monsoon.

I hope that I effectively captured and presented them here for you. To see them in the moment is absolutely breathtaking and to me further evidence to me that the life I have chosen to live is one that I can be proud of!

I now present you the Sunrise, Sunset and the Glassy Water in between!

Early morning and the sun is just peaking above the horizon in the East.I love this one for the perspective it gives! Barely a hint of cloud!

As the planet continues it methodical rotation the morning comes to life. The only thing that interrupts the silence ,that is before the Twin Otter's engines roar to life, is the sound of the fish jumping around the airplane.

With no clouds to block it the sun soon appears in all its glory!

One last shot before I have to do what is that I get paid for!

It as absolutely amazing to me when I see this vast Ocean go completely calm. There is the hint of swell still but almost inappreciable!

Calm water equals easy landings right? Not the case and in fact these conditions can be the most challenging.

This is because without the advantage of a ripple on the water that a good breeze provides there is a tremendous amount of surface tension which makes it seem as if the floats are glued to the water on take off. The landings are demanding due to the fact it is very difficult to judge your height above the water when it looks like glass, especially with the clarity of the water here in the Maldives.

When you do it right though it is pretty cool because at times you don't even feel the floats touch the water and with people from Italy on board that leads to a round of applause! Love those Italians!

I promise you I did not photoshop the clouds out! I can't tell you how happy I was to have got this one. I also can't tell you of hand how many I took, love the digital age!

As the days winds down the sun follows its pattern and dips towards the Western horizon.

Barefoot and on top of the wing for this one!

Here is a sunset on a cloudless night at the Conrad.

Same place, different night and the clouds. I like both shots but its dramatic difference!

As you can see!

Thanks for dropping by. I hope you liked the images and my ramblings! Hey there family back home only two more weeks and I am in your loving arms once again!


One of the many barefoot pilots!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Just the One!

Well it seems that this weekend has had me quite preoccupied with things other than blog posting!

I have had a few of my images selected to be published in and ad in the in flight magazine of Air Sri Lanka, quite proud of that! So that has taken some time away from me.

I am also working on other some other things so I really didn't find the time to do a dedicated post!

That being said I have one image to present that I took early one morning. I hope you like it and I promise more to come!

One of the many barefoot pilots!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Circle of Influence

A brief post to start the week.

Not aviation related, not specifically Maldives related but it is related to the human condition.

It is important to understand the connection we all have to one another and clearly this video demonstrates one man who is using his circle of influence to improve the human condition.

I would like to use mine to help him.

Please take the time to view and to be inspired to broaden your circle of influence.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Tour Of Rasdhoo

Hi and welcome to my blog.

My ongoing photographic essay of my travels in the Maldives. This is a place where I combine my passion for photography with my love of aviation. I think you will have to admit these two activities can combine to give me some unique opportunities. As a result of this combination I feel I can offer you some perspectives and images that are also unique and interesting.

My last post was centered around the aircraft I fly,the Twin Otter on floats. This post will give you a little tour around one of the local islands, Rasdhoo, which is located in the atoll of the same name the Rasdhoo atoll.

The reason I was there and had the time to walk around the island was because I was on a charter flight.While the guests were out snorkeling, myself along with the rest of my crew went over to the island. So the following is a few of the images I was able to capture. I hope you enjoy them! To enlarge them give them a click and the will fill your screen!

All comments are welcome as I am always trying to get feedback on the images I present. Good or bad please don't be shy, at this point in my life my skin is pretty thick!

First shot is of one of the hard working crew of a fishing dhoni. I was amazed at the amount of propane that was stowed under the floor. In the background is another dhoni which was just returning with some with a geological team from Germany.

After he was done unloading the propane he was off to grab a dingy.

The Dhoni skipper pumping out the bilge before the next trip.

One of the crewman of the dhoni that was chartered by the Geologist's from Germany.

While I was shooting away the Captain of the dhoni that dropped us off came by with a few of his friends. He is the one on the right. He has been doing this for awhile now and by my mind easily the best dhoni skipper that I have encountered!

Speaking of dhoni's here is a shot of one that is the late stages of construction. These boats are quite amazing and there is an imense amount of craftsmanship involved. I often see these boats out in seas' that are nothing short of monstrous with respect to the swell and they just keep going. I thought it was very cool to come upon being built right there on the beach!

Can you tell which way the wind is? Love the way the boats, including the flying one all line up patiently awaiting their next mission!

Myself, well I can't imagine going out in the open Ocean in one this small. Especially when the monsoons decide to come and play!

A few of the islands I have been to have this central type meeting place. On other occasions I have seen these areas jam packed with men. Some of their discussions can become quite animated indeed. On this day however there was just this one fellow. He almost seemed kind of lonely.

I went into this little store, named "This and That" which they did have. I wanted a bottle of water to drink and the two young men were more than happy to take care my request. Lately I have been trying to ask more people to allow me to take their photo. This happy family was only to happy to oblige. Love the warm smiles. Universal !

These two happened to walk by me as well and we only to happy to strike a pose!

I struggled to get all of them to look at the camera at the same time. I settled for 4 out of 6! Super cool group. The father has a water sports company at a few of the resorts and was back home for a visit. I think the girl in the pink dress was my favorite however, best described as an energetic spark plug!

Just like in the capital city of Male' the streets are narrow. Unlike Male', however, there is plenty of room to walk down them!

Rasdhoo is an island that has two major resorts on either side of it. This makes an easy trip for guests to come and tour. Of course that means there are plenty of things to buy that are geared towards the tourists. Though I have to say in a distinctly Maldivian way! I just loved how the sample clothing was displayed outside the store in a splendid line up!

I love to give my images some character. Not only in the way I try to find unique and interesting angles as I capture them but also by how I post produce them. Here I was going for a 1970's type look, from a photo album. What do you think?

After landing at the Seaplane Base in Male' I got this one! Seems unlikely I would ever make a post with out at least one picture of my favorite plane! Even if it is the other companies!

Glad you came for visit, hope you will return. I update once a week or there about. Sometimes I even manage to get away two in a week!

Safe travels!


One of the many barefoot pilots!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mother Natures' Mood Swings!

Well another week has come and gone.

Once again so many photographs to choose from ! As I approach the end of this tour, here in the Maldives, it has become quite evident to me I will not be able to post all the images I've captured this past couple of months.That is at least while I am still in the Maldives.

I will,however, endeavor to publish more while I am back in Canada. That is, of course, when I am not enjoying family and friends or working with my wife in our Studio in Victoria.
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So this week, as usual, I was all over the central part of the Maldives and once again managed to capture , what I think to be some compelling images. I love experimenting with the framing treatments along converting some of them into black and white or with Sepia tones. With that in mind if you see something you like or dislike I am open to comments. I like to push the envelope with some of my images and I am always so curious to know the impact they have on people, positive or negative!

I hope to get a second post out this week but in the mean time I hope you like what I have in this one!

Some mornings are simply made for photography! On this morning I was scheduled to arrive on the 05:00 Dhoni to be on call, just in case one of the other pilots is sick. Everyone was healthy on this day so I was free to roam the dock and wait for the perfect moments that I so love to capture!

As I said I love to experiment with the post production. This image is of the same aircraft from a slightly different angle and about 20 minutes earlier than the previous image.

As I continue to roll back the clock I present an image that I caught pre-sunrise on the same day. Longer exposure time causes that awesome "starlight" effect that occurred from the dock lights.

Though longer exposures tend create "noise" in the picture, I have to also admit to you the equipment I use here in the Maldives, unlike the gear we have in our Victoria Studio, is not the highest quality so I find that sometimes I need to be a little creative in my post capture editing.This is in order to present an image that I think is more appealing.Myself, I like the way this one turned out! Of course I invite all comments !

Big Sun going down over the City of Male'

I am searching for that Big Indian Ocean Sunset! In my opinion this one comes close!

When I first saw this amazing sight I was on the bus that transport's us over to the western side of the airport. As soon as it came to a stop I launched out of it to capture this image and the next one that follows.

I love how the rain is like a curtain in front of a big yellow ball!

The cruise ship passengers, along with the rest of were treated to an amazing sunset on this night. The contrast of the approaching storm clouds and the sun provided and amazing photographic opportunity which lasted around 5 minutes! Here is 1/60th of second contained in that 5 minutes of golden splendour!

Though I must tell you that the rain which followed me on my walk back to the apartment was not a lot of fun! Nothing like walking along in ankle deep water, provided courtesy the Western Monsoon , and the sound of the loud speakers amplifying the call to prayer! Can't help feeling a bit "worldly" in those moments !

You know around here my days can start out like this! The iconic images of the Maldives come into view on these days to present themselves in spectacular fashion!

Simply beautiful weather. Clear skies with no hint of bad weather anywhere. But wait the day isn't over yet!

After we arrived from this trip we were sent out on another and on our return back to the seaplane base Mother Nature had one of her notorious mood swings and as you will see in the next few images the day changed dramatically.....

The heavy rain started at around 15:45 and did not let up until well into the evening. With the airport closed to all VFR (Visual Flight Rules) flights and approaching darkness at 17:10 the decision was made to cancel all remaining flights.

An unusual occurrence to cancel all flights because in most cases the weather does let up to some degree to allow at least a few flights to depart and arrive safely prior to the sun going down.

Not on this day however. In fact we had several airplanes divert to other locations outside of Male and were unable to get back to home base. One of the nice things about float equipped aircraft, having the option of landing at a variety of alternate locations.

None the less while the passengers were accommodated by other resorts some of the dedicated and hard working crew elected to sleep in their planes over night because some of the locations do not have facilities for seaplanes. Rather than take the risk of leaving the aircraft by itself on a buoy that was unknown to them or tied to the beach they made the wise decision to stay with the plane!

Myself?Well I was one of the lucky one's to have had the good fortune of timing on my side. Five minutes later and we would have had to make the decision to divert. Instead I was back at the main base with my crew and made the effort to record the event.

I feel badly for the passengers, however. Especially the ones who had just escaped the rotten weather in Europe or the chaos that is going on in Spain right now .

None the less we have our limits. While the aircraft is amazing , the crew imminently experienced and qualified there comes a time when we have to say it is beyond our margin of safe operation. I hope all those affected by this were able to understand this.

I hope you enjoyed the post! As always I wish you the best!

One of the many barefoot pilots!