Tuesday, March 29, 2011

People, Places And Of Course Planes!

Hello there ! Welcome to my online photographic journal of my adventures here in the Maldives! This past week I was once again enjoying the calm period that separates the Eastern and Western Monsoon. Not sure exactly when the Western Monsoon will come a knocking but in the mean time I will enjoy the lovely weather.

As it is with most weeks I have been quite busy flying around barefoot here in the Maldives, always with a camera by my side! I was looking for a theme for this week and I have decided to go with a wider spectrum than the week before.

I hope you will enjoy the people,place and planes I have had the privileged to photograph this week!

I will kick things off with this one I took while I was hanging around with a group of guests we were taking for a picnic and snorkeling day. I normally don't join them for the snorkeling from the Dhoni, usually just hang around the island of Rasdoo waiting for them to return. Really glad I went this time! Love this shot!

On the way back to home base one day we were able to catch up with my colleagues flying 8Q-MAO(the registration on the aircraft pictured here) . Flying by the Capital City of Male' with the airport in the background!

My friends pulled up on the beach at Palm beach resort. It is from the collection of images I got from the week before. This one was taken from the other side as we maneuvered around the island to set up our landing.

Nothing like a zoom lens and a great opportunity!

I keep saying it, I never get tired of this view! I can't imagine ever taking it for granted!

We were done for the day around 4:30 pm on this day so I had time to get some nice late day pictures. The next three are of Janick the water sports centre base leader taking his Seadoo out for a test run!

Looks almost as fun as flying a Twin Otter!

He really made it move! I have to say I was wishing it was me riding and him taking the pictures! LOL!

Okay I am kind of all over the place here as I am leading you back to the picnic day! Oh well I am all over the place here in the 'Dives so it kind of seems appropriate at times for my blog posts go that way as well! This shot is of the Dhoni Captain. While I was on top of the Dhoni Ismail came up for a little chat and graciously allowed me to photograph him.

On our way back to get the plane, Echo, the GRO in charge of the tour , came up to do a bit of modeling. This was to be her last tour , a few days later she was on her way home to Wenchuan in Sichuan province. I hope I got that right!

My two friends and partners for the picnic day. Love the cool pose here on the beach at Heenfaru! Mausim on the right and Azm on the left. Cool guys that I really enjoy working with!

Back at the base the boys caught me taking their picture! Big smile and a wave!

As I cruised the streets of Male today taking photos I asked this fellow and his friends if I could take their picture. They were happy to oblige! Samsoo looking pretty relaxed in this one!

In this one are , Malomeer and Kamal. Cool guys. We chatted for a bit, despite our language barrier. A smile and a kind word are universal!

I don't much in the way of up close portrait shots. that being said I am really happy I stepped out of comfort zone and composed this one.

The were so patient and gracious with me. I am not sure if I will see them again in this city of, by some estimates, 100,000 faces. If I do though I am confident they and I will stop to shake hands and to share a smile.

Back to the planes now!
In this one I caught Chris Tuttle and Cameron Mears landing at Velidhu resort! I got this one while standing on the wing of the aircraft I was flying. It is probably obvious, though I do consider myself a multi-tasker, I wasn't flying at the time! We had tied to a buoy to allow Chris and his crew to drop off their passengers at the Jetty.

An aerial shot of one our planes manoeuvring on the East side of Palm Beach resort. The guests often get some great photo ops!

Well as the post winds down I will end with a few sunsets and a sunrise. In this one I stood at the entrance of the Presidents Jetty to frame the sun and Dhoni as it traveled by!

A dhoni just across from the Presidents jetty.

Not a bad way to start the day. I just got to work as this perfect scene was unfolding. I quickly got the camera out a captured this sunrise.

So glad you found the time to check out my blog. All comments are welcome!

Till the next time...

One of the barefoot pilots!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Surfs Up!

Hey there welcome to my blog!

The weather in the this part of the world has been nothing short of spectacular. Sunny days, very little wind and over the last few days a full moon to usher in the evening.

The glassy water does present some challenges to us as pilots and I do have to say even the my Maldivian friends think it is pretty hot. Perhaps a steady 10 knots would do us all good! That being said we do have the option, advantage if you will, to climb up high on the the longer routes. Getting up higher, say 5500 to 6500 feet, on a longer trip allows us to enjoy some cooler temperatures. Not only for us but for the passengers we fly which is good because often times they haven't had the opportunity to change into lighter clothing!

With terrific weather comes amazing photographic opportunities! As a bit of teaser I was able to get some amazing sunset and sunrise shots though they will have to wait for the next post! That is because in this one I am concentrating on surfing! Well not entirely I suppose. If you are familiar with my blog you will note that I rarely go without an airplane or two! So on this post I will "book end" my post with some cool aerial shots of the mighty Twin Otter!

I asked my friend and colleague Chris Tuttle to give me a shout the next he thought the surfing would be good. True to his word last Wednesday he sent me a message so I headed to the local surf point here in Male'. It is a short 5 minute walk from my apartment!

I was treated to quite a display and as I am sure you will agree, there are some very accomplished surfers here in Male'. Some of whom really know how to rip it up on a wave!

Now before we get to the pictures it would be an terrible over sight on my part not to write about, whom many consider to be the father of surfing in the Maldives, Tony Hussein Hinde. He is a surfing legend in these parts and I dare say throughout the world wide surfing community.

He shipwrecked here in late 1973 and it seems fell in love with the Maldives along with the people who populate this part of the world. This is an amazing story, though not with out some heart breaking tragedy. Rather than copy and paste an article about his life please follow this link to a fellow blogger . After you have a look please come back to this blog for the rest of my post!

Okay with that it is on to the pictures!

As I said this post is mostly about surfing but I have book ended it with some airplanes! In this shot I have one of our aircraft up on the beach at the Palm Beach Resort and Spa in the Lhaviyani Atoll. There are times when the tide is to low to operate in our normal area and as result there are occasions where we back up on to the beach to unload and board passengers. Takes a bit of organizing but I find that most people enjoy getting on the plane this way. It becomes one of the many stories people take away from their vacation in the Maldives!

Now the surfing! Now for those of you familiar with sport please forgive my ignorance should it present itself! I windsurf and at times I feel like I am surfing a Twin Otter so I do think it gives me perspective but certainly not expertise!
In this shot I caught one of the many surfers arriving to the surf point in Male'. Love this image I think it really captures the uniqueness of not only the surf culture but as well the life in Male'

Ready to hit the waves! Surf board in hand as this fellow carefully steps over the coral that lines the shoreline!

This guy really knows how to make the wave work for him! I think that most people who come across this sort of scene cannot help themselves and must stop to watch !

So cool! I can't help to wonder how it is done and what kind of effort it takes to be able to be this confident and talented!

The way they carve the top and still manage not to hit anyone is amazing to see.

As in life, I suppose, it is all about balance and of course talent!

No slouch himself my friend Chris catches one of the many waves that travel such vast distances before colliding with the Eastern shores of Male'.

Another one of my friends and colleagues, Lateef! Ripping!

Another shot of Lateef just after emerges from the tube.

No offense to my to buddies but this guy caught my eye continuously! He is simply amazing as I sure you will agree as you scroll down this post!

With such ease and style. He was in control at all times. The wave was made to do his bidding rather than the other way around!

So cool to see someone spin around on the top of a wave like this!


One of him launching into one of the many jumps off the ramp provided care of the Indian Ocean!

I am pretty proud of this sequence I put together. Such amazing luck on my part to have stumbled upon the surf point on a day when this guy was out. If anyone reading this knows his name please pass it on!

A sequence of shots which shows the cool trick he does of coming off the top of a wave , spinning his board to slide backwards down the face before kicking it around another 180 degrees to ride the rest of the way!
It is as if the board was simply an extension of his body and soul!

Of course I was not the only one to take in this amazing show!

Without fail everyone who drove by turned their heads to see the action and really who could blame them. I think I have around 400 pictures, narrowed down to 88 I really like! I still can't believe my luck and timing!

Well time for me to end this post. Last shot is of one of our airplanes tied to the jetty at the lovely resort of Medhufushi! I am so lucky to have the opportunity to capture these images!

Please if you know any of the guys I have pictures of here I would love to know them.

All comments are welcome!

That is all for now,

One of the barefoot pilots!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What A Week It's Been

Hi There and welcome to my blog.

The events of the last week has served as a reminder to me as to how lucky I am to have the life I am living. My heart goes out to all those people who have had the great misfortune of being in Japan when that massive earthquake struck. The images of the angry ocean which swept through the coastal cities as a tsunami are nothing short of horrifying. As each day goes by it appears that the situation is only going to get worse. I hope, as so many no doubt do , that the people of Japan will gather the strength to rise up from the devastation that has so profoundly changed their beloved country.

I have been working hard this week, so much flying to be done and so many images captured. The weather has been outstanding, mind you it tends to be hazy here as result of the lack of rain. Even with the haze though I have been able to get some great shots to post. Some , I hope you will agree, are spectacular! This place is truly a photographers dream, especially with the access I have!

As we round the island of Male' we often see the jets going to position on the runway. This British Airways aircraft was just about to turn around and take off runway 36. I hope everyone aboard enjoyed there stay. See you next time!

Just a short distance from the threshold of the runway is out float base. The blue and yellow aircraft are operated by TMA. The good old red planes in the back Maldivian Air Taxi , the company I work for.
I just love my new telephoto lens!

Here is Captain Ron taxiing by my position on his way to the dock.

Siyan, Ron's hard working cabin attendant, is at the ready on the float.Just a few moments after I snapped this one Captain Ron swung the Twin Otter around to have Siyan tie the heel of the float to the dock.

One after another the planes return to Male' for the next trip. Chris Tuttle guiding this one in with his soon to be Captain, Hassan, in the right seat. Now for those of you not familiar right and left are always considered as if you were sitting in them airplane looking forward.

Not to be outdone Captain Rob puts her on the dock as well! If you are curious to see how this is done check out a video I took some years ago.
Video Clip

I think some of the hardest working guys at MAT are the baggage loaders. Here is a picture of my friend Steven waiting patiently for Rons passengers deplane so he can load up the airplane and get it on its way again!

Love this one. I took this one while sitting on the float of the aircraft I was flying.The Chief pilot Yoosuf and his copilot Hishan are just about to touch down at Palm Beach.

On the way back we were able to team up a little and I was able to get this one. Perhaps my favorite of this post. Only a privileged few can get a shot like this and I am so pleased to have had the chance!

Nice shot overhead a resort in the North Ari Atoll. The island resort called Madoogali.

As we flew over head of the laggon just west of Madoogali I got the camera out to get this unique view of one of our planes on a floating platform transferring passengers to the Madoogali dhoni. Because the landing conditions outside of the lagoon are not suitable for landing most of the time
we do the transfer in lagoon and Dhoni takes them the rest of the way.

I know I have published photo's like this one before but as I have said so many times I love the way these lagoons along the eastern edge of the Ari Atoll!

Now how inviting is this water! Kanuhura, in the Lhaviyani Atoll.

My Twin Otter of the day tied to the dock at Kanuhura for an hour.

As I said I love my new lens! How cool is this , shot from 500 feet above just south of the resort of Velidhu in the North Ari Atoll. My copilot, nicknamed Beybe which means brother in the local language, did a fine job getting me a good look at the Mantas. In fact he first introduced me to this particular location 3 years ago. It seems there are always huge Mantas in this lagoon. Thanks brother!

As I close out this weeks post I leave you with a sunset at Grand Centara Maldives in the South Ari Atoll.

This was my first time to spend the night here. It was a lovely, if only short, stay. The staff were so nice to us and i look forward to the next over night visit.

Well thanks for stopping by my blog. I hoped you have enjoyed the images I presented here. If you like please comment. If you see me walking around Male' feel free to stop and say hello!

Till the next post ciao for now!


One of the barefoot pilots!