Mt. Tapochau, Birds Eye View
The weather has been somewhat cloudy in the Mariana Islands. Its probably due to the passing storm, supposedly the strongest storm of 2014 (Typhoon Vongfont). Took a drive up to the highest point on the island, Mt. Tapochau. This drive MUST be done with a 4×4 capable vehicle. The past few months have been rainy, causing the roads to deteriorate.
This picture was taken looking south, looking towards Tinian. You can also see the island of Aguigan (Goat Island) in the distance. I took the picture around 12-1230PM. I was hoping for more blue and less clouds, but Mother Nature can be like that at times. This was a 30 second exposure done with a polarized filter + an ND filter.
Bird Island, Saipan
I hiked down to Bird Island the other day and managed to take a few descent shots given that it was a very cloudy day. This was taken at around 1PM. I was hoping to get some really nice exposures with the sun being in the perfect spot at 1PM. However, it was a bit overcast. Although it wasn’t what I was expecting, the result was unique in the sense that the clouds in the background make the picture look more dramatic.
Bird Island is one of the Marine Protected Areas in the CNMI. It is located in the North Eastern side of Saipan. It is a quick 5 minute hike down to a beautiful beach. In the summer time, you could venture over onto the island itself and explore the tide pools for exotic marine life. If your lucky, you could also see baby black tip sharks patrolling the shoreline in search of a meal to eat.
Banzai Cliff, Saipan. It puts me in awe how a specific landscape can have many different appearances. This was taken at night. I was hoping for some star action to light up the horizon, but was refused by the mercy of the weather.
Bird Island, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands
Bird Island, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. The island looks as if a giant had placed a huge rock in a tiny embayment on the North Eastern side of Saipan. On one side of the island, it is surrounded by a reef structure raging from depths of three to six feet. On the other side, is the open ocean. Bird Island sits in the Bird Island Marine Protected Area making any fishing activity illegal. Its a very nice spot to take a 5-10 minute hike and bask in the ambiance of Mother Nature. If you are lucky, you can sometimes find baby black tip reef sharks swimming by the edge of the beach.
Wing Beach, Saipan Northern Mariana Islands
Wing Beach, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. Attempted to do some night time photography this past weekend due to the full moon. However, the sky was partly cloudy with scattered showers. I managed to take a 5 minute exposure of Wing Beach. At first glance, you could quickly assume that this picture was taken in the day time. However, small details of the picture will tell you otherwise. Since it is a long exposure, anything that is “moving” will show movement in the frame. If you look at the clouds, you can see how they form streaks across the sky (just as stars would in a long exposure).
Managaha facing West
Managaha Facing East
Managaha Island. One of Saipan’s most visited spots due to it’s emerald green waters, white sand beaches, and isolation in the Saipan Lagoon. The island offers numerous pavilions for residents/tourists to spend the day/overnight enjoying their “beach front” view of mother nature. Managaha is located in a Marine Protected Area where any fishing/harvesting activities violate the rules of the MPA. Managaha is currently experiencing a change in topography due to erosion in the northern parts of the island.
North Tinian, Looking Towards Saipan
Tinian Blow Hole (at night), Tinian. This picture was a long exposure as you can tell by the movement of the clouds and the stars in the horizon. You can see the island of Saipan in the distance, with all the lights and what not taking view. Ancient coral outcrop line the edge of Tinian bordering the dynamic yet majestic ocean to create a contrast of textures.
Suicide Cliff, Tinian
Suicide Cliff, Tinian. When the Americans were on the verge of winning the Battle of Saipan, or the Battle of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Japanese forces chose to take their lives instead of surrender to the Americans. This specific cliff was where the Japanese would jump into the big blue ocean in the attempt to take their lives. This photo was taken at night, as you can see the stars in the horizon.
Long exposure shots are very interesting to take. It takes a lot of patience to learn how to adjust the settings of the camera to take the shot that you want. Some shots may be overexposed (too bright), and some underexposed(too dark). It definitely requires a lot of practice to truly master the art of long exposure photography. As for me, I am only scratching the surface…
Taga Beach Tinian
Taga Beach Tinian
Guma’nya si taga
Taga Beach is definitely one of Tinian’s nicest beaches. It is a small beach that cuts into the subtle cliff side of the South Western side of the island of Tinian. A sandy bottom carpets the small portion of the beach where coral reefs surround the small inlet providing a structure to sustain marine life.
A quarry site can be found on top of the cliff side where ancient chamorros carved into the limestone cliffs to create “latte stones”. Latte Stones served as the foundation for an ancient chamorro house. A latte is made up of the column and the cap stone. To this day, it is a mystery to how these giant structures were erected. Latte stones can be found through out the Northern Mariana Island Chain as far south as Guam, all the way up to the island of Pagan.
Tinian Blow Hole, Northern Mariana Islands
Took a long exposure of the famous Tinian Blow Hole. It is nested right by the ocean in a limestone/ancient reef outcrop that is literally 5 ft away from the ocean. If you wait for the perfect swell, you will witness the power of the ocean when it meets the land. This place can be a very treacherous place to come to, esp under bad weather conditions. Beware of big swells and a wall of ocean water that could pull you in.
YCC Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands
YCC Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands
I was hanging out with some friends from Tinian at this place called YCC having a few brews. It was literally 25ft away from the ocean. The moon was out so I whipped out my set up and took a few long exposures. The first picture was taken looking at Aguigan, also known as Goat Island. This island can be seen from the highest peak on the island of Saipan. It’s also a great destination for all types of fishing. The second picture looks North of YCC, which looks onto the festival grounds of Tinian’s Pika Fest.