Personal blog of Derek and Margaret, now living in Dominica, W.I., founders of Ozone Zone – an Independent Canadian book publisher specializing in coffee table books of architectural treasures and lush gardens. We also promote fine artistic photography. This blog contains unofficial reports and comments from our various trips, photo sessions and jobs – an unofficial scrapbook of our travels, explorations and photo-related work. See “about” for more.

Posts tagged ‘hiking’

Boiling Lake, Dominica. My photography hike. PART 2

Written from a point of view of pro photographer/videographer in hope to give others some insight about shooting there.   PART 2

 

Indeed, our path became narrower and went sharply down, exposing rocky hills of our mountain.

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Indeed, our path became narrower and went sharply down, exposing rocky hills of our mountain. A bit muddy, as it was – I was told we are really lucky that several dry days kept this place really tidy and less slippery than it often is. I had to watch my step, and Nahjie leading our group had to point me to the safest steps and stones. Still, even there we had to stop, unpack my camera, and – selecting proper lenses – I took another series of photos. Amazing deep red rocks, rugged terrain and deep green flora created yet another amazing view.

In Valley of Desolation

Soon after, passing another bend of our narrow and very exposed path, I noticed a remote and constant, unusual sound. A sort of deep hiss. A bit of a gargle too. Not really a stream, not wind – what is it? All became revealed to me after another bend. The Valley of Desolation! Deep under our path, it steamed with hot water splashing from under white volcanic rocks.


Quickly forgetting that I started to feel a bit tired, I followed Nahjie through some slippery and exposed boulders, and we descended to the valley.

Time for a break. At least for Nahjie and his friends. For me, it meant start of my real work. Unpacking equipment, photographing, filming, and flying my drone. Scenery indeed looked worthy my efforts – hot steam, hiss, splashes of boiling water – all around me. Remarkable intensity of nature’s powers.

Face painted with volcanic minerals like a native warrior, Nahjie demonstrated how useful these hot pools can be. A dozen minutes or so – and his lunch eggs were boiled hard. Delicious!

Face painted with volcanic minerals like a native warrior, Nahjie demonstrated how useful these hot pools can be. A dozen minutes or so – and his lunch eggs were boiled hard. Delicious!

Time flew fast, and we had to continue on our path. And just now – at least to me – the real wonders started to appear. While we had amazing views and the Valley definitely made strong impression on me, little gems started to appear now on our way to the Boiling Lake.


Colourful mineral pools with yellows, oranges and whiles, blended with the black of liquid carbon oozing through the surface. Like little pools of jewellery were greens of lush moss blended with emerald deposits of volcanic minerals in another pool.

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Another spot brought to mind beautiful dwarfed world of Fairy Glen from the Skye Island in Scotland. A miniature waterfall splashing to a tiny pool below, full of opal-white volcanic water. Set in deep orange rocks and some greenery, it seemed a perfect place for a gathering of elves.

I just had to keep my cameras out of backpack, which proved tricky at some points as the hike here had its moments. Nothing drastic, but a bit more challenging and often requiring both hands.

But hey – “look back” – called Nahjie. I did. And – another surprise. A miniature wall of cracked rocky wall between two streams. It looked like a tiny miniature of Colorado mountains, but with a twist of the hot white water. Soooo cute!

To me, the biggest hike’s highlight was just that – these little gems between Valley of Desolation and Boiling Lake. I would spend there a whole day photographing and filming. But – we had to push on.

 

third part of this story is coming very soon, check back for more.
Thank you for stopping by!

Derek

Thank you to Nahjie from JustGoDominica.com for all assistance.

All photographs copyright Derek Galon.

#discoverdominica #dominica @derekGalon @JustGoDominica.com

Boiling Lake, Dominica. My photography hike. PART 1

Written from a point of view of pro photographer/videographer in hope to give others some insight about shooting there.

Boiling Lake, Dominica. Second largest in the world after one in New Zeeland.

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We started early, just after sunrise. The idea was to have plenty of time to stop on our way and take photos. Walking through the forest, four of us felt refreshed and happy. Subtle early light filtered through jungle’s canopy as we were leaving behind the Titou Gorge. We were on our way to the Boiling lake, perhaps the most famous, but also one of toughest hikes in Dominica.

On trail with my friends.

Nahjie, my friend and a legendary adventure guide from JustGoDominica.com, along with his two young and brisk colleagues, dictated the pace of our walk. As the hike is quite long, it is important to manage speed and energy, to have enough for safe return. As we approached the Breakfast River, I heard long song of a Thrush high in hills above us. How delightful – I didn’t hear these birds since the hurricane Maria! Clearly the mountains of Morne Trois Pitons National Park are doing well. Once we reached the horseshoe shaped top of the hill and had a look around from the narrow ridge, the magnificent view confirmed that forest is indeed doing well. Flickering river deep under our feet, lush trees and tree ferns all around us. Rich, deep greenery as long as you can see – up to the coast of the Caribbean sea.

It was a good idea to start early. The views were far too nice not to stop and take elaborate photographs. While I photographed and flew my drone, we were passed by two small group of French tourists speeding towards the Lake. Express teams, I thought. As for me, I much preferred to have time to look around, film and photograph than hurry to the destination. Day was unfolding beautifully, and wide vistas were simply breath-taking.

Roseau far and down below us, and endless green mountains at every angle.

After another hour or so, we arrived at the small plateau at the top of mountain. Surrounded by short, dense vegetation which seemed to be a cross between tropical and alpine, I had another chance to look around. The most amazing view I can remember. A 360 degree panorama, with Freshwater Lake area on one side, Roseau far and down below us, and endless green mountains at every angle.

Taking more photos, I couldn’t resist also shooting wide panoramas made of many overlapping images, in hope they will give the justice to these magnificent wide-open views. A first glimpse at the Boiling Lake far away on right side.

Taking more photos, I couldn’t resist also shooting wide panoramas made of many overlapping images, in hope they will give the justice to these magnificent wide-open views. Nahjie pointed me to one direction. “Can you see that cloud in the forest? – he asked. “It is the Boiling Lake and it’s steam”.
Ouch, while it looked intriguing, it also seemed to be quite far away, and meant only one thing – lots more of the hike ahead of us. And – as I was told – the easy part just finished now, with things getting a bit more tricky from now on.

Photographing landscape, about half-way (the easier half!) to the Boiling lake.

Second and third parts of this story are coming very soon, check back for more. Most interesting photos about to come!
Thank you for stopping by!

Derek

 

All photographs copyright Derek Galon.

#discoverdominica #dominica @derekGalon

 

The Deed Is Done

Our home after rebuilding. Acid stains visible on walls and floor.

Funny to remember we expected to have a slower life in Dominica, being tired with the speed and pressure of things in Canada. Here actually our life goes faster in many aspects! Well, all together it is more harmonious and peaceful – but so much things happen to us, we are badly short of time.

Anyway – the deed is done! Our house destroyed to the ground by hurricane is up, and we are in it already! About two years to the date – the process was slow, plagued by builder mistakes, and slowed further by various improvements to the structure.
Now we work overtime on decor, various fixes, and on landscape. Margaret is busy planting hundreds of plants she propagated in last years in anticipation of this moment. So, the place starts to look like our home, and we are quite happy with it.

Margaret applying acid stain

The concrete acid stain we used extensively on floors and walls added to unusual and warm look. It was great decision to go for it. We are totally relying on rain water, and it proves a reliable and comfortable solution, specially with the efficient solar water heater recently installed on our roof. The concrete roof itself is covered outside with special white sealer which also acts as sun heat barrier, and even on hottest days our home is cool inside.

Victoria Falls, Dominica

We are so focused on home work that we don’t feel like going anywhere, even for quick shopping. But we have to, as we have plenty of other work. Past months saw me working for a large nature film company (can’t talk about it until project is finished – so stay tuned to learn more about this later on!), filming series of short flicks for our friends at JustGoDominica.com and other such tasks. This work sent me to beautiful places such as Victoria and Middleham Falls, Wavine Cyrique, and I am soon to go other places.

Wavine Cyrique, an unique waterfall ending on a beach.

In the meantime we keep photographing and filming various real estate properties and hotels here, occasionally shooting on other Caribbean islands. Latest one a fine boutique resort in Grenada – was really fun to visit. Another trips (Barbados and Grenada) are on the plate.

Photo from my recent job, photographing Fort Young Hotel in Dominica, after extensive renovations.

We will try to keep you posted, although it is not always possible as finding a free moment is tricky these days. But we want to share with you more news and stories, so please stay tuned for more.
Until next time, cheers! And if you like this post, share it and subscribe!

Derek

PS
All photos by Derek Galon, please respect copyright.

Hiking around Freshwater Lake

We had a nice hike last week – around the Freshwater Lake in the Morne Trois Pitons Natonal Park. It used to be our favorite place when we were coming to Dominica as visitors, only for a short time. Now, because we live here, we have an opportunity to take our time and hike the entire loop around the lake and enjoy stunning vistas.

Freshwater Lake, Dominica

Freshwater Lake, Dominica. Sun behind fast moving clouds creates spectacle of lights.

When we left the capital town of Roseau, car thermometer showed 31 C; upon arrival to parking lot, temperature dropped to 20C. We are on elevation of over 700m above sea level, high in the mountains, at the heart of the island. There’s always wind blowing clouds of mist soothing the skin after scorching heat of the city. We breathe deeply fresh air and take a first look at the lake. It’s situated in a valley surrounded by sharp peaks covered by montane rainforest, dense patchwork of every shade of green color. The natural beauty of the place is astounding; it is also very calm and serene. As we start to hike, thoughts and noises in our heads gradually quiet down, and we fell under charm of this magical place.

The trail is made entirely of steps held together by wooden logs and tree fern trunks. We’re lucky it isn’t raining; it can be really slippery. Apart from the wind, there is only glass flute-like sound of mountain whistler (rufous- throated solitaire) singing long notes, beautiful and soothing. We climb steeply uphill taking a closer look at the unique vegetation found only on higher elevations. Shrubs and trees form a dense, low growing thicket dripping with moisture from the swirling clouds. There seems to be more ferns, bromeliads and epiphytic plants than anywhere else. Some plants are striking like Lobelia stricta with spiny leaves or epiphytic vine with red and yellow flowers (Alloplectus cristatus)

Finally, we are at the top of the ridge, and views are amazing! We can see Freshwater Lake shrouded in mist and all volcanic peaks of the interior. Standing there, you can see both sides of the island (how small this island really is!): to the west there is Caribbean sea, to the east, distant views of Rosalie Bay on the Atlantic side. The path descents and climbs up again yet to another peak with slightly different vistas, equally stunning. _DSC5429_30_31

After the walk we feel thoroughly refreshed and amazingly light-hearted. We have to return there soon.

Actually, we may return indeed, as while hiking and enjoying the natural beauty of this place, our old idea of creating a coffee table book about Dominica rippened in our minds, and we just decided it is time to do it. Therefore in upcoming months we will be travelling the island scouting for most picturesque locations, photographing, interviewing people, and collecting all material for this fine task. It may take up to a year to produce it, but we hope it will be as nice as our Exotic Gardens of the Eastern Caribbean, Tropical Homes of the Eastern Caribbean – or even better, as our publishing experience over last years accumulates, helping us do what we love better and better._DSC5438

We will keep you posted on progress of our works, therefore please subscribe to this blog, and share it with friends.
Cheers!
Margaret and Derek

All photos by Derek Galon, writing by Margaret Gajek. Please respect copyright.

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