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 ‘nature’

Boiling Lake, Dominica. My photography hike. PART 3

Written from a point of view of pro photographer/videographer in hope to give others some insight about shooting there.   PART 3

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Boiling Lake, DominicaIn just fifteen minutes or so, we at last arrived at the Boiling Lake. At first we could not see a thing. The whole place filled with hot, smelly and thick steam. I just heard strong sound of big water pumps working at maximum speed. Bubbling and hissing, huge amounts of water pushing out in the centre of the lake. With a sudden twist of wind, all became clear. Thick grey boiling water circulating in the lake at a crazy speed. I could only imagine enormous power stirring it all.

That’s no place for boiling eggs. It demanded respect. From a distance, we were watching it in silence. Then, I had to work again. The hot steam was so thick, like a wall. My drone got disoriented and gave me contradicting reports – it is landing in one second (with nothing to land on, except hot steam!), then an obstacle is on its path and drone can’t continue, then sensors just went all crazy. To fly close I had to disable all collision sensors, and only then I could fly through this thick, hot steam. But it was when I flew much higher, than I could really appreciate the whole scene.


A big opal-white hole full of splashing dark water and steam blending with nearby clouds. A strange looking, steaming hot river flowing down the hill from the lake, set between orange and white rocks. It is the White River, leading to the beautiful Victoria Falls, one of my most beloved spots in Dominica. The whole area does not have much green, I guess it is way too hot for that. Raw rocks, sulphur steam and white water fill the large area around the lake. Definitely a very unique experience, all together more than worth the long hike.

While my friends were resting, I tried to squeeze as much filming and photographing as only possible, knowing that soon we had to go back, to arrive in Laudat before darkness. And, we did. Having rather short time for return, I had no time to do any more filming or taking photos, not even for my lunch.

We went back rather quickly, and just as we approached back the Valley of Desolation, I realized suddenly that – without even five minutes to sit down and relax since early morning – I became a bit tired. Many hours of hiking in tough terrain, and work in-between took its tool. Just when I needed most energy, getting up the tricky and slippery path from the Valley – I had my senior moments. I ran out of steam. I just had to stop a few times, as I started to feel like I am really sixty-three old man on a tough hike. But my friends with their patience allowed me to relax for a few minutes here and there, and once out of the most difficult part, I recovered enough to continue in a better manner.

We arrived at the parking spot just before dark. What an amazing hike. Definitely longer and a bit tougher than most around here. But still within reach of most, and packed with beautiful moments and views. We are already planning to go back – this time with tent, to stay overnight and take early morning photos of the lake and surroundings. It will be my big treat. Another amazing hike. This is why I am here in Dominica, the beautiful Nature Island.

Boiling Lake, Dominica

Thank you for stopping by!
Parts 1 and 2 can be found on right side menu.
If you enjoyed this story, please see my other posts, and check me on YouTube channel.

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 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

 

Why Dominica

Old tree in Syndicate Forest.

View from our home

Caught in busy life of rebuilding our home damaged by hurricane Maria, landscaping our gardens, commercial photo and video projects here in Dominica and on neighbouring islands, dealing with our Permanent Residency status, and other everyday work, one may actually forget the core thing – WHY are we living in Dominica for the last 6 years?   Why HERE?

Having to cope with numerous everyday matters, we noticed we got tired and are falling into a daily routine.
However, couple of months ago, one of my projects for a friend from JustGoDominica.com required me to go to various nature places  of Dominica – and this gave me lots of joy forgotten in recent years. So, we decided to go both visiting the most beautiful locations we know, and to continue exploring new places.

Syndicate falls, Dominica

These once-a-week trips keep giving us more energy, inner peace, harmony and happiness. And we realized these gave us back the reason to be here!  While it did quietly slip away from our agenda – the main reason of living in Dominica is its beauty!

Syndicate Falls, Dominica

Beauty of nature, balance one can find here, less commercialization of our lives and living mostly outdoors-  this is why we decided to move here.

Detail in old forest.

Surely, we do have our everyday tasks to perform – but we promised ourselves to always try and keep some time to go around and experience Dominica’s nature every now and then.
Therefore we would like to share with you some of photographs taken on our latest hike.

We found our peace and happiness in Dominica, and never regret moving here.

Palm trees in bloom

But perhaps happiness can be found everywhere if we have time and will to see beauty around us, and find some moments to do and see things that are our passion and give us joy.

And, if you are like us and find thrill in experiencing daily living in nature and tropics – Dominica will be happy to see you, even for a short visit. The joy can be yours!

 

Syndicate Forest and National Park Info center. Dominica.

As for me – I am now charging batteries for our another trip!

Thank you for visiting our little blog. If you like what you see, please share with others.

Cheers, until next time!
Derek and Margaret
http://ArtPhotographyServices.com

All photos are copyrighted Derek Galon, please respect it. Thank you.

#Dominica  #DiscoverDominica

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.

Revisiting Papillote Gardens in Dominica

While life keeps us extremely busy with rebuilding our home after the hurricane Maria (we hope it will finish in about 2 months! Hurray!), we try to work on photography and video as much as we can. And there is lots of work to be done. Just recently our XL sized prints were placed on walls of S-Mart supermarket, adding a flavour of local nature to the store.

our prints on walls of S-Mart

 

Mounting my huge print inside Dominica International Airport

Soon after -in collaboration with #EliteEvents –  International Airport in Dominica had been decorated with even bigger size prints. We are working on a series of wall-decor nature prints available in several retail locations, and – same as these above projects – we do it in collaboration with the best printers in Dominica – Campbells.

Then, I had a creative photo-video session with a professional model and a friend – Nicole Morson. We worked together before. This time it was a horse-riding theme, courtesy of fantastic Brandy Manor Riding Center near Portsmouth.

I am now preparing for a short trip to Grenada, to do photography and video for promotion of a new luxury boutique resort – I should have more about it soon.

So, as you see – there is quite a b it of work we are tackling on top of our everyday lives.

Nicole Morson during our photo session

 

But during all these activities we also revisited the Papillote Gardens in Trafalgar – one of our most favourite Caribbean gardens. It is always  a pleasure to meet Anne, garden’s creator. She helped me filming several agouti feeding before sunset, and we were shown all recent changes and improvements.

During these visits we did what we always try to do – filmed and photographed, and Margaret had a short interview with Anne. The result is now available for you to see – a short video presenting Papillote Gardens. Have a look. We hope you will enjoy!

 

So, that is all for now, we will be in touch soon.

Don’t forget to like and share the post if you enjoyed it. All the best!
Derek and Margaret

Experience the Island Reborn – video

In our previous post We shared our experience from producing a short movie for #DominicaFilmChallenge – a clip that won one of their awards and enjoyed 160,000 views in just one month. We also mentioned then that we have another video ready – and now we are happy to share it to you.

As we in Dominica just remembered 1st anniversary of hurricane Maria, here is our little contribution to it. It basically is similar to the video which was awarded at Dominica Film Challenge 2018, but with more nature footage. I hope you will enjoy – and hopefully visit Dominica soon as it looks better and better. Enjoy the flick!
Until next time, cheers
Derek and Margaret

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