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 ‘travel photography’

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

=======
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.

=======
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.

========
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

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

Dominica Film Challenge

The last three months saw us crossing our island of Dominica back and forth, filming some amazing places. Now that all the work is already done we can sit down and tell you about it.

Margaret starting our drone in Scotts Head

For the last few years Dominica Tourism Authority (DDA) organizes Dominica Film Challenge to promote the island as a nature destination. So far it were teams of avid travellers from abroad who got invited to participate. But this year for the first time the concept changed, and only local Dominica filmmakers were invited to apply.

Nahjie securing our way in canyon

We offered ourselves to participate and were among the six teams selected to create a short movie on a given theme. Our theme was “hiking”, but we decided that we should expand over this theme, taking advantage of being both local and also foreign. I mean, yes – we live here for five years and know Dominica for much longer. But we also spent half of our life in Europe, then many years in Canada – travelling a lot – including various off-the-usual-path places, also in the Caribbean. That gives us a different perspective. We thought we could see what visitors may find most thrilling in Dominica, but also how the post-hurricane recovery and all the changes it caused may create an added attraction for them.

Margaret in the canyon

That gave Margaret a nice start to write her script, beginning with a short introduction of Dominica as a beautiful Nature Island, then reminding of last year’s hurricane and then going on a trip to re-discover Dominica and see the changes. We had some nice pre-hurricane footage and also documented Dominica soon after it. So, now we recorded recovering nature and visited some amazing locations, also filming short interviews with tourist guides.

Trafalgar Falls 6 months after hurricane

The trip we both remember as the most unusual was the canyoning with our friend and a fantastic guide from ExtremeDominica.com, Nahjie Laflouf, and his climbing partner, Junior. They brought us to a beautiful rock formation at the bottom of a canyon. Beautiful and amazing place to film. However, dragging the equipment through a rough path often changing to a vigorous stream, then through high river waters was not exactly easy for us, and without their help it simply would not happen! But the reward for this hike was amazing, and the footage shows it well.

on hiking trail over Freshwater Lake

Our favoutite locations such as Freshwater Lake or Trafalgar Falls were surely nice to revisit, but I also filmed in the bush, taking close-up shots of recovering nature and re-growing forest. The last on our list was a boat trip through the Indian River with “Fire”, a great guide we know for years. We found Indian River changed but really beautiful – as “Fire” said – we could see “a different kind of beauty” around us. We saw the nature bouncing back, a heart-warming assurance that soon it will regain its old glory.

Derek on boat with “Fire”

Being on boat with “Fire” is always great. Whenever we had visiting friends we made sure they go with him exploring Indian River nature reserve. But this time – although this is how he makes a living – when “Fire” heard we make a film to promote Dominica – he refused any payment for the trip. What a guy! Respect, man!

With all material in hand we spent quite a time editing it and crafting as a super-short movie.

We actually decided that requested length of 3 minutes did not have proper chance to tell our story the way we wanted – so we delivered… TWO movies! One is officially entered to the Dominica Film Challenge, and another one is a bonus. Two-for-one, well – you know – like a pizza. This version extended by two extra minutes shows more of nature recovery process which we find fascinating.

What really adds to our video is the voice-over. We were in luck to “discover” a great talent in the person of Kevin Francis who recorded Margaret’s narration in a single take, bringing out every flavour of this short text. Combined with fantastic music by our Polish friend, a guitarist Andrzej Chochol, it added a really immersive sound layer.

Indian River nature reserve

All work is done and delivered, now progressively launched by Discover Dominica along five other videos.

We surely hope you will this short film. We had a blast doing it, and thanks to it we visited places we did not see before. So, all is well. Now, click the link, have a look, and “like” and “share” the clip if you find it nice. Your clicks will help selecting the winning video!
Please use headphones if watching on a tablet or small laptop.
Dominica – Hike an Island Reborn

Enjoy!
Derek and Margaret

Please remember all photos are copyright Derek Galon and Ozone Zone Books. No usage without written authorization. Thank you.

#DominicaFilmChallenge,  #rediscoverDominica, #DiscoverDominica

 

Busy Months of Recovery

Things are busier than ever these days. Partly due to rebuilding our destroyed home which is a tedious process slowed down by shortage of building materials and qualified professionals. And partly due to amount of work on our everyday plate. You know, we do many different things on top of our “real” professions. Photographing things around us is more intense than ever – it is time of fascinating changes after the hurricane. Balance of things in nature changes frequently, so does the look of the whole island. We try to document as many such changes as possible for local use and also to offer on Getty/iStock sites.

African Tulip tree in full bloom

Then we need to take care of five dogs which became part of our family after the hurricane. The newest addition – a small puppy we found hungry, full of flies, half-dead on streets of Roseau proved to be real challenge, for it had a nasty Parvovirus our other dogs picked up. Vet visits, treatments, nursing sick dogs -a real zoo – you can imagine. All ended happily, and thanks for that because other work just piled up.

Fascinating shapes created in our forest by aggressively growing vines

For last several months I am involved in filming documentary material for one of big-wig nature movie TV producers (more about it is another subject requiring a separate post later on). So, I film with our drones using GPS routing for elaborate aerial time lapse video showing progress of nature healing itself. That requires regular trips to different spots on the island, over and over.
Then we had the photo competition to take care of, another article for MACO Caribbean Lifestyle magazine, several smaller photo-shoots, and so on.

Mountain Chicken frog in Dominica

And just recently, with production of a short movie for Discover Dominica Authority in mind, we photographed and filmed beautiful Dominica Jaco parrots and endangered “Mountain Chicken” frog. That proved to be both challenge and fun. Parrots are smart and playful creatures. Filming them up and close wasn’t exactly easy as they are constantly moving in unpredictable ways – but it is work like this which makes it living in Dominica such a great experience.

Jaco Parrot in Dominica

Therefore we want to share with you some of these photographs. If you plan to visit Dominica, maybe you will see these parrots yourself. We hope you will. But hey – for now you can at least enjoy these photos.
Until next time!

Derek and Margaret

Please respect the copyright, ask for permission before using any of these images.
Thank you!

Jaco parrot in Dominica

Derek’s work can be seen on www.ArtPhotographyServices.com

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: