NATURE :: Showing Up at Coral Caves


Chip Bunnell Photography Jupiter Palm Beach Delray FloridaWoody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” This morning that quote proved to once again be true. I continued on my now week long streak of awakening long before the sunrise, 4:30 this morning, and venturing into the darkness. Armed with only a camera, a few lenses, a tripod and my trusty iPad (never leave home without it), I set out to, well, see what there was to see.

Once again The Force took me north towards Jupiter. I have been enjoying the postings of photographer Steve Huskisson and feeling a bit jealous of his recent wonderful encounters with turtles laying their eggs on the beach in the early morning light. I was in hopes that today would be my day for a similar experience. Upon arrival, the sign read “Yes, we have no turtles today”, but I found something almost as fascinating. The tides, sunrise and the winds all had a conference last night and agreed to reward my early morning efforts. As I walked up the boardwalk, I saw a perfectly flat ocean – one you could skip a rock over – and an incredibly low tide. Okay, so what’s so impressive about this? Let me explain….

This particular location is known as Coral Caves. The reason: there are very unique and rugged coral formations where the ocean waves crash against before meeting the soft sand. The force of the water has cut holes in the coral, creating interesting shapes and valleys. Some have even become “blow holes” that send the oncoming waves spraying into the air. But today, due to the exceedingly low tide and unbelievably flat seas, these coral formations were complete exposed! The water had retreated and left the rocks vulnerable to my camera lens and allowed me to capture this intimate moment. Fortunately, I had my hiking flip-flops on…as opposed to my formal flip-flops…which allowed me to traverse the jagged rock tops. I was now walking where marine life normally lives. It was actually a very surreal moment.

This image gives a glimpse of the vast expanse I was part of this morning. There were just enough clouds to frame the sun as it burst through morning sky. It is rare to see all the elements line up to make such an interesting moment. Woody Allen would be proud – just by showing up, I was able to find success in the image and be part of the story.

3 Frame HDR, Processed in Photomatix Pro, LR and Topaz Clarity

NATURE :: Never Miss Anything in Juno


Chip Bunnell Photography Juno Beach Palm Beach FloridaProfessional baseball players all learn at a very young age to “respect the streak,” Having played baseball for a number of my young years, I learned that lesson as well. So, after my 5 day streak of awakening long before the sunrise to greet the day with a camera in my hand, I felt there needed to be a 6th. I am happy to report that by respecting the streak, I was richly rewarded.

The weather reports all said it will be a cloudy, rainy day. The question was could I beat the odds and find that little break in the clouds to allow the sun to come through. As I made the hour long trek north to the Juno Beach Pier, I kept a watchful eye on the eastern horizon. Little by little the clouds began to show their faint outline. At one point I even thought to myself that this would be a bust and that I would be better served under the warm covers on my waiting bed. On an impulse, I exited the highway to make a U-Turn home. Fortunately, I had to wait for a light which gave me a moment to remember the words by which I laughingly have lived my life: “I hate to miss anything!” As this is an “anything”, I would hate to miss it, so back to the highway I went.

When I arrived at the pier, the clouds were heavy, but there was a faint hint of orange right at the horizon line. I made a few frames and began my exploration down the beach. As the sun began its climb, it was indeed behind the thick clouds, but today, the sunrise itself was not the exciting story. Instead, I was able to look down the beach towards the pier and see the most incredible reflections of those very same massive mountains of clouds. The low tide left a glossy, reflective surface that showcased the rich blue and white contrasts from above. Rather than the clouds hiding my subject, they become the subject and the star of this morning’s play.

…and it’s all because I respected the streak and I hate to miss anything!

3 Frame HDR, Processed in LR and Photomatix Pro