St. John, US Virgin Islands thumbnails only

Coconut on the Beach, Trunk Bay, St john Coconut on the Beach, Trunk Bay, St john
Shadows play with a coconut in Trunk Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands.
 
18mm  f/13.0  1/125s  ISO 100
Stingray in St. John, USVI Stingray in St. John, USVI
A Southern Stingray swims through a dense school of small fish in Maho Bay, St. John, Virgins Island National Park.
 
18mm  f/11.0  1/125s  ISO 100
Trunk Bay, St. John Trunk Bay, St. John
This is the classic view of Trunk Bay, St. John. Classic for two reasons - the beauty and ... the access. This is one of the few locations Trunk Bay is visible from other than on the beach itself.
 
One of the great things about shooting in the caribean is that the water is so beautiful when the sun is high. An early alarm is not necessary to capture a beautiful scene such as this one. Of course, the beach is filled with people at this time. I wanted an empty beach, so lots of clone stamping was required.
 
A circular polarizer filter is extremely helpful for mid-day landscape photography.
 
40mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 100
Shipwrecked in St. John Shipwrecked in St. John
No, I was not driving. Just wanted to get that straight
 
This yacht was torn from its mooring during the fall 2010 tropical storm that hit St. John with an exceptional amount of rain. The 18mm focal length gives the shipwrecked yacht a pleasing (to me at least) perspective.
 
18mm  f/13.0  1/160s  ISO 100
Cinnamon Bay, St. John Cinnamon Bay, St. John
Cinnamon Bay has one of the many spectacular St. John beaches. When shooting on a beach, I spend a lot of time waiting for the right wave action to complete my composition. Great clouds also help.
 
32mm  f/11.0  1/80s  ISO 160
St. John Iguana St. John Iguana
The Westin Resort is the place to shoot iguanas in St. John. A daily feeding brings them in by the dozens. Finding an attractive composition is a much more difficult task than finding the subjects.
 
200mm  f/2.8  1/100s  ISO 160
Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center Window Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center Window
Just because you are using a wide angle lens does not mean that you have to frame the big picture. Move in to capture the details with a unique perspective. In this picture, I avoided lines intersecting the edge of the frame as much as possible and kept the top of the windows parallel with the top edge of the frame.
 
18mm  f/16.0  1/80s  ISO 100
Shadows on the Beach at Trunk Bay Shadows on the Beach at Trunk Bay
Shadows (and a coconut) create a great foreground for early-mid-morning photography at Trunk Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands National Park. Clouds of course are key to great skies - and clouds also interfere with shadows. I spent a lot of time waiting for the right cloud setup for this picture. Keeping my own shadow out of the frame was another challenge for this shot.
 
18mm  f/13.0  1/125s  ISO 100
I Dropped My Canon 5D Mark III into the Caribbean Sea I Dropped My Canon 5D Mark III into the Caribbean Sea
That's right. I dropped my Canon EOS 5D Mark III with an EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens attached into the Caribbean Sea. Fortunately, it was in an Ewa-Marine U-B 100 Underwater Housing.
 
As I have mentioned, my landscape photography plans did not work out as well as planned on my recent St John, USVI photo trip, but I had a backup plan. St John has some of the world's best snorkeling locations, and as I am sure that you are aware of by now, I have a problem with seeing something amazing and not being able to capture it photographically. The Ewa-Marine underwater housing is a very cost-effective way to make high quality underwater photography possible using your existing DSLR kit. The UB-100 model fits most DSLR cameras and small to medium-sized lenses with 77mm or 82mm filter threads.
 
Underwater snorkeling photography is both physically demanding and skill-challenging. I have never deleted as many bad pictures as I did on this trip, but I have no regrets and look forward to the next opportunity to shoot underwater as it is great fun and also rewarding.
 
Imagine swimming through a school of little fish so thick that you can't clearly see beyond several feet (with motion sickness becoming a real issue) – until a 3-4' (1m) tarpon shows up, clearing a path around it. As the fish appears, you dive down to attempt a level perspective and attempt to get good framing as the huge fish passes close by. Occasionally, you get it right and have a unique image to add to your portfolio.
 
22mm  f/11.0  1/500s  ISO 1600
Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins
Early morning sunlight shines through the windows of a building at the Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins, Virgin Islands National Park, St. John.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 100
Palm Tree Shadow on Beach at Maho Bay Palm Tree Shadow on Beach at Maho Bay
A lone palm tree casts a long shadow onto the white beach at Maho Bay, Virgin Islands National Park, St. John. Less is often more in a successful photo composition.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Caneel Bay, St. John Caneel Bay, St. John
A row of clouds flow through the blue sky over Caneel Bay in St. John. Timing allowed a tiny wave break over the smooth beach surface to be captured.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Sunset at Maho Bay, St. John Sunset at Maho Bay, St. John
Silhouetted palm trees add interest to a beautiful Maho Bay sunset.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/13s  ISO 100
High Sun Over Honeymoon Beach, Salomon Bay, St. John High Sun Over Honeymoon Beach, Salomon Bay, St. John
The classic caribean blue water in St. John shows best during the middle of the day. Honeymoon Beach / Salomon Bay is a beautiful location for capturing this blue color.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/80s  ISO 160
100 Megapixel Francis Bay, St John, USVI Sunset 100 Megapixel Francis Bay, St John, USVI Sunset
I'm just back from a 10-day photo trip to St John, USVI. St John is an extremely beautiful island and landscape photography was intended to be a major component of my trip, but I found myself highly challenged in this regard. I'll share more about the primary reason for this challenge later, but lack of color in the sky at sunset was another challenge.
 
My St John, USVI photo gallery is predominated by blues and whites. While the Caribbean blue water under full sun is probably my favorite color, one of my goals for the recent trip was to capture some new colors from this island. Nine evenings of chasing sunsets resulted in pics from only one night with color worthy of sharing.
 
It had been a long, hot day of hiking and I was tired. Analyzing the sky, I decided to go light with only the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS Lens and Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 L IS Lens and a single Canon EOS 5D Mark III body. I guessed that these two lenses would cover my entire range of needs for the balance of the evening. What I didn't plan adequately for was the sky completely exploding overhead, leaving me seriously focal length limited on the wide end. While I captured many images of the cropped sky show, I wanted the bigger picture.
 
There was no time to hike back to get the Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 ZE Lens from the SUV, so I took the next-best alternative – I captured a few panoramic photos that, when stitched together, frame nearly all of the color in the sky that night. Using completely manual settings, I captured overlapping images (overlapping by at least 1/3) and later stitched them together using Photoshop's Photomerge tool. Containing nearly 100 megapixels, this panoramic image has many good crops available in it. I can decide what a print will look like later.
 
In the end, a colorful sunset helps accomplish the new color for St John goal.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/13s  ISO 100
Church in Cruz Bay, St. John Church in Cruz Bay, St. John
Bright red doors stand out against the white church building in Cruz Bay, St. John.
 
35mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 100
Trunk Bay Coconut Trunk Bay Coconut
A coconut washed up on the beach at Trunk Bay adds foreground interest to this compsition. The super-clean beaches in St. John are a photographer's dream, but still require some clone stamping to remove small pieces of trees and other imperfections.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/60s  ISO 100
Hawksnest Bay, St. John Hawksnest Bay, St. John
A wide angle lens positioned close to the rocks cause them to appear large in relation to the distance hill.
 
24mm  f/14.0  1/60s  ISO 320
Wave Crashing in Cinnamon Bay, St. John Wave Crashing in Cinnamon Bay, St. John
More like "splashing" I suppose - waves are typically small in St. John, but timing them just right adds to the shot. Cinnamon Bay in St. John has one of the nicest beaches you can find anywhere along with some volcanic rock to add interest to photos.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/80s  ISO 100
Palm Shadows on Beach at Maho Bay Palm Shadows on Beach at Maho Bay
Large palms create large shadows over the beach at Maho Bay, St. John during mid-day. Use shadows to create an interesting foreground.
 
18mm  f/16.0  1/60s  ISO 100
Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins, Virgin Islands National Park Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins, Virgin Islands National Park
A tower rises into the sky at the Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins, Virgin Islands National Park, St. John.
 
18mm  f/11.0  1/100s  ISO 100
St. John Wild Donkey St. John Wild Donkey
No St. John picture gallery would be complete without a shot of a wild donkey. The donkeys were left after the St. John sugar mills closed and now wander around the island.
 
88mm  f/5.0  1/200s  ISO 200
Sunset at Westin Resort, St. John Sunset at Westin Resort, St. John
Not only is the Westing Resort in St. John a great place to stay, it is also very photogenic. Here I silhouetted the palm trees against the Great Cruz Bay sunset.
 
24mm  f/8.0  1/40s  ISO 250
Salomon Bay, St. John Picture Salomon Bay, St. John Picture
Salomon Bay is a very popular location for boats to moor. And Honeymoon Beach is a great reason for this location's popularity.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/80s  ISO 160
Cruz Bay Ferry Boat Dock Cleat Cruz Bay Ferry Boat Dock Cleat
Using a wide angle focal length from a close distance makes the already large dock cleat (Cruz Bay, St. John) appear even larger relative to its background. A very narrow aperture is required to keep both the foreground and the background in focus.
 
24mm  f/16.0  1/30s  ISO 100
Trunk Bay, Vigin Islands National Park Trunk Bay, Vigin Islands National Park
A small dingy is moored off of the beach at Trunk Bay. This is my favorite beach on the St. John Island.
 
35mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Couple Walking on the Beach at Hawksnest Bay Couple Walking on the Beach at Hawksnest Bay
A couple walks on the beautiful beach at Hawksnest Bay, Virgin Islands National Park, St. John. Lines of clouds, trees, sand, water and rocks flow through the composition.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Ferry Arriving at Cruz Bay, St. John Ferry Arriving at Cruz Bay, St. John
A ferry arrives at the port in Cruz Bay, St. John. Morning sun provides a warm light on the scene.
 
35mm  f/10.0  1/50s  ISO 125
Doorway at Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins Doorway at Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins
The Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins has a lot of photo opportunities including through-window and -doorway shots.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 100
Maho Bay Palm Tree Shadow Maho Bay Palm Tree Shadow
An early afternoon sun drops this palm tree's shadow directly on the beach.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Colors of Salomon Bay, St. John Colors of Salomon Bay, St. John
The reef at Salomon Bay glows in a variety of colors under the mid-day sun. Saturation of the colors is aided by a circular polarizer filter.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Great Cruz Bay Sunset Great Cruz Bay Sunset
The signature palm trees mark the sky against the Great Cruz Bay sunset.
 
24mm  f/8.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Trunk Bay Coconut and Shadows Trunk Bay Coconut and Shadows
Tree shadows surround a coconut on the beach at Trunk Bay, St. John.
 
18mm  f/16.0  1/100s  ISO 100
Great Cruz Bay Dock Great Cruz Bay Dock
The Great Cruz Bay Dock at the Westin Resort provides converging lines while the light poles provide layers. Landscaping balances the bottom of the composition and a long, dark cloud balances the left-most black light pole.
 
18mm  f/16.0  1/100s  ISO 100
Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center Roofline Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center Roofline
The Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center architecture provides lot of photo opportunities. Lines going through the top or bottom of this composition have been nearly completely avoided, but strong lines run throughout the picture. Some mustache-type distortion can be seen in the top right rain gutter.
 
18mm  f/14.0  1/60s  ISO 100
Anna Point, Leinster bay, St. John Anna Point, Leinster bay, St. John
Great Thatch Island in the background, Anna Point in the mid-ground and the caribean blue Leinster Bay in the foreground.
 
75mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 100
Westin Resort, St. John, USVI Westin Resort, St. John, USVI
The Westin Resort in St. John, USVI, is a beautiful place. The palm trees stand out against the western sky as the sun sets and the moon rises.
 
24mm  f/8.0  1/20s  ISO 1000
Tropical Foliage, St. John Tropical Foliage, St. John
Beautiful green tropical foliage curves over Leinster Bay, St. John.
 
18mm  f/16.0  1/80s  ISO 100
Hawksnest Beach, St. John Hawksnest Beach, St. John
The white edge of the surf etches a curved line around Hawksnest Beach, St. John. The horizon edge adds some curves to the basic curve of the surf.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/80s  ISO 100
Caribean Church Cross and Bell Caribean Church Cross and Bell
The cross on this caribean church stands out against the deep blue sky.
 
75mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 100
Sunset at Trunk Bay Sunset at Trunk Bay
The lone Palm tree on Trunk Cay caught my attention. I also like how the clouds are shaped similarly to the rocks extending into Trunk Bay from the cay.
 
105mm  f/8.0  1/13s  ISO 250
Salomon Bay, St. John Salomon Bay, St. John
I can't get enough of the caribean blue water. The warm temperature would also be quite welcomed as I edit this image in the middle of the winter. This is Salomon Bay and Honeymoon Beach. Sailboats can typically be found mooring in this area.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center
The Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center entrance as seen from a wide angle lens at a low position.
 
18mm  f/16.0  1/125s  ISO 100
Sunset Swim at Trunk Bay, St. John Sunset Swim at Trunk Bay, St. John
A young swimmer is silhouetted by a Trunk Bay sunset. Models must be instructed to not move when the shutter speed is a long 1/10 second. This one did rather well.
 
24mm  f/8.0  1/10s  ISO 320
Rock and Water at Cinnamon Bay, St. John Rock and Water at Cinnamon Bay, St. John
If you want to fill a large portion of your frame with water, a downward camera angle is needed. From up on the rocks, I was able to use the dark rocks as the base for this picture.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/80s  ISO 160
Iguana Eating Flower Iguana Eating Flower
A St. John iguana eats a flower while another is thinking it might like to try the same. The shallow DOF from the 200mm focal length and f/2.8 aperture renders the background nicely blurred. The two iguana subjects are sharp since they are in the plane of sharp focus.
 
200mm  f/2.8  1/400s  ISO 100
St. John Sand St. John Sand
St. John sand is among the nicest you will find anywhere. And it consumes a large portion of this composition for a clean image.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/80s  ISO 160
Ram Head and Booby Rock Ram Head and Booby Rock
See the aqua blue water in this photo? Caribbean blue may be my favorite color and this is the color that I hoped to capture a lot of on my recent St John, USVI photography trip. I mentioned in the 100 Megapixel Francis Bay, St John, USVI Sunset post that I faced a big challenge to my landscape photography on this trip. That challenge was dust blowing nearly 5,000 miles from the Sahara Desert to the Virgin Islands, causing haze.
 
To get the brilliant blue color I like so much requires white sand under clear water and a clear sky with an overhead sun. The white sand and clear water are generally abundant on this island, but the haze caused by dust took out the clear sky requirement and with the exception of about one day, the blue water did not pop like I wanted during my trip. Since that one day was partly-to-mostly cloudy, shooting was only good for part of that day. Some clouds are of course desired for adding interest to an otherwise solid blue sky, but too many clouds become an issue.
 
This picture of Ram Head and Booby Rock was captured during a break in the clouds with part of Ram Head, the distant sea and the island under shade from the clouds. I shot a variety of compositions of this scene, but liked the panoramic captured handheld at 53mm the best.
 
Often, an extremely wide angle of view captured using a circular polarizer filter will result in an unevely darkened sky, and I have been asked about the evenly polarized skies in this image. The key was that this image was captured at 12:48 PM under a very high sun. With the sun was high in the sky, the 90 degree angle of strongest sky darkening is at the horizon – the entire horizon, making wide panorama skies captured using a polarizer filter look great (if significantly more sky was included in this photo, you would start to see the sky lighten toward the top of the frame). I frequently shoot under a high sun for this reason. Use a circular polarizer filter to create mid-day amazement.
 
53mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Leinster Bay from Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins Leinster Bay from Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins
A fence and beautiful flowering tree front Leinster Bay as seen from the Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins, Virgin Islands National Park, St. John.
 
50mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 125
Drawing in the Sand, Maho Bay, St. John Drawing in the Sand, Maho Bay, St. John
A young girl draws in the sand at Maho Bay in St. John. More striking are the shadows on the beach. A somewhat long exposure allows some subject motion blur.
 
24mm  f/11.0  1/50s  ISO 100
Red Church Doors Red Church Doors
Bright red doors front a Cruz Bay, St. John church.
 
105mm  f/11.0  1/40s  ISO 100
National Park Service Building National Park Service Building
When a straight line parallels the border of the frame, care must be taken if the line is to perfectly parallel the border. Any lens distortion present makes this task more difficult.
 
18mm  f/16.0  1/80s  ISO 100
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