October 20th, 2011

lagoon dreams week #4

Beach at the Ha'apai island, Kingdom of Tonga

Nikon D300 + Nikkor 12-24mm, Circular PL

this image is not cropped, slight contrast adjustment in Adobe Lightroom

location on Google maps

Wikipedia reference

Ah, Tonga ! Kingdom of Tonga, to be more precise. Artemy Lebedev wrote recently report on his trip to this remote island nation - http://tema.livejournal.com/993218.html. Actually much of it reflects on my impressions - Tonga is very disorganized place :-) But still it is incredibly beautiful, especially on more remote atolls and islands, with many kilometers of sandy beaches, unspoiled vegetation and tortoise water. Only thing which is missing on big scale - is abundant marine life. Tonga was well developed and highly populated center of Polynesian civilization, and gradually massive overfishing led to hardly reversible losses in species variety. But for wildlife encounter seekers Tonga has one big thing - annual humpback whale congregation. They come to Tonga to give birth to young and nurture them in the warm tropical waters free of big predators. After several months they leave back to cold water of Antarctica to feed on krill. But while they stay due to unique Tongan laws allowing people to enter water with whales - more and more people come to enjoy company of these beautiful creatures.

Photo above is not so special in artistic sense but it's special for me since it reminds me how my "romantic dream" of sleeping on the beach was actually realized at the very beach pictured. But I will tell this story other time - it's Thursday and I have to do some work too :-)

While Russian sector of LJ thinks that travel and nature photography looks like this tomato-flavored clownery (это не видео, это полная абассака Ж-)), some of our fellow countrymen making us proud of Russia even if we don't notice it. Just few hours ago results of Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition were announced. And this year we have several Russian names among winners - Denis Budkov, with his amazing Kamchatka landscape photo, and Dmitry Monastirskiy with his macro image shot in Rostov-on-Don region, highlighting beauty of Russian nature you can find very close to your home. Congratulations guys, well done and keep good work ! Let's hope that public will get fed up eventually with stupidity and ugliness of self-promoting tomatoes and poets of pink roofs and will pay more attention to real art of photo - which like any art must be unique, deep, time and skill demanding, beautiful, difficult to make. And hence inspiring to challenge, not to illusion of it :-)

As for my favorite image of this year WPY - I think false killer whales with accidental dolphin are difficult to beat - http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/wpy/photo.do?photo=2730&category=6&group=1 :-)

Finally, if you are on Google+ - don't forget to circle me there too - https://plus.google.com/111095045247360522931/ :-)