I have returned to Caye Caulker, Belize after a good time spent away from it and am happy to find that it has remained mostly unchanged. It is still “slow life.” The Caribbean vibe will never change, and although there may be more hotels, more tourists, and more tour providers the general vibe of the island has remained as it was. There are still only emergency vehicles and golf carts on the island, something I hope never changed. Who really needs a car on an island that’s about 2 kilometers long and 500 meters wide at its widest measurements? I woke up early to take some photos of the island during the beautiful pre-sun light and had some great results. Consider this photo of Caye Caulker at dawn to be a preview of what’s to come.

Caye Caulker, Belize

Caye Caulker Dawn

The Shot

I can’t stress enough how important shooting landscapes is during the early morning, or late afternoon, hours is.  At sunrise there are no harsh sun rays to burn out the colour of your photos or create funky exposures.  Shooting at this time of day will also give your photos a number of different dimensions.  Take a look at the above photo of Caye Caulker and examine how many things are done in a way that could never be done during the days.  1) The water is smooth because of the long exposure time (30 seconds) giving a tranquil mood to the water.  2) The light on the right is starred thanks to the narrow aperture (f/13).  3) Mix of natural and created light gives and interesting range of colours.  3) The clouds are full of lights and all properly exposed and full of detail.  4) The tips of the palm trees are moving thanks to the wind and slow exposure which adds to the vibrance.  5) There are no people.  I got up at 4:45am to get this image and the others and shot for about an hour before the sun came up and ruined my fun.  Some days you will only get 10-15 minutes of good light, I was lucky enough to get about an hour.  Getting up this early seems like a chore, but it is worth every second.  Besides, you can always go back to bed afterwards.

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