The Dwan Light Sanctuary at UWC-USA Photos

The Dwan Light Sanctuary at UWC-USA Photos

Light & Architecture Dance Together

Thanks to Jessica’s curiosity about the curious and the website Atlas Obscura, on a recent weekend trip to Las Vegas, New Mexico, we drove up a picturesque road to the United World College, checked in at the visitor’s center, and were handed a key card to The Dwan Light Sanctuary. This is a peaceful temple of sorts that uses architecture and prism widows to create a visual interior landscape of geometric design. I found it quite the unique space as my eye was drawn to both the architecture of the building itself, and the scattered light falling on its walls. This is a hidden gem of tranquility deep in northern New Mexico.

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Rainbow over Smacks Bayou Snell Isle St. Petersburg Florida HDR

Rainbow as seen from Smacks Bayou Snell Isle St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDRI rushed home from a networking event to pick up Kiki and get our usual evening dog park time in before an imposing storm on the horizon passed by.  Basically, as soon as we got to the dog park a deluge opened up.  After even a huge live oak could not provide adequate shelter, we headed back home.  Naturally, as soon as we parked the rain stopped and the sun was out.

The storm that birthed this rainbow did wash out dog park time, but at least I got to make this photo - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDRSo back on went Kiki's collar and leash as we headed out for a walk.  That is when I saw this rainbow appear vividly over Smack's Bayou.  Still we walked on and I let Kiki run around in a soccer field (see lower right corner of the above image for where we were earlier).  I just hoped the rainbow would stay visible by the time we got back.

There was actually a double rainbow visible shortly, but not possible to capture by this time - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 7-exposure HDRIt did.  So I mounted my Nikon onto my tripod quickly and was able to make the above photos.  I could see a double rainbow with my eye, but getting it to come out in a photograph was not possible due to a number of factors.  Still, I was glad that even though our usual plans got washed out, at least I was able to add another rainbow photo to my archives.

Bowman's Beach Rainbow Sunset Sanibel Island Panorama & HDR

Click image for 3000px version -- Bowman's Beach Sanibel Island Double Rainbow Panorama - 5-shot panorama image

Bowman's Beach is a dog friendly (on-leash) beach on Sanibel Island, and one of its best beaches of any kind.  I took a timeout from swimming and running with Kiki to photograph a complete rainbow that had formed to the east.  We had to drive through a powerful thunderstorm and wait out the remnants of it while eating onion rings undercover before it was even safe, never mind dry, enough to head out onto the beach.  Storms always seem to leave good things behind, like this rainbow.  I did not even notice it was a double rainbow with my naked eye.  Only once I brought out some detail in Aperture 3 did I see the upper bow.

Sunset over Bowman's Beach Sanibel Island - 3-bracket HDRThe just passed storm also meant the beach was nearly deserted, which was fine by me and Kiki.  We ran far up the shoreline (see photo above) into the sunset, then swam and jogged our way back.  It was one of the most pleasant experiences in recent memory.

Stormy Rainbow Sunset Beach Florida Wedding

Rainbow on their wedding night! Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 250 1/125th strobist - Nikon SB-800 on light stand

Storms were surrounding Sunset Beach on Treasure Island, Florida that evening.  They were rolling on from the west, and from the south, most unusual.  However, Lynda and David were to be married under the open sky right on the beach.  Fortunately, the ceremony was not a long one, and all we saw in the distance was a rainbow, not lightning.

Sand pouring ceremony Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 250 1/125th Nikon SB-800 hotshoe mounted TTL modeLynda and David were a very elegant and polite couple.  Photographing them was a pleasure.  I was glad that David wore a dark blue jacket to contrast nightly with the white of Lynda's dress.  They ended their wedding ceremony by pouring sand into a heart shaped glass keepsake.  

Lifting the bride! Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 250 1/125th strobist - Nikon SB-800 Speedlight on light standIn a way, I kind of prefer shooting on the beach with stormy skies rather than a pure sunset.  The former make for a dramatic backdrop and adds energy and dynamism to a shot.  Standing on the beach we can feel the surrounding energy too, and the slight element of danger.  Nevertheless, Lynda was willing to show off her quite good vertical leap.  We were able to get the above shot on just the third take.

westward is peaceful Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 250 1/125th strobist - Nikon SB-800 Speedlight on light standYou may have noticed I used the same settings for all four shots: 

  • aperture - f/8
  • ISO - 250 (I confess this might be a mistake, probably meant ISO 200)
  • shutter speed - 1/125th
  • exposure - manual mode
  • strobe power - 1/2 (manual mode & off camera flash, save for one shot) 

So if you find yourself shooting on a stormy evening on the beach facing westward, try giving those settings a try and post a link to your shots in the comments below.

The storm?  Not a drop fell until I was already in my Lexus listening to Common take me home.