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Welcome to the online blog for traveler/writer/photographer Steven Barber. Come in. Relax. Take off your shoes and socks -- or any other article of clothing, this is the internet. Have a look around. I hope to intrigue, amuse, entertain, and maybe provoke you just a little. I love to find adventure. All I need is a change of clothes, my Nikon, an open mind and a strong cup of coffee.

Friday, May 20, 2016


“There's always a story. It's all stories, really. The sun coming up every day is a story. Everything's got a story in it. Change the story, change the world.” 

                                                               ― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky

It seems appropriate that I am writing this entry in the pre-dawn hours, tucked tightly into a cocoon of darkness. In just a little over an hour, as I write this, the sun will rise and a new day will begin.

Sunrise, Long Beach, CA
Sunrise is a magical time for many of us -- though I'll laughingly admit there's a large group of Americans who only theorize about sunrise, having never actually witnessed one for themselves. But the slow ascent of day, the gradual brightening of the sky to the East, with the sounds of birds as an accompanying orchestra, is one which when you pause to observe is a wonderful thing.

Sunset, Dana Point, CA
Likewise, at the end of every day the mirror of the dawn occurs: dusk. When the sun retreats back into the night and we all pack up our lives for a short time and rest to await the next day. Well, many of us rest...and that kind of depends upon which day of the week it is.

Both dawn and dusk are favorites for photographers. The lighting is dramatic and intense, giving us both inspiration and opportunity. Either directly shooting the sun as it rises or descends, or using the light from it as it falls upon some other target of our attentions.

Sunrise, Mt Haleakala, Maui, HI
I have been fortunate to have seen some truly spectacular sunrises and sunsets -- including a few of them which qualify as "Life Events". Seeing the sun rise from the top of Mount Haleakala in Hawaii was a truly inspirational moment, which I've described here, with the beauty and intensity of the sunrise over the massive volcanic crater, accompanied by the beautiful voice of a Hawaiian singer greeting the new day with a song.

Sunset from Mallory Pier, Key West, FL

Party time...
The carnival atmosphere of a sunset in Florida's Key West as seen from Mallory Pier is a fun and festive event as hundreds of people gather to watch a flotilla of sailboats dance across the horizon as they're silhouetted by the retreating sun.

Bodies of water seem to be appropriate canvases for the breaking of day or setting of the sun. The reflective nature enhances and frames the sun in a way that is remarkably profound and -- thankfully -- quite photogenic. And it oftentimes is an event which we will remember long after the sun has set and we've returned to our regular activities. It's a moment of pause, of -- pardon the pun -- reflection.

Sunrise on the tundra
As a photographer I have been to and seen many different spots in this world, but inevitably some of the most impactful moments have been in the very early morning hours when I walk, usually alone, around a place as it slowly wakes up. To see the sun as it comes up over the ocean, or a mountain, or the flat expanse of the Canadian tundra. Sunrises are mostly solitary events.

Sunsets are communal, shared, and more celebratory in a way. It's not the end of the day for many people, just the ending of daylight. As such, watching the sun go down is a group effort, while the sunrise is not. There may be one or two other souls who have similarly gotten up early, grabbed a cup of coffee and wandered out to see the morning's light. I described one such sunrise here.

These are some of my favorite places to see the sun awaken and also fall to sleep.

Sunset, Grand Canyon, AZ

Last vestige of light over Joshua Tree NP, CA

Sunset aboard the MSY Wind Surf - Adriatic Sea

Sunset, Hanalei Bay, Kauai, HI

Sunrise, Monument Valley, AZ/UT

Just before sunrise, Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, HI
Sunset, Washington, DC

Sunset, Nice, France

Sunrise, Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

Sunrise, Sedona, AZ

Sunset, Santa Fe, NM
Sunset, Las Vegas
Sunrise off the coast of Mexico

Sunrise, Cayman Islands
Sunrise just off the coast of Panama

Sunset, Cartagena, Colombia

Sunset, Kona, Big Island, HI

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