I just returned from a week in the US Virgin Islands. It wasn’t a photography trip per se, but more of a chance to get away with my lady love, Ashley. Of course, I brought along a camera, tripod, and a few lenses just in case I was presented with some interesting landscape scenery. Located at the border of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the Virgin Islands quickly conjure images of clear turquoise water and white sandy beaches. In short, images of paradise. Now, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical regarding the possibilities for landscape photography in the Virgin Islands. Sure, we’ve all seen the postcard shots of the palm trees with the hammocks and sandals, but as nice as these images are, most of them seem like photographic clichés to me. I was hoping for something different. And I was not disappointed!
If you are familiar with the US Virgin Islands, you know that the three largest islands are St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. They are located between Puerto Rico to the west and the British Virgin Islands to the northeast. Most of our trip was on the east side of St. John island in the Coral Bay area. It is a unique location with few crowds and a very distinct atmosphere that combines adventure and relaxation. To add to this, we stayed in a unique villa fashioned after a castle, which was located 750 feet above sea level on a steep, primitive road that requires four wheel drive. The end result was an unimpeded view of ocean to the east and the sunrise every morning. It was a truly spectacular location and it provided me ample opportunities to enjoy and explore sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean every morning. Not a bad gig!
I’ve been to a lot of places and the resulting experiences have taught me that paradise is not about weather, or location, or other extrinsic factors. Paradise is a state of mind. That’s right, I fundamentally believe it is possible to find paradise wherever you happen to be. Sure, it is easy to find it at places like St. John, but the key to contentment is finding paradise in our everyday lives!
Here are a couple of images from the castle on Coral Bay. Enjoy! And here is to paradise, wherever you happen to find it!