Capones is an outdoor photographer's heaven. Accessible, deserted, amazing landscape, white sand beaches, views of both sunset and sunrise, the list can go on.
Located just 30 minutes by boat from the fishing village of Pundaquit in San Antonio, Zambales, Capones island is one of the destinations for island hopping crowds staying in resorts in Pundaquit (the place is being positioned as another surfing destination). The island's white sand beaches (which actually "moves" depending on the season) and it's quaint Spanish era lighthouse are the main draws. Nobody lives in the island, except for a herd of goats and some feral cats.
I have been to the island before, twice actually. But this time my friends and I decided to camp there. We were already in the island before the first rays of the day shone. The water was calm and the bangka ride uneventful. It was weird, considering that it was already July (and usually is typhoon season already in the Philippines).
We dropped our gears on the beach and headed straight the north eastern side of the island, hiking through a trail covered with overgrown talahib grasses. It looked like its been a while since someone used that trail.
The light that morning was magnificent. But lack of sleep and a 3 hour bus ride took its toll; I did not get to shoot much. But I am glad I saw a very beautiful sunrise.
We headed back to camp after sunrise, spread our earth sheets on the sand and dropped to sleep. Setting up the tents can wait.
The sound of incoming bangka woke me up a few hours later. A trio, two German nationals and their Filipino friend, unloaded their gears and started pitching their tents. Our group and the new comers officially made up that weekend's beach crowd in Capones - a crowd of 6.
It was midday when I started to head out and explore the south western side of the island. I climbed a hill and had a great view of the stretch of deserted white sand beach. Weather was great although summer is officially over. Probably the reason why there are no island hopping crowds despite the fine beach weather.
Part of the allure of Capones is its rugged landscape. Its not your usual flat island surrounded by a white sand beach. Its huge rocks and jagged peaks and cliffs transport you to another place. There seem to be limitless options for a landscape photographer.
We spent a good part of the day swimming and exploring possible POVs for sunset. In the end we decided that the best place to shoot is on the coral bed near our campsite. From there we have a good view of the western sky, with the peaks of Capones in the background.
For the first few minutes of sunset it looked like we won't get the dramatic colors we are after. The sun will be behind the peaks by the time the sun is near the horizon, and rain clouds are also forming. It will be another overcast sunset, or so we thought.
I was ready to call it a day when the bluish gray rain clouds started to transform. Somebody shouted "we got colors!" and then it was a frantic rush to the positions we have scouted before.
What followed was most awesome display of nature's colors. Lady luck smiled on us that afternoon - a wide ear to ear grin.
Even the anti-sunset skies (the one opposite the sunset) was bathed in a pinkish glow. We tried to squeeze every last detail and color into our frames.
It was dark when we walked back to camp. I was tired but happy to be blessed with another beautiful sunset. I found the other group sitting near the shore, one remarked how beautiful the sunset. We all agreed. Now its time to cook dinner.