This week brought with it another challenging Weekly Travel Theme from Ailsa over at Where’s My Backpack. “Pale” images are usually the opposite of what I am aiming at with my camera – I much more naturally gravitate to bright colors, dramatic contrast and loud visuals. Yet, there is a delicate power in the soft, quiet colors of cloudy skies and pale petals. I also think it takes more skill to compose and capture an arresting image from these, more subtle, subjects. A talent I am trying to develop, with a little bit of luck, and few favors from Mother Nature here and there. For my submission, I have chosen a few photos from the end of a whale watching trip we took in early February. What began as a bright, warm, sunny day had turned grey, blustry and cold by the time our boat was headed back to harbor. The cloud cover hid the sun, only allowing the palest pinks and oranges to radiate through. As the afternoon rain built, the color palette shifted from pastels to cooler shade of greys and blues. Without the sun shining down, or the blue sky to contrast, the increasingly choppy ocean also took on a dark pewter hue, such that the water, the Coronado islands in the distance and the sky above were all part of the same color continuum. The other ships out that day were primarily white, and blended into nature’s color scheme quite well, including this enormous schooner that traveled past us at quite a clip. Despite the advancing storm, the dolphins were also out in droves playing in the wake left behind by our boat, their black, grey and white speckled skin dipping in and out of the white caps, emphasizing how perfectly they were camouflaged for days like this.There was a calm to the latter half of that day that I believe was influenced by the shifting hues in the sky. After a long day at sea, the chilly breeze and quiet greys lulled as all close to sleep as we approached the dock. And, every once in a while, we would look back out to sea right as the sun peeked through the clouds for a moment, streaming down in pale, yellow shafts and dappling the water with a soft golden sparkle, which was even more magical than when it had been blazing overhead a few hours before.