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  • Coastline Reflections

    Coastline reflections of a beautiful Hawaiian sunset by Christopher Johnson.

     

    A different perspective of the same coastline. With the high surf pounding the Kailua Kona coastline the water found its way to the grassy patch well behind the surf. Instead of positioning myself of the edge of a blowhole I chose to work with this grassy reflective scene. This was my second attempt when I wasn’t thrilled with my first composition from the previous day. Lucky for me the sunset and water waited for me to return.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Leaf Series

    A series of black and white photographs of leaf skeletons.

    Available for purchase on FineArtAmerica.com

    I love these leaf photographs and the amount of detail that makes up the fragile structure of the leaf. There are so many interconnecting lines that make up a sort of road map from the larger central lines which branch out into smaller and smaller lines until the entire leaf is formed into a shape.

    Photographed on wax paper to give a grungy background and backlit on an iPad. Final adjustments in Photoshop with the help of NIK software.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Fine Art Photography by Christopher Johnson

    Thank you for taking the time to view my site.

    Displayed is a wide collection of photographic work by me, Christopher Johnson, over the 20 + years I have been studying the art of photography.

    Peaberry Galette in Keauhou art displayIn 1999 I took an introduction to photography B&W class with a friend. I wasn’t familiar with photography at all other than simple point and shoot or instant cameras. My dad gave me his SLR camera with a couple lenses years before, but I didn’t really use it that much. It was a little daunting for me with all the settings and adjustments that I would rather shoot with a simple camera whenever I did, which was not that much, but I needed a SLR camera for the course.

    After a few weeks of class I began to be immersed in the art of photography. We went out to shoot assignments and I would get back to develop my film and enlarge the images only to realize what I needed to work on and back into the field I would go, shooting more images. We learned about all the great photographers like Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dorothea Lang, Edward Weston, etc. After a few years I had taken all the classes offered by the college and wanted more. I found the New York Institute of Photography online courses which I enrolled and completed. It was at this time I got my hands on my first digital camera, an Olympus E-10. This thing was amazing. Instant images with good quality at 4MP. I was styling, however, now a paperweight, it taught me so much about photography. I can’t really use the images I took for anything more than memories, but what I learned was invaluable.

    Fast forward 16 years and the digital camera technology is amazing, film is rarely ever used, and everyone has a camera everywhere they go; capturing virtually everything.

    I am now living in Hawaii, not as a professional photographer, but as a journeyman electrician with my sights set on art. I love spending my time off creating and capturing all the amazing scenes around the Big Island of Hawaii. My favorite subject is the one that inspires me to get my camera out and shoot.

    This website is a collection of my work and I hope you enjoy my journey.

    – Christopher Johnson

  • Kiholo Bait Ball

    Large bait ball in the turquoise waters of Kiholo seen from the sky.

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    This was the most unusual sight that caught me off guard. I went down to Kiholo with some friends to photograph them with the drone for their Christmas card. After the shoot I wanted to fly around for some straight down aerial shots when I saw this dark ball in the middle of the turquoise water. Since this was the first time I shot any aerial photos of Kiholo I thought this was a rock formation, but I had never seen this shape before and couldn’t remember seeing this in any other images shot by other photographers. I proceeded to photograph several compositions of the large dot in the water and after reviewing the images I saw the dot changed shapes, which could only mean a large school of fish.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Leaf

    Macro photograph of a full leaf skeleton.

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    I’m surprised that this leaf has remained intact for as long as it has. A year ago I found this leaf in a bag with pinecones, branches, and other large heavy items while we were moving and made a note to myself to photograph its amazing structure before it was destroyed. Then I didn’t see the bag again until just recently, 12 months later, and was amazed the leaf remained mostly untouched.

    I am fascinated with the structure of leaves. Especially at this stage when everything is stripped away and all that is left are lines holding everything together. So fragile and beautiful.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Pine Trees Morning Surf

    Aerial photograph of a popular surf spot during sunrise in Kailua Kona.

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    My daughter wanted to meet some friend to surf dawn patrol at Pine Trees beach. Usually this means I have to sluggishly get out of bed, drive her down half asleep, and hurry home to drink more coffee, but not this time. For my birthday I got a DJI Spark drone and look for any opportunity to fly it. This was my opportunity to get out at sunrise and practice getting beach pictures while my daughter happily surfed with friends. Best of both worlds.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Surfer Girl Sunset

    Silhouette of surfer girls walking toward a Hawaiian sunset.

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    I wanted to get a little creative with this image. I had the panned sunset image that I wanted to add more interest to after getting inspiration from other artists on FineArtAmerica. I combined a silhouette of surfer girls walking in a sunset from an image I took in 2012 and a more recent image of birds in front of the sunset. Without much editing I had the scene I envisioned.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Hualalai Sunset

    Hualalai mountain shrouded by sunset lit clouds from the Kailua Kona shoreline

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    Standing on the coastline waiting for the sun to get into position to photograph the rocky shoreline  swallowing the waves during sunset, I looked behind me at the mountain.  This was too good to pass up and immediately shifted focus from the ocean to the land. My single wide lens couldn’t capture the entire scene that I was witnessing, so I needed to shoot a panorama.

    This image is a combination of 9 images. I first panned the landscape and then the sky to create the largest single image I have ever worked on. 20 hours of warping, masking, blending, and enhancing as well as another 3 to polish the shot to how I saw this amazing sunset.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Clouds Mimic the Earth

    A beautiful sunset from the OTEC coastline on the Big Island of Hawaii

    Buy a Print from my Fine Art America store.

    This sunset was one for the books. I had a suspicion that the sunset might be good, but as the light began to fizzle I became skeptical. Just as the sun moved under the distant clouds it began to highlight the underside of the lower clouds to gift me a beautiful shot. I was completely blown away that the shape of the clouds mimicked the shape of the landscape I was shooting, which gave me some interest in the sky.

    See this location from the air. A photo and video of this amazing location. “Keahole Coastline Aerial

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Yellow Hibiscus

    A beautiful yellow Hibiscus flower found on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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    Picked from one of the Hibiscus bushes we have out in our front yard. I selected this flower because of how the style curved right at the end so that I could photograph the profile of the flower and have all of the 5 stigma balls visual instead of overlapping each other.

    I don’t have much of a studio, so I have to improvise. I was able to float the flower away from its background by pinning it to the bottom of my kitchen cabinets with a safety pin. With natural light I needed a longer than desired shutter speed, so I had to close all windows and stop the fans to keep the flower from wavering. Then with a timer set to 2 seconds on the camera I quickly and carefully pressed the shutter and gently fluttered a white towel in the background to blur any shadow or detail that might be picked up by the camera. The depth of field wasn’t enough to pick up all the details of the flower, so I focus stacked 2 images for the final piece.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Lava River Texture

    Aerial photograph of the lava river in Pahoa Hawaii.

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    A section of the lava river from a Paradise Helicopter tour over the fissure 8 eruption of 2018 in Pahoa. I wanted to focus on the patterns the lava was making as it flowed to Kapoho, so I used a 70-300 telephoto lens to tightly frame in the lava with the dark surrounding areas. What I wasn’t expecting was how amazing the patterns are within the lava itself.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Fissure 8 and the Lava River

    Lava fountains out of the crater that fissure 8 created from the Pahoa volcanic eruption on Hawaii.

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    An aerial view of Fissure 8 spewing magma violently into the air and into a massive lava river headed to the ocean in Kapoho. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we flew over this newly formed cinder cone in the middle of the Leilani Estates neighborhood. It was surreal and frightening. Almost overnight thousands of peoples lives were uprooted and their future made unknown. My heart goes out to all those effected by the lava flow.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Nanawale Bay Coastline

    An aerial photograph of Nanawale Bay coastline from a Paradise Helicopter tour.

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    Photographed just east of the Kapoho lava flow ocean entry as we were flying away from the devastation. This was a small look into the recent past of what the coastline along the Kapoho coastline looked like before the lava destroyed it a month ago.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Colors Of Lava

    Colors of the lava flowing in the volcanic river to Kapoho from fissure 8 in Pahoa.

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    Insane to witness the amazing colors of lava from the sky. This massive lava flow is slowly making its way to Pahoa. Beautiful and destructive. I love the oranges, reds, purples, and blues seen in this image.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Lava Flow Pattern

    Tight cropping of the amazing detail and pattern of the lava river flowing out of Fissure 8 in Pahoa.

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    It was an amazing experience to see the lava spewing and flowing out of fissure 8 that erupted out of the middle of Leilani Estates in Pahoa, Hawaii. It was somewhat surreal. My mind didn’t comprehend what I was looking at at first because I felt like I was watching a movie. In Kona I am just far enough away to not realize what really is happening on the other side of the island even though we have the extreme VOG and earthquakes. It just never really sunk in until I went to see the event in person.

    After the initial shock and excitement of the fissure I began photographing the detail and patterns of the lava flow from above. This shot was taken at full zoom, 300mm, to enhance the colors and beautiful qualities of the lava as it cracked and hardened. When viewed at 100% there are endless designs and details in the lava that are just amazing that I didn’t realize were there until I developed these shots. The helicopter trip goes so fast and my mind was racing to take it all in mentally and with my camera. So much that I didn’t have my setting right in the camera while I was taking these pictures.

    When I was preparing to go on the helicopter I had a system to set the camera on shutter priority fast enough to handle the 300mm lens as well and the movement of the helicopter. Then to quickly review the shots to make sure everything was crisp before continuing. I even had a gentleman ask me about shutter speed before getting on the helicopter as a subtle reminder to adjust my settings. Unfortunately I didn’t heed my own preparation and advice. The excitement got to me. Before I knew it I was rapidly taking pictures of everything I saw. The helicopter pilot was twisting and tilting in all directions so everyone had their time to experience the disaster which added to my excitement.

    It wasn’t until we were leaving the flow that I began to review my images and noticed a lot of the had significant motion blur. My heart sank. I totally screwed up. “It’s Ok. It was the experience that was amazing. A once in a lifetime experience.” I told myself in order to cheer myself up. I mostly believed it, but as with all artists all we want to do is create. The life experiences are amazing, but we want to bring home some amazing art to relive it and share the experience. Sharing blurry shots of the lava isn’t going to excite anyone.

    I spent the rest of the day with a small lump in the back of my throat. I wanted to go up to the desk at Paradise Helicopters and tell them I wanted a do-over because I didn’t get the shots. They would obviously let me go again because that would be their biggest concern. It was weird where my mind went. I wasn’t depressed or anything and it would have been fine if all my images were trash because in actuality it was the experience that mattered. My wife and I had a blast and got to spent the rest of the day exploring new areas of the island. It was just disappointing that I thought I didn’t have any usable images.

    When I finally sat down and loaded all my shots into Bridge I was elated to see 2/3 of all the shots were just fine and my worries were for nothing. It’s so weird how a small thing can effect you in such a large way and how all preparation can be lost in excitement. I just need to learn to slow down and be methodical during these moments. In all actuality I had a lot of time to photograph the lava. It only seemed like I didn’t at the time.

    © Christopher Johnson