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  • Onomea Waterfall

    The beautiful cascading Onomea waterfall in the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.

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    Two years ago I visited this waterfall and failed to focus properly on all parts of the scene and regretted not spending the time to make sure I had the shot before I left. The unfortunate thing is I though I had the shot when I left only to find slightly out of focus images when I went to process them. If the out of focus elements were in the background I may have dismissed the error, but they were foreground elements. It’s one thing on macro or artsy style images to have blurred parts, as long as it’s not the main focus of the image, but this wasn’t the case. Needless to say it bothered me for a while and when my daughter wanted to return last weekend I didn’t hesitate to go.

    We arrived around noon which isn’t ideal for photographing waterfalls or complex landscapes because the light from the sun spots the scene with unpleasant highlights. I was hoping for a cloud to hide the sun momentarily, but after waiting 20 minutes there was no relief from the sun.  I gave up to walk the gardens and to hopefully have better luck later, which when I returned my wish was granted.

    After a cautious and abundant photoshoot I knew I had the shots I needed to create the image I had been wanting for 2 years. I focus blended the foreground tree with the waterfall and distant trees in Photoshop to create a fully sharp image as well as adjusting the exposure with luminosity masks to create depth and interest.

    Hope you enjoy this image and the lesson for me was to take my time and make sure I have all elements of the scene captured before leaving. Returning may not be an option.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Ka’anapali Sunset

    A beautiful sunset from the Ka’anapali beach on the island of Maui

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    The winter months in Hawaii are the busiest as people that live in cold climates seek an escape to warm beautiful tropical weather. With the increase in people finding wide open unobstructed landscape photo opportunities decrease.

    I went out to photograph this sunset off of the sandy beach of Ka’anapali. Instead of getting a wide angle shot close to the water I decided on capturing a fresh perspective. I have always loved the look of the trees that lined the beach along with the broad leaved vines that grow along the ground, so this time I setup back away from the ocean. After composing and setting up for the shot I started to realize the traffic of all the people coming out to enjoy the sunset. Some people stopped to take a quick picture while others rested on the trees within my field of view. The last interruption came as a family posed to take a family photo on the tree with the sunset to their backs. Luckily I had a few open opportunities to get the shots I needed to work with. The rest of the time was spent enjoying the sunset and the way people reacted once they saw me crouched on the ground taking their photo.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Oil Colors

    Close up of the colorful wet oil on the pavement of a Waimea parking lot.

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    I have been wanting to photograph the colorful oil streaks on wet pavement for a while, but never wanted to take the time to capture it properly. Instead I would take a few shots only to notice edges are out of focus, or there was a small amount of blur from shaking the camera. I would always get back to the computer just to kick myself for not spending the time to get the shot properly. In this situation, in public, I always have trouble taking pictures. I would rather be in the comfort of my home or out in the wild away from people to work on perfecting images. When I saw this colorful oil slick in the middle of a busy parking lot I thought of all the times I had failed, so this time I made sure I got the shot right.

    I didn’t pull out the tripod and reflector shield, although maybe I should have. Instead I boosted the ISO to eliminate shake and crouched down on the parking block and bobbed around until I was able to get all 4 corners in focus. It must look pretty funny for some people that don’t know much about macro photography to witness.

    “What is that man doing?” a young child might say.

    “He’s taking pictures of the ground honey. Now hurry up and don’t look.” the parent replies as they glare with a concerned look… Like I’m on drugs or something.

    Who is crazy enough to photograph really close to the dirty parking lot in the rain? They must be on drugs. Well I’m not. I’m just trying to capture the beauty of the world. Even if it’s pollution.

    © Christopher Johnson

    www.fromhereonin.com

  • Restricted

    Black and White photograph of a leaning tree in Waimea, Hawaii

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    During a rainy day in Waimea, I decided to drive around some side roads in search of some interesting compositions that were enhanced by the mood of the weather. While driving the paved portion of Mana Road I was excited by this tree hanging over a barbed wire fence with a faded line of trees in the distant background. There were a lot of amazing elements to play with. I went with a low camera angle in order to place the distant trees under the canopy of the foreground tree. This also allowed for an exaggerated fence line to fill up the entire right side of the frame for some added interest. The image just wasn’t complete once I had completed the color edit. Although I still like it I decided to work the image as a black and white which I feel enhances the overall feel I was going for when I first was attracted to this location.

    I titled this piece Restricted because of the contrasting sides of the fence. One side is overgrown and rugged while the other is tended to and open while outlined by a sharp barbed wire fence. The tree feels like it is trying to reach over to the other side, but is rooted on the wrong side. Restricted from crossing over.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Kiholo Bay at Night

    Kiave tree in a moonlit night along the Kiholo Bay coastline

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    We were camping next to this awesome Kiave Tree on the beach of Kiholo Bay. During the day there wasn’t a lot to photograph because the clear skies didn’t give much interest to the sky and the bold shadows weren’t very attractive. At night the skies were full of stars and the full moon and camp fire provided a lot of interest. It took a while to come up with a composition that I liked. Since the viewfinder was dark, I had to take an exposure and wait for it to load before I could review it, then adjust to what worked. It ended up being a fun creative exercise.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Single Stone on a Black Sand Beach

    Photograph of a stone nestled in the black sand beach of Pololu Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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    After the waves wash over the stones along the black sand they recess into the sand and leave a beautiful golden silky trail that contrasts with the black sand. I don’t know what the golden sand is or where it comes from, but it seems to only occur when a wave violently crashes across the stones and recedes back with the same ferocity. However, the golden color doesn’t develop immediately. The sand needs to dry a little for the golden color to present itself. With this said, I had to wait for quite a while before I was able to capture an image that would accent this occurrence. Needless to say this is one of the reasons I love photography.

    If I were to hike into Pololu Valley without a camera I wouldn’t catch the subtleties of the valley. I am not knocking anyone that just wants to enjoy the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands without a camera because I would be fascinated with the enormous cliffs, the amazing trees, the beautiful reflection on the river, and the enjoyment of the awesome hike. Photography makes me concentrate on the subtleties in order to capture a piece of art that I would be proud to hang on my wall.

    With that said… I took a photograph a while ago in Pololu Valley of the same nature; stones with the golden sand streaking off them, but the only thing was most of the image was out of focus. When I took the photo I didn’t bring a tripod and was just taking snap shots. Mainly because I was learning the new Sony camera I had just purchased. It wasn’t from that moment, but a year later when I was reviewing images taken from then, that I wanted to return to capture this image properly. This time I had my tripod and a few extra lenses to choose from to get the image. It was then that I realized how difficult it was to capture the golden streaking sand which made me slow down to realized when it occurs. Without my camera I would never even care to know about it.

    Then we come to processing the image.

    Originally I overlooked this image because there wasn’t much going on with it. A single stone with a washed out golden streak… great… I had more interesting images that I shot that day. So I thought. I started to process images with multiple stones that had a lot going on. They looked nice, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I few days later I selected this image to work on and was immediately satisfied. This is the shot I came back for. It took a while to process. I darkened the edges to give more focus to the stone and trail and to create a lot more drama while maintaining the stones character. After I completed the image it seemed almost celestial with the small highlighted specks in the dark shining through while the stone felt like a meteorite flying through space.  It took a while, but I finally have the image I set out for.

    © Christopher Johnson

    If you would like to buy a print I have this available on my FineArtAmerica page.

  • Hibiscus Schizopetalus

    Photograph of a red Hibiscus Schizopetalus against a white background.

    I have always found these Hibiscus flowers fascinating and have been wanting to photograph one for a long time. The way they hang off of a branch with their long stamen delicately hanging and swaying in the wind in contrast to the thrown back, crazy petals makes these Hibiscus super unique.

    While on a walk, about a mile away from home, I picked this flowers off of a bush to photograph. The only thing was the day was hot and I worried that it would wilt before I got home, but it held up. Maybe it was my wife’s care that it survived. If it were in my large hands it would surely not have made it.

    With a magnetic bag clip magnetized to the inner screw of an upper cabinet door I clipped the flower and propped a white pillow behind for a backdrop. I used an off camera strobe to capture the flower still as it waved around with each small movement of air. Minor adjustments in Photoshop.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Golden Hour

    Photograph of an amazingly clear golden sunset from the Keahole Point coastline on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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    I stood precariously close to the edge of this Big Island blow hole in order to capture the details of water flowing through the seaweed and into the large hole. Luckily the tide and swells were low so that I could do this without too much worry or trouble. Like always there is the rogue wave that helps me to not get too comfortable and to always be prepared. I was pleasantly surprised there was a golden sunset to accent the golden foreground of the seaweed.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle

    Photograph of a Hawaiian green sea turtle as it swims off the shoreline of Mahaiula beach.

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    © Christopher Johnson

  • Milky Way Panorama From Mauna Kea

    Panorama photograph of the milky way from the slopes of Mauna Kea.

    This image is for sale on RedBubble.com

    Three images were stitched together to create this panoramic image of the milky way as it spans across the night sky connecting Mauna Kea to Mauna Loa. The lights along the landscape are from Hilo on the left, the lava glow of Kilauea in the distance, and cars driving down Mauna Kea through the fog. Seeing this night sky on a moonless night was simply breathtaking. I hiked a hill just down from the visitors center in order to get this view point.

    Hiking was an adventure. I couldn’t find the start of the path since it was so dark. I stumbled upon a couple laying under a blanket and out of courtesy I turned off my light and passed by only to trip over a rock and and completely fall down on my side. I continued up the slope embarrassed and aching, but super excited to shoot the night sky. I stopped to shoot a tree on the slope only to be lit up by another photographer which I then felt compelled to look for another location out of their way. I finally found the location that I shot this series from… out of breath. While shooting an exposure I started to notice my knee was throbbing. I reached down to notice a large tear in my pants and a lot of blood. “Bummer” These were my good pants. Then just as I was getting into shooting I got a call from my wife, waiting in the car, that she and the girls were ready to go.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Milky Way

    Photograph of the milky way above the rugged landscape of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Mauna Kea Milky Way

    Photograph of the beautiful Milky Way over the Big Island of Hawaii.

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  • Follow Through

    Photograph of the Hawaiian sunset near a large blow hole in the rugged coastline of Keahole Point.

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    The sunset wasn’t progressing like I had hoped it would on my re-visit to this familiar blow hole. I setup further away from the blow hole in order to capture the water streaking back towards the hole with the sun setting just beyond. With the storm clouds stretching toward to horizon I had to wait for the small window where the sun peaked out and casted its beautiful orange sunset color over the coastline surface and underbelly of the clouds. Unfortunately once the sun disappeared the colors went as well, but I waited for the hope of a surprise that didn’t come. 🙁

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Take Two

    Beautiful Hawaiian landscape photograph of the energy surrounding an awesome Big Island blow hole at sunset.

     

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    Take Two is a second photographic look at the blow hole I posted earlier. Instead of the calming reflected water there is a more energetic rush of water.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • June Blow Hole Sunset

    Sunset photograph from the rugged coastline of the Big Island of Hawaii

    This sunset shot is from a favorite location that I have photographed many times before. On returning here I didn’t want to repeat the same composition, so I spent a good amount of time scoping out a location. Then when I thought I was ready my tripod began acting up. I cleaned out the legs and didn’t seat one of them back in properly forcing me to quickly fix it on the rocks while waves came crashing in. Clumsily I nearly dropped a piece into the water, but I was able to fix the problem and was back in business.

    I liked how the water was reflecting the clouds while it gently flowed back into the blow hole, so I set up in the pool of water directly behind the opening. At times I was nearly waist deep in the inrush of flowing water. It was a beautiful sunset.

    © Christopher Johnson