Gallery

  • 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

  • Pololu Valley Stones

    Slow shutter of water flowing around the embedded colorful stones on the black sand beach of Pololu Valley.

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    Beautiful stones line the black sand beach of Pololu Valley giving the ocean waves something to play with as it rushes on and off the sand. 

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Pod of Dolphins


    A small pod of dolphins in the beautiful blue ocean of Hawaii

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    Around 1000 ft off of the Honokohau harbor coastline I saw 4 boats clustered together and the passengers quickly jumping into the water to swim around a very large pod of dolphins. I hadn’t flown the drone out that far and was extremely surprised when there were no problems with signal. I totally expected the drone controller to notify me that I had reached my distance limit and to fly closer, but instead I saw these beautiful dolphins swimming in the beautiful blue ocean on my iPad screen. There must have been 30-40 dolphins along with 20 snorkelers in black wet suits all scattered around in the water. I lowered the drone to around 30 ft above a small pod dolphins which were swimming around very quickly. I was only able to capture this one shot before they swam out of view.

    Super cool!

    © 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

  • 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

  • Photography From Above Looking Down

    DJI Spark drone photography

    I’ve been wanting a drone for quite some time and in 2018, for my birthday, I got the DJI Spark. The first time I flew it was in the house and of course I crashed against the wall and was devastated that I thought I broke it. Amazingly it survived and for the next week I found every opportunity to get out of the house to fly the drone. I re-visited some of the remote sites that I found that I thought couldn’t be photographed from the ground and captured some amazing photos.

    This is a collection of images from the Spark drone.

  • 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

  • Honokohau Boats

    Aerial photograph of boats tied off to a floating dock at Honokohou Harbor.

    I still haven’t quite gotten used to flying the drone in public places. I’ve never been bold enough to photograph people because it feels like I’m being intrusive and I don’t want to draw attention to me. Instead I have turned my camera to the beautiful landscape and nature all around us. Now with the drone I can fly 400 feet into the air and capture sights and patterns of the earth that I haven’t seen before. Even people become part of the design and they are not recognized in the final image, but still the whining of the blades creates attention. This is the attention that I avoid.

    I wanted to fly the drone and capture some aerial photos of the harbor with all the boats lined up on the dock. I was hoping for a vibrant sunset to give some color the the dark green murky water, but the overcast day continued into the evening, blocking the sun. Even still the white boats in the dark water made for a good image. As I arrived I looked for a secluded place to take off. There were people everywhere.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Keahole Coastline Aerial

    A new perspective of a favorite location I love to shoot the sunset from.

    Buy a Print from my Fine Art America store.

    This large hole in the coastline rocks makes for a very interesting landscape shot. The ocean water surges into the opening forcing the turquoise water to pillow up and spill over the seaweed and cracks in the lava. Then the water drains back into the hole and seemingly disappears. This is when I would typically take a 1 sec exposure in order to blur the water into a silky stream as it falls into the hole while the remaining curls of sea foam fizzle out where they wrapped themselves in the rocks. I have done this exercise for over five years at this and other locations along this coastline with many different compositions and views, but I have never captured what the landscape looks like from the air.

    I often wondered what it would look like from above and would envision building a scaffold over the large hole to shoot from that angle. Never once did I think of using a drone until I got the DJI Spark drone for a birthday gift. I flew it around a few other locations I had photographed before and was amazed at how much fun it was to create at this new angle. They it dawned on me to photograph these locations. This is the first of the 6 blowholes I want to capture from the air.

    Check out “Golden Hour” to see a sunset shot from the ground.


    © Christopher Johnson

  • Crossing The Old

    Aerial view of the upper Mamalahoa Hwy crossing over old lava tubes.

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    For years I have been driving this HWY without knowing what it might look like from the air. I only noticed the one lava tube just off of the road, but had no idea that it extended up and down the mountain.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Sea Arch Aerial

    Aerial photograph of a large sea arch along the Kailua Kona coastline

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    In 2016 I hiked out to this arch with a friend of mine that had scouted the location earlier. We explored the location and eventually shot from a back ledge through the opening as the sunlight beamed through to highlight the sea spray. You can see that photo ‘Noio Point Arch‘ I posted earlier. Since that day I had only been back 1 other time, but walked away without a shot. It’s not easy to photograph this arch in different ways. There aren’t many vantage points to shoot from that are safe to stand. At any moment a rogue wave could come and catch you be surprise if you are not careful.

    When I got a drone for my birthday this is the first location I though about shooting. I wanted to see if I could capture another view of this amazing land formation along with the beautiful blue sea foam colors next to the earthy browns. This was the shot I wanted, but now my creativity has been sparked. I have a few other ideas in mind for this location that I hope to soon catch.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Eight Feet Above The Water

    An aerial view of the ocean water just off of the Kailua Kona shoreline

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Volcano Photography

    A collection of images of the Volcanic activity on the Big Island.

    I have lived on the Big Island since 2006, but only began my interest in the volcano in 2015 when I went to see the lava lake at the Halmaumau crater. I had never really seen lava before. All the other times I visited the Volcano National Park the only thing I saw was smoke rising out of the crater. Even when I went to see the lava entering the ocean in 2008 the ropes keeping visitors away were so far away from the lava that the only thing to “Ooh and Awe” at was the rising steam and smoke. That changed the night I saw the lava lake.

    When the lava hit the ocean along the Kamokuna coastline in 2016 my wife and I rode bikes 5 miles to the flow. It was then I was able to walk next to the lava. It was a surreal moment listening to the crackle and popping sounds of molten rock flowing over the earth. The heat was extreme. I couldn’t get too close without having to retreat quickly. It is like watching a camp fire only 100 times more mesmerizing. I ended up visiting the lava several times until the flow stopped and I began to wonder if this was it.

    Then the huge earthquake happened and all hell broke loose. This is when the fissures opened up to devastate the Puna and neighborhoods to Kapoho. There was a huge frenzy around the lava activity. Tourism suddenly stopped, people were selling everything to move away, the VOG was so bad we could smell sulfur in Kona, all while photographers were running to the action. I hesitated to go over to photograph the destruction to show respect to all those that had and were going to lose everything. The stress became so bad that one man shot a gun over the head of someone else as a warning to leave even though it was his neighborhood as well. There was looting and violence all throughout the restricted areas and towards the end Kona began to see break-ins from displaced people. A couple of months of total unknown and worry.

    As time went on my curiosity grew and I had to see the Fissure for myself, so my wife and I bought tickets to fly on the Paradise helicopter tour with doors off out of Hilo. I felt this was the less intrusive way of seeing the flow while getting super close. The flight was cold and windy and in the distance was a large fountain of lava spewing into the air in the middle of a neighborhood. It felt as if we were on our way to a battle field in war. The moment we were over the flow I could feel the heat. The helicopter jolted from the currents. It was insane and for the first time the eruption felt real.

    After the flight I was energized and saddened for everyone effected by the disaster. There is no way to express in words what I felt. We have family and friends that lived close by or that had lost their houses and land from the lava.

    We did one more flight before the volcanic activity had stopped; hopefully for a long time. Now, several months later, people are beginning to return to their homes with the uncertainty of another eruption.

  • Pine Trees Beach

    Aerial photograph of Pine Trees beach during sunrise

    © Christopher Johnson