Hawaii

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

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    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

  • South Swell

    A beautiful sunset from along the Kona coastline during a large swell.

    I went to this familiar location to shoot from the same spot I usually do, right at the mouth of the hole in the reef. This usually puts me right in line looking at the sun setting with a dramatic foreground of the water draining back to sea. Fortunately there was a large south swell that had forced me to find a new perspective because standing where I usually do would be dangerous as the water will pull my photography gear or me into the hole that is 10 to 15 feet deep if not careful. Some of these waves will catch me off guard and it is not easy to escape and in the past I have had to thrust my camera way up in the air by grabbing the tripod legs so a wave didn’t kill it, but would leave me drenched. You might wonder why I say fortunately instead of unfortunately. Why would it be fortunate to be forced into something I wasn’t planning on. Well, I say fortunately because I love it when I am forced to try something new. When there is a spectacular sunset I always go to my comfort zone with a perspective and composition I have photographed before so I don’t screw it up. Where I usually come home with some great shots, I am still longing for a new perspective. I don’t want to have a portfolio of the same shots when there are so many great views along this coastline. At least this time I was forced.
    This is not the most amazing photograph, but it was very complicated both with composition and technicality. I really had to work for this shot. The foreground rocks aren’t very large, so in order to trick the eye I had to crouch down into the small crevice and straddle the river of rushing water about 2 feet off the ground. In that position it is really hard to setup and look through the view finder… especially when you are as out of shape and stiff like I am.   🙁   I had to fold myself while moving around so my shadow wasn’t visible on the left rock face. It’s hard to explain how weird I felt, but I’m sure I looked like a crazy person on the coastline waiting until the right moment, which never ever comes immediately. I have to begin cramping up before I can begin to shoot and create.
    After all that I waited on developing these images until 3 months later because of the volcano eruption that stole my attention. It wasn’t until I was tired of not seeing a sunset because of all the VOG that I went back through my images to find this awesome day.
    This image is a mesh of 2 images at different focal points. One for the foreground rocks and the other for the rest of the scene. The final image was edited several times over, over a couple days to get the look I was going for.
    © Christopher Johnson
  • Clouds

    Rain clouds over the Pacific ocean between Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii.

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    On a Mokulele flight from Hawaii to Maui, the view of the stormy clouds were amazing. A lightning storm was moving across the islands creating some amazing cloud formations. I sat on the rear bench seat of the small airplane and photographed these clouds through the rear window. This image is 3 stitched images to create the panorama.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Kapoho Island

    Photograph of the island that formed off of Kapoho from the Puna lava flow of 2018

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    During one week in July of 2018 an island formed off of Kapoho from the Puna lava flow. Shortly after this photograph the island attached to the land from the continuous lava. An example for how quickly this lava flow is changing.

    We were excited to go back up into the helicopter to see what has changed from the previous flight a month ago. That morning I learned of an island that had formed just off of the coast. Reports of violent explosions in the water eventually led to the presence of land erupting from the ocean. These eruptions caused havoc to a water tour boat a few days later when an unexpected explosion sent molten rock hurtling toward the boat and injured many passengers. I could only imagine how scary and helpless that would be. There is no telling what could happen next with this volcano.

    A very exciting time on the Big Island.

    © 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

  • Fiery Sunset

    Beautiful bright and colorful sunset from the edge of a blow hole along the Kona coastline.

    The sunset last night was amazing!
    I set out when I saw low lying clouds underneath the upper clouds along with a clear horizon. Usually the sun will begin to illuminate the lower clouds with color and slowly hit the upper clouds to create an amazing glow of color, but when I got to the coastline I had second thoughts. The sky was gray and dismal. It didn’t change much as the sunset came near so I thought the hazy on the horizon would stop the color and fizzle into nothing.
    I setup to capture a totally different scene and was facing south when the explosion of color began. As fast as I could along the treacherous jagged and slippery rocks I moved to this location, looking through the large holes in the reef, to compose for the colors in the sky. I threw caution to the wind as I precariously setup on some small boulders and watched the large waves flood in toward me. I was rusty because I hadn’t been out in a while, but I’m happy that I walked away with some usable images to work with.
    Enjoy!
    © Christopher Johnson
  • Boulder Creek Falls

    Boulder Creek falls along the Alakahi stream that winds its way through the lush tropical landscape of the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden near Hilo.

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    Way in the back up stream is the waterfall that the Botanical Garden named as Boulder Creek Falls. In order to get to it I would have to make my way through the dense tropical forest which would most likely be frowned upon by the garden staff. With the amount of people around I decided not to attempt it. Instead I setup on a small bridge that crosses the stream and waited for the right moment.

    Like the Onomea Falls image that I posted earlier, I had to wait a while for the sunlight to be hidden behind some clouds in order to have a nice evenly lit scene. However, the sunlight wasn’t my only obstacle. The small bridge that I set my tripod on was not sturdy. Any amount of movement would create a huge vibration, which doesn’t go very well when taking slow shutter exposures. The large crowds of people that found their way to the falls had the same idea to stop and take pictures before winding their way up to the end of the path. Funny thing is that the end of the path is about 50 yards away up to the left which is somewhat in the shot. I really had short windows where I could photograph the scene once the sun was blocked. The best part was that I setup really low to the ground in a crouched position, but because the bridge was not wide enough to allow me to be behind the camera and have people walk behind me that I had to crouch off to the side and crane my head around to see through the view finder. Super awkward position, but very enjoyable to be sitting in front of this beautiful scene.

    © 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

  • 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

  • Golden September Sunset

    Photograph of a Golden Sunset along the coastline of the Big Island of Hawaii

     

    © Christopher Johnson

     

  • Mud Lane

    Fog rolls through the beautiful tunnel of trees lining Mud Lane

     

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    I find it unusual that a road winds its way through a beautiful grove of trees and at every turn has a magical scene is named Mud Lane. I had actually never known that this road existed until this day. My daughters wanted to go long board skateboarding down this road that they had gone before with their aunt. I didn’t really want to drive all the way to Waimea, but I wanted to do what they wanted to do and so we set off. Halfway there, around Waikoloa, it began to sprinkle rain, fog began to roll in and I thought for sure it was going to be a bust, but we continued anyway. Maybe the storm is localized I thought. We hit Waimea and we were still socked in. I didn’t really know where this mysterious road was I had heard so much about and I was really relying on my 12 year old for directions, but I did know it was on the rainy side of Waimea… and it was.

    A few miles outside of town we made the turn down Mud Lane and parked just off the road. As the girls took off on the skateboards I was in awe with the beautiful scene of trees lining this narrow road that went on for miles. Fog rolled in and out of the canopy creating a dreamy look. I didn’t care it was raining.

    Photographing the trees came with challenges. I used a telephoto lens to zoom down the tunnel. I was dealing with more camera shake than usual while rain drops steadily fell on the camera. I was soaked and so was the equipment, but I didn’t care. I was thoroughly enjoying every part of this location.

    © Christopher Johnson

     

    Art Prints

  • Lava

    61G lava flow detail

    Photograph of Folding Lava

    Now Available Backlit on the BigNakedWall.com. Check it out.

    There is nothing like standing near the lava as it slowly folds and hardens, slowly making it’s way to the ocean. This was our first trip to the lava and by far my favorite. After this visit, we could only view the ocean flow on our returning trips. All surface flows had solidified and left the lava to flow through the tubes.

    I was mesmerized by the sounds as it folded and created new shapes. Like broken glass popping in the heat of the fire. Mostly the lava flowed extremely slow with the occasional quick breakouts. I was able to setup within feet of the flow, but it was hot. I would lean in for a couple of shots and be forced to backup quickly due to the heat. I wanted to capture the design and contrast of the hot lava along side the solid lava, so I was searching for patterns like the image being shown.

    With a telephoto lens I was able to crop in close without melting off my face.

    Enjoy!

    © Christopher Johnson