beautiful

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Floating Sand

    Image of sand floating underwater after a passing wave.

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    Messing around in the waves of Kua Bay while trying to capture the backside of a wave, I wasn’t having much luck. The water was flat and there were tons of people around. Every once in a while a large set would come in and energize everyone in the water as they all setup to body surf the wave. With all the commotion a lot of sand kicked up and then as the wave passed more sand would kick up, but I tried to photograph the wave anyway. What I found was a lot of out of focus images. I left the beach thinking it was a loss, however, it is always nice to get in the water.

    When I loaded the images into Photoshop Bridge I found a lot of beautiful images of sand with amazing streaks of sunlight beaming through the water. I edited this image with an abstract/design quality in mind and accented the colors and light values. In the end I think this would be a very cool accent image on a wall blown up really big.

    © 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
  • 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

  • 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

  • Split View

    Photograph of an underwater-land split view from the shoreline of Hawaii’s Mahaiula beach.

    © 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

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

    © Christopher Johnson

  • 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

  • Pololu Valley

    A view of the amazingly beautiful Pololu Valley from the beach

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    Southern cliffs lit up and reflected in the black sand beach of Pololu Valley as water streaks through the shoreline rocks.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • The Show Off

    Turtle doing a hand stand while eating.

    There were a lot of turtles around Mahaiula bay this past Sunday when arriving early morning to relax on the beach. The water was beautiful. Several shades of blue decorated the bay. And then there were the dark figures of turtles swimming around and feeding. I went to join them.

    Immediately I found a large turtle that didn’t seem to mind that I was around. For over an hour I watched and photographed, looking for different perspectives and a way to capture the character of this amazingly delicate yet rugged animal. We were battling the increasingly building waves that would push us around, more me than the turtle, and at times I would find myself floating away; fighting to return. This forced me into a new approach. Instead of hovering around at a short distance, I needed to swim further away and allow the distance to buffer me into a better position for focus and composition while the current pushed me toward the turtle. That is when I started to notice the struggle the turtle faced as well. With every passing wave I noticed it gripping to the rocks, swaying and twisting around. Nearly flipping over with a couple larger swells… and thats when I took this image. Even though the turtle struggled to stay put to eat, the still photograph contrasted its determination with more of a playful and comical look. As if the turtle was showing off by doing some hand stands.

    It is moments like these that I think about what it would be like if humans had to endure the elements and forces of nature that animals do. If while we sat to eat at the table we needed to grip tight to the table or we would suddenly be pushed aside. Our food was constantly swaying as we picked at it with our faces because our hands were busy holding us still… all while holding our breath. Not to mention the threat of being attacked by a predator.

    © Christopher Johnson