black and white

  • 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

  • Palm Frond

    The pattern of an ever-changing palm frond as it blows in the wind.

    I have become fascinated by palm fronds after watching and observing them for a few years from my lanai. The sunlight transforms the leaves on the frond through out the day while accenting differed characteristics of the tropical tree. With this image the light was low and the front leaves were shadowing the back leaves which created a zebra like pattern against the bright sky. As a black and white image the pattern was accented.

    Buy a print on my FineArtAmerica store. There are different sizes and styles to choose from to fit your needs.

    © Christopher Johnson


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  • Food Shortage

    This drawing is one in a series of illustrations with the tagline “I’m Not Satisfied With My Existence”, in which a giraffe, evolved to eat from the tall trees, has found himself in a field of low lying trees. The giraffe now has to bend down in an uncomfortable position to eat.

    I began my sketch using the Paper app for the iPad and then further refined the lines in the Ideas app by Adobe… which is now Adobe Draw.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Down At The OTEC

    [title color=”dark” size=”h3″] To Try Something New [/title]


    So, I was able to break free for a morning photo session. I chose to go down to a familiar location… OTEC.

    OTEC is a rocky terrain, a popular fishing spot, a location with endless photographic possibilities. This morning I focused my lens on the DANGER structure, and to my surprise, it was during high surf.

    I am not exactly sure why the structure exists, however, it has intrigue, and these images are my short study of it.

  • Broad Leaf Imprints

    [title color=”dark” size=”h3″] How amazing the intricacies of a simple leaf can be. [/title]


    When feeling dried up of all creativity, it is then that I find myself wandering around studying everything around me for something new. This study of the leaf began as I stood at the base of a large tree on the hunt for a chameleon. My eyes fixed on scanning the branches to find the camouflaged lizard was my only goal. As my gaze began to go higher up into the tree, it was then I began seeing the beauty of the large broad leaves as they were backlit by the sun.

    In photographing a single leaf I began wondering what other leaves might look like with the same effect. With that said, I began my search, away from the chameleon, toward the design of broad leaves through a macro lens.

    This is my small growing study of the inner workings of a leaf and amazing differences between species.

  • Kiholo Bay

    This was a long-awaited trip I have been wanting to take to Kiholo Bay. The beautiful finger of turquoise water can be seen from HWY 19 and was so inviting. What’s down there? Well this last weekend was my chance to look.

    The access road has been blocked to visitors, so we had to park alongside the road and make the long trek down. To me that is not such a bad thing. For one, it keeps the crowds down. Two, I heard this area had become a tent city for the Micronesians, who were abusing the natural wonders leaving trash everywhere and sudsing up the queens bath. Not a nice thing to see for tourists and locals who want to enjoy the treasures of the islands. Nevertheless, clean up has begun. We began out trip down a cool path through the Kiawe trees and lava rock, deviated through some private property down by the shoreline, and b-lined it straight to the base of the fish pond. As soon as I dropped off my things at a sandy spot on the south edge of the pond I left to explore.

    The other name for this pond is Turtle Bay, and I soon realized why. Some turtles gracefully swam and fed while others sun bathed, speckling the peninsula with their salty white shells. I navigated around every finger of the old Mauna Loa lava flow, which nearly took out all of this fish pond, excited to see the large grouping of fish along the edge of the water and the random turtle sighting. I made it to the far end of the pond and paused to take this picture looking back toward the mountains. What a cool magical place.

    I look forward to returning.

    by Christopher Johnson –


  • Underwater Sun Ray Design

    The sun rays dance across the black sandy bottom at the shallow end of the shoreline at Lone Palm.

    Photograph by Christopher Johnson –


  • Metal Owl Art Off Waikoloa Road

    Driving down from Mamalahoa HWY into Waikoloa I spotted this metal cutout of an owl perched on a fence. This type of creative, whimsical roadside artwork is definitely fun to find.

    Photograph by Christopher Johnson –

  • Kahaluu Honu #3

    This Hawaiian turtle peers back at me as I photograph him swimming along the surface at Kahaluu beach park.

    Photography by Christopher Johnson –


  • Kahaluu Honu

    Snorkeling around Kahaluu in search of a turtle to photograph with no success, I just about gave up and headed back to shore, but then I spotted him… right underneath me.

    Photograph by Christopher Johnson –

  • Spiral

    I was thrilled to discover this pond plant recently on a private residence, that thanks to a friend of mine, I was graciously able to photograph. I was first drawn to the plant by its small square leaves and then when I began to look closer I began noticing the neat spiraling design. With my macro lens I steadied myself over the pot it was in and shot several different compositions. The color shot was beautiful, however, I wanted to convert this image to black and white. Setting this image up with a green filter threw the green leaves white while everything else became dark. I especially liked the outlines of the leaves when the leaves were overlapped.
    I love these little surprises.

    Photography by Christopher Johnson –

  • Kiawe Tree Stormy Sunset In Waikoloa – Monotone

    Image by Christopher Johnson –


  • The Giving Tree

    15 miles up Mana Road above Waimea this awesome tree began to appear through the dense fog as we navigated the windy road which connects Waimea to Saddle road east of Mauna Kea.

    Photograph by Christopher Johnson –


  • Capturing Black And White

    Last months issue of Outdoor Photographer had an interesting article about shooting for black & white in the field. To look for tonalities and textures that create structure to your image, shooting as if you had put a black and white sensor in your camera. Not just converting any image to black and white on a whim because it doesn’t look that appealing in color, which is what I do. It all made sense. Whenever I setup for a shot I usually ask myself, “what are you looking to capture with this shot?” That usually only pertains to focus, composition, and shutter, I never, until now, ever thought about color or black and white.

    I was fully inspired to go out and try this technique, which ended up being while I was camping at South Point, Hawaii. Here I am relaxing with my camera, ready. I setup for a shot thinking black and white… nothing. Looking at the LCD screen was a color image. Some dark values against highlights, but is this really going to make a good black and white? I don’t know. The last time I shot for black and white was over 10 years ago. Back then, I had all sorts of techniques for anticipating the shot. Like looking through my red filter to see the scene in one color, leaving me to concentrate only on the highlights and shadows. I don’t have these tools now. I felt so silly.

    As I continued to sit and brain storm about how I was going to visualize the scene in black and white and get some sort of instant feedback I remembered that my camera has a setting. The Olympus E-5 came with all sorts of creative filters to chose from and one was a custom feature where I set the capture to monotone with a red filter… TaDa!

    Unfortunately, by shooting with a monotone setting I am limiting myself in post-production by eliminating all the possibilities color gives you, however, this is a good way to train my eye to see the scene in black and white.

    As we were leaving our camp site I captured this truck on the dirt road out of South Point.

    Christopher Johnson