design

  • 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

  • Lava Flow Pattern

    Tight cropping of the amazing detail and pattern of the lava river flowing out of Fissure 8 in Pahoa.

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    It was an amazing experience to see the lava spewing and flowing out of fissure 8 that erupted out of the middle of Leilani Estates in Pahoa, Hawaii. It was somewhat surreal. My mind didn’t comprehend what I was looking at at first because I felt like I was watching a movie. In Kona I am just far enough away to not realize what really is happening on the other side of the island even though we have the extreme VOG and earthquakes. It just never really sunk in until I went to see the event in person.

    After the initial shock and excitement of the fissure I began photographing the detail and patterns of the lava flow from above. This shot was taken at full zoom, 300mm, to enhance the colors and beautiful qualities of the lava as it cracked and hardened. When viewed at 100% there are endless designs and details in the lava that are just amazing that I didn’t realize were there until I developed these shots. The helicopter trip goes so fast and my mind was racing to take it all in mentally and with my camera. So much that I didn’t have my setting right in the camera while I was taking these pictures.

    When I was preparing to go on the helicopter I had a system to set the camera on shutter priority fast enough to handle the 300mm lens as well and the movement of the helicopter. Then to quickly review the shots to make sure everything was crisp before continuing. I even had a gentleman ask me about shutter speed before getting on the helicopter as a subtle reminder to adjust my settings. Unfortunately I didn’t heed my own preparation and advice. The excitement got to me. Before I knew it I was rapidly taking pictures of everything I saw. The helicopter pilot was twisting and tilting in all directions so everyone had their time to experience the disaster which added to my excitement.

    It wasn’t until we were leaving the flow that I began to review my images and noticed a lot of the had significant motion blur. My heart sank. I totally screwed up. “It’s Ok. It was the experience that was amazing. A once in a lifetime experience.” I told myself in order to cheer myself up. I mostly believed it, but as with all artists all we want to do is create. The life experiences are amazing, but we want to bring home some amazing art to relive it and share the experience. Sharing blurry shots of the lava isn’t going to excite anyone.

    I spent the rest of the day with a small lump in the back of my throat. I wanted to go up to the desk at Paradise Helicopters and tell them I wanted a do-over because I didn’t get the shots. They would obviously let me go again because that would be their biggest concern. It was weird where my mind went. I wasn’t depressed or anything and it would have been fine if all my images were trash because in actuality it was the experience that mattered. My wife and I had a blast and got to spent the rest of the day exploring new areas of the island. It was just disappointing that I thought I didn’t have any usable images.

    When I finally sat down and loaded all my shots into Bridge I was elated to see 2/3 of all the shots were just fine and my worries were for nothing. It’s so weird how a small thing can effect you in such a large way and how all preparation can be lost in excitement. I just need to learn to slow down and be methodical during these moments. In all actuality I had a lot of time to photograph the lava. It only seemed like I didn’t at the time.

    © 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

  • Purple Drama

    Macro photograph of the beautiful dyed purple and turquoise petals of a Chrysanthemum flower as they curl around each other.

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    © 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

  • Cactus Lines

    A macro photograph of the lines and thorns of a budding blue agave cactus.

    In the center of the agave is a tall spine which is made up of a bunch of newer leaves bundled together. As they mature they begin to fall away from each other, spanning out like wings, until eventually they find the ground to decay. The coolest part of this process is that during the time the leaves are bound together they imprint their spines and designs on to each other which never goes away. How symbolic of life. When we grow up we are imprinted with the people we grow with and that imprint never really goes away. It may fade, but if we look carefully we can see these imprints on others whether good or bad… Hopefully good.

    © 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.

  • 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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  • Water Reflection

    Water Ripples

    A walk around the natural pools of the Mauna Lani resort is always so calming. A fun series of pathways navigate around the many different pools of water that spot the landscape. A seawall creates a boundary between the larger pool and the ocean where eels and barracuda swim freely, needless to say that this isn’t a place where people are swimming. An old brick structure rests on a small island that is only accessible by a small concrete narrow wall and is surrounded by palm trees growing out of small pot looking islands. I haven’t looked into what this structure was, but it is definitely a cool and odd thing to see.

    I found myself drawn to the reflective surface of one of the pools further away from the ocean. Clusters of palm trees draped over and around the water while being reflected in its gentle rippling surface. Through my viewfinder I was mesmerized by the dancing bending light as the image continually shifted its abstract form.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • 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

  • Hawaiian Turtle

    Hawaiian green sea turtle swims near the surface of the water.

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    Every time I go to photograph underwater I realize how difficult it is. Everything is moving constantly, the light is always changing and not as bright, and whatever you swim towards swims away. Not to mention how hard it is to see the camera screen because of the reflection of the sun creating a mirror over the screen. Most of the time I find myself aiming in the direction of what I want to photograph and most of the time I either miss or crop the object in half. Then there are the times I get lucky.

    I was swimming around looking for turtles, but couldn’t find one. Instead I though to capture some patterns and sun rays when this turtle swam under me as if to say hello. The spot I was wasn’t very deep. I could stand up and have my head out of the water, so it was that much more exciting to have that close of a visitor. I followed her around for a little bit and then as sudden as she arrived, she was gone.

    The photograph I came away with is one where she came up for air a was slowly beginning to dive back down to feed. I love how the shell is reflected in the underside of the waves as they pass by.

    © Christopher Johnson

    www.fromhereonin.com

    Purchase a print by visiting my RedBubble page.

     

  • Through Movement

    Design of the jagged patterns of the rocky Hawaiian shoreline

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    Exploring along the coastline in search for some hidden creative possibilities I found this jagged opening. I sat and watched how the cerulean blue water navigated through the large dark cracked opening. Pushing and swirling against the edges until finding a dead end, crashing, splashing, spraying violently, and finally washing backward through the jagged rocks back into the ocean.

    © Christopher Johnson

    Purchase a print by visiting my RedBubble page.

  • Marble

    This macro image of a marble, backlit with a table lamp, looks like a planet in our solar system.

    I bought some marbles this weekend to experiment with exposure and composition. The shot I had in mind hasn’t been realized yet, but by accident I came up with this planet looking shot.

    © Christopher Johnson

     

  • Red Carnation Flower

    A macro view of the beautiful delicate petals of a red carnation.

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    © Christopher Johnson

    Purchase a print by visiting my RedBubble page

  • Eucalyptus Forest

    Large Eucalyptus trees along the Hamakua coast on the Big Island.

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    I have been meaning to stop and take the time to venture into these trees for a very long time, but every time I drove by I was either in a hurry or the lighting wasn’t right. This time, however, was perfect. The sun was setting making the harsh highlights from the sun non-existent, but instead offered a soft even glow around each tree.

    Entering the forest was a challenge since the grassy trail was taller than me.  As I made my way through the grass and spider webs 🙁 …. and the deeper I went into the forest, the grass was a lot shorter and more manageable to photograph.  With the light quickly fleeting I was able to shoot a handful of images. Two of which are what I set out to capture.

    © Christopher Johnson

    Purchase a print by visiting my RedBubble page