• 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


  • Green Sea Turtle

    Overhead view of a Green Sea Turtle swimming over the sandy beach bottom of Mahaiula beach. I followed this turtle for some time as he swam back and forth across the shoreline. At first I thought he was running away from me, but he would then swim back around me. Almost like he was playing with me.  At one point he swam through peoples legs as they shrieked and shouted I think I noticed a smirk and a thumbs up. It was then that I let him go on his way. Swim on Tilly the turtle… Swim On… I will never forget you.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Deep Sleep

    A sleeping Honu, turtle, on the dark lava rock of Anaehoomalu Bay. The absence of light reduced the shutter speed enough to give the waves more character.

  • Overcrowding!

    Fourth of July Mauna Lani turtle release was CHAOS!

    The image of the Koi fish is a visual to how the turtle release event was. My family and I thought to go to the event and see these amazing Green Sea Turtles being released into the wild. Opening with a couple native Hawaiian dances to the freeing of 4 Honu. What we envisioned was totally different than what we experienced.

    We were a little late to the event due to the amazing amounts of traffic of other people thinking to do the same thing with their families. This was all understandable, but as we walked in to the event we began to see the amount of people. I turned to my wife and indicated that there is no way we would be able to see the event. A large rectangle border was created like a runway from the sandy beach and into the water where hundreds of people crowded against it as if to outline the lines. There must have been a row of seven people in front of us. As I looked around people were climbing the trees and rocks to get better views.

    As the event began to start we could see glimpses of what was happening through the dodging heads of the crowds. I am much to short for this as were a lot of other people around me as they held their cameras over their heads to get a picture. My kids were lucky enough to get up front, however, others weren’t so fortunate. Arguments erupted from people that had staked their claim early in the day when someone put their foot in their territory for a moment as everyone lunged foreword to get a better view. I wanted to leave and so did my family, but the crowding wasn’t over.

    We were told when we were dropped off to catch the shuttles at the hotel drive around. It was there we waited for what seemed like an eternity. Grumpy eager people jostling all around us in what was one of the most un-organized situations I have been in. You would think they, the hotel staff, would have this under control as this wasn’t their first event. Instead everyone made their own line and of course theirs is the line because they found a place up front. And then the shuttle arrived.

    The moment the shuttle had stopped behind a car in traffic there was a mad dash of people rushing it as if there was a celebrity to be interviewed by the media. It took us several attempts at the shuttles before we made it with a sigh of relief. “Never again” we told each other as we left.

  • Three Honu

    [title color=”dark” size=”h3″] Kiholo Bay is an amazing place to visit [/title]


    Walking around the beautiful turquoise water of Kiholo bay is an amazing experience. Fingers of pillowing lava jut out into the bay creating exciting alcoves with amazing vistas. Resting honu, schools of fish, and A’ama crabs. I just happened upon these three honu as I wrapped around a corner of lava rock. Just amazing.

    Purchase this photo by visiting … FromHereOnIn.SmugMug.com


  • Popular Photography Photo of the Day (2/15/2013)

    [title color=”dark” size=”h3″] Kiholo Bay [/title]


    My photo of the three turtles swimming in Kiholo Bay just made the Photo of the Day award for 2/15/2013.

    Check it out… PopPhoto.com

    Purchase it here… FromHereOnIn.SmugMug.com


  • Honu Surrounded by Fish

    This was the first time I was able to witness a symboitic relationship in the wild. Here this green sea turtle, Honu, sleeps just under the surface of the water while theses small fish clean him off. As simple as this was, it was quiet amazing to me.


    © Christopher Johnson – www.fromhereonin.com

  • Up For Air Honu

    I took a walk to a familiar place at Anaehoomalu to search for Honu, turtles. At the same resting spot there were four honu sleeping, however, there was also a gathering of people watching them sleep. Instead of being apart of the crowd I continued to walk on by. Instead I walked across a section of lava rock that jetted out toward the ocean. There I noticed a honu feeding below the surface. There I waited around 5 minutes for him to surface before I was able to shoot this image. Patience paid off.


    © Christopher Johnson – www.fromhereonin.com

  • Old Turtle in Kiholo Bay

    Kiholo Bay was extremely windy the day I decided to go and enjoy this prized location on Hawaii, however, it was beautiful and offered it’s own unique counteraction to the weather. The wind rippling the surface of the vibrant turquoise water created a nice design by the distortion. I had to be careful though not to be taken off guard by the sudden gust of wind. Nearly pushing me off the rocks at times. I had to find a place to snorkel fast before one was chosen for me. A dark silhouette of a large turtle was the deciding factor for me and I readied myself to enter the water. As I went to enter the water the turtle was gone from sight. I proceeded with the hope that luck was on my side.

    The water was nothing I have ever seen before. The sandy bottom was stirred up and laid milky, preventing me from seeing anything past two feet. It was a rather eerie feeling. Especially when the turtle I was searching for began to rise up out of the fog below me nearly gave me a heart attack.

    I had never seen a turtle this big in Hawaii. It was almost as big as I am. I snapped this picture then decided to just observe and that was when I noticed two anomalies. The extremely large tail, which I wonder if this can determine their age.  The other was a shiny object under its front flipper. I couldn’t tell what this was until I was out of the water reviewing the pictures that I saw the fish hook tangled around the flipper. If only I was brave and knowledgeable enough to free it of this man made entanglement. This is just one small example of the effects that our trash has on other species.

    Photograph by Christopher Johnson – www.fromhereonin.com

  • Lone Palm Honu

    Lone Palm. Between Kiholo bay and Waikoloa, traveling on HWY 19, there is a turn off with a single palm tree in the parking lot. Here is the start of a pathway that cuts through the treacherous A’A lava field that takes you to a black sand beach with a lone palm tree. Hence the name… Lone Palm. Here is where I have camped several times with my family and knew the reef was still alive and not yet destroyed by the presence of careless people.

    I am completely fascinated by turtles, Honu in Hawaiian, and was fortunate to find one swimming nearby. I think I followed him around for a good hour, photographing and watching his habits. As big and bulky as they seem they are quite graceful in the water. Gliding up and around the rocky shore. I shot this last photo of the turtle before leaving the water, which became one of my favorites of the day.

    Photograph by Christopher Johnson – www.fromhereonin.com


  • Honu Coming To Rest on Anaehoomalu Beach, Waikoloa

    This was an amazing day for turtle sightings. Upon arrival to the Anaehoomalu Beach, AKA A-Bay, my family and I made our way down the coastline away from the hotels only to discover turtle after turtle after turtle. By the time we made it to a little cove, literally around the corner from the main beach, we had counted 15 turtles.

    The turtle pictured here was number 15. It was making it’s way up the beach to rest as the waves continued to pound all around making it struggle. Eventually it made it and slept pretty hardy 20 feet from where we were.

    To give the waves more character and motion I set my camera to aperture priority, enough to slow the shutter to 1/13th sec. This, with Image Stabilizing turned on kept the turtle in focus while blurring the crashing waves slightly. Then in Photoshop, I converted the image to black and white and overexposed +1 to lighten the darks of the turtle and blow out the highlights of the water just enough to make it less distracting.

    The image was nice in color, however, I was adjusting it to work for the Monochrome contest hosted by Popular Photography. Please vote for my image here — http://www.popphoto.com/photo-contest/septphotochallenge2011/photos/all/200250

    by Christopher Johnson – www.fromhereonin.com


  • Sleeping Honu

    I came across this sleeping Honu, turtle, during a beach trip to Mahe’ula state beach park just north of the Kailua Kona, Big Island, airport. What grabbed me to photograph this sleeping honu was the colors of the lava rock it was resting on contrasted against the tattered colors of its shell. How beautiful is the deep volcanic reds against the blues of the same rocks found muted in the shell of the honu.