• 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

  • 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
  • Palm Trees

    [title color=”dark” size=”h3″] Hawaiian Paradise [/title]


    On the far side of Mahaiula beach, aka Kekaha Kai, aka State beach, aka the beach with the red house on it, I looked back toward the turbulent waters of the ocean and spotted this calming scene. This day the waves were breaking randomly and chaotically. I couldn’t believe there were surfers out because it didn’t look fun, but it did look beautiful. The white wash from the crashing waves turned the water a calming turquoise blue, and against the deep blue sky the scene was simply beautiful. So, when I looked back at the far end of the beach, these bright green palm trees completed the Hawaiian scene. Today I didn’t even think about bringing my tripod along with me. I didn’t realize that I would want the opportunity to shoot a high depth of field with a low ISO scenic, so I had to improvise by setting my bag on a rock to rest my camera. To eliminate the camera shake when pressing the shutter I set up for a 2 sec shutter delay.

    Olympus E-5,  70-150mm Zuiko with circular polarizer

    Prints available for purchase with SmugMug.




  • 30 Seconds

    It is always a big surprise when I see the results of a long exposure.  In this case is was the white surf that drew a pattern across the ocean’s surface from each crashing wave. Almost mimics the pattern of the clouds above.

  • Islands

    Looking towards the sunset from Pine Tree’s beach I watched the incoming waves surround the rocks that act as islands in the water. I wanted to capture the behavior of the wash with a slow shutter as it surrounded the rocks and gently flowed back into the ocean. I capture the image in RAW format with an Olympus E-5 and 14-45mm zuiko lens and 0.9ND filter at f22 and 1.6sec. Post processing in Lightroom 3.

  • Pine Tree’s Sunset

    [title color=”dark” size=”h3″] Dramatic Skies [/title]


    What an amazing sunset. From the moment I woke up this morning the sky was just amazing and I couldn’t miss the sunset.  You would think that living in Hawaii there would always be these huge puffy clouds, bright skies, and amazing sunsets, but that hasn’t been the case for a while.  However, so far, this year has been amazing for dramatic skies.

    This shot is a view of one of my favorite places to go to relax and enjoy Hawaii.