landscape

  • 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

  • Crossing The Old

    Aerial view of the upper Mamalahoa Hwy crossing over old lava tubes.

    Buy a print

    For years I have been driving this HWY without knowing what it might look like from the air. I only noticed the one lava tube just off of the road, but had no idea that it extended up and down the mountain.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Pine Trees Morning Surf

    Aerial photograph of a popular surf spot during sunrise in Kailua Kona.

    Buy a print

    My daughter wanted to meet some friend to surf dawn patrol at Pine Trees beach. Usually this means I have to sluggishly get out of bed, drive her down half asleep, and hurry home to drink more coffee, but not this time. For my birthday I got a DJI Spark drone and look for any opportunity to fly it. This was my opportunity to get out at sunrise and practice getting beach pictures while my daughter happily surfed with friends. Best of both worlds.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Hualalai Sunset

    Hualalai mountain shrouded by sunset lit clouds from the Kailua Kona shoreline

    Buy a print

    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

  • Lava River Texture

    Aerial photograph of the lava river in Pahoa Hawaii.

    Buy a print

    A section of the lava river from a Paradise Helicopter tour over the fissure 8 eruption of 2018 in Pahoa. I wanted to focus on the patterns the lava was making as it flowed to Kapoho, so I used a 70-300 telephoto lens to tightly frame in the lava with the dark surrounding areas. What I wasn’t expecting was how amazing the patterns are within the lava itself.

    © 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
  • 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
  • Boulder Creek Falls

    Boulder Creek falls along the Alakahi stream that winds its way through the lush tropical landscape of the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden near Hilo.

    Buy a Print

    Way in the back up stream is the waterfall that the Botanical Garden named as Boulder Creek Falls. In order to get to it I would have to make my way through the dense tropical forest which would most likely be frowned upon by the garden staff. With the amount of people around I decided not to attempt it. Instead I setup on a small bridge that crosses the stream and waited for the right moment.

    Like the Onomea Falls image that I posted earlier, I had to wait a while for the sunlight to be hidden behind some clouds in order to have a nice evenly lit scene. However, the sunlight wasn’t my only obstacle. The small bridge that I set my tripod on was not sturdy. Any amount of movement would create a huge vibration, which doesn’t go very well when taking slow shutter exposures. The large crowds of people that found their way to the falls had the same idea to stop and take pictures before winding their way up to the end of the path. Funny thing is that the end of the path is about 50 yards away up to the left which is somewhat in the shot. I really had short windows where I could photograph the scene once the sun was blocked. The best part was that I setup really low to the ground in a crouched position, but because the bridge was not wide enough to allow me to be behind the camera and have people walk behind me that I had to crouch off to the side and crane my head around to see through the view finder. Super awkward position, but very enjoyable to be sitting in front of this beautiful scene.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Ka’anapali Sunset

    A beautiful sunset from the Ka’anapali beach on the island of Maui

    Buy this artwork

    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

  • Restricted

    Black and White photograph of a leaning tree in Waimea, Hawaii

    Buy a Print

    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

  • Kiholo Bay at Night

    Kiave tree in a moonlit night along the Kiholo Bay coastline

    Buy This Photograph

    We were camping next to this awesome Kiave Tree on the beach of Kiholo Bay. During the day there wasn’t a lot to photograph because the clear skies didn’t give much interest to the sky and the bold shadows weren’t very attractive. At night the skies were full of stars and the full moon and camp fire provided a lot of interest. It took a while to come up with a composition that I liked. Since the viewfinder was dark, I had to take an exposure and wait for it to load before I could review it, then adjust to what worked. It ended up being a fun creative exercise.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Land Arch

    Photograph of an arch along a very old lava flow.

    Strangely enough I have been passing by this arch for close to 12 years and for some reason I never noticed it up until just recently. Just at the lookout on the Mamalahoa Hwy, north of Kona, this arch can be seen right off of the road looking up toward Hualali mountain. This makes it that much crazier that I had never seen it. I can only figure that every time I passed by or stopped… I was looking towards Maui and the old lava flow formations that traveled down the hillside. Now I find myself always looking at and studying this arch whenever I pass by.

    Unfortunately the background of this arch isn’t usually very attractive because of the steep dark mountain side and formless clouds that build to create a stark white sky. I was pleasantly surprised that on my way home from visiting family we were passing by this area through some heavy fog. Without hesitation I pulled off and stood at the entry of this arch to shoot a few images. I was trying to focus on the eerie foggy atmosphere surrounding this interesting structure especially the spot of white fog under the arch which is usually dark from the rock behind. The fog provided a lot more depth and color to this otherwise difficult to photograph location.

    This island has so many cool and unique landscape qualities that I look forward to finding other spots. The key is to keep my eyes open to finding them.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Foggy Day

    Photograph of trees in a grassy field slowly disappearing into the foggy day

     

    On my diverted way to work I found myself navigating the roads in a cloud. Fighting my need to get to work on time I pulled off the road to photograph these beautiful trees slowly disappearing into the fog. I wanted to spend a couple hours wandering through the forrest to fully enjoy this moment. I don’t witness foggy days like this very often, so when I do I get very excited.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Golden Hour

    Photograph of an amazingly clear golden sunset from the Keahole Point coastline on the Big Island of Hawaii.

    Buy A Print

    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

  • Golden September Sunset

    Photograph of a Golden Sunset along the coastline of the Big Island of Hawaii

     

    © Christopher Johnson