landscape

  • Milky Way Panorama From Mauna Kea

    Panorama photograph of the milky way from the slopes of Mauna Kea.

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    Three images were stitched together to create this panoramic image of the milky way as it spans across the night sky connecting Mauna Kea to Mauna Loa. The lights along the landscape are from Hilo on the left, the lava glow of Kilauea in the distance, and cars driving down Mauna Kea through the fog. Seeing this night sky on a moonless night was simply breathtaking. I hiked a hill just down from the visitors center in order to get this view point.

    Hiking was an adventure. I couldn’t find the start of the path since it was so dark. I stumbled upon a couple laying under a blanket and out of courtesy I turned off my light and passed by only to trip over a rock and and completely fall down on my side. I continued up the slope embarrassed and aching, but super excited to shoot the night sky. I stopped to shoot a tree on the slope only to be lit up by another photographer which I then felt compelled to look for another location out of their way. I finally found the location that I shot this series from… out of breath. While shooting an exposure I started to notice my knee was throbbing. I reached down to notice a large tear in my pants and a lot of blood. “Bummer” These were my good pants. Then just as I was getting into shooting I got a call from my wife, waiting in the car, that she and the girls were ready to go.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Milky Way

    Photograph of the milky way above the rugged landscape of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Big Island Sunset

    Photograph of a Big Island sunset from the edge of a large blow hole along the Keahole Point coastline.

     

    This point along the Keahole coastline is made up of black rock that outstretches toward the ocean and ends as a cliff. A long jagged 50′ sliver cut in the rock allows the ocean surges to flow in and out, filling the void with a beautiful light blue color. There are so many places to setup to photograph this scene, but they all come with the harsh challenge of merging the bright sunlight with the dark rock. This shot is not a typical composition that I would normally pick, but the lines from the land bridge through the reflected water path to the sun really caught my eye. I shot a few images to capture the movement of the water the way I wanted as well as a few bracketed shots  for the shadows and lights. All combined in Photoshop for an image that shows a Big Island sunset.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Follow Through

    Photograph of the Hawaiian sunset near a large blow hole in the rugged coastline of Keahole Point.

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    The sunset wasn’t progressing like I had hoped it would on my re-visit to this familiar blow hole. I setup further away from the blow hole in order to capture the water streaking back towards the hole with the sun setting just beyond. With the storm clouds stretching toward to horizon I had to wait for the small window where the sun peaked out and casted its beautiful orange sunset color over the coastline surface and underbelly of the clouds. Unfortunately once the sun disappeared the colors went as well, but I waited for the hope of a surprise that didn’t come. 🙁

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Take Two

    Beautiful Hawaiian landscape photograph of the energy surrounding an awesome Big Island blow hole at sunset.

     

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    Take Two is a second photographic look at the blow hole I posted earlier. Instead of the calming reflected water there is a more energetic rush of water.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • June Blow Hole Sunset

    Sunset photograph from the rugged coastline of the Big Island of Hawaii

    This sunset shot is from a favorite location that I have photographed many times before. On returning here I didn’t want to repeat the same composition, so I spent a good amount of time scoping out a location. Then when I thought I was ready my tripod began acting up. I cleaned out the legs and didn’t seat one of them back in properly forcing me to quickly fix it on the rocks while waves came crashing in. Clumsily I nearly dropped a piece into the water, but I was able to fix the problem and was back in business.

    I liked how the water was reflecting the clouds while it gently flowed back into the blow hole, so I set up in the pool of water directly behind the opening. At times I was nearly waist deep in the inrush of flowing water. It was a beautiful sunset.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Mud Lane

    Fog rolls through the beautiful tunnel of trees lining Mud Lane

     

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    I find it unusual that a road winds its way through a beautiful grove of trees and at every turn has a magical scene is named Mud Lane. I had actually never known that this road existed until this day. My daughters wanted to go long board skateboarding down this road that they had gone before with their aunt. I didn’t really want to drive all the way to Waimea, but I wanted to do what they wanted to do and so we set off. Halfway there, around Waikoloa, it began to sprinkle rain, fog began to roll in and I thought for sure it was going to be a bust, but we continued anyway. Maybe the storm is localized I thought. We hit Waimea and we were still socked in. I didn’t really know where this mysterious road was I had heard so much about and I was really relying on my 12 year old for directions, but I did know it was on the rainy side of Waimea… and it was.

    A few miles outside of town we made the turn down Mud Lane and parked just off the road. As the girls took off on the skateboards I was in awe with the beautiful scene of trees lining this narrow road that went on for miles. Fog rolled in and out of the canopy creating a dreamy look. I didn’t care it was raining.

    Photographing the trees came with challenges. I used a telephoto lens to zoom down the tunnel. I was dealing with more camera shake than usual while rain drops steadily fell on the camera. I was soaked and so was the equipment, but I didn’t care. I was thoroughly enjoying every part of this location.

    © Christopher Johnson

     

    Art Prints

  • Pololu Valley

    A view of the amazingly beautiful Pololu Valley from the beach

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    Southern cliffs lit up and reflected in the black sand beach of Pololu Valley as water streaks through the shoreline rocks.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Layered Clouds

    Altocumulus lenticular clouds formed above the Sierra Nevada Mountains

    Photographed from the top of the Heavenly Valley Ski Resort looking down towards the Carson Valley.

    © Christopher Johnson

     

     

  • Kamokuna Plume

    Photograph of smoke billowing into the sunsetting sky as the lava meets the ocean.

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    A couple of weeks after the collapse of the shelf the lava now flows directly into the ocean like a raging river. The smoke hid the view of the lava, but with the shifting winds we would get a glimpse every now and then. We weren’t able to get as close as before, but it was still a sight to see.

    © Christopher Johnson

    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.

  • Gold And Blue

    The Hawaiian Coastline

     

    I was looking for a new way to photograph the Hawaiian coastline. This time I decided to tilt the camera down to show the foreground and imply the sunset through the warmth of the seaweed as well as the reflected glow of the sun in the water. With a slow shutter the motion of the water streaks and swirls as it mingles with the seaweed on its way back into the large holes in the coastline.

    View a different photograph of mine from this same location… http://www.fromhereonin.com/keahole-sunset-3/

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Kamokuna At Night

    Photographing the Kamokuna Lava Ocean Entry at Night

     

    On December 31st there was a drastic change to the shoreline at the Kamokuna ocean entry. The lower shelf that the lava once gradually flowed over before entering into the ocean as well as part of an old lookout point fell into the ocean. Somewhere around 17 acres of land suddenly disappeared. I had to go see it and so as a last minute plan we headed over. I couldn’t believe the amount of roadblocks we encountered on the way. Dead car battery, flat bike tires, missing headlamps, and an accident that closed the road for 30min. While sitting in traffic I turned to my wife and said. “I don’t think we’re gonna make it in time.” At that point we considered abandoning the mission, but to our surprise the road opened up and we were on our way. Lucky it did because I don’t know when we would be able to get back over there.

    The trail was light with people, so we were able to ride with ease without having to worry about everyone and made it with plenty of daylight to spare. When we came prior to the collapse, in August of 2016, the road went on further and we were able to get close to the lava. Close enough where we were able to see a lot of action with our naked eyes. Now the new lookout puts us several hundreds of yards away. The action is harder to see without binoculars or zoom lenses. With the amount of smoke billowing off of the entry even seeing the lava is difficult. A gust of wind would swoop in and push the smoke where we would get a glimpse of the large lava river draining into the ocean. It was impressive to see even with the great distance.

    My family walked around and explored all the viewing areas while I found a spot I liked and didn’t move from that spot the entire time we were there. With the small crowds of people I wanted to make sure that I had a front row spot where I didn’t need to worry about someone moving in front of me. Even still I had the occasional tourist think I was their husband and stand next to me while telling me about how they nearly fell down in the dark. I would slowly look up and watch them get flustered with embarrassment and walk away. Strangely enough it happened more than once.

    My lens of choice was the 300mm telephoto for the distance. It was windy, so I needed to weigh the tripod down with my bag and crank down all the setting nobs. I also used a cable release and waited for the wind to die down before taking the shots in order to reduce camera shake. Any slight movement while fully zoomed in will move the composition a couple feet.

    It was at night that the lava glowed and showed life with a lot of small explosions. I decided to capture the night sky with my wide angle before leaving. I took 8 to 10 – 30 second shots while my kids grew impatient. They were definitely ready to start the long bike ride back and get something to eat.

    As I stepped off my bike at the car I was relieved the bike ride was over. Any longer and the extra hard, value engineered, cheap ass seat would have to be surgically removed from me. It has been a couple weeks since then, but I swear I walk differently now. We had fun.

    © Christopher Johnson

     

    View more lava images – http://www.fromhereonin.com/volcanic-activity/

  • Halemaumau Crater

    Photo of the lava churning and spattering in the Halemaumau crater

     

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    Having heard the lava was very active due to a piece of the crater wall collapsing into the lava lake, I was extremely excited to visit the Jaggar museum that night. I headed out after work with my family and arrived at the Volcano hours later with the unfortunate drizzle of rain. I wasn’t expecting much, in fact I wasn’t expecting I was going to see anything due to heavy fog or rain clouds. On a previous trip I knew we were getting close because the sky had an amazing bright orange glow, however, this trip wasn’t as apparent. My hopes were fading.

    We arrived at the Jaggar museum lookout along with many others. Gathering up our gear took a while, but eventually we set out to the view point. With the glow of the lava and the orange night step lights leading our way to the lookout, we were all amazed at the amazing sight of the active lava lake. Never before have I been able to see the lava lake from the Jaggar museum. Usually just a glow of light as smoke billowed away. There were cracks of bright yellow and orange moving around. Forming new connections with other cracks while closing others. The most mystical sight was the sputtering lava against the crater wall.

    Photographing the lava was difficult. I needed a higher iso in order to stop the motion of the lava, but not too high as to pixelate the image beyond usability. In order to capture the lava up close I needed the full range of my telephoto lens at 300mm. This all doesn’t seem difficult, but adding wind and rain to the equation made this difficult. Any small movement of the lens would move the image drastically, which generated a blurry image. I had to wait for relief in the wind, but then the rain would speckle the lens. It was a little bit of a dance to get the shots.

    For the image above I shot two focal ranges. The trees were several feet in front of me, while the lava was hundreds of feet away. Maybe thousands. It took a lot of blending and luminosity masks in Photoshop to merge the images to one.

    Aloha!

    © Christopher Johnson

     

    Purchase this piece by visiting my RedBubble page.

  • Kailiili Sunset

    Fallen tree along the Maui coastline

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    This is the second time that I visited this location along the Kaliliili coastline of Maui. The long stretch of coastline that runs along the ocean side highway on the way to Lahaina there is a small section of old fallen Kiawe trees that stretch out into the ocean. The black sand of the beach slightly covers the lower branches and they reach out into the air making it look like they are independent of the fallen tree.

    I originally setup further away from the tree to get more of the tree into the photograph, however, the tree flattened out the flow of the scene. Instead I began to work on several different perspectives as well as different trees close by, but I wasn’t feeling that creative spark. As a last minute composition I decided to move extremely close to the tree I started with in order to express the organic detail as it moved into the ocean. At this point the sunset was at a close and I was graced with an orange glow of light along the trunk of the tree.

    After capturing this shot I continued to shoot the ocean with long exposures and experiment with other compositions, but this was the favorite.
    © Christopher Johnson

    Purchase a print by visiting my RedBubble page.