• Clouds

    Rain clouds over the Pacific ocean between Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii.

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    On a Mokulele flight from Hawaii to Maui, the view of the stormy clouds were amazing. A lightning storm was moving across the islands creating some amazing cloud formations. I sat on the rear bench seat of the small airplane and photographed these clouds through the rear window. This image is 3 stitched images to create the panorama.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Ka’anapali Sunset

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

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    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

  • Kiholo Bay at Night

    Kiave tree in a moonlit night along the Kiholo Bay coastline

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    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

  • 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

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  • Leading Lines

    Photograph of the tall bamboo forest on Maui


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    The stalks of tall bamboo lean up toward the beautiful canopy of the Bamboo forest on the island of Maui. A hike that I did on the previous visit to Maui and was determined to go back. The drive to Hana isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes an entire day to drive, even if you didn’t stop. This time we went the back way, the ‘Do Not Go This Way In A Rental Vehicle’ way, but it was fine. Way faster if you just go to the Haleakala National Park where the 7 Sacred Pools are. The only crazy part was towards the end when navigating around the steep cliffs on a single lane road. The guard rails had been rusted apart from the insane surf. I was just hoping no one was coming the other direction. I am pretty sure we would have just looked at each other until someone reluctantly decided to reverse to a nearest pull out. Luckily no one came.

    The hike was the same as I remembered. The only difference was that we couldn’t walk all the way to waterfall due to the heavy rains we had this Summer. I love the bamboo. There is nothing like it. The hike is fairly long and uneventful and you almost want to turn back, thinking it won’t change. Then you cross a bridge and enter into the first part of the forest and your breath is taken from you. All you want to do from that point is venture deeper into it and engross your entire self into the forest. When the wind blows there is a quiet and soothing knocking from the hollow stalks that almost stops you in your tracks. Although the wind isn’t what I wanted for photographing the bamboo because of movement, I thoroughly enjoyed and welcomed it.

    The remaining trip back to Lahaina was fun. We ended up going back on the ‘Road To Hana’, which took forever, but was beautiful. It was amazing to see the damage from the Hurricane Darby that I heard so much about on the news. Funny that months later I was having dinner with a mother and daughter that lived in Hana. The mother told me a story of how she came to a van full of tourists that nearly went over the cliff on one of the windy turns. The van had been pinned by a tree and was luckily not going anywhere. While waiting for the tow truck the mother asked the tourists if they wanted their pictures taken while in the van, which they excitedly said ‘yes’. After the picture they all left the van to discover how close they were to falling over the cliff. The funny thing was the tourist driving had a “I Survived The Road To Hana” shirt on.

    © Christopher Johnson

    Purchase a print by visiting my RedBubble page.

  • Tranquility

    Waken Falls Waterfall along the road to Hana.

    On a recent trip to Maui, we set out for Hana on a nice day trip. I really didn’t know what to expect since I had never been there, and I was pleasantly surprised. Every turn there was such amazing beauty. From the inland gulches to the wide open vistas, I was in awe.

    Just as we were driving over one of the many one lane bridges I noticed a brilliant waterfall tucked around the bend of a hillside. I had to photograph this waterfall. We had to park about 300 yards up the road and hike back down to the bridge and then scale a very slippery hillside under the bridge in order to get to the falls. Because of the recent rainfall everything was wet and had a nice sheen of moss covering. It took everything to not slip down the hillside. The risk was definitely it once we came around and faced the three waterfalls. Simply breathtaking.

    I shot the front of the falls first, but found that I really wasn’t capturing the location very well. I just loved how the moss and ferns were canvasing the rock face. The only way to capture that was along the side of the falls. Here in this shot I feel as if I’ve got the personality of the scene. The ferns and vines along the rocks with a backdrop of the falls in the background as they run into the dark green water.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Lahaina at Dusk

    The Island of Lanai sits at a distance in this shot from Lahaina’s shoreline at dusk.

    I had noticed this location on my many drives to and from the hotel we were staying. Just off the highway was this small stretch of beach with so much character. Scattered rocks were planted along the shoreline where the waves would wash over and to give them a little more color, seaweed clung on the their tight crevices. The best part was the absence of people.

    At the tail end of the sunset, often called the blue hour, I set up in front of a set of rocks and carefully framed Lanai in the background. Then I waited for a large wave to crash over the beach. When capturing waves I like to press the shutter as the wave begins to withdraw. It is usually within a couple of seconds, the camera will capture nice strings of foam leading back to the ocean and to the build up of the next wave. For this shot I made sure to get a 2-3 second exposure. Any longer the scene begins to get muddled. If another wave crashed during the exposure the nice crisp wisps of water are lost.

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    © Christopher Johnson –

  • Face

    This tree in Ka’anapali Maui looks like a face with hair.

  • Banyon Tree in Lahaina

    This banyon tree is so large that it takes up an entire block. Absolutely amazing.

    The day before I spent some time shooting this park and tree, but didn’t get any shots that I liked. Instead I visited this tree the very next morning, just before sunrise. Converting the images to black and white eliminated the orange light cast from the lamps and enhanced the look and feel of the park.

  • Church