ocean

  • 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.

  • 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/

  • Kilauea From Above

    Celebrating our 16th anniversary, my wife and I went on an amazing helicopter tour around the Big Island with Blue Hawaiian. We began towards the volcano, then made our way north along the Hamakua coastline to the amazing valleys north of Waipio. This is one of the coolest, most breathtaking Hawaiian adventures I have ever taken. I strongly recommend going.

    This post is mainly to show images of the smoke that is coming out of the volcano. I will be showing the valleys in a later post.

    Enjoy!

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Stormy Kona

    A panoramic view of dark stormy clouds under-lit by a Hawaiian sunset off the shoreline of Kailua Kona, Hawaii.

     

    © Christopher Johnson

  • 61G Ocean Entry

    Using a 300mm lens I was able to zoom into the lava as it meets the ocean from the cliff above.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Tomorrow

    The last minute retreat to the ocean to watch the earth roll away from the sun. I was looking for a composition when I found inspiration from my daughter. Setting up for the classic seascape shot, I looked back to witness my daughter tucked behind the tree branches taking pictures with my phone. Afterwards I retreated back to where she was sitting, bored with my compositions, to suddenly understand the amazing scenery she was seeing all along.

    The wind was blowing steady and I wanted the branches to be sharp with the water and clouds blurry from their movement. Moments like these call for multiple shots for future use. I shot a high shutter, large aperture shot of the branches to keep them sharp as well as a slow shutter, small aperture for the water and clouds for movement. Back at the dark room, which is in my very bright computer… I blended them together to create the best of the sunset to which I credit my daughter Makayla.

     

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Hawaii

    Golden sunset shines through the beautiful silhouetted palm trees during sunset

     

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    On my way down to the shoreline of Kailua Kona to view the sunset I was taken back by the beauty of the palm trees silhouetted against the vibrant Hawaiian sunset.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Noio Point Arch

    Photograph of a sea arch along the western Hawaii coastline during sunset

    Sunlight streams through the large opening of a sea arch off of Noio Point along the Kailua Kona coastline.

    See the aerial version I shot with a DJI Spark drone, ‘Sea Arch Aerial‘.

    © Christopher Johnson

    Available backlit from Big Naked Wall. Check out the website and see the cool things they are doing for artwork with their interchangeable prints on backlit frames.

  • The Death Of Yesterday

    A storm was about to sweep through Kailua Kona and I had just enough time to make it to the shoreline and compose a few shots before being forced to pack up and retreat.

     

    @ Christopher Johnson

  • Two Fifteen

    I visited this location two days in a row when the sunset had some promise. The first day was disappointing when the sun popped under the clouds as a dull glowing ball surrounded by the colorless grey haze, blocking any chance of color and light. I was successful when I shot while the sun was high, but during the finale the absence of light pushed my shutter speed too slow. While I wan’t going to compromise any more on aperture and ISO I packed up. However, the next day I was graced with the appearance of the sun. Again I watched as the sun faded behind the low lying haze that trapped the sunlight from under lighting the belly of the clouds, but I was happy to witness some color on the horizon.
    My goal with this shot, against this sunset, was to capture the color and texture of the seaweed with a 1 second shutter. The surf was high and I didn’t want to risk a tight ground shot, so instead, I framed a glimpse of the foreground.
    Enjoy…
    © Christopher Johnson

  • Keauhou Sunset

    The landscape of Keauhou is like nothing I have ever seen before. It’s almost as if I am on another planet.

    I found a crack in a large rock formation where the ocean waves would surge in and out. I wanted to capture this small vantage point of the Hawaiian sunset as a sliver of light through the dramatic rocks of Keauhou. The most difficult part was exposure. Keeping the highlights and shadows balanced. I completely under exposed all shots, but with the amazing range of the Sony A7, I was able to retain the detail in the shadows while developing the RAW file.

  • Shoot RAW

    Shoot Raw … a Rude Reminder

     

    Long breaks from shooting have proved to be bad for me. This is following my Failure To Focus post from last month. This next lesson came from an entire shoot that was mostly of un-useable images. Such a drag since the location I walked to was a couple miles along a treacherous terrain. Hopefully I won’t make the same mistake again.

    12 years ago I made the change from shooting all JPEG to shooting all RAW images. It didn’t really matter if the subject I was shooting needed to be RAW because it was going to be shot RAW anyway. Well now I have become so custom to developing RAW images that I forgot what the difference really was. Well I learned the difference today.

    My camera is getting old. The last photo shoot I had was underwater at Mahaiula beach. Unfortunately the housing leaked and when I removed the camera, although the camera worked fine, the settings began to change on their own. ISO, focus, white balance, and PASM; I just didn’t realize the RAW capture settings changed as well. I had thought something was different when I noticed the 1250 number on the screen, but it didn’t dawn on me what that number actually represented. The 1250 was the available images I could shoot on the memory card, where that number usually is around 200. Thinking it was the ISO I went to adjust the settings, but it was already at 100. It was at this moment I should have stopped to figure it out, but of course I didn’t and proceeded to shoot the new location.

    I left thinking I may have gotten some great shots… I was wrong. Once I saw the JPEG at the end of the files while loading them on my hard drive I was mortified. “Maybe they will be fine” I thought to myself. That was until I began to work on the images.

    The first thing I began to notice was the amount of artifacts in under exposed areas. Then the minor adjustments in the highlights and shadows really started to make the images look fake. Instead of having the ability to fine tune these areas, small adjustments would completely blow them out or flatten the image. Then there was a lot of blotchy areas where the pixels try to make up the detail in dark and highlighted areas. Followed by the objects in the distance at the far end of focus had a weird sharpening look to them. Almost like the objects were wrapped in plastic. These camera compressed images were total crap. All flexibility for development is gone. The only way this JPEG setting worked is if the image shot was technically perfect and in a tight focal range.

    The shot I posted needed very little development and for the most part worked. With a little bit of loss in the shadowy areas I am fairly happy with it, but as for the rest, it was a sad night.

     

  • 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

  • Ku’uali’i Sunset

    On the edge of the Ku’uali’i fishpond amongst the grass, I enjoyed the rare calm winds during this sunset.

  • 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.