• Single Stone on a Black Sand Beach

    Photograph of a stone nestled in the black sand beach of Pololu Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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    After the waves wash over the stones along the black sand they recess into the sand and leave a beautiful golden silky trail that contrasts with the black sand. I don’t know what the golden sand is or where it comes from, but it seems to only occur when a wave violently crashes across the stones and recedes back with the same ferocity. However, the golden color doesn’t develop immediately. The sand needs to dry a little for the golden color to present itself. With this said, I had to wait for quite a while before I was able to capture an image that would accent this occurrence. Needless to say this is one of the reasons I love photography.

    If I were to hike into Pololu Valley without a camera I wouldn’t catch the subtleties of the valley. I am not knocking anyone that just wants to enjoy the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands without a camera because I would be fascinated with the enormous cliffs, the amazing trees, the beautiful reflection on the river, and the enjoyment of the awesome hike. Photography makes me concentrate on the subtleties in order to capture a piece of art that I would be proud to hang on my wall.

    With that said… I took a photograph a while ago in Pololu Valley of the same nature; stones with the golden sand streaking off them, but the only thing was most of the image was out of focus. When I took the photo I didn’t bring a tripod and was just taking snap shots. Mainly because I was learning the new Sony camera I had just purchased. It wasn’t from that moment, but a year later when I was reviewing images taken from then, that I wanted to return to capture this image properly. This time I had my tripod and a few extra lenses to choose from to get the image. It was then that I realized how difficult it was to capture the golden streaking sand which made me slow down to realized when it occurs. Without my camera I would never even care to know about it.

    Then we come to processing the image.

    Originally I overlooked this image because there wasn’t much going on with it. A single stone with a washed out golden streak… great… I had more interesting images that I shot that day. So I thought. I started to process images with multiple stones that had a lot going on. They looked nice, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I few days later I selected this image to work on and was immediately satisfied. This is the shot I came back for. It took a while to process. I darkened the edges to give more focus to the stone and trail and to create a lot more drama while maintaining the stones character. After I completed the image it seemed almost celestial with the small highlighted specks in the dark shining through while the stone felt like a meteorite flying through space.  It took a while, but I finally have the image I set out for.

    © Christopher Johnson

    If you would like to buy a print I have this available on my FineArtAmerica page.

  • 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.

  • Void

    Along the Keahole shoreline I found this large crack in the lava where water surges in and out with every passing wave.

    © Christopher Johnson

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  • The Big Red Rock

    Some of the most vibrant reds I have ever found in rock was found in the Polulu valley.

    © Christopher Johnson –

  • Self Portrait

    Climbing over the boulders that makes the landscape of Sand Harbor so unique, I noticed my shadow reflected in a sliver of blue between the boulders. I paused for a moment to pose and photograph myself before continuing.


    © Christopher Johnson –

  • Sand Harbor, Frosted Rocks

    On a last-minute decision to visit this extraordinary location of Lake Tahoe, I was pleasantly surprised to find these beautiful rocks speckling the water. Even though I grew up on the south shore of Lake Tahoe and was well aware of the landscape surrounding Sand Harbor, I was awe-struck. I found myself bounding over the large rounded boulders in search for compositions, which it seemed  that every where I looked was something to photograph. I felt like I was at a playground for adults.

    This shot was in a hard to reach location where I had to jump and slide down rocks. Getting there was tough… getting out was even tougher. At points I thought I was going to go swimming. Luckily I didn’t.

    Without a tripod I used by camera bag for support and used a timer on the camera to avoid blurring when I depressed the shutter. Then to even out the exposure I had a 0.6 ND Graduated filter which I hand-held in front of the lens. Final touches in Lightroom.