scenic

  • Pine Trees Morning Surf

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

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    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

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    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

  • Clouds Mimic the Earth

    A beautiful sunset from the OTEC coastline on the Big Island of Hawaii

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    This sunset was one for the books. I had a suspicion that the sunset might be good, but as the light began to fizzle I became skeptical. Just as the sun moved under the distant clouds it began to highlight the underside of the lower clouds to gift me a beautiful shot. I was completely blown away that the shape of the clouds mimicked the shape of the landscape I was shooting, which gave me some interest in the sky.

    See this location from the air. A photo and video of this amazing location. “Keahole Coastline Aerial

    © 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
  • 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

  • Golden Hour

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

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    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

     

  • Split View

    Photograph of an underwater-land split view from the shoreline of Hawaii’s Mahaiula beach.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Milky Way

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

    © 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

  • 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 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/