tropical

  • Surfer Girl Sunset

    Silhouette of surfer girls walking toward a Hawaiian sunset.

    Buy a Print

    I wanted to get a little creative with this image. I had the panned sunset image that I wanted to add more interest to after getting inspiration from other artists on FineArtAmerica. I combined a silhouette of surfer girls walking in a sunset from an image I took in 2012 and a more recent image of birds in front of the sunset. Without much editing I had the scene I envisioned.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Hualalai Sunset

    Hualalai mountain shrouded by sunset lit clouds from the Kailua Kona shoreline

    Buy a print

    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

    Buy a Print from my Fine Art America store.

    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

  • Yellow Hibiscus

    A beautiful yellow Hibiscus flower found on the Big Island of Hawaii.

    Buy a Print

    Picked from one of the Hibiscus bushes we have out in our front yard. I selected this flower because of how the style curved right at the end so that I could photograph the profile of the flower and have all of the 5 stigma balls visual instead of overlapping each other.

    I don’t have much of a studio, so I have to improvise. I was able to float the flower away from its background by pinning it to the bottom of my kitchen cabinets with a safety pin. With natural light I needed a longer than desired shutter speed, so I had to close all windows and stop the fans to keep the flower from wavering. Then with a timer set to 2 seconds on the camera I quickly and carefully pressed the shutter and gently fluttered a white towel in the background to blur any shadow or detail that might be picked up by the camera. The depth of field wasn’t enough to pick up all the details of the flower, so I focus stacked 2 images for the final piece.

    © 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
  • Boulder Creek Falls

    Boulder Creek falls along the Alakahi stream that winds its way through the lush tropical landscape of the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden near Hilo.

    Buy a Print

    Way in the back up stream is the waterfall that the Botanical Garden named as Boulder Creek Falls. In order to get to it I would have to make my way through the dense tropical forest which would most likely be frowned upon by the garden staff. With the amount of people around I decided not to attempt it. Instead I setup on a small bridge that crosses the stream and waited for the right moment.

    Like the Onomea Falls image that I posted earlier, I had to wait a while for the sunlight to be hidden behind some clouds in order to have a nice evenly lit scene. However, the sunlight wasn’t my only obstacle. The small bridge that I set my tripod on was not sturdy. Any amount of movement would create a huge vibration, which doesn’t go very well when taking slow shutter exposures. The large crowds of people that found their way to the falls had the same idea to stop and take pictures before winding their way up to the end of the path. Funny thing is that the end of the path is about 50 yards away up to the left which is somewhat in the shot. I really had short windows where I could photograph the scene once the sun was blocked. The best part was that I setup really low to the ground in a crouched position, but because the bridge was not wide enough to allow me to be behind the camera and have people walk behind me that I had to crouch off to the side and crane my head around to see through the view finder. Super awkward position, but very enjoyable to be sitting in front of this beautiful scene.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Onomea Waterfall

    The beautiful cascading Onomea waterfall in the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.

    Buy A Print

    Two years ago I visited this waterfall and failed to focus properly on all parts of the scene and regretted not spending the time to make sure I had the shot before I left. The unfortunate thing is I though I had the shot when I left only to find slightly out of focus images when I went to process them. If the out of focus elements were in the background I may have dismissed the error, but they were foreground elements. It’s one thing on macro or artsy style images to have blurred parts, as long as it’s not the main focus of the image, but this wasn’t the case. Needless to say it bothered me for a while and when my daughter wanted to return last weekend I didn’t hesitate to go.

    We arrived around noon which isn’t ideal for photographing waterfalls or complex landscapes because the light from the sun spots the scene with unpleasant highlights. I was hoping for a cloud to hide the sun momentarily, but after waiting 20 minutes there was no relief from the sun.  I gave up to walk the gardens and to hopefully have better luck later, which when I returned my wish was granted.

    After a cautious and abundant photoshoot I knew I had the shots I needed to create the image I had been wanting for 2 years. I focus blended the foreground tree with the waterfall and distant trees in Photoshop to create a fully sharp image as well as adjusting the exposure with luminosity masks to create depth and interest.

    Hope you enjoy this image and the lesson for me was to take my time and make sure I have all elements of the scene captured before leaving. Returning may not be an option.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Ka’anapali Sunset

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

    Buy this artwork

    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

  • Palm Frond

    The pattern of an ever-changing palm frond as it blows in the wind.

    I have become fascinated by palm fronds after watching and observing them for a few years from my lanai. The sunlight transforms the leaves on the frond through out the day while accenting differed characteristics of the tropical tree. With this image the light was low and the front leaves were shadowing the back leaves which created a zebra like pattern against the bright sky. As a black and white image the pattern was accented.

    Buy a print on my FineArtAmerica store. There are different sizes and styles to choose from to fit your needs.

    © Christopher Johnson

     

    Sell Art Online

  • Hibiscus Schizopetalus

    Photograph of a red Hibiscus Schizopetalus against a white background.

    I have always found these Hibiscus flowers fascinating and have been wanting to photograph one for a long time. The way they hang off of a branch with their long stamen delicately hanging and swaying in the wind in contrast to the thrown back, crazy petals makes these Hibiscus super unique.

    While on a walk, about a mile away from home, I picked this flowers off of a bush to photograph. The only thing was the day was hot and I worried that it would wilt before I got home, but it held up. Maybe it was my wife’s care that it survived. If it were in my large hands it would surely not have made it.

    With a magnetic bag clip magnetized to the inner screw of an upper cabinet door I clipped the flower and propped a white pillow behind for a backdrop. I used an off camera strobe to capture the flower still as it waved around with each small movement of air. Minor adjustments in Photoshop.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Water Reflection

    Water Ripples

    A walk around the natural pools of the Mauna Lani resort is always so calming. A fun series of pathways navigate around the many different pools of water that spot the landscape. A seawall creates a boundary between the larger pool and the ocean where eels and barracuda swim freely, needless to say that this isn’t a place where people are swimming. An old brick structure rests on a small island that is only accessible by a small concrete narrow wall and is surrounded by palm trees growing out of small pot looking islands. I haven’t looked into what this structure was, but it is definitely a cool and odd thing to see.

    I found myself drawn to the reflective surface of one of the pools further away from the ocean. Clusters of palm trees draped over and around the water while being reflected in its gentle rippling surface. Through my viewfinder I was mesmerized by the dancing bending light as the image continually shifted its abstract form.

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Night Lights

    Photograph of the starry night behind tall palm trees in Hawaii

    This night just happened. The moon wasn’t due to rise until 2am and the humidity was low, all while the wind wasn’t really blowing hard. A perfect opportunity to attempt a concept that I was thinking of for a while now… palm trees in front of a starry night. I didn’t have the energy to drive to a preferred location, so instead I walked to a location close by, which happens to be near a hotel. I thought the lights from the hotel might kill the night sky with light pollution, but I decided to give it a shot first. If I am successful my next attempt would be at the location I had in mind, which would by a long bike ride in the dark.

    I was pleasantly surprised with the shot; even with the red of the nearby lights. The under lighted palm trees really helped bring a lot more color into the shot.

    © 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.

  • Hawaii

    Golden sunset shines through the beautiful silhouetted palm trees during sunset

     

    Buy a Print

    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

  • Onomea Falls

    Photograph of the beautiful picturesque Onomea waterfall

     

    Buy a Print

    A beautiful waterfall within the Tropical Botanical Garden walk north of Hilo on the Scenic road. I definitely recommend taking the time to visit this botanical garden. It’s breathtaking!

    © Christopher Johnson

  • Kohanaiki ‘S’ Curve

    I had a great time shooting at a new location with Mark Rogers for this sunset. This spot is so complex with so many compositional possibilities. I can’t wait to see what images Mark came up with.

    My first impression of this location is a view through the passage toward a large hole in the reef. I wanted to capture the colorful seaweed with the strings of water as it flows gently through them while the sun colors up the clouds above. I think that with this composition in the winter the sun may be in the opening above the ocean, so I look forward to that possibility.

    This photograph of the beautiful Hawaiian scenery can be purchased as a fine art print for home or office or licensed for usage.

    Please contact me for more information.