Cornforth Images

Makena Beach Aerial 1

Makena Beach Aerial 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on April 10, 2014

Last year, I resolved to learn to build and fly remote controlled multirotor copters in order to create dramatic landscape images from a unique angle. It took me a little while longer than I had expected, but I am very happy with the types of photos that I am now creating. This aerial view of Makena Beach on Maui is a beautiful example of what is possible by merging this astonishing technology with my creative vision. Sure, I’ve seen aerial images of Makena over the years that were photographed from a small plane, but what is exciting to me is that I did both the flying and the photography myself. My hexacopter was hovering about 300m out and 100m up from where I took off when the setting sun briefly shined underneath the clouds to illuminate the entire scene. This is also my edited version of this photo, because I digitally removed the tiny dots of naked people on Little Beach. I created this image by flying my Canon EOS M camera, Canon 11-22mm lens, and Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer, on my Tarot 690S hexacopter using XAircraft’s SuperX flight controller. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CC, plus Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

La Perouse Bay Shoreline Aerial 3

La Perouse Bay Shoreline Aerial 3

Posted by Jon Cornforth on April 9, 2014

I’ve been back home for a few weeks now and barely flown my hexacopter. The one day that I did fly, I was amazed at how much the cooler weather shortened my battery life, and thus flight times. When I flew over La Perouse Bay on Maui a few weeks ago, I was conservatively reaching 10 minutes each flight. This beautiful lava shoreline and reef image was created by flying over 400m out and 50m up from the parking lot at the end of the road. It takes my hexacopter less than a minute to reach this distance and altitude. I then hover it in place and move it around to experiment with different compositions. I was especially drawn to the X shape of the shoreline surrounded by the turquoise water. I created this image by flying my Canon EOS M camera, Canon 11-22mm lens, and Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer, on my Tarot 690S hexacopter using XAircraft’s SuperX flight controller. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CC, plus Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Poolenalena Beach Palms Sunset 4

Poolenalena Beach Palms Sunset 4

Posted by Jon Cornforth on March 28, 2014

During my recent trip to Maui, I visited beautiful Poolenalena Beach at sunset and created this dramatic image. Over the years, I have tried to photograph this location several times, so it was especially rewarding to finally see all the necessary elements come together, including the dramatic clouds and golden light. I don’t often have an audience around me when I am working this hard, but there was a small wedding going on just to the left of this scene. Hopefully, I was not too distracting for their ceremony as I constantly shifted my tripod with the incoming waves in order to photograph the reflection of the coconut palms on the wet sand. Several times, a larger wave washed over me. When this happened, I had to run back to my camera bag so that I could dry off my lens and filters and then immediately run back into the surf to continue shooting. I’ve got several variations of this image with varying light and colors, but this is my favorite. I created this image using my my new 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon lens adapterCanon 17-40mm f4 lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer, and Singh-Ray 4-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CC, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Puu Pehe Aerial 2

Puu Pehe Aerial 2

Posted by Jon Cornforth on March 26, 2014

Now that I have been successfully flying my hexacopters during my recent travels, I am trying to move beyond the novelty of flying and back to focusing on creating beautiful images. I am especially excited about returning to my favorite landscape subjects and exploring them from this new perspective. This aerial image of Puu Pehe, or Sweetheart Rock, on the south shore of Lanai is a perfect example of the possibilities that I am achieving. I launched my copter from the top of the cliffs on the left, then flew it approximately 200m out and 25m above the ocean to compose this dramatic scene. When I say compose, I do mean compose. While flying my copter, I am viewing the Live View from my camera via a wireless transmitter on my 5″ LCD screen. Once I decide to hover my copter in a particular location, I then remotely trigger the camera to take a picture. Of course, I am still looking for all of the normal compositional elements that I would if I were using a tripod to take a picture, including wave action, dramatic light, and dynamic clouds. I created this image by flying my Canon EOS M camera, Canon 11-22mm lens, and Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer, on my Tarot 690S hexacopter using XAircraft’s SuperX flight controller. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CC, plus Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Ravenswood Slough Marshes Aerial 1

Ravenswood Slough Marshes Aerial 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on March 25, 2014

I just returned from spending a fantastic week in the Bay Area of California. During my visit, I gave 4 presentations about my photography to excited audiences every night from Berkeley to Monterrey. I also finally had the opportunity to meet in person and spend time with many talented and amazing photography friends who I have only known online.

I also brought my remote controlled hexacopters with me in order to do some flying. The above abstract aerial image is from my second attempt at flying over the marshes located in the south Bay near Facebook’s headquarters. I spent one morning last week flying with my friend and acclaimed photographer QT Luong, but realized that I needed to return at low tide. So, on Sunday afternoon I returned with my old college roommate and new friend and gifted photographer Patrick Smith. It was a bit breezy during my second visit, but I got my copter up in the air right at low tide in order to frame up this beautiful composition. I am not yet sure where I am going with this new style of photography, but I am passionate about merging technology and art. To me, it is not just about the cool, gee-whiz factor of building and flying “drones”, but rather using them like any other creative tool to produce extraordinary images. I created this image by flying my Canon EOS M camera, Canon 11-22mm lens, and Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer, on my Tarot 690S hexacopter using XAircraft’s SuperX flight controller. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CC, plus Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Twilight 1

Halemaʻumaʻu Crater Twilight 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on February 19, 2014

I recently spent two nights photographing the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater in Volcanoes National Park. It had been several years since I last photographed lava, so it was like visiting an old friend. The first night, I was happy to share some conversation in the dark with my buddy CJ Kale, who also allowed me to borrow his Canon 24mm f1.4 lens. This image was from my second night shooting solo. It was amazing to observe the crater and the steam plume begin to glow red after the sun went down. I framed the crater with this ohia tree located near the Jaggar Museum. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkIIICanon 24mm f1.4 lens, and Singh-Ray 3-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CC, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Green Sand Beach Sunset 4

Green Sand Beach Sunset 4

Posted by Jon Cornforth on February 19, 2014

Lately, I have been rediscovering my passion for landscape photography. It’s not that I ever stopped shooting landscapes, it’s just that I have too many different types of images that I like to shoot in a wide variety of environments. This image of Green Sand Beach located near South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii is a perfect example of my recent focus on dramatic landscapes. The last time that I visited this location was close to 10 years ago with my medium format film camera. Since then, I like to think that I have grown as a photographer, plus camera technology has evolved so that it allows me to better photograph dramatic scenes like this. If this storm front had rolled across the sky 15 minutes earlier, I would have missed my opportunity to photograph the colors in the clouds. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkIIICanon 17-40mm f4 lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CC, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Kona Coast Sunset 3

Kona Coast Sunset 3

Posted by Jon Cornforth on February 19, 2014

While visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, I experienced a lot of crummy, winter weather, but these conditions allowed me to photograph a variety dramatic sunsets. This area of lava ledges and blowholes along the Kona shoreline has always been one of my favorite locations. I composed this scene while standing very close to this series of lava tubes that would flood with the incoming waves and then suddenly drain to expose these dramatic waterfalls. On this particular night, the setting sun flooded the sky with golden light and turned the clouds neon red. This entire composition briefly came together for 1 second in time. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkIII, Voigtlander 20mm f3.5 lens, and Singh-Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CC, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Kona Humpback Whale Tail 1

Kona Humpback Whale Tail 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on February 13, 2014

During my recent trip to the Big Island, I was planning to photograph humpback whales as much as possible, but alas the whales and weather were not all that cooperative. I always advise aspiring whale photographers that they better enjoy the boat ride and their companions when venturing out on the water. This is the best image that I got while spending much of the day with a small group of whales in a heat run. All of the activity was taking place beneath the surface and there was no ryhme or reason to their change in direction. Many times, I was set up perfectly for a great shot, only to be thwarted by a whole lot of nothing. This tail image was as exciting as it got that day, and even this was very surprising. I created this image using my Canon 7D and Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS II lens with my Canon 1.4X III tele-converter attached. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CC, plus Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Kona Coast Spectacular Sunset 1

Kona Coast Spectacular Sunset 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on February 12, 2014

This spectacular sunset took place during my recent visit to the Big Island of Hawaii. The weather that day was miserable, but like any dedicated landscape photographer, I kept hopefully checking the satellite view of the islands. I could see that there was a cloudless sky just beyond the horizon. It was pouring rain all day, so when I finally announced to my brother and sister-in-law that it was time to go shoot the sunset, my optimism must have made me sound like a deranged prophet. I rushed down to the shoreline just as the sun started to poke beneath the clouds and a dramatic double rainbow appeared behind me, but my real prize was the heavy low hanging clouds out over the ocean. I originally found a scene that I liked and set up my camera while trying to keep it dry with my underperforming umbrella, but the clouds were moving so fast and the light so dynamic, that I quickly had to reposition my gear and settled upon this nearby composition. The entire light show lasted less than 10 minutes, but it allowed me to produce a number of dramatic photos during this orgy of light. I created this image using my Canon 5DmkIIICanon 17-40mm f4 lens, and Singh-Ray 3-stop Reverse Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CC, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.


I've been photographing native North American wildlife and landscapes since 2001. All of my photos were taken on location and are available for purchase as stock photography for commercial and editorial use, or as fine art prints. My photographs span over 5 continents, 10 countries, and 7 US states including Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Bahamas, California, Canada, Hawaii, Iceland, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Patagonia, Utah, and Washington.

I'm best known for my humpback whale photos, stellar sea lion photos, polar bear photos, sea otter photos, and bald eagle photos. National Parks are also a favorite subject of mine, and include Denali National Park photos, Glacier Bay National Park photos, and the US National Park of American Samoa. I'm an award winning nature photographer who has been featured in numerous online publications and magazines, with experience using medium format, 35mm film, and Canon digital SLR cameras including for my underwater marine photography of fish, whales, dolphins, and coral.

Please contact me by phone or email to find the perfect photo for your stock, commercial, editorial, or fine art purposes today!