Cornforth Images

Category Archives: Landscape

Secret Beach Sunset 3

Secret Beach Sunset 3

Posted by Jon Cornforth on March 10, 2016

During my recent visit to Maui to photograph humpback whales, I also put some effort into shooting landscapes. The weather was clear, blue sky for most of my trip, which is great for tourists, but not for landscape photos. I finally got lucky with some epic conditions the night that I took my buddy Patrick Kelley to this beautiful location. I have been to this spot, known as Secret Beach, many times over the years and several times this trip. It is located south of Makena and is a small and popular beach, especially for weddings, so it is always hard to get everyone out of the composition. (I digitally removed a couple that were sitting behind the rocks on the left.) The beautiful sunset light was brief, but dramatic, and I especially like the reflected light in the wet sand. I created this image using my 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony lens adapter, Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CC 2015, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Carate Sunset Aerial 1

Carate Sunset Aerial 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on January 29, 2016

This past November, I traveled to Costa Rica for the first time. My main ambition was to explore a few different locations in order to photograph wildlife, but I also brought along one of my drones to shoot aerials. One of my first stops was the wild and remote Osa Peninsula which is home to Corcovado National Park. Often labeled one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, its wildlife includes scarlet macaws, tapirs, jaguars and squirrel monkeys. I saw a lot of amazing wildlife, but I only nibbled at the edge of the park. I rented a place close to Puerto Jimenz, but drove all the way to the end of the dirt road to Carate Beach one afternoon. This quiet and isolated setting had the Pacific Ocean on one side and impenetrable jungle on the other. The only way to really photograph it was from the air. I created this image while flying my Sony a5000 camera and Sony 16mm f2.8 lens on my custom-built 550 quadcopter. I processed the RAW file using Adobe Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC 2015, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Bugaboo Snowpatch Spires Reflection 2

Bugaboo Snowpatch Spires Reflection 2

Posted by Jon Cornforth on October 21, 2015

I have been fortunate to photograph the dramatic mountains of Patagonia, the rugged fjords of Alaska and Svalbard, and the incredible scenery of South Georgia Island, but these places are all far off and cost a lot to visit. Closer to my home, yet with equally world-class scenery is Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park in British Columbia. I tried to climb some of the easier routes back in the 90’s and only visited once with a camera in the very early days of my photography career. I had wanted to return for many years and finally did this past September. My buddy and I drove the long, windy dirt road from the Columbia Valley up to the parking area, and then hiked the short, but steep trail up to the Kain Hut. This image is from the first morning of our visit from a tarn located above Applebee Dome. It required a 45 minute hike uphill in the pre-dawn light to reach. The conditions were much more wintery than I was anticipating, but as the clouds parted with the early morning light illuminating the spires, the wind died down allowing for an almost perfect reflection. I created this image using my 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony NEX lens adapter, Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, and Singh-Ray 4-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Adobe Lightroom 6 and Photoshop CC 2015, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Vermillion Lakes Sunrise 4

Vermillion Lakes Sunrise 4

Posted by Jon Cornforth on October 20, 2015

Banff National Park in Canada is one of my all-time favorite travel destinations. I was only 15 years old the first time I visited and its relative proximity was one of the main reasons that I moved to Seattle over 20 years ago. I try to return as often as I can, but it had been several years until my recent visit in September. My buddy and I started off our week-long trip by getting snowed on at Bow Summit and hiking in Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park. On our return to Calgary, we photographed this incredible sunrise over Mount Rundle from the Vermillion Lakes near the town of Banff. We’d both been here many times before, so we knew where to place our tripods, but we literally jumped out of the car and started shooting just as this spectacular light show unfolded. While cars and trucks whizzed by on the Trans-Canada above and behind me, a solitary bull elk was bugling just to my right. It was a beautiful morning to be out in nature. I created this image using my 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony NEX lens adapter, Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer and Singh-Ray 4-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Adobe Lightroom 6 and Photoshop CC 2015, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Hvitserkur Sunset 1

Hvitserkur Sunset 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on September 3, 2015

I photographed this dramatic seastack known as Hvítserkur on Iceland‘s north coast this past June. Tony Wu and I had experienced several days of horrendous weather before we finally read a forecast that looked promising up north, so off we drove with this destination in mind. Hvítserkur is an old basalt lava plug that has withstood the erosion by the sea. Legend has it that the rock was a troll who forgot to retreat from the light and was turned to stone at sunrise. It is one of Iceland’s iconic landscapes, so we were surprised to have it all to ourselves the one night that we photographed it. Nothing all that memorable was happening in the sky until this cloud suddenly burst into flame. We were also very fortunate to unintentionally arrive during a low tide, so I was able to compose this wide-angle image with sand patterns in the foreground. I created this image using my 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony NEX lens adapter, Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer and Singh-Ray 4-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Adobe Lightroom 6 and Photoshop CC 2015, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Kirkjufell Sunrise 1

Kirkjufell Sunrise 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on September 1, 2015

This past June, I traveled to Iceland for the third time in my photography career. Tony Wu, my good friend and photo tour business partner, joined me for two weeks of driving around in a van, sleeping in obscure locations, eating whatever happened to be left in our non-functioning refrigerator, and chasing photographic opportunities. We had a great time together before co-leading our first sailing expedition in Norway’s Svalbard. I’ll share more about that incredible trip soon.

The weather in Iceland is always extreme, but I found it to be especially difficult during this trip. Before leaving home, I vowed not to drive from one end of Iceland to the other as I had done during my previous visits because the distances and roads often require 6-10 hours to drive between locations. However, once the weather continued to be uncooperative, I spent a lot of time checking the forecast for various parts of the island and adjusted our plans to chase the light no matter how much driving was involved.

One of the locations that we abruptly made a decision to drive to was the iconic Kirkjufellfoss waterfall located across from the witch-hat summit of Kirkjufell mountain. I was vaguely familiar with photos of this beautiful setting and only knew that it was located on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Since I was driving around in the middle of the night with limited internet access, we initially drove to the end of the peninsula thinking that the famous name-sake volcano must be the the correct location before realizing that we had to turn around and drive back in the opposite direction.

Fortunately, the light this far north and lack of tourists on the road at 1am made it easy for us to find it, park, and stroll up to the falls in plenty of time to set up for this dramatic sunrise. I had expected to have to scrum with other tripod-toters to shoot this composition, but was pleasantly surprised to have this beautiful setting all to ourselves. As the colors in the sky started to explode, I coached Tony on how to use his filters and in general how to photograph a landscape, since he is usually underwater when he pushes the shutter release button. I have been intentionally avoiding photo “hot-spots” the last few years, but I am pleased that I allowed myself to indulge in photographing this graceful scene. I created this image using my 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon EF Lens to Sony NEX lens adapter, Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, and Singh-Ray 4-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Adobe Lightroom 6 and Photoshop CC 2015, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Puu Pehe Sunset 1

Puu Pehe Sunset 1

Posted by Jon Cornforth on April 2, 2015

I have previously shared a number of sunrise images of Puu Pehe located on Lanai‘s south shore, but photographing this iconic location during a dramatic sunset has eluded me. The weather in this part of Hawaii tends to be some of the sunniest and driest of the entire state. This is great for tourists who come to enjoy beautiful Hulopoe Beach, but not so much for impressive landscape photography conditions. After dozens of attempts over many years of visiting Lanai, I was finally rewarded with this stunning image. Not only did the golden sunlight illuminate the rugged lava shoreline, but the sky was full of puffy, glowing clouds. I am also enamored with the beautiful, warm colors reflected on the wet sand. I created this image using my 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon lens adapter, and my new Canon 16-35mm f4 IS lens, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CC 2014, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Keomuku Boulders Sunrise 2

Keomuku Boulders Sunrise 2

Posted by Jon Cornforth on March 31, 2015

This image was created along the drive down to the north shore of Lanai on the first day of my February visit. Though the main purpose for my trip was to photograph humpback whales breaching, I also photographed landscapes whenever I had the opportunity. I had arrived the night before and not yet assembled my inflatable boat to go out whale watching, but I still wanted to shoot the sunrise. I knew from my previous explorations of the island that there were large numbers of lava formations along the side of the road which would make an interesting foreground. As the sunrise approached, I parked, jumped out of the truck, and then bolted towards this prominent feature, barely setting up my camera in time to photograph this magical light briefly illuminating my subject as the clouds moved across the sky. I created this image using my 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon lens adapter, and my new Canon 16-35mm f4 IS 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 2014, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Garden Of The Gods Sunset 11

Garden Of The Gods Sunset 11

Posted by Jon Cornforth on March 26, 2015

One of my favorite locations to photograph on Lanai is Keahiakawelo, which is more commonly known as the Garden of the Gods. This unique geological setting reminds me more of places in the Southwest than in Hawaii. It can easily be accessed by a 30 minute drive from Lanai City via four-wheel drive, as long as it has not recently been raining. During my January whale-watching trip, I took an afternoon off from the ocean in order to drive my travel companions out here to shoot the sunset. I composed this dramatic image as the clouds swirled overhead and the setting sun vividly illuminated the eroded boulders. I created it using my 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon lens adapter, and my new Canon 16-35mm f4 IS lens, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CC 2014, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.

Puu Pehe Sunrise 5

Puu Pehe Sunrise 5

Posted by Jon Cornforth on March 24, 2015

I have spent a lot of time on Lanai the last few years. It is a beautiful and quiet island, but there is not a lot going on and only one real road. Even though I have explored most of the island in search of new landscape images, I often find myself down at Manele Bay for sunrise or sunset since it is so easy to get to and iconic. When I frequently return to the same location, I get to the point where I only break out my camera when something particularly dramatic happens. This was the case during this brief but intense sunrise. I was driving down the hill from town to the harbor to go out whale watching when I observed this ever so slim hole in the clouds on the horizon in the pre-dawn light. I have been skunked plenty of times trying to photograph Puu Pehe, but I felt that this morning was worth the chance. As walked over to the top of the cliff, climbed down to the beach, and set up my camera for the umpteenth time in the dark, I watched the clouds move further in the wrong direction potentially ruining my sunrise ambitions. Just as I was thinking that it was not going to happen, an ephemeral beam of golden light began to pierce the veil of clouds and bath the sky in fantastic light. Perseverance and down-right luck are what lead to exciting images like this. I created this image using my 36MP Sony a7R camera body with a Metabones Canon lens adapter, and my new Canon 16-35mm f4 IS lens, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter. I processed the RAW file using Aperture 3, Photoshop CC 2014, and Nik Software’s Color Efex 4‘s White Neutralizer filter.