Last July, my daughter & I visited the Big Island of Hawaii for our annual scuba diving trip. The previous years, we had traveled to Indonesia, but clearly that was not happening last summer. She had never done any Kona diving, so it was a delight to share with her the famous manta ray dive (which we had all to ourselves), a blackwater night dive, and some beautiful shore dives. It was a lovely trip that created great memories for both of us. I also snuck in a few landscape photography jaunts to my favorite blowholes along the shoreline near the airport. I always enjoy the thrill of the bigger sets rolling in and then playing chicken with the exploding waves by not moving my camera in order to create an image like this. It also helps when the sky explodes with dramatic sunset colors.
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.
During my recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii, 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.
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 under performing 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.
Since I am getting ready to fly back to the Big Island of Hawaii tomorrow afternoon, I decided to share an image from my last trip to Kona in November. I got very lucky several days in a row by experiencing my first encounters with sperm whales. This photo was taken moments after one swam directly at me to check me out and then inverted itself vertically in the water. I don’t know whether this image is epic or not, but it is one of my first sperm whale images all the same. What I like most about going out on the water in Kona is that I never know what I will encounter. Every day is different.
Over the years, I have tried to photograph pilot whales while visiting Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, but been unsuccessful. However, during my recent visit I had a close encounter with this pod. After observing them logging (resting) on the surface, I cautiously entered the water and photographed this curious mother and calf. It was an exhilarating experience, especially given the unpredictable reputation of these large animals.