The camera’s vision: Light

Something I teach, write, and lecture on frequently (ad naseum?) is the photographer’s obligation to understand, not fight, the camera’s vision. Some people get this; others, not so much. So here I go again… Visual “Truth” is relative Without getting too philosophical, it’s important to understand that, like your camera, your view of the universe is both limited and interpreted. In other words, there is no absolute visual truth….

A small dose of mind-bending perspective

So what’s happening here? The orange glow at the bottom of this frame is light from 1,800° F lava bubbling in Halemaʻumaʻu Crater inside Hawaii’s Kilauea Caldera, reflecting off a low-hanging bank of clouds. The white band above the crater is light cast by billions of stars at the center our Milky Way galaxy. So dense and distant are the stars here, their individual points are lost to the surrounding glow. Partially obscuring the Milky…

Addition by subtraction

In my previous blog post I mentioned that I lost a couple of my Hawaii locations to Hurricane Iselle. Not only was the loss no big deal, it proved a catalyst that jarred me from my rut and into more exploring. This location was at first glance an exposed, twenty foot cliff above the Pacific with a great view up the Puna Coast, past palm trees and surf-battered, recently…

One eye on the ocean, the other on the volcano

September 16, 2014 It’s easy to envy residents of Hawaii’s Big Island—they enjoy some of the cleanest air and darkest skies on Earth, their soothing ocean breezes ensure that the always warm daytime highs remain quite comfortable, and the bathtub-warm Pacific keeps overnight lows from straying far from the 70-degree mark. Scenery here  is a postcard-perfect mix of symmetrical volcanoes, lush rain forests, swaying palms, and lapping surf. I mean, with all this…

Ticket to paradise

Tomorrow I head off to the Big Island for my annual workshop there. Not a bad gig. One of the great things about Hawaii is the fact that there is no such thing as a private beach—all beaches are open to everyone. Of course that doesn’t give tourists carte blanche to do as they please, and some locals can be pretty territorial about “their” beaches. But I’ve…

My photography essentials, part 3

A couple of weeks ago the editors at “Outdoor Photographer” magazine asked me (and a few other pros) to contribute to an upcoming article on photography essentials, and it occurs to me that my blog readers might be interested to read my answers. Here’s how I answered the third of their three questions: What three things contribute to keeping you inspired, energized and creative…

Heaven and Hell

Caving to demand, I took my Hawaii workshop group back up to Kilauea last Thursday night. While we didn’t get stars this time (not even close), we found something that was equal parts different and cool. If the first night’s display was Heavenly, the reprise was Hellish. We finished Tuesday with a new appreciation for our small place in this magnificent Universe; Thursday we were left awestruck…

Last night, at the volcano…

Sitting here on my balcony above Hilo Bay, it’s hard to believe that 10 days ago I was photographing sunrise lightning on a chilly morning at the Grand Canyon. But there’s Mauna Kea, and over there is Mauna Loa. And it’s 6 a.m. and I’m in shorts and flip-flops, so this really must be Hawaii. Ahhhh. Oh yeah, it’s all coming back to me…….

Literally breathtaking

Even with the number beautiful things I get to photograph, certain natural wonders will forever thrill me. Near the top of that list is the view into the Kilauea Caldera on Hawaii’s Big Island. I thought I knew what to expect, but even after a lifetime of National Geographic specials and an occasional “Breaking News!” disaster video, I was little prepared for the in-person…

Glow in the dark

*    *    *    * An unfortunate reality of photographing the things I photograph, at the times I photograph them, is the doubt the results foster—“Is that real?” Sigh. That skepticism is compounded by the (understandable) ignorance of people who expect cameras to duplicate human reality, a fallacy no doubt perpetuated by photographers who proclaim each image to be, “Exactly the way…