I love you, goodbye…

Last week I said goodbye to my Sony a7S. More than any camera I’ve owned, this is the camera that overcame photography’s physical boundaries that most frustrated me. I’ve been interested in astronomy since I was ten, ten years longer than I’ve a been photographer. But until recently I’ve been thwarted in my attempts to fully convey the majesty of the night sky above a grand landscape. What was…

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…

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…

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…

March madness

*    *    *    * Scheduling most workshops at least a year in advance, it’s easy to forget that distant dates will eventually become current dates. And so as 2013 approached I started looking somewhat askance at my spring schedule. Hmmm…, only four days at home from March 7 to March 29—what in the world had I been thinking? Ten days circling…

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…

Wow, wow, wow…

In a life filled with special moments, a few in particular stand out for me. Near the top of that list would be my annual trip to Hawaii and more specifically, the opportunity to photograph the Milky Way above an active volcano. I do this enough that it’s no longer novel for me, but it’s always special, and each time I get vicarious joy…

Over the volcano

The night before photographing my Milky Way image, I took my workshop group to the popular Halema`uma`u Crater overlook at the Jagger Museum. I’ll never forget my first sight of the radiant caldera at night from there, and was excited to share the experience. As is often the case on Kilauea, a dense cloud cover soon gave way to a mixture of clouds and…