2016 was a great year for me! I’ve definitely improved in skills and technique. One of the most exciting things in landscape photography was the start of the 61G lava flow on Hawaii Island. It has proven extremely popular and has helped me grow a social media following. I captured my first wedding and first real estate property this year. I hope to shoot more portraits, weddings, and real estate next year. My biggest accomplishment this year was winning the USA Young Landscape Photographer of the Year. I’m excited to see what 2017 has to offer! I present you with my 5 favorite images of this year.
#5 The Moon Above Gemini
A rising moon above the Gemini Observatory atop Mauna Kea. This is not a composite, it is the real deal. The only adjustments done to this image were color, contrast, and cropping. It was captured on a vintage Nikon 1000mm F/11 Reflex lens. The observatory was 1.4 miles away. Every second was crucial, as the moon moves across the frame quickly at 1000mm. At one point, I was running across a field of rocks to position the moon above the observatory. I really enjoyed capturing this one and the results turned out better than I expected. This is one of the few photos I’ve captured this year with a telephoto lens, and I hope to capture more.
#4 Ocean Rush
This was captured on the Kona coast. A lava tube pushes water in and out creating a nice flow of water. I distinctly remember capturing this because it was Presidents Day 2016 and I met with a few local photographer here for sunset. This spot is particularly dangerous because the water rises in and out and you definitely don’t want to be in this position when a wave crashes in. A huge wave started coming in and we all ran for the hills! The wave crashed and created a giant splash, and I was only able to run so far before I braced myself for the worst. This image was the overall winner for the USA Landscape Photographer Youth competition. It’s my favorite seascape I captured this year because the movement of the water is amazing.
The active Halema’uma’u Crater spews out a bright glow and a raging plume. The steam vents below were filling Kilauea Iki Crater with a cloud of fog. This is the most spectacular view of the crater I’ve ever seen! The formation of the plume looked like a tornado, and I’ve never seen the steam vents in the crater below pump out this much steam into the air. This is one of my favorites because it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
#2 Pololu Valley Moonbow
I took my chances with the weather and drove 2 1/2 hours to Pololu Valley and it delivered fair conditions. The moon was at just the right amount of illumination to capture the valley while not being too bright to capture the milky way. It was also at a great position in the sky as I was able to capture a rainbow. It only lasted 8 minutes, unbeknownst to me until I saw it on my camera. I’m so glad I went! The odds of this happening again are slim. I love this image because of all the elements coming together to create this crazy scene.
#1 The first Sunrise
This was captured during the first sunrise that the lava had hit the ocean. For weeks, people were speculating when the lava flow would reach the ocean. The night before this sunrise, I had heard that the lava was very close. I rushed out in the middle of the night to cycle the 4 miles and was greeted with a beautiful sunrise and amazing experience. These cliffs don’t look too big in the photo, but in reality, they are 30 ft+ and it was a lava waterfall coming down. This is my favorite and by far my most popular image. The experience was just unreal and I may not be able to capture something like this ever again.