Big Island, Hawaii (HI), USA

Born of Fire

2012 was absolutely fantastic for us. We finished 2012 on the big Island of Hawaii – photographing lava from the Kilauea volcano. The New Year saw us photographing endangered Green Sea Turtles on a black sand beach.

Here is one of my photographs of new land being formed as the lava reaches the sea.

This shot demonstrates the challenge you face when photographing lava. The newly formed rocks surrounding the lava are pitch black, and the lava itself is super hot and glowing. I chose to bracket exposures in order to deal with the extreme dynamic range. Moving steam and water add another layer of difficulty.

For this shot, I took three bracketed exposures, and manually blended them using layers and masks in Photoshop. I chose to keep the rocks dark with very little detail, because it was late in the evening and we could very little texture on the rocks. Notice that the textures fade as you move away from the light of the burning lava.

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