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At the Kamokuna ocean entry, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. Check it out on Nat Geo Your shot. Published by Nat Geo as photo of the day and winner of a commended awar...
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At the Kamokuna ocean entry, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. Check it out on Nat Geo Your shot. Published by Nat Geo as photo of the day and winner of a commended award in the Sony World Photography Organisation (WPO) competition soon to be exhibited with the other winners in London at Somerset House starting April 20th to 6th May. Shot from a moving boat near sunrise.
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Awards

Contest Finalist in Celebrating Nature Photo Contest Vol 7
Contest Finalist in Creative Landscapes Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Capture The Four Elements Photo Contest
Runner Up in Orange Is The Color Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Orange Is The Color Photo Contest
Contest Finalist in Monthly Pro Vol 36 Photo Contest
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Peer Award
Absolute Masterpiece
Devanpayne mariadel PetraDraha High-Hopes Dhirajk CynthiaM2020 brycetimothyhillmcnabb +70
Magnificent Capture
charterswilliamosborne barrywilton mariayoung NorthernExposures judykarendal JmDreams howie516 +50
Top Choice
Penny-K christrabant Pamelabole keithhempfleng ShellyRwanda jenniferhouston Nostroboy +40
Superb Composition
Hood jodiecam bioscoopfan TravelPhotoAddicted IvanNaydenovImages Tanya333 Evgeniylord +32
Outstanding Creativity
kathrynsklenakdannay RachelNiquette cathyallseits Mdj635 john_arsenault Martin-Wasilewski helenadfriessen +11
Virtuoso
karensommerslohre nederfilms henryksadura uhunachdemwaldbrand clemdx3 auksx CarltonR +4
All Star
Maadhatter steffoto kenkast2 Katnott FairleaCottage patriciahoran sensi_visual99 +1
Superior Skill
Orcus99 darrellgillenwater rutvkpaikin Photo-Graphiste-77 artbypamelagarcia paaluglefisklund Tanners
Genius
luvnpics patticassidy danielmillerphotos newelly barbaragoffchickerell

Emotions

Impressed
marymwarnerthomas calummcdonald RMCROC abood

Top ClassTM

Earth Day Every Day Photo ContestTop 10 class
Visualize Beginnings Photo ContestTop 20 class
Visualize Beginnings Photo ContestTop 20 class week 1
Celebrating Nature Photo Contest Vol 7Top 10 class
Celebrating Nature Photo Contest Vol 7Top 10 class week 1
Around The World Photo Contest Digital Camera WorldTop 10 class
Bold Colors Photo ContestTop 20 class
Bold Colors Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Inspiring Landscapes Photo ContestTop 10 class
Blue Color Photo Contest Speed SeriesTop 10 class
All About Water Photo ContestTop 10 class
Shooting The Blue Hour Photo ContestTop 10 class
Shooting The Blue Hour Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Shooting The Blue Hour Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
An Unforgettable Adventure Photo ContestTop 10 class
Our Amazing Planet Photo Contest xpozerTop 10 class
Our Amazing Planet Photo Contest xpozerTop 10 class week 1
Celebrating Nature Photo Contest Vol 4Top 20 class
Celebrating Nature Photo Contest Vol 4Top 10 class week 3
Celebrating Nature Photo Contest Vol 4Top 10 class week 2
Celebrating Nature Photo Contest Vol 4Top 10 class week 1
Spectacular Cliffs Photo ContestTop 10 class
Spectacular Cliffs Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Anything Water Photo ContestTop 10 class
Creative Landscapes Photo ContestTop 10 class
Anything Water Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Creative Landscapes Photo ContestTop 10 class week 2
Creative Landscapes Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Everything Nature Photo ContestTop 10 class
Everything Nature Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 4Top 10 class
My Best Shot Photo Contest Vol 4Top 10 class week 1
The Talent AwardsTop 10 class
Moody Vistas Photo ContestTop 10 class
Moody Vistas Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Zen Photo ContestTop 10 class
Zen Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Everything Smoke Photo ContestTop 10 class
Capture The Four Elements Photo ContestTop 10 class
Capture The Four Elements Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Everything Smoke Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Our Natural Planet Photo ContestTop 10 class
Our Natural Planet Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Rule Of Thirds Photo Contest v3Top 10 class
ViewBug Photography AwardsTop 10 class
ViewBug Photography AwardsTop 10 class week 1
Rule Of Thirds Photo Contest v3Top 10 class week 3
Opposites Photo ContestTop 10 class
Rule Of Thirds Photo Contest v3Top 10 class week 2
Opposites Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Rule Of Thirds Photo Contest v3Top 10 class week 1
Orange Is The Color Photo ContestTop 10 class
Diagonals And Composition Photo Contest Vol 1Top 10 class
Orange Is The Color Photo ContestTop 10 class month 1
Diagonals And Composition Photo Contest Vol 1Top 10 class week 1
Monthly Pro Vol 36 Photo ContestTop 10 class
Covers Photo Contest Vol 42Top 10 class
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 27Top 10 class
Monthly Pro Vol 36 Photo ContestTop 10 class week 1
Covers Photo Contest Vol 42Top 10 class week 1
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 27Top 10 class week 2
Image Of The Month Photo Contest Vol 27Top 10 class week 1

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16 Comments | Report
jimhelmick
 
jimhelmick December 09, 2017
Amazing shot.
alicecranekovler
 
alicecranekovler December 09, 2017
Join the conversation. Add a comment or even better, a critique. Let's get better together!
PhotosbyJLR PRO+
 
PhotosbyJLR December 09, 2017
This is a bucket list shot for me. WOW.
truetolifephotography PRO
truetolifephotography December 27, 2017
It certainly was for me too!
rutvkpaikin
 
rutvkpaikin December 27, 2017
Great shot.
michelletracey PRO
 
michelletracey February 12, 2018
Amazing!!
Kskeeters11 PRO
 
Kskeeters11 February 18, 2018
Beautiful
truetolifephotography PRO
 
truetolifephotography March 04, 2018
Hi thanks sll. it's in the news as well now as a commended photo in the World Photography Organisation Sony WPO awards. It made it to the top 47 in the Landscape and Nature category. Total submissions across all categories was a record breaking 320,000 ! Stoked therefore to have an awarded image picked out by the judges. I can't image what it must be like to go through that many submissions in the first place. On April 20th to May 6th it will be exhibited with the other winners in London at the WPO exhibition at Somerset House.
Cathunter
Cathunter March 04, 2018
Congratulation for your WPO success!!
JamieBoyd02
 
JamieBoyd02 April 14, 2018
That is incredible!!! It must have been hard to get!
MarkWolskyPhotography PRO+
 
MarkWolskyPhotography April 16, 2018
Magnificent shot!! Well done.
RamyDelariarte
 
RamyDelariarte May 09, 2018
Amazing
marcbaechtold
 
marcbaechtold May 14, 2018
nice work! Some nice colors and good contrast, keep shooting!
FergalBrady
 
FergalBrady July 15, 2018
Really contradictive and beautiful like fire and ice
howie516 PRO
 
howie516 September 25, 2018
Such a beautiful photo, love the colors
JmDreams
 
JmDreams October 17, 2018
Wow amazing
grahamcarney_6567
 
grahamcarney_6567 January 18, 2019
beautiful
Thesaltyselkie
 
Thesaltyselkie February 19, 2019
This must have been amazing to get! Wonderful!

Behind The Lens

Location
From a boat at the Kamokuna ocean entry at the base of Mount Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Time
This image was captured during the pre dawn blue light about half an hour before sunrise. I only had 40 minutes of shooting time available on the boat, starting in the dark and ending at sunrise.
Lighting
I specifically chose to take the pre dawn boat departure as I knew the shooting window, while short in time, would occur during the blue light before sunrise which is ideal for lava photography because the colours are at their most intense. However, shooting at that time of day is also the most challenging as the light is still low and images have to be created hand held.
Equipment
I had three camera bodies and a variety of lenses ranging from 400mm f/2.8 prime to 70-200mm f/2.8 and 50mm f/1.4 prime. Due to the low light I needed the widest aperture available most of the time so this determined my lens choices for this particular shoot. As I was on a boat without any gyro stabilisation equipment the entire shoot had to be hand held which made this an ultimate technical and physical challenge even with the fastest lenses available.
Inspiration
I had a desire to photograph the eruption of Mount Kilauea for many years. I had been keeping an eye on the latest activity reports on the Volcanoes National Park website and noted increased activity reports at the ocean entry and other sections of the volcano so I made a last minute decision to fly there from Hong Kong in the hope of witnessing some epic activity. I got more than I bargained for as this shoot not only provided me with stunning photographic opportunities around the base of the ocean entry but there was also a unique "firehose' event occurring from the cliff face higher up. A tube breakout created a lava fall into a huge cone with a fiery tributary flowing out of it into the ocean! Witnessing this was beyond my wildest dreams and it more than lived up to any expectations I had about what it would be like witnessing the raw power of nature up close. A truly visceral experience to feel the intense heat and witness the creation of earth in front of your eyes.
Editing
I always shoot in RAW and so my editing was limited to optimising the RAW file. Mainly restricted to optimising the white balance to create the right mood and colour contrast.
In my camera bag
I have a varied kit bag depending on the nature of my assignment or shoot. For this project, I took a wide range of lenses and a few bodies (mainly for redundancy due to the risks inherent with photographing near lava), a couple of tripods and a range of ND filters as there is a huge dynamic range to handle when photographing molten lava. I also took a drone with me on this trip. Additional essential equipment included shoe glue and duct tape as well as additional first aid equipment in case of issues with injury and melting gear due to the extreme heat when near active flowing lava and surface breakouts and when hiking over the old lava fields which are razor sharp and easy to injure yourself on.
Feedback
Trying to capture this kind of scene from a moving boat in low light using telephoto lenses hand held is bordering on the crazy. This was one of the most challenging and intense shoots of my career. It was a highly physical experience and I was totally exhausted by the end of it. Shooting scenes such as this and trying maintain output quality needs a lot of concentration and good shooting skills. You generally need f/2.8 or faster lenses and relatively high ISOs. Then you need to try to get your shutter speed as high as possible to give you a fighting chance with sharp images while on a rocking boat where it is not possible to use a gimbal or tripod. You also need to have good balance as well because you are standing up for the most part trying to find the best compositions possible as the boat moves around with the action constantly changing. Despite trying to stack the odds in your favour with the right gear, the shutter speed possible is still not very high so this means your shooting technique has to be spot on and you need a bit of luck with regards to ocean conditions. If too rough your chance of getting exhibition quality photographs during the optimal blue hour light becomes almost impossible. Even with all the factors stacked in your favour, you really have to bring your 'A' game if you hope to get any photographs worth keeping! You can go for faster shutter speeds and higher ISOs but you will sacrifice both colour and quality if you do. So there is a fair amount of risk with the settings required to get the right looking images. This makes photographing lava one of the most exciting and unpredictable things you can try to shoot in nature photography and shooting it from a boat increases the difficulty of the challenge. However, even if I had not managed to capture any decent photographs, I would still highly recommend the experience. It left a lasting impression on me long after I came back home.

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