12-06-12 Hawaii Kilauea Lava Flow Ocean Entry Nikon D800


I made another visit to the new ocean entry.

The entry has moved further east and as of this writing is spreading. For now there isn’t much of a bench being built. It’s not really vigorous enough to build the bench as fast as the ocean breaks it down. Of course this can all change quickly. One part is building more of a vertical bench. It was very windy as usual. Shot way too much video. Some of my images show a progression of two nice breakouts on the western entry. It didn’t last very long but, there were some nice chunks of lava falling down to the ocean.

I brought my big Sigma 120-300 mm 2.8 lens. Haven’t used it in nearly two years. Being that it’s a short hike and not as much water is needed, I decided to bring it along. It weighs 8 lbs. I wasn’t sure if the strong winds were going to lead to slightly blurry images while using such a big lens. All turned out great.

I’m still using my F-Stop Tilopa camera backpack. Also my Lowepro hipster bag on the waist belt for easy access to gear while on the move and for using while set up at a site. They both work well together.

No warnings this posting.

Click on the image below to visit the gallery. Video can be seen here.

In case you missed it, I added video from the previous hike to my volcano video page.


Hawaii Sunrise Lava Flow

Lava flowing over a 40′ sea cliff into the ocean.

Aloha, Bryan Lowry lavapix.com All content is copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.

11-25-12 New Lava Ocean Entry & Nikon D800 DSLR


Well, the lava flow did finally reach the ocean. It’s maybe half a mile west of the old Waikupanaha ocean entry. It’s an easy walk of less than one hour.

Nothing ultra spectacular and in a difficult place for great close up viewing. Still great to see. The coastline is very sloped and can be dangerous. Viewing from further back to the east could be best. You can see this in my new photos. I spent most of my time on the western downwind side. Lots of lens cleaning but, I figured when others started arriving at sunrise none would venture over to that area. It worked out well. The flow was still shallow and plenty hot crossing but, nothing I haven’t done many times before. I also wanted the sunrise sky but, sunrise wasn’t very spectacular. It was nice though.

I didn’t shoot too many images even though I was out there from about 12 am Sunday through sunrise. Shot some nice video that I am starting to edit. The flow is still sluggish like they have been over the past year now. Not sure if this has enough volume to keep going. Get to it while you can. If your unsure of hiking to it yourself, I do on occasion take small tours but, we are out for long periods of time. Information can be found on my “Services” page. If a shorter excursion better suits you, I have references of private parties who live down there. This is an easy hike but, it’s still not for everyone.

For all of you Nikon D800 owners or Nikon/camera people in general, there’s a good chance this is the first time a lava flow ocean entry has been captured with a D800.

What I can tell you is it performs beautifully just as I had expected. I shot several night shots at up to 3200 ISO and they are very clean with only minimal noise reduction applied in Nikon’s Capture NX2. I shot between iso 100 and 3200 with most being in the 500-1000 range. Where the D800 really shines is exposure. I won’t get into exactly what I have the camera settings at. This isn’t a tutorial. I’m just letting you all know the camera is very capable in low light and very harsh contrast conditions. Many were concerned with the 36mp sensor and noise. What I find is it also depends on the lens used an under what lighting conditions.

Much of the night video was shot at very high iso’s up to 5000 and again it did great. No issues with battery life. I do carry 2 and only needed to switch over after sunrise.

When the short video sequences are finished and loaded I will update this post. Unfortunately all through sunrise a helicopter hovered low and right near the flow. So, that’s all one can hear. It wasn’t the usual tours as they arrive at 7:45 am daily. It also wasn’t a production company that I could see in my close up images. Just four people with point and shoot cameras from what I could see. Figured I might as well get photos and video of them as they were doing the same of me and the lava. Maybe Paul Allen’s people? His mega yacht has been in Kona for several days now. It does house two helicopters. Yes, its huge! I was hoping for at least one dinner invite while it’s in town. One of my lava flow metal prints would look good in it. Or it was just a local privately owned tour.

I have added a new lava flow video page on my website. For now a couple of crude time-lapse ones and a short video. All from recent lava hikes. Nothing fancy. I’m not trying to be some famous Hollywood producer.

This leads me to my “Don’t try to do what I do” rant.

Don’t try to be a famous film producer doing what I do unless you have lots of expendable funds and nothing better to do. Oh wait, I just said I’m not trying to be one…This is the type of warning you get from me when the lava flow is easy to get too. Do watch the HVNP lava safety video I posted on my website. Pay close attention to what they say about new land. Also know as benches or deltas.

Links to points of interest from this post.

11-25-12 Lava Ocean Entry Nikon D800 I noted the iso used on a few images in the caption information for you D800 users.

Volcano video page Update – Video from this hike has been loaded to the page.

Lava viewing safety video


Hawaii adventure hiking

Hawaii lava flow entering the ocean after cascading over a 30′ sea cliff


Bryan Lowry lavapix.com

All content is copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.

11-03-12 HVNP


I’ve been busy hiking and have had little time to post anything. I never find a way to catch up on my images. This post is about my last two visits to the volcano. Remember, I post shots from various angles for publishers. A few from these outings might be added to my Fine Art gallery.

The first was to the park its self and some images of Halemaumau’s glow before and during sunrise. The lack of trade winds meant there would be calm conditions allowing the plume to rise straight up into the night sky. I also stopped along the highway to get a few shots from a distance. The glow was very bright and easy to see for miles. After a nice pre dawn session I ventured to other areas of the park to take advantage of the light winds and beautiful skies. I did shoot Thurston lava tube too which was nice and dry for once.

View the gallery here. 11-03-12 HVNP

I know the images are posted at a small on my website. Having about ten thousand images on their its necessary to keep them small so the site loads quickly. The detail in the images from my Nikon D800 is amazing. If you’re a publisher looking to license any of them, you won’t be disappointed. They’re meant to print at large sizes.

The other gallery is small but, it does have some interesting images from a recent hike to the lava flows just east of the park. I can’t post everything I shot right now or even say why not. They will have to wait until some time early next year. Lets just say it was a great experience. For the most part the weather was nasty with strong trade winds and frequent showers. We did get a nice though a bit muted lunar rainbow and then a nice morning rainbow. The lunar one was muted as it was only a crescent moon which I was surprised to see it produce even that. Had it been a full moon one, a spectacular image could have been captured. As it was, my only opportunity wasn’t successful due to the strong winds. The lava flow activity was very subdued. So, much so that the flow wasn’t really seen until we were right there.

Limited images from this hike can be seen here. 11-09-12 lava

I have many other images to post if I ever find the time from other parts of the Big Island. And then there’s the video footage I always talk about too…..

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Kilauea’s Halemaumau Vent

Hawaii lava flows

Jeep under the Milky Way and the glow from Puu Oo vent


Bryan Lowry lavapix.com

All content is copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.

10-4-5-12 Lava Flow


Made my way back out to the current lava flow that is taking out the middle kipuka of the remnants of Royal Gardens subdivision.

This time I decided to do what I use to always do. That’s stay out all night. In all I was out and about for 18 hours. People who I meet on my hikes always wonder why I carry so much gear. You need lots of water for an outing that long. I had 7.5 liters of liquids. I had less than 1 liter left by the time I was done.

The flow had made its way down to the flats since my previous visit. It also did as expected and flowed directly down Prince Av. The flow was still very shallow and wide-spread. There were few chances of crossing it this time. There were several other people showing up as the first day ended. By 8pm I had the entire flow to myself. It would stay that way throughout the rest of the hike.

The small lobe of lava that was riding the spine of the kipuka did make its way to Orchid Av right at its western end and highest point. Lava hit the road about 8:10pm on the 4th. The lobe was very sluggish and it was in no hurry to go further. From about 9pm to 4am the flow field activity was subdued with very slow inflation. It was a windy but dry night. I spent my time exploring the outer bounds of the activity. This included going up the pali on each side of the kipuka. There were some sections I could cross and get to the forest but, no chance of going beyond the forest edge. Too many fires around to chance it.

Shot lots of video. Unfortunately the wind was too much even for my external mic and dead cat wind sock. But, none the less the video is pretty cool.

The photos show the usual progression of light as it changes both through the sunset and sunrise. Neither were all that great but, the twilight colors are always interesting. At 4am the flow had a solid 2 hour surge. It was more of a slabby and jelly pahoehoe flow. Many times the jelly texture means that front is dying out. But, no doubt inflated lava further back eventually overran it and moved further out onto the flats. By the time I was starting my hike homeward the lava on Orchid had progressed very little.

I was on my feet probably 99% of the 18 hours. One only needs to look at my swollen feet to believe it.

No warnings this post.

10-4-5-12 Lava Flow

Sunrise slabby pahoehoe flow


Bryan Lowry

All content is copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.

9-30-12 Royal Gardens Lava Flow


Finally found a reason to visit the current lava flow. I’ve watched the slow destruction of Royal Gardens subdivision for more than 20 years so, now that the newest flow has reached the last Kipuka with more than one street left, I had to visit them one last time. Well maybe. The little strip of Orchid AV might survive this as it’s in an elevated area.

The hike was the usual 2-3 hours depending on your hiking ability. It was a mixture of many kinds of weather from the start.

There was rain, heavy rain and monsoon type rains with strong swirling winds. Certainly not ideal for photos.

This was more of an exploration/scouting hike. It was slow going on the hike out there due to how slippery it was from the constant heavy rain. Then there were the hours crouched under my way too small umbrella. The swirling winds prevented me from even trying to take a photo for the most part. I did have a very brief opportunity to capture two shots of the lava flowing through the trees under the bright full moon. The contrast of colors was amazing and the Nikon D800 captured it perfectly. In those photos you will see two palm trees leaning and ready to fall. My hopes of getting better shots of them disappeared when the next powerful rain squall moved in and blew them over. The lava had flowed all around them and the trunks burnt away. I do have shots later in the morning after the rains had stopped showing the newly formed tree molds with flames coming out of it. Shot video too. Don’t hold your breath on when they will get processed.

Every now and then the rain would subside from monsoonal to heavy and I would walk a few feet to the near liquid flow and stand on it to dry off. Yes, standing on that hot of a flow does dry you off very quick. Do not try this. I know what I’m doing. I sat and watched the slow destruction of the small forest through the heavy rain for a few hours.

Sunrise could have led to some great photos but, alas, the rain and winds were too much. It was a sliver sunrise that sent a deep orange beam of light shining on the burning forest. Its on my list of paintings I plan to do. Yes, I plan to some day paint all the sights I’ve witnessed but, couldn’t get photos of. First I need to learn how to paint.

I was surprised to see after sunrise that Ali’i survived. The road had all the overgrown vegetation burned away but, the lava slayed to the east in a gully and it made its way from east to west along what use to be Paradise. Paradise was at the bottom of Ali’i. 670′ elevation. This was the best formed tube system and it fed a flow that went down the west side of the Kipuka. It also buried the old rusted out car that was there. The other tube was making its way down the east side. The center of the Kipuka is higher and it was diverting the lava east and west. This might save Orchid Av that sits 400′ in elevation lower down the pali at the 270′ elevation. These are real numbers. I carry an altimeter. So if someone goes there and tells you they were at the 2000′ elevation which seems to be common, you can correct them. Its easy to do. Look at a Topo map. Its what we used before the internet came to be.

Its survival all depends on the longevity of this episode. Prince Av on the other hand could be gone by tomorrow (Wednesday). Its a short dead end section. I have hiked all of Royal Gardens since the early 90’s and its amazing to see how little is now left. Lots of birds and other creatures losing their homes. Even saw fresh wild pig poo on Ali’i.

There have been the usual amounts of misinformation going around about this flow. Not sure what people are thinking. Its nothing massive or fast moving. Its really sluggish considering how steep the terrain is. The forest is full of junk like old car parts and parts of old dwellings. There are no standing houses in there. Only parts of rotted or burned ones. The flow is wide but, that will surely change as tubes take hold and the volume of lava stays within them. Of course one good deflation will most likely stop this flow. Stay tuned.

Yep, its time for the warning of “Don’t try and do what I do“.

If its raining that hard, stay home in bed. I seem to enjoy miserable weather. Must be from growing up in Michigan where its always windy unless its 100 out and there are two seasons. Winter and the 4th of July. Do not try and cross shallow hot lava flows. You will get burnt. Its an art and I’m good at it. You mess up and your in big trouble. Not to mention your going to need new hiking shoes/boots afterwards. Most of my photos were taken on the hot flows. My tripod doesn’t like me anymore. I’m not talking 5′ high and deep flows with glowing cracks. These are newly formed and shallow.

Most of the images in the gallery are for documentation of what will soon be gone forever. Someday I will put together an album of what Royal Gardens looked like when I started and what it is now. The two full moon ones will go into my Volcano Fine Art gallery. Maybe one of the fallen Palm trees with the tree mold too. I will test how they are going to look on the new island shaped metal prints too.

Don’t forget to check out the only one on display anywhere at Krazy About Kona in the Kona Inn Shopping Village. 10:30-5pm Mon-Sat.

As always I look forward to your comments. Be sure to share this with your friends on your favorite social network.

9-30-12 Lava Flow Royal Gardens

Where I sat out the heavy weather.
Can you see my gear?

Ali’i street


Bryan Lowry

All content is copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.

9-05-12 New Big Island Shaped Images


The Big Island shaped prints gallery is now at 99 images and growing.

The metallic prints will also be available with up to 50 different background colors. A color chart will be added to a special new page in the near future. When an order is placed you can note the color of choice while checking out. For now this option will only be available online.

The metal island prints are stunning and only available through my website or retail locations. Be sure and visit Krazy About Kona to see one in person.

More coming to retail locations in the coming weeks.

Finally getting settled in to my new place so, now I can get back out shooting new images and catch up on some recent work.


Bryan Lowry

All content is copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.