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.

7-12-12 New Lava Video Clip


I’m finally finding some time to edit my huge video collection.

A very short clip from my GoPro HD Hero 2 that I shot on May 14, 2012.

Choose your favorite, either Youtube or Vimeo to view it. It’s full HD so let it load to avoid the stuttering.

Remember, its short. It’s a start.

I had that GoPro so hot during the last several months I couldn’t touch it but, it keeps on working.

All videos are available for licensing. Rights managed.

Images from that lava hike can be ordered here. Shot with my Nikon D800.

Feel free to comment.

7-14-12 Update: Longer video added with added footage from the same date. Youtube.


Bryan Lowry

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



Okay. I guess I could have used a more original title for this post or maybe said it in French to make it look more interesting.

I decided to do this post after getting a response to a forum post I made. It’s not the first time I’ve heard this.

Inadvertently the person brought up something that I may have overlooked. How they and the casual visitor views my website and blog. They said that I have way too many similar images of the lava flows and in particular used the 3-06-11 Kamoamoa Fissure eruption as an example. Which was perfect since that’s what I used to explain Why.

So, now I will try to explain my website and what I do and how its way more than just another photography website. (My new website will better explain this)

My adventures at the lava flows are now into their third decade. Basically along with my attempts at fine art photography I have documented the lava flow activity at Kilauea volcano too. Take notice of my folders, galleries and images file names. All are by date other than very old slide shots and galleries prior to 2008. Those are separated by types of flows and or locations but, most have the date as the files name. While these images might seem repetitious they do tell an ongoing story of Kilauea’s activity.

My site brings in many types of followers and all are equally important. There are the ones that simply find the images to be beautiful. Then there are the ones who are fascinated by the volcano. There are also the professionals like scientists and educators IE; professors. The latter ones appreciate the extensive coverage as many times what might be a simple outing at an eruption site to most, to them there are very important events being captured. Minute by minute sequences tell a much-needed story. So, I do have quite a story to tell. For now my photos do it. Someday I will in text.

When I’ve made a very long and difficult hike to an eruption area and I’m there for 6,8, 10 or more hours, most times 5-10 photos aren’t going to cover what I’m experiencing. To the general observer its plenty but, to the scientist that’s tracking Kilauea’s activity minute by minute observations mean a lot.

This is where the Kamoamoa eruption makes a great example. I could have posted way more images from that experience. I was the only person in the world out there during a time that the fissures advanced and new ones opened. This information proved to be important. I won’t get into how and why as it’s not for me to say at this time. The digital files are embedded with times so, this makes it easier to document the activity. I have had situations like this many times over the years. Kamoamoa eruption blog post. This eruption also had a series of smaller eruption events I captured entirely. So, what might look like too many similar images is in reality are entire micro events within the larger eruption event . (That’s okay, I had to read it twice too and I wrote it.)

Not to be too sarcastic but, my website is called lavapix.com for a reason 🙂 (Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m very sarcastic. That took loads of effort restraining myself.)

So, if images from the 1990’s look much like images from 2012, it’s because in general the flows do look similar. But, the time and date tell an ongoing story of Kilauea’s growth.

My website content can be broken down into a few categories starting from the smaller percentage to the larger.

Fine Art, stock for licensing and documentation.

Not to say that I don’t on occasion post a few too many similar shots. Its tough at times to cut some shots I get. Had I listened to others and removed some I would have missed out on great licensing deals. You just never know what a publisher is looking for. I also shoot sequences of small breakouts when nothing much is going on. They tell a short story.

This post isn’t to assume any of my visitors are complete idiots. Well, some might be and some might think I’m one too 🙂

Most of you probably already understood my websites content but, to the casual observer it probably wasn’t so obvious. Thus the reason for this blog post.

Now to my infamous “Don’t try to do what I do” warning. With a twist.

Never ever use the word idiot on your blog posts unless you can handle the possible negative feedback. It can be brutal and extreme. I have years of training from many past foot in mouth comments. I can handle it. Don’t put yourself in this situation. It’s no place for the inexperienced!! The learning curve is brutal!!

I’m definitely interested to hear your comments on this blog post. Many times I can’t publicly display them due to the nature but, if you keep it child friendly I can make them public.

Disclaimer; The idiot thing is a joke……….There are no dumb questions so ask away………


Bryan Lowry

All text and images are copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.

6-17-12 Lava & Misc…..


Made another visit to the lava flow area. Activity was very subdued with many stagnant lobes of Pahoehoe lava scattered all over the flats below the pali. Finally found one small spot of more fluid breakouts. The pali flows were also sluggish. If it weren’t for the steep terrain they are on, they too could have easily been stagnant.

It was still a good visit. Windy as usual with some rain. Only took a few photos. Again, the new Nikon D800 is an amazing camera. A few from this hike will be in the Kona stores by late next week.

Added images from around here in Kona to the website. Just shots captured while playing with the D800.

Mostly I’ve been shooting stock photos.

This is a short post. Still waiting on the right weather conditions for my larger photo expeditions.

6-17-12 Lava Flow

Big Island Misc 2012

O-tech – Coastal shots of tide-pools and waves.

2012 © Bryan Lowry / lavapix.com

As always feel free to comment……


Bryan Lowry

All text and images are copyright protected ©Bryan Lowry/lavapix.com. Use without my permission is prohibited. All rights reserved.