Saturday, April 15, 2017

Lava from Hawaii

f/4.5 1/1000 ISO 3200
 
f/4.5 1/1000 ISO 3200
 
Sandy was correct when she described me as a kid waiting for Santa Claus.  We began planning our Hawaii trip approximately 12-months prior to us leaving and the major item on my bucket list was capturing the lava flow on the big island of Hawaii.
We had three options of capturing the flow; hiking out, boat and air.  Thankfully we opted for air as we were able to accomplish so much more in a limited amount of time than we would have using either of the other options.
f/4.5 1/1000 ISO 3200
 

Paradise Helicopters in Hilo offers an early morning option that we found was available only to professional photographers; otherwise we would have been forced to fly much later than we did. We were able to depart Hilo a couple minutes before sunrise actually seeing the sun as it rose above the horizon.  
Quickie through the front of the cockpit
 
The helicopter was ours for an hour with the doors off for better visibility.  We began our flight to the lava fields at 120 mph.  Traveling that fast without doors at dawn was downright chilly however as soon as we pasted over the first part of the lava flow the temperature quickly rose to the point we felt we were back in Arizona.  Once there we slowed down and began photographing.
f/4.5 1/1000 ISO 3200
 
f/4.5 1/1000 ISO 1600
 
I decided to take a chance and used a Schneider LS 240mm lens attached to a Phase One XF body and a 100-megapixel IQ-1-100 digital back.  Not a lightweight combination for shooting through an open door of a helicopter.  It turned out okay as I was sitting next to Pete our pilot and able to give instructions.  We were hooked up to an intercom however since I needed one hand to press the button to speak I quickly stopped doing that and used hand signals which Pete followed perfectly.
I set the camera at ISO 3200 and shutter priority at 1000 figuring the f/stop would take care of itself.  My fastest shutter was 1/4000 with a slow 800 ISO.  All files were processed using Capture One Pro.
f/4.5 1/1000 ISO 1600
 
We flew at around 1000-feet (305-m) most of the time except when we flew over the lava flowing into the ocean and then we couldn’t go any lower than 1500-feet per park rules.  I thought the flowing lava looked much like a fiery waterfall however I recently saw this described as a “firehose”.  I think both are accurate descriptions.  
f/5.6 1/1000 ISO 3200
 
Slight crop
f/6.3 1/1000 ISO 3200
 
"Explosion"
f/5.6 1/1000 ISO 3200
 
Explosion” is a much deeper crop and actually shows the effect the lava has as it flows into the ocean.  Notice the rocks exploding outwards.  Nothing beats a 100-megapixel image file!
This is not a crop! This is the lava flowing in-between lava that had already cooled.  
f/4.5 1/4000 ISO 800
 
One last image.
 
f/4.5 1/4000 ISO 800

Am I pleased with the way the Phase One XF worked? Yes.  Am I pleased with the Schneider LS 240? Yes.  Am I pleased with the 100-megapixel IQ1-100? Oh hell yes!  I also want to point out that I had no problems with quick focus, shooting 142-files and coming back with at least 140 “keepers”.  So in the end if you wonder if a Phase One XF and IQ1-100 is capable of keeping up in the fast pace shooting environment such as this, worry not.
More Hawaii images coming soon.
 
 
Don
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 

 
 
 
 

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