Beautiful tropical locations like the Big Island of Hawaii present their own unique challenges for photographers – like gorgeous beaches where you feel like you should be swinging in a hammock rather than schlepping a 23-pound camera backpack and tripod around.
Kidding aside, Hawaii's lush tropical environment, waterfalls, active volcanoes and yes, gorgeous beaches with rocky lava flows along the shorelines are incredibly enticing for anyone carrying a camera around.
The images in this collection were taken last month on a week-long trip to the Big Island. We visited both the drier Kona side of the island and the greener and "wetter" Hilo east side, capturing very different images as a result.
But one thing connects every location of the island – terraforming (creating new land) as a result of existing and past lava flows from the island's major volcanoes, Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa and Kilahuea. Standing in Hawaii Volcano National Park watching molten lava flare and bubble in a giant crater like a cauldron of fire, causing the night sky to glow orange, was awe-inspiring, as was walking through Kilahuea Iki crater – a vast field of lava rock that was created in 2008 by a spewing volcanic vent that resulted in a large lake of molten magma.
Although hummingbirds and many other tropical bird species have disappeared, nene (Hawaiian geese) and honu (green sea turtles) still make appearances and make for some interesting images.
© Stuart L Gordon Photography