Stoked to announce one of my images was recently featured on the Nat Geo Creative blog in the post titled A Wave of Emotion. I did not see this perfect heart shape in my camera while taking the image on the island of Molokai, Hawaii – but sure was glad I was pressing the shutter release when this happened!
A place very close to my heart – it makes up less than .1% of US land but has over 25% of the plants and animals found on the nation’s endangered species list. Please join me in helping the Molokai Land Trust save the last of wild Hawaii. I am giving away signed 12×18 prints to the first 10 people who donate $125.
UPDATE: THE CAMPAIGN WAS A TOTAL SUCCESS! HERE IS THE ORIGINAL INDIEGOGO CAMPAIGN PAGE
Two and a half million years ago
Long before Homo Sapiens
Joined earths great show
A photon of light left Andromeda
On a day we now call Hanukkah
Racing across time and space
It’s fellow photons gave it chase
To reach the nearest solid mass
Which happened to be my camera’s glass
I hope the photons aren’t too bummed
That to my camera they have succumbed
For though my prints they are archival
I can’t guarantee another 2.5 million year survival
by, Jonathan Kingston
Born in fire
Black rocks aspire
To cool their souls
In the oceans watery shoals
Rounded by time
Their souls sing of the divine
As they patiently wait
For their inevitable fate
To be polished and worn
Until they are re-born
And dance with the tide
Always by the oceans side
by, Jonathan Kingston
Point And Shoot
My wife and I had just walked back to our cabin at the Hui when I saw the gecko on the window. It was perched on the outside of the window glass with a bug over half its size in its mouth. Having tried numerous times to get a good shot of geckos as they walk on windows – I knew they were easily spooked by the slightest detectable movement in their field of vision – so in a hushed scream of photographic desperation I whispered “Sweetie DONT MOVE!”. At which my lovely wife smiled, looked at me, then promptly picked up her iphone and began snapping photos – flash on.
Spooked by the light, the gecko began beating a rapid retreat to the safety of the off glass area to digest its delectable meal as I scrambled to get my macro lens and strobe on my camera. I saw the shot dissolving before my eyes like the poor green insect dissolving in the gecko’s digestive track.
I’m not sure what, but something stopped the lizard in its tracks less than an inch from the edge of photographic oblivion. Perhaps he sensed he was about to be made famous, or perhaps he simply was thinking ‘Man the green ones always cause acid reflux!”. Whatever it was that stopped the little guy it was the micro seconds I needed to quickly and stealthily sneak up on the bugger and snap a couple frames.
Dewitt often says that as photographers we are responsible for only two things. What you put in your camera frame and when you press the shutter. What you put in your camera frame – point. When you press the shutter – shoot. Point and shoot. So simple. Why do we make it so complex?
Perhaps it is because I am the youngest sibling in my family, or perhaps it was a habit developed later in life – but I must confess that I like to compete and I like to win. I thrive under pressure. It clarifies my mind better than any cup of coffee could by eliminating the unimportant. Whether it was climbing the Nose on El Capitan when I was 19 or being top of my class at Brooks, I always felt I had something to prove to myself, my family and my friends.
Yesterday afternoon I and 18 other photographers were shooting a hula halau on Molokai and I began to watch my process as I photographed. I know how to make a great picture of this scene. The competitive proving side of me begins to rise. But proving means I do what I always do – improving means I have permission to take a risk and potentially fail. I pause. Don’t prove Jonathan – improve. A weight is lifted off my shoulders. Permission to play, permission to experiment – granted…
Photographing on the west end of Molokai I was astonished to see bodyboarders riding a wave that I have never seen anybody surf before. Yet there the bodyboarders were charging a gnarly right that threatened to spit them onto a rocky lava shelf. Risking life and limb they took off with great smiles of glee whooping down the face and pulling back just before being thrown unceremoniously on the sand.
As I panned my camera, following their bodies skimming down the surface, I smiled to myself at the similarity of the reasons we were both there. Rikki Cooke often says to ‘follow your excitement’ and that is what led me and 18 other photographers to the beach on the promise of a high surf warning. The reward is wave after beautiful wave backlit blue by the setting sun, intermittently interrupted by the whoops of gleeful surfers skimming down the face. May I follow my photographic excitement with the same reckless abandonment and pure glee that as these bodyboarders.