Newest Land on the Planet

Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth, is erupting now on the Big Island of Hawaii. As molten lava spews into the air and flows down the long mountain slopes, the newest land on the planet is forming.

In the wee hours of Monday December 5, I made these photographs from the safe distance of 2 miles. You can appreciate the ferocity of the fire and hot lava.

Mauna Loa eruption on December 5, 2022 seen from Old Saddle Road. Copyright Cathy Kelly.
Mauna Loa
Tremendous gas cloud forms over the eruption of Mauna Loa on December 5, 2022.
Copyright Cathy Kelly

Here is some background information on Mauna Loa and the meaning of its name from the U. S. Geological Survey. (This quote was written before the current eruption of 2022.)

“The Hawaiian name “Mauna Loa” means “Long Mountain.” This name is apt, for the subaerial part of Mauna Loa extends for about 120 km (74 mi) from the southern tip of the island to the summit caldera and then east-northeast to the coastline near Hilo.

Mauna Loa is among Earth’s most active volcanoes, having erupted 33 times since its first well-documented historical eruption in 1843. It has produced large, voluminous flows of basalt that have reached the ocean eight times since 1868. It last erupted in 1984, when a lava flow came within 7.2 km (4.5 mi) of Hilo, the largest population center on the island. “

Thankful for my Teacher

This year I sense a chorus of thankful feelings that our lives have mostly returned to normal after a long period of staying at home and masking our faces to avoid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the virus still circulates, most of us are traveling and working and getting our families together. Hooray!

I’d also like to take a moment to thank a photography teacher, who has inspired me and enhanced both my knowledge and enjoyment of photography: Gary Hart. Gary hosted a fascinating workshop at the Grand Canyon during summer monsoon season, teaching students about capturing lightning with a lightning trigger, and he will be co-hosting a January workshop in Iceland, where we hope to see and photograph the Northern Lights.

This morning I read Gary’s blog where he described what he is thankful for, especially post-pandemic. His blogs are very well written and always contain a few photography tips, including occasional confessions of his own mistakes, and always a touch of humor.

Thanks, Gary. Looking forward to Iceland!

Gary Hart (second from right) with his workshop assistant Curt Fargo (right) and three workshop students at the Grand Canyon.
Gary Hart’s Summer Monsoon workshop at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Lightning was firing across the canyon.
Gary Hart’s photo of the full workshop group at Desert View, South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Election Night Sunset

New Yorkers could look up at the city lights on Election night and enjoy the red, white and blue lights on the iconic Empire State Building. It was a clear night with balmy temperatures, perfect for rooftop photography.

I made a test print today of this image, 20 x 30 inches, and just wow! What a unique and amazing city!

Empire State Building, Manhattan, Top of the Rock, print
The perfect balance of a colorful sky right after sunset and the city lights adding vivid detail to the skyscrapers in Manhattan, New York City.

My Own Grand Central Terminal

Have you ever seen an iconic photo and wanted to execute your own? I felt that way about long exposures of Grand Central Terminal in New York City. I like the effect of a long exposure in the terminal center, where the people moving appear as a blur. A long exposure also allows you to take a high quality, low noise image in a low light space. I was really pleased with the results. You can even see the constellations painted on the ceiling.

If you love this image too, send me an email to order a print as large as 20 x 3o inches. At that size, the print is truly grand! Perfect for the New York fan on your holiday gift list. (For fast loading, a low resolution version of the image is uploaded here.)

grandcentral, newyorkcity
Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Print available from Cathy Kelly.

Grand Canyon: Isolated Rain

Hey, it’s raining over there! One cool thing about photography in the Grand Canyon is that you can see so far, that you can see one type of weather in one direction, and different weather in another. Even better, you never have to worry if there might be a building or a parking lot in the shot. The vistas are amazing and varied as you look in many directions. (The only problem that you just can’t fix is the haze created by car exhaust in nearby cities like Las Vegas and Los Angeles.)

This Infrared Photograph, shot in the morning sun into the Grand Canyon from the North Rim shows a towering cloud and an isolated shower. The shape and texture of the cloud competes for visual attention with the amazing land formations beneath it.

I enjoy digital Infrared photography for the high contrast images that can be made in processing. The best condition to get great results with an Infrared-converted camera is a sunny day. I’m glad I packed my Infrared camera with a wide angle lens for this Grand Canyon adventure.

Grand Canyon, Infrared, cloud
Dramatic clouds form over the Grand Canyon, as seen from the North Rim, while a rain shower is visible on the left in this Infrared photograph.

Grand Canyon in Infrared

I enjoy shooting Infrared landscape photographs, and processing them to create some high contrast black and white images. Here is one infrared photograph taken from the North Rim of the Bright Angel fault.

Shooting Infrared, you will get the best results in bright sunlight, so conditions were perfect on this sunny morning. Puffy clouds always add interest to the sky.

I use a separate Sony mirrorless digital camera for Infrared photography: one that has been converted for the “SuperColor” light range by Lifepixel.com.

Grand Canyon, Bright Angel, Infrared
The Bright Angel Fault of the Grand Canyon from the North Rim.

Some Like It Hot

PITTSBURGH…Freeze warning tonight. Where did the summer go? Why can’t Indian summer last longer? Just last week, I was soaking up the warm sun at the New York Botanical Garden, admiring the cacti in the Conservatory.

Cactus, NYBG, New York Botanical Garden
The prickly texture and natural symmetry of this barrel cactus stands out in the sunlight at the New York Botanical Garden #NYBG.

Lower Manhattan from the Edge

“The Edge”is a new outdoor viewing platform, 100 stories high in midtown Manhattan (New York City). You can find this building in Hudson Yards, at the terminus of the Subway #7, right next to the iconic sculpture “The Vessel.”

In the morning with the sun rising over the East River, your best view is to the south: lower Manhattan. The Freedom Tower, the tallest building in the skyline, recently built on the World Trade Center site, dominates the view. In the distance, see the Verrazano Narrows bridge and the entrance to New York harbor. Locals will recognize many details in this tightly packed neighborhood of skyscrapers.

While this day featured a brilliant blue sky, the black and white photograph seemed to me the best way to focus on the shapes and detail of the skyline. This image can be printed as a large print: such as 40″ wide.

New York City, Manhattan, Edge
Lower Manhattan, financial capital of the modern world, as seen from the Edge, New York City.

USA: East to West

My summer travels are taking me from the Atlantic coast of Cape Cod to the Pacific coast of California. As I write today from San Diego, I am sharing the scene from atop a high dune in Wellfleet, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. It’s a sunny and very windy morning. The dune fence in a state of disrepair tells the story of surviving the harsh winter weather.

Cape Cod, dune, ocean
Spokes of the dune fence have fallen like dominoes in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

What do you like best about this image? Are your eyes drawn to the ocean?

Stay tuned to this photography blog, as I’m headed to the Grand Canyon tomorrow.

Baltimore Photography Exhibit

Summer gets busy, and I’ve been busy choosing photos, printing and framing for a solo exhibit at Roland Park Country School in Baltimore from September 24 until October 21. The exhibit will be titled, “Grand Landscapes and Intimate Wildlife.” Let me know if you would like to attend the reception on Friday evening October 21.

While reviewing my recent work, I’ve come across some nice images that I had never processed or printed before. One of those hidden gems is this scene in Grand Teton National Park after sunset. This horse enjoys a piece of prize real estate.

Grand Teton National Park
Horse flicks his tail in the gentle light of dusk in Grand Teton National Park.