One of my favorite things to do is to visit the Big Island and spend time at Kilauea Volcano. It’s a wonderful assault on the senses for any visual artist. Here you can find a mesmerizing variety of different landscapes and eco-systems, from lush forests to barren lava fields, all the way down the volcano to the blue Pacific and thunderous waves crashing onto lava which created the Hawaiian Islands.
Sometimes I feel lugging a cinema camera and “sticks” gets in the way of truly enjoying this place unadulterated, but this feeling goes away quickly when I happen upon a fantastic vista or the small detail in the leaves of a single fern growing out of dry lava. This place is a dream come true for me.
The ultimate experience here is to see molten lava slowly winding its way down the slopes and making entry into the churning sea with a blast of steam. Taking heed of all safety requirements from the park service, my most memorable experience was hiking to the lava flow during a full moon. Timing our departure to arrive at the active flow at dusk, the bright orange glow of the lava illuminated the plumes of steam, the rugged vista of the volcano still visible in waning twilight. We spent about an hour hypnotized by the ever-changing landscape and I couldn’t help but feel I had been transported back to earth’s primordial days. The full moon illuminating the lava fields during our return hike was icing on the cake.
My favorite place to stay while exploring Kilauea? The Volcano House Hotel. Historic, great accommodations, convenient location to use as home base, terrific restaurant and lounge. Also a great view of Halemaumau Crater in the distance where currently there resides a lava lake.
As a photographer these visits are much too short, constrained by life’s obligations, but I relish each trip and can’t wait to return.
Watch one of my videos on Hawaii Volcanoes National Park:
For more information on the web: