Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photographing the Moon

Photographing the moon, the starts and other bright lights in the night

Ah...the moon and the starts. I've always been fascinated by them, by a universe beyond our own. I can only imagine it and try to capture it with my long (but not long enough) lens.

Hence, I was so looking forward to this past Monday's blood moon total lunar eclipse. [sigh] After all, I stood up all night on December 21st, 2010, and truly froze outside, to photograph the total lunar eclipse that took place that night. But, Mother Nature was not on my side this past Monday night.

Yes, I did stay up and yes, I did shoot a few pictures, but dark thick clouds stood in the way of an optimal view. [sigh again] While I could not wipe away the clouds, I photograph, secretly hoping that the second event of this kind, this October, the moon, the bloody moon I should say, will show itself to us under much clearer night skies. I posted a few thoughts and pictures taken that night on CNN iReport.

But one doesn't have to wait for a total or partial lunar eclipse, for a bloody moon or a super-moon to take pictures of this beauty illuminating the night sky. Here are a few pictures of moon-rises from across the globe.

Moonrise and the palm trees. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Moonrise and the palm trees. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Moonrise and the palm trees. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Moonrise and the palm trees. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Blood Moon Eclipse in the early hours of April 15, 2014. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Blood Moon Eclipse in the early hours of April 15, 2014. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Illuminated antenna on the Freedom Tower, the evening of April 14th, 2014. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Illuminated antenna on the Freedom Tower, the evening of April 14th, 2014. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.


Moonrise over Manhattan. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.


The picture on the left was shot a few years ago. I was lucky to catch the moon just starting to rise above the Manhattan skyline, and the highrises that define it.

A few years ago, I also tried to snap a shot of the super-moon. While I did not get enough details in the moon, I captured its watery reflections.

And, finally, the last image is a shot of a blood moon I photographed during the total lunar eclipse of December 2010. Link to a composite capturing the eclipse is posted here.

Blood Moon. Total Lunar Eclipse. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Blood Moon. Total Lunar Eclipse 2010. Photo by Alina Oswald.

Lunar Eclipse, 2010. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Lunar Eclipse, 2010. Photo by Alina Oswald.


The Supermoon rises over Manhattan and Jersey Waterfront 9/11 Memorial. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.






As always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald
Writer/Photographer/Author

Friday, April 11, 2014

Seeing Red...and Other Colors of the Rainbow

Seeing Red...and Other Rainbow Colors

A stack of sunglasses and colorful reflections in the sunglasses. Self-Portrait by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Through My Eyes. A Self-Portrait by Alina Oswald.
Spring is finally in the air! It's been a long wait. But now, that it seems that we won't get anymore snow, I guess it's time to enjoy milder temperatures, flowers, and colors.

Let's start with red, the first of the rainbow colors. That brings me to red dirt, the famous Hawaiian red dirt used by locals to dye their equally famous red dirt Hawaiian t-shirts.

Although the dirt is, indeed, red--more like a very bright, red-orange-y color--the red dirt t-shirts can actually be red/orange, Hawaii blue or any other colors. How does the red dirt look in nature? ...Something like in the picture below. And it can be found on any of the Hawaiian islands.

I do recommend to check out at least one of those red dirt t-shirt stores, if you happen to visit Hawaii. Who knows, you may even get to try the also famous Hawaiian shaved ice, for free, while in the store. Hawaiian shaved ice is what it says it is--shaved ice, in the colors of the rainbow.


Red Dirt Against the Green of Waimea Canyon, aka the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Red Dirt Against the Green of Waimea Canyon, aka the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.




Aerial shot of a rainbow on the green backdrop of the Waimea Canyon. The river next to it is the Waimea River that crosses the canyon. Image taken from a no-door helicopter.
 ...And talking about rainbows, here's one I captured when flying over Waimea Canyon, in a no-door helicopter. By the way, if you plan on taking a ride over any of the Hawaiian islands, do check out the no-door (or open-door) helicopters, especially if you want to snap a few pictures. You'll get better views, less reflection, and a more awesome experience overall.


For more Hawaii images, click here.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald
Writer/Photographer/Author
Journeys Through Darkness: A Biography

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day: Photographing the Color Green

Green Nature. The Island of Sylt, GermanyAerial Photography of House on Lava FieldsNYC Pride 2013: Street audience and marchers, carrying the rainbow flag.NYC Pride 2013NYC Pride 2013NYC Pride 2013
NYC Pride 2013NYC Pride 2013NYC Pride 2013NYC Pride 2013NYC Pride 2013Palm Trees on Kona Beach, Hawaii
Taking the Leap: Coconut Island, Hilo, HawaiiTaking the Leap: Life on Coconut Island, Hilo, HIThe Splash after the Leap: Coconut Island, Hilo, HawaiiLiberty Power in Post-Sandy WorldMen with Power in Their HandsHurricane Sandy October 2012: Boarded Up PATH Station
Hurricane Sandy: Facing the Waterfront DestructionHurricane Sandy: Boardwalk Collapse, a Closer LookHurricane Sandy--Damages: Bench trapped under collapsed boardwalkHurricane Sandy: what remains...Hurricane Sandy--Damages: People assessing the boardwalk damagesHurricane Sandy: Water Gushes Through
GREEN, a set on Flickr.
Bud. Green Nature. Photographed by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Bud. Green Nature. Photographed by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
The Meaning of Green: Photographing the Color Green or Green Photography


Happy St. Paddy's Day! Wear something green today, and luck (of the Irish or luck in general) will be with you. Or so they say....

Not sure if that's true or not, but I'll try to remember to wear something green today. And also, I wonder what's the symbolism of the color green: rebirth (of nature), spring, new beginnings, luck, hope?




Green grass and trees at the Bauhaus Museum, in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Green grass and trees at the Bauhaus Museum, in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.


Green grass and trees at the Bauhaus Museum, in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Rainbow Column at the entrance of Bauhaus Archive Museum, Berlin, Germany. Green grass and trees at the Bauhaus Museum, in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Flagging using a green hand-made flag at the premier of A Flow Affair, a film by Wolfgang Busch. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Flagging using a green hand-made flag at the premier of A Flow Affair, a film by Wolfgang Busch. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Green Hilo seen from the sky. Aerial Photography of Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii, by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Green Hilo seen from the sky. Aerial Photography of Hilo, Big Island of Hawaii, by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.





Green plants growing on a black lava beach in Hawaii Island, Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Green plants growing on a black lava beach in Hawaii Island, Hawaii (Volcano National Park). Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.



Green Storm, a Clifi novel by Bud Santora
Green Storm, a Clifi novel by Bud Santora

Nene, on green grass in Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Nene, on green grass in Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

While trying to find an answer, I'd like to share with you a few green images, that is, images that contain the color green.

I keep this short and wish you all a wonderful and safe St. Patrick's Day!!! And I'd love to hear from you: what does green mean to you?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Alina Oswald

Writer/Photographer/Author

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lava Photography

Photographing Lava

I became intrigued and fascinated by lava, and, most importantly, by photographing lava, ever since my visit to the Big Island of Hawaii. It has a way to put us, humans, in our place, when it comes to our place in the cradle that's Mother Nature. Lava is only one, maybe one of the most powerful and memorable manifestations of the force Nature has upon nature, and people.

But what is lava?

It's the insides of our planet spilling out, causing destruction, and also creation, simultaneously. Lava is a manifestation of the fire goddess, Pele, visualized many times as Pele's fiery hair (that's especially in Hawaii or by Hawaiian artists).

Lava is fire. It is smoke. It is solidified creatures called 'lava trees' that look like monsters, reptiles...use your imagination.

Lava erupts, but also spills out of the crater, swaying its way down to the ocean, smoldering everything in its way, houses and vegetation, forming lava caves. Lava surface, which is in contact with the air, solidifies, forming lava tunnels through which the fiery matter flows down to the ocean, where it solidifies instantly, adding to the island, creating new land...and, in time, new lava beaches.

But not all lava beaches are black. Some are green, like the one in the southern part of Hawaii Island (aka the Big Island).

The Earth Is Breathing: Hot Smoke comes out of the live volcano crater. Aerial Photography over the Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
The Earth Is Breathing: Hot Smoke comes out of the live volcano crater. Aerial Photography of lava smoke over the Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

The Earth Is Breathing: Hot Smoke comes out of the live volcano crater in an S snaky shape. Aerial Photography over the Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
The Earth Is Breathing: Hot Smoke comes out of the live volcano crater in an S snaky shape. Aerial Photography of lava smoke over the Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Smoke and fog cover the crater of a live volcano. Aerial Photography over the Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Smoke and fog cover the crater of a live volcano. Aerial Photography of lava smoke over the Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Smoke and fog cover smoldering lava fields. Aerial Photography of Lava Smoke over the Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Burning Fields. Aerial Photography of Lava & Smoke over the Scorched Fields of Big Island, Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Burning Fields. Aerial Photography of Lava & Smoke over the Scorched Fields of Big Island, Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

A red-roof house left standing in an oasis of green, on the otherwise scorched lava fields of Big Island, Hawaii. Aerial Photography of lava fields, Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
A red-roof house left standing in an oasis of green, on the otherwise scorched lava fields of Big Island, Hawaii. Aerial Photography of lava fields, Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.

Photographing Live Lava. Lava View, in Volcano National Park, Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved. I've always been curious about the optimal camera settings for photographing lava. From my own experience, it's best to shoot at dusk, when it's not pitch dark. (and it can get really, really dark when out in the middle of Mother Nature). Also, bring a tripod. Use as wide an aperture as possible (I used my f2.8 70-200mm). Try to stay as still as possible (and it's not as easy as one may think). And I think it's best to photograph the lava surface that's already blackened, even if slightly, on the surface. Also, try to take a video of the actual lava flow. It's a unique experience seeing lava in action, one that will stay with you for the rest of your life. (I plan on going back, sometime soon, I hope).   
 

Inside a Lava Cave. Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Inside a Lava Cave. Big Island of Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved. As it flows down toward the ocean, lava surface gets in contact with the air, blackens and, in a short time, forms a...crust. A tunnel through which live fiery lava still flows, invisible to the eye. While in the National Volcano Park, rangers mark unsafe places, in an effort to keep visitors from stepping on these still solidifying outside surfaces of the cave, and hence, from falling into the lava.


Frozen Lava Creatures. Lensbaby Photography by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Frozen Lava Creatures. Lensbaby Photography by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.     

On the Big Island there is such a thing as 'lava trees' in 'lava forest.' These are...shapes lava forms as it solidifies. This one above, for example, resembles a creature of sorts. I captured it with my lensbaby. (yes, I had my lensbaby with me in Hawaii)

Sunset at Haleakala shapes the volcano crater. Haleakala National Park. Maui, Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
Sunset at Haleakala shapes the volcano crater. Haleakala National Park. Maui, Hawaii. Photo by Alina Oswald. All Rights Reserved.
But with all the destruction, lava, or I should say Goddess Pele, also is a creator--of new land, of beauty on this new land. (although the original, vivid colors don't replicate nicely here), there's nothing like watching the light of the setting sun shaping out the craters at Haleakala. (Haleakala is a humongous crater, the size of Manhattan Island, in which there are smaller craters.) Standing tall at ten thousand feet above sea level, the famous (and dormant) Maui volcano and the land around it make now Haleakala National Park. Standing out there, seeing the world from that altitude, is also something unique. It's watching the sunset light kissing the craters one last time for the day, or forming the optical illusion known as Brocken Spectre, or just watching the sunset from above the clouds...these are all unique, memorable experience, the beauty that comes after the fiery (lava) storm. Exhale, and enjoy.

For more Hawaii photography, please visit my online Hawaii photo portfolios here or here. And also on my Fine Art America storefront. For my Hawaii photo book, click here.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald
Writer/Photographer/Author