Our trip to the Big Island involved a lot of lava since, well, that’s what the entire island is made of. One day we explored the Chain of Craters road in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. This road takes you down the slopes of Kilauea to the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, you pass a singularly impressive fault. This fault forms an escarpment, which lava flows off of on its way to the sea. Slow moving oozing streams of slow lava churn into a froth of rough a’a lava as they fall off the ledge. One particularly cliff had a mix of both lava types, with green ferns struggling to survive. This became my favorite image of the week.

Ferns in the Lavafall

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 55 mm, f/6.4 at 1/125, ISO 800

Digital Darkroom. Whoa, boy. It is hard to expose for black lava. I’m sure it’s not qualitatively more difficult than sunny snowfields, but I’ve been shooting those for years. What I did here was lower the exposure by almost a full stop, then bumped up both shadows and highlights. I tried to represent what I saw- shiny (not glossy!) black. I also increased both texture and clarity. The star of the show is of course the textured lava. The focus on texture called for black and white, but those green ferns! I gave the whole image a bump to greens, but then painted most of the photo with a brush which I used to lower saturation by -97. The lava was reddish-brown in parts, and that could not stand. The resulting image most closely resembles what I remember seeing in the field.

WIRR stands for Weekly Image Rich Ruh. This regular feature on Das Has von Ruh will show and describe my favorite photo created during this weekly period. My weeks start on Mondays, as does the WIRR. I’m hoping to include commentary on the story, the setting, the specs, or the sentiments, depending on the circumstances.

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