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2017 Jan: Hawaii: Oahu, Kauai & Big Island, lava exploding into ocean

On the islands of Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island from January 16 – February 6, 2017, we rediscovered Hawaii. Since my last visit 20+ years ago, traffic is worse but the allure endures.

Most thrilling was lava exploding into the ocean, captured on video:

Above video: From late afternoon through twilight on February 1, 2017 we rented bicycles for the 8 miles round trip on a gravel emergency road to see molten rock exploding in the ocean at Kamokuna in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, just west of Kalapana on the Big Island. On Kilauea volcano’s south flank, Pu’u O’o crater has been erupting continuously since 1983, making it the world’s longest-lived rift-zone (or flank) eruption of the last 200 years. Since 1987, Hawaii’s southern coastal highway has been buried under lava up to 115 feet thick. Kilauea is between 300,000 and 600,000 years old and emerged above sea level about 100,000 years ago. (Tahitian drumming heard in this video was recorded at the evocative Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu.)

Click here to see Tom’s “2017 Jan 16-Feb 6 Hawaii” images in day by day order.

Hawaii galleries for each island:


Click here to reach my “Hawaii: Oahu” Portfolio gallery to Add images to Cart.


Click here to reach my “Hawaii: Kauai” Portfolio gallery to Add images to Cart.

Recommended Kauai guidebooks:

Big Island:

Click here to reach my “Hawaii: Big Island” Portfolio gallery to Add images to Cart (to buy Downloads, Prints, or Products such as canvas wraps or picture puzzles).



1987 photo: A rare silversword plant blooms in Haleakala National Park, Maui, State of Hawaii, USA. Related to sunflowers, silversword plants grow for up to twenty years before a blooming with a huge flower stalk between May and November. After just a single gigantic bloom, the plant dies. In Haleakala Crater, the fascinating native silversword plants are endangered by feral goats. Silverswords grow only on Maui and the Big Island.

Books for the state of Hawaii

Search for latest “Hawaii travel books” on (look for updates every 1 to 3 years).

Hawaiian Islands: overall favorites from Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island

Click “i” to read descriptive Captions. Click the dotted square to scroll a set of thumbnail images. Click here to reach my “USA: Hawaii: Favorites” Portfolio gallery to Add images to Cart (to buy Downloads, Prints, or Products such as canvas wraps or picture puzzles).

2 thoughts on “2017 Jan: Hawaii: Oahu, Kauai & Big Island, lava exploding into ocean”

    1. Tom responded: To shoot these photos of Hawaii in 2017, I used the Sony RX10 version III. A great new version Sony RX10 IV will be released in October 2017 with much faster focus, and touchscreen.

      Áquila responded: Very nice photos! I’m looking for a camera to take photos of nature like you, landscape like these ones of Hawaii, animals in African Safari, etc. [My choice] is between a superzoom camera (like Nikon P900, Nikon B700, Canon SX60HS, Panasonic Lumix LZ1000, etc) or a basic DSLR with 70-300 mm lens (like Canon T6, for example). These ones have standard 1/2.3″ sensor. I saw that your Sony RX10 III has 1-inch sensor, but is more expensive. Do you know if sensor size is a big issue to take photos like these? Do you have any recommendation?

      Tom responded: The combination of great 25x zoom lens and latest 1-inch sensor in Sony RX10 III captures images as good or better than a basic DSLR with 70-300 mm lens, especially at telephoto. And the 1″ type sensor captures four times more light than 1/2.3″ sensor. I switched from APS-C sensor to Sony RX10 III (although RX10 version IV will focus even faster, new in October 2017). The Nikon P900, Nikon B700, Canon SX60HS, and Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 are not as sharp as Sony RX10 III. If you don’t need as much telephoto (such as for birds or wildlife), consider Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 or FZ2500. Although RX10 III is a heavier and pricier camera, it’s well worth the price and weight for serious photographers and publishers like me. When it becomes available in October, I highly recommend Sony RX10 IV as the perfect all-around travel camera. I will be upgrading to it.

      Áquila responded: Thanks! Actually I consider take photos of wildlife. I’m going to go to Southern Africa next month, so I want to take photos of wildlife in Safari. But I would not say that I will use the camera mainly to take wildlife photos. I would like a camera to take photos of wildlife, landscape like yours and local people far away in my trips. These Hawaii photos have any software treatment?

      Tom responded: I edit the tones of all images to capture the originally feeling and appearance that I perceived in the field. Always shooting in “raw file” format (not JPEG) is critical for this editing. Cameras by default rarely capture what you see with your eyes, especially regarding wide dynamic range from dark to bright. My excellent editor is Adobe Lightroom CC, great for managing large numbers of images (thousands). For smaller numbers of images, any editor will do, but much better if it has an adjustment brush to treat areas of the image separately, such as skies treated separately from foreground.

      Áquila responded: I took a look in Sony RX10, I liked. But here in Brazil it is very expensive, around 2000 USD. For a “general purpose superzoom camera” to use in trips, to shoot landscapes, wildlife and people in long distance at street. What camera do you recomend up to 600 USD? I’m considering 3 options:
      1. Nikon P900: bigger aperture (1/2.8), better zoom (83x); do not support RAW
      2. Nikon B700: aperture 1/3.3; 60x zoom; support RAW, 4K video
      3. Canon SX60HS: aperture 1/3.4; 65x zoom; support RAW

      Tom responded: Of those 3 superzoom options, I would pick the Nikon B700 which is significantly lighter weight than the P900, and is a year more recent in technology, with 20 megapixels instead of 16 (theoretically sharper), has a powerful telephoto, and adds RAW (.NRW) support (which is only helpful if you edit the tones in photos, which I recommend). Canon SX60HS isn’t as sharp as B700 and P900. These all have tiny 1/2.3″ sensors (not good in low light).

      Áquila responded: …would you recommend any other superzoom camera up to 600 USD?

      Tom responded: Nikon B700 may be the best value superzoom at the $600 price point as of summer 2017. If you can stretch your budget to around $700 new (or $500 used), the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 focuses faster and takes sharper images with its much larger sensor (1 inch type). You can crop the image from its 25 to 400mm equivalent lens, to possibly achieve similar sharpness up to maybe 800mm telephoto compared to B700, due to sensor size difference. I would rather have the larger sensor in FZ1000 than the tiny one in B700, since most shots on a typical trip are done at wider angles of view (decreasing the importance of a giant telephoto reach problematically achieved by using a tinier 1/2.3″ sensor).

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