When good friend Miles Morgan and I embarked on our trip to Hawaii to photograph the lava flows, I spent the long flight day-dreaming of what was in store over the next several days. Beautiful beaches, warm air, good food, getting to shoot with my favorite people, more food, epic landscapes, food, etc, food, etc.
While all of that lived up to the hype I had created in my head (was actually better than imagined) I failed to prepare for some of the downsides... like sand in your boots.
On this particular morning, the last lava shoot before we were to return home, we were greeted with great flows and beautifully subtle light. What stood before me was one of the most beautiful scenes that I have ever laid eyes on. The lava, the waves, the light, the plume, the steaming rocks and black sand... it filled me with adrenaline and we spent the next couple hours filling up memory cards. Well, it turns out, the black sand isn't really sand, but small shards of glasslike lava. I extremely underestimated this stuff. It's fine to walk on, but after getting blasted by waves for two hours, the water starts to wash it down into your boots, inside of your pants, underneath your shirt... everywhere.
Making the long hike out over rough terrain of lava fields with glass shards in your boots and all over your body isn't the most fun thing in the world, but with all the adrenaline from an epic morning of photography, I hardly noticed I was pushing things deeper and deeper into my skin. I was digging pieces of lava out of me for the next month. When we arrived back at my friends Tom's truck, he was kind enough to let me borrow his slippers to wear for the rest of the day. Tom Kualii and Bruce Omori of Extreme Exposure Gallery in Hilo, HI are two of the most amazing dudes you would ever have the pleasure of meeting... amazing friends, gracious hosts, and top tier photographers.
That's just one of the many memories I have from this trip, and it's a GREAT one to have. I have yet to wear those boots again since. Every time I see them in the closet, still filled with shards of sharp lava, it brings a huge smile to my stupid face. It reminds me of the amazing times I have had while pursuing photography as a career, and how much of it wouldn't be possible without the amazing friendships I have made along the way. Bruce and Tom, thanks for hosting us... a year later and I am still grateful for your guys' time and experience, but mostly your friendship... see you guys soon! Miles, here's to our next trip, brother! - Ryan Dyar
This image is available as a print by contacting Dyar directly. Based in Seattle, Washington, Dyar is leading several workshops in 2015 to the Northwest area and California's Eastern Sierra. More information can be found here. He also offers several in-depth software processing videos through his website here. See his work at www.ryandyarphotography.com. Follow him on 500px, Google+, Flickr and Facebook.
Equipment and settings: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM wide angle zoom lens, Singh-Ray LB Warming Circular Polarizer, Really Right Stuff BH-55 Full-sized ballhead, cable release, Giottos Rocket Air Blower, plenty of micro-fiber cloths and one pair of ruined Merrell boots.