Another Warning…Graphic Content…Lusty Lions in Four Photos

One afternoon on safari, we drove up on a male and female lion sleeping in the grass near a water hole. Our driver suspected something was going on and stayed longer than I expected. We were maybe ten feet away, so we were happy to take a few shots in hopes that one of them would get up and give us a pose. We got more than we hoped for…much more. The male lion got up and went directly to the female. Our driver said…”They are going to mate.” He got that right. No foreplay. No discussion. Just had at it. Quite the sight.

The whole act took about a minute. I was not all that impressed, nor was the female lion. However, the driver advised us that there would be a follow up performance in ten to twenty minutes…and that they would continue at that pace FOR DAYS. Now that IS impressive. Sure enough, about twenty minutes later, round two. Another quicky, but the female seemed a bit happier this time around.

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I was determined on this trip to finally get at least on succinct and properly shot video…so I turned the camera to video mode and hit the button. I am the single worst videographer in the world, but I actually did a great job on the one minute video and figured out how to edit out the two second “out of focus” moment that I managed to do right in the middle of the action. My first ever decent video. Wish I had videoed round one…it ended in a huge roar from the male lion and that face you see in the second photo.

Caught two giraffes in the act later that day…that was also quite a sight. Aloha.

Warning….Graphic Content…Blood and Guts Lions Eating Lunch…In Four Photos

Linda and I rolled up on an amazing scene…two female adult lions with a fresh kill…a warthog. Kill is not exactly right…the warthog was still alive as it was being eaten. Made it pretty hard to watch. They had ambushed the warthog at a waterhole. One of them grabbed the warthog by the throat and choked it out. Good idea because the warthog has sharp tusks that can do a lot of harm…we saw the damage they can do on other lions during our safari.

The lions ate basically the whole back end of the warthog before they filled up. By the time they were done, their bellies looked like beer kegs. Waste not, want not…one of the lions walked off to get a drink of water and rest and the other was left with the task of dragging the carcass into the brush for later consumption. Good they protected the carcass because there were vulture on the killing ground within minutes picking at whatever had been left. We saw vultures clean up several carcasses during our safari…huge birds…20-30 at a time…tearing the animal to bits in no time.

Team coverage the scene by Linda and I. Difficult to witness…but part of the circle of life in the Serengeti.

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Full Speed Cheetah Chase…With A Twist…In Four Photos

Linda and I rolled up on an area where a cheetah was chasing a juvenile Hartebeest. We pulled out our cameras and started to shoot the scene in front of us…right in front of us. All of a sudden, everything changed. The chase for the small Hartebeest was abandoned and the tables were turned. The entire herd of Hartebeest went after the cheetah. The cheetah could normally outrun them all, but she was out of gas from the first chase. She cranked her speed up to about 70 miles per hour for just a few seconds and then started fading and fading and the Hartebeest closed in. I found myself torn as to who to root for, but really didn’t want to see any of the animals killed right in front of us. My camera held focus throughout the entire chase…save one critical frame…the frame where the Hartebeest darn near got the cheetah. Guess what…Linda caught that frame perfectly and you will see it in the attached photos. In the end, the Hartebeest veered off and let the cheetah escape by it jumping into a nasty looking thorn tree…well up off the ground and not an area where either animal would voluntarily go…the cheetah hated it, but it saved her life.

I went back and looked at the time on my camera. From start of sequence to first shot in the thorn tree…just 15 seconds. In those 15 seconds, maybe 300 yards were covered…blinding speed at first and then…not so much. One lucky cheetah.

Hurzeler’s Visit Africa

The walls of our galleries on the Big Island are mostly filled with Hawaiian subjects…customers come into see Hawaii and that is what we want to provide for them. However, we do travel and we take our cameras along. As I write this blog, CJ is in Mongolia and we just got back from Tanzania, Kenya, and Europe. Linda and I took some 30,000 images during our photo safari of eleven days in the bush. We will probably end up with just two of those images on the walls of our galleries, but will make good use of the others in our online gallery and with a possible book. And…we can not wait to see what CJ brings home. His last trip to Mongolia he brought back absolutely amazing images.

When you get a chance, take a look at our new Africa gallery on this website. It is in the larger gallery of Images from Around the World. Linda and I think the photos of some of our best ever due to the unique subject matter and conditions that allowed us to get up close and to shoot at low ISO with great gear. We’ve only posted a few here, but will be thinking about how we can post maybe 150 or so for those who are curious. The diversity we encountered was beyond our expectations.

In the coming days, I will feature a photo or two from that trip in new blogs…giving some of the story of what we saw and how we managed to get the shot.

So thankful for our successful trip to Africa and so very happy to be back home. Aloha.

New Commercials for Lava Light Galleries

If you live on the Big Island…you have probably heard our old commercials way too many times. Why…because we are too lazy to change them. However, we got a burst of energy and cut some new radio commercials…one voiced by Linda, two by me…with a few more to come. Here are the first ones. I’m guessing that this will not be a something that everyone is going to spend two minutes or so doing…but it is nice to have them here so we can play them for relatives and others who can not get out of having to hear them. Aloha.

The Lava Waterfall

On June 3, 2018, I took a doors-off dawn helicopter ride over the Puna flow. The pilot spotted something unusual and pointed it out to me. He was pointing to the spot where the largest freshwater lake in all of Hawaii had stood the day before. I say “had” because it was suddenly gone. The lava flow had snaked inside the Kapoho Crater and evaporated the lake completely. The lake was at least 400 foot deep in spots…so this was a big deal. It not only steamed off all the water…it then filled in the depression with lava. Green Lake was no more.

What the pilot spotted was lava that appeared to be forming a lava waterfall at the very end of the lake…it appeared to be flowing from underneath the new lava, over a small cliff and into a further depression of the original lake. It had already evaporated out all the water, but was still flowing to fill up that depression. When I finally spotted it clearly, I was amazed at what I was seeing…a “waterfall” of lava some 40 feet high by maybe ten feet wide…flowing at good speed and quickly filling up the depression.

I asked the pilot to bank and see if he could get me a clear shot of the spot. Glad he did, because it not only let me get a clear shot, it let me photograph the entire scene so I could later figure out what I was seeing. When I posted the photo to social media, I got one of the biggest reactions I have ever had to single photo. The photo ran on local television, The Weather Channel and other outlets. A few of the comments claimed it to be a fake…they had never seen anything like it. I then posted all the supporting photos and they all came back to me withdrawing their comments. No hard feelings with those folks…it is a unique photo and quite confusing when it is viewed with no context. This photo has now taken on a life of it’s own being viewed all over the world.

If you would like a this image in your home…to remind you of Green Lake or just to see the beauty of this unexpected event…email me at [email protected] and I will discount the metal image you are interested in by 20% off our gallery prices.

Aloha,

Don Hurzeler

Welcome to the NEW And Nifty Lava Light Galleries Website!

Big changes at our place. Nick Selway has headed off to Breckenridge, Colorado to open the Nick Selway Gallery. Don and Linda Hurzeler (if you have been in our galleries over the last five years you have seen their work) have joined C.J. Kale as owners of the Lava Light Galleries. We have replaced about half of the prints in our two Big Island galleries…adding more large metal and acrylic prints. This website has been completely re-done and will become a platform for both our best work and our newest work…which we expect will be pretty exciting given the lava activity on the Big Island as we make this post.

Our communications plan is to make it easy to stay in touch with us if you want…and to leave you alone if that is what you desire. More on that in future blogs.

Lots more to be added to this site in the months to come. Hope you enjoy it. Come see us on the Big Island…lots to do and plenty to see.

Aloha,

CJ, Linda and Don