This pine tree stood on the volcanic ashes of Cinder Cone volcano. In the morning of July 4th, when we walked around Cinder Cone towards Painted Dunes, this tree caught our eyes. The straight line of the hill of Cinder Cone split the frame and created this simple but powerful composition, allowing the pine tree to stand out of the background of bright sky. This is the kind of photo that we were always looking for.
Painted Dune is famous for its colorful dunes created by volcanic ashes. In this morning, we were hoping for a spectacular sunrise, but the sun never broke out of thick clouds. However, we found these two pine trees standing right in front of several dunes. The color contrast between the trees and the dunes is too good to be missed.
Lassen Volcanic National Park is a seriously underrated national park. It offered diverse geology features within a relative small package. A remote area that is separated from the main park, namely Cinder Cone, is the hidden gem of the park. It is a young volcano, only a few hundred years old. Hence, there is very little vegetation over it today. The few pine trees on its surface are popular subjects in photographs.
It is not a common experience to witness the live volcanic eruption and lava flows. Fortunately, during our trip to Hawaii Big Island at the end of year 2021, we caught it on our camera. To be precise, the eruption has been a continuous event happening on the island for many years. Sometimes it carried out more lavas from underneath the Earth, sometimes it was just quiet for a few days. During day time, it could be difficult to see the lava flows because they were just thin red lines between the black volcanic rocks. So evening is generally the best time to observe this incredible phenomenon.
The volcano was in a quiet period till the fifth day we were on the island. So we headed out in the evening. To our surprise, there was a traffic jam in the Hawaii Volcano National Park! We waited patiently for a while till the park rangers allowed us to drive to the parking lot. There was a one mile hike from the parking lot to the observation point. A few hundred yards from it, we could already see the red light in the sky. What an exciting walk!
There was a quite large crowd at the observation point. Head after head, tripod after tripod, wow after wow. It was an exciting moment to appreciate the power of Mother Nature.