Craig Ellenwood, a Honolulu based photographer, set out on an adventure using MotionX-GPS on his iPhone and his photography equipment to capture the Kilauea lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii. The lava flow is encroaching on the (mostly abandoned) Royal Gardens subdivision.
Craig heard about a man named Jack Thompson, who remarkably still lives in Royal Gardens and had lava flowing as close as 400 yards from his house. Craig wanted to document Jack’s lifestyle and see what it was like to live so close to an active lava flow.
The only way into the area is by helicopter. The road from Hilo has been cut off by the lava flow. Once on the ground, Jack acquainted Craig with the surroundings and told him that his boots would tell him where to walk. If he couldn’t stand the heat coming through the soles of his boots while walking on the lava field he should move away from that area.
Craig used MotionX-GPS as his sole navigation tool while hiking around the area taking photographs. He set Jack’s house as a waypoint and used the MotionX-Compass to help him back safely. He used the track recorder to tell how far he walked and listened to music with the iPod integration.
“Having MotionX-GPS on my iPhone added a level of security and technology that enabled my expedition to achieve my goals of first, surviving and finding my way out of the lava maze and second, enhancing my journey by keeping track of interesting areas marked as waypoints.” — Craig www.ellenwoodphotography.com
Jack Thompson’s house surrounded by the lava flow:
How did you use MotionX-GPS during your shoot?
“I was hiking up the mountain towards Pu`u `O`o crater which would require some kind of navigation to get back. The lava snakes around little bits of jungle called kipukas which all look alike after awhile. There are no paths on the lava field and when it’s as active as it was, landmarks can change by the hour. I set Jacks house as a waypoint and noted the elevation which would help me find the correct altitude on my hike out of the lava field. I used the stopwatch to tell how far I’d walked, and listened to some music with the iPod integration. I tested the compass, it was accurate and helpful in a few places, especially in the dark. I as able to find my way back to Jack’s Kipuka and Plumeria St. using MotionX-GPS and the waypoints I set along the way. I marked active lava flows so I could find the breakouts later in the evening. Having MotionX-GPS on my iPhone added a level of security and technology that enabled my expedition to achieve my goals of firstly, surviving and finding my way out of the lava maze and secondly enhancing my journey by keeping track of interesting areas marked as waypoints.” — Craig
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