Born and raised in Lake Stevens, Washington along the Northern Cascade Mountains, he grew a profound appreciation for the natural world at a young age. He spent his childhood traveling and exploring the Pacific Northwest with his family as his love for mother nature grew.
In 2002 he began attending Northern Idaho College where he took his first photography class. It was at this time that he met two photography professors, Tim Christie and Phil Corlis, who forever changed his life. At the age of 19 and with the encouragement of his instructors, he realized his life passion, to capture the natural world using his unique eye for light and composition.
After college he moved to Kailua Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii where he met his best friend, fellow photographer and future co-owner of the Lava Light Gallery, CJ Kale.
Nick Selway, deemed a ‘daredevil photographer’ by his contemporaries, was one of the first people in history to photograph lava entering the ocean from the surf.
Nick's photography has been featured in National Geographic, CBS, New York Daily News, ABC News, UK Daily Mail, Surfer Magazine and many other articles worldwide. Nick has also won numerous awards throughout his photographic career.
To meet Nick simply stop by the Kona or Waikoloa Galleries! He loves meeting his customers face to face and will gladly share with you his passion for photography and Hawaii.
Raised on the Waianae Coast in Hawaii, CJ learned from an early age his passion for nature by playing in the surf and exploring the beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. After visiting the Kilauea Volcano as a child he was deeply moved by its dynamic nature and beauty.
After graduating from New York institute of Photography, CJ moved to the Big Island of Hawaii where his passion for nature photography grew.
Deemed a ‘daredevil photographer, just like his friend Nick Selway, in 2011 CJ fell into a lava tube 20ft while shooting the Kilauea Volcano and shattered his ankle. Even this was not enough to deter CJ, as only a few months later he was back in the surf and lava fields doing what he does best.
CJ's photography has been featured in news articles worldwide, he has won numerous awards and has even had his work displayed in the Smithsonian Museum.
He now lives in Kailua Kona with his wife and two children and runs the Lava Light Gallery with his best friend and fellow photographer Nick Selway.
Lava Light Gallery
Lava Light Gallery features the dynamic photography of CJ Kale and Nick Selway. These world renown daredevil photographers house the largest collection of fine art photographs of the Kilauea Volcano in the world and were also the first people to enter the surf in order to photograph lava entering the ocean through the curl of a wave. Their now famous ‘Lava wave’ photos have been featured worldwide.
From the pounding surf of Hawaii's beaches, to the epic landscapes of the American West and other areas around the world, these award winning photographers spend their days chasing the light or entertaining visitors to their gallery in Kailua Kona. They pride themselves on meeting their customers face to face and delivering a superb product that exceeds expectation.
Hey CJ and Nick, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and your work?
Our work has been featured in National Geographic, CBS, New York Daily News, ABC News, UK Daily Mail, Surfer Magazine, Natures Best Magazine in the Smithsonian and many other articles worldwide.
Is photography your full time job?
Photography is a full time job for both of us. We own two photography galleries on the Big Island of Hawaii where we sell our fine art prints to customers worldwide. CJ has been photographing for 20 years and Nick has been photographing for 14 years.
If you have a photographic style how would you define it?
Our photographic style definitely stands out. We shoot so many different types of subject matter from all over the world. We are best known for shooting in the water while swimming only 20 feet from lava. It’s what we call ‘Lava Wave Photography’, which is our signature.
Where was the last place you photographed?
The last trip we photographed together lasted for three weeks and was all over the state of Alaska shooting the northern lights.
What did you love about it?
What we loved about shooting northern lights is the adventure of driving thousands of miles and staying up late to hopefully capture beautiful moments. We live in Hawaii so shooting somewhere like Alaska, where it’s cold, is always a thrill for us.
What was the last image you had printed by Bay Photo?
The last image we printed was an image of CJ for the gallery. We printed it on Metal in a triptych 105x70 inches and it turned out great. We shoot with all types of cameras including large format 4x5 film, Sony, Nikon, Canon 35mm digital and a variety of lenses from 14mm-800mm.
What’s your next goal for your photographic journey?
To keep capturing unique images from all over the world. Whether that would be shooting in the water or landscape shots. We really want to photograph in New Zealand, Patagonia and Iceland in the near future. Another goal of ours is to eventually open a third gallery on the island of Oahu.