Dye Transfer Prints


My dye transfer prints are all made using original Kodak papers and dyes. The paper stock is double- or triple-weight fiber base with an air-dried F surface. The prints have at least 1" of white paper around the image area, and I title and sign the prints in archival ink under the image.




Jewels of Kilauea-- the fascinating and colorful lava of the southern Big Island of Hawai'i.

The question I'm asked most often about this work is whether or not the colors are real; some viewers have wondered if they were somehow created by me. The answer is that the colors and tones in the following photographs are entirely natural. They are not the result of special photographic tricks. I made all the photographs with natural lighting, and I didn't use any special filters to create or enhance the existing color.

In truth, the 'black' pahoehoe lava flows of Kilauea are anything but dull and monochrome!

The subjects of these photographs range in size from several feet across down to one inch.



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Tortoise Shell Pahoehoe and Ferns, HI ~ 2002

Silver dapples the black pahoehoe, which is tinted with subtle shades of blue and brown. Newly sprouted ferns are among the first plants to colonize fresh pahoehoe; their electric yellows and greens present a striking contrast. (430K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 10" wide by 7" high (image area)


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O'helo Sprouting from Pahoehoe, Mauna Ulu HI ~ 2002

Arranged like some kind of studio still life, a young o'helo bush sprouts in vivid reds and lime-greens from beneath a boulder of pearly opalescent and gold pahoehoe. Much favored by Pele, o'helo is another early colonizer of Hawai'i's lava flows. (463K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 10" wide by 8" high (image area)


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Competing Ferns, May '73 Lava Flow HI ~ 2002

A cluster of ferns in greens, reds, oranges, yellows, and browns springs forth from a crevice in the charcoal black pahoehoe from the May 1973 lava flow. (414K JPEG)

    Dye transfer print:
  • 19" wide by 14.5" high (image area)
  • 10" wide by 7.5" high (image area)

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Iridescent Banded Pahoehoe, Mauna Ulu HI -- 2000

Bands of yellow, salmon and cool blue wash across this patch of veined lava. Fractal-like black and yellow contrasting cracks texture the surface. (223K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 10" wide by 7.5" high (image area)


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Iridescent Pahoehoe, Kilauea HI -- 2000

A fragment of lava flashes with intricate patterns of intense, deep blue and hot yellow-orange, against a background of dark pahoehoe reminiscent of boiling thunderclouds. (158K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 10" wide by 8" high (image area)


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'Fiery' Pahoehoe, Kilauea HI -- 2000

Brilliant rust-red banding on these cold boulders creates the impression of glowing molten lava under a cooling gray-black mantle. (216K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 9.5" wide by 7.5" high (image area)


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Weathered Pahoehoe Folds, Kilauea HI -- 2000

Yellow, white, and sky-blue clays speckle these dirt-red folds in old pahoehoe, reminiscent of fossilized ribs. (281K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 9.5" wide by 8" high (image area)


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Red Spatters, Kilauea HI -- 2000

Leaden spatter bombs of lava, laced with red highlights and brick-orange 'heads.'
Iron compounds create the look of fiery meteors plunging downward. (137K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 7" wide by 10" high (image area)


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Bright Folds in Black Pahoehoe, Kilauea HI -- 2000

Isolated brilliant folds in iridescent yellows and blues appear spot lit against a field of inky black lava starred with isolated bits of bright colors. The feeling conveyed is of some nocturnal undersea bed. (109K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 8" wide by 9.5" high (image area)


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Pearly Pahoehoe, Kilauea HI -- 2000

Shiny pale blue coils and swirls of lava glisten with opalescent pinks and yellows, against a background of dark, pumicelike rocks spotted with blacks and dull reds . The resemblance to colorful abalone shell is astonishing. (219K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 9.5" wide by 7.5" high (image area)


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Triangular Shard, Kilauea HI -- 2000

Brilliant fragments of pahoehoe are scattered like jewels on dark, multicolored, frothy pebbles. Intense blues and pale yellows dominate, accented by metal-bright, cherry-red bubbles. It's hard to believe this is merely lava. (142K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 7.5" wide by 10" high (image area)


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Blue and Yellow Lava, Spatter Ramparts, Kilauea HI -- 2000

Blue stone shimmers with a colorful 'oily' sheen, embedded in a frozen froth of yellow lava.
(135K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 8" wide by 9" high (image area)


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Iridescent Vesicles, Spatter Ramparts, Kilauea HI -- 2000

A broken shard of pahoehoe revels metallic, brilliant hues of red, yellow, and blue on the exposed gas bubble walls. The black surface is patterned with a salamander-skin-like pattern in gold, white, and orange. (123K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 7.5" wide by 9.5" high (image area)


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Yellowed Pahoehoe Surface, Kilauea HI -- 2000

The brilliant yellow "salamander skin" pattern on this black pahoehoe surface contrasts with patches of deep, iridescent blue.
(223K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 7.5" wide by 9.5" high (image area)


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Lava Icicles & Stalagmites, Pua Po'o Lava Tube HI ~ 2000

As hot molten rock seeps through the walls of the lava tube, it cools into thin icicles of shiny black rock. The molten rock that drips off the tips forms fantastic matching stalagmites dappled with browns and golds that glow against the stark blackness of the lava walls. (225K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 7.5" wide by 9.5" high (image area)


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Actinomyces Colonies, Pua Po'o Lava Tube HI ~ 2000

Actinomyces bacteria colonize the walls of the lava tube. Captured with flash, they are a brilliant pinkish white against the inky lava, in a scene that resembles a star-filled astrophotograph. (242K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 10" wide by 7.5" high (image area)


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Branches on Folded Pahoehoe, Hilina Pali Rd HI ~ 2002

Rusty brown folds of cracked pahoehoe spread out like fractured ripples in a petrified pond. A dead, angular branch, shaded in harsh tones of white, gray, and soot black, “floats” on the surface. (496K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 10" wide by 8" high (image area)


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Cracked Tumulus, Hilina Pali Rd HI ~ 2002

A huge pillow of lava breaks through the yellow and green scrub. Its layered arches of pale browns and deep ebonies stand in strong contrast to the singularly blue sky in the background and the stark white tree branches in the foreground. (356K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 10" wide by 7.5" high (image area)


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Dried Ferns, May '73 Flow, Volcanoes Park HI ~ 2002

Only the barest hints of color break the monochrome impression of this photograph. Faint shades of pale browns and extremely subtle blues and yellows tint the neutral grays, whites, and blacks of this seared landscape. (397K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 10" wide by 7.5" high (image area)


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Ohelo Sprouts in Lava Wall, May '73 Flow, Volcanoes Park HI ~ 2002

Riotous splashes of color are splattered across this lava-wall, as if buckets of orange and ocher paint had been flung at it. The pearly blue-black pahoehoe supports a few young ohelo sprouts, themselves brilliant in intense reds and new-growth greens. (520K JPEG)

Dye transfer print: 10" wide by 7.5" high (image area)




You can email Ctein at ctein@pobox.com


This material is Copyright ©2012 by Ctein. All rights reserved.