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The Photography of Francis Joy

Photo Oct 03, 3 56 13 PM-2

You would need a magnifying glass to see these scenes in person.

Kahuli - achantinella fuscobasis

With a macro lens though, critters like this little kahuli (Achantinella fuscobasis), a native Hawaiian snail, get captured in full detail.

A macro lens is a specialized lens that can focus on at a very close distance to an object. And it will also typically magnify the object. That makes it really handy for shooting small things.

Callirhipis robusta

Most of the plants and creatures you see in this collection of photos are native to the Hawaiian Islands.


The photographer behind this wonderful collection of photos is my friend, Francis Joy (pictured above). His friends simply call him “J.”


J is an avid Hawaii rock climber and currently the head route setter for Volcanic Rock Gym here on Oahu. He also hikes almost every weekend in Hawaii. It was being out on the trails that got J interested in photography.


When J first started hiking, his hiking friends would constantly take breaks to shoot photos of the views they were seeing. To kill time he would look around for native plants and bugs. Armed with just his iPhone and a little marco lens attachment, he started taking close-up shots of anything native he found.

There’s a growing number of hikers in Hawaii that have turned their attention to learning about native Hawaiian species. When J connected with those folks he learned a lot and got more inspired. He started researching native flora and fauna on his own and then picked up a DSLR camera with a real macro lens and started honing his craft. As you can see, he’s gotten pretty good.

Now when J hikes or backpacks, his main source of inspiration is finding native Hawaiian species.


I took this photo of J when we were out in the forest sometime last year. He was walking ahead of me and I saw him walk up to a tree, get real close and start snapping away. In my head I was thinking, “Why the hell is he doing?” When I got closer I saw that he was shooting photos of a brown cocoon looking thing. I was still confused.

Then J popped off his macro lens and handed to me. I placed it on my camera and I saw this…


He wasn’t actually taking photos of that cocoon looking thing, there was a little bug on top that I couldn’t even see before. You need to hold the camera really still (and even hold your breath) to maintain your focus with a macro lens. It takes a lot of practice to get good at this type of photography.

I hope you’ll enjoy this photo collection of (mostly) native Hawaiian plants and creatures from Hawaii nature photographer Francis Joy.

Juvenile koa beetle - Coleotichus blackburniae

A juvenile koa beetle (Coleotichus Blackburniae).

Adult koa beetle - Coleotichus blackburniae_

Adult koa beetle (Coleotichus blackburniae).

Akoko flower

Akoko flower.

Akoko planthoppers - Dictyophordelphax mirabilis

Akoko planthoppers (Dictyophordelphax mirabilis).

American lady butterfly - vanessa virginiensis

American lady butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis).

Cabbage white butterfly - Pieris rapae

Cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae).

Cyanea calycina

Cyanea calycina.

Cyanea crispa

Cyanea crispa.

Fiery skipper butterfly - Hylephila phyleus

Fiery skipper butterfly (Hylephila phyleus).

Happy face spider - theridion grallator - nananana makaki'i

Nananana makaki’i / happy face spider (Theridion grallator).

Kamehameha butterfly caterpillar -vanessa tamehameha

Kamehameha butterfly caterpillar (vanessa tamehameha).

Ko'oloa 'ula - Red 'Ilima - Abutilon menziesii

Ko’oloa ‘ula – Red ‘Ilima (Abutilon menziesii).

Koa butterfly - Udari blackburni_

Koa butterfly (Udari blackburni).

Lobelia oahuensis

Lobelia oahuensis.

Ma oli oli - Schiedea hookeri

Ma oli oli (Schiedea hookeri).

Mikinalo flower - Drosera anglica

Mikinalo flower (Drosera anglica).

Philodoria moth

Philodoria moth.

Photo Aug 15, 4 07 53 PM-2

Auricullela diaphana.

Photo Jul 18, 6 04 34 PM-2

Spider web.

Photo Mar 28, 12 02 41 AM-2

Flesh fly found at Kawainui Marsh (this one is not native to Hawaii).

Pinao ula - megalagrion hawaiiense

Pinao ula (Megalagrion hawaiiense).

Pinao ula

Pinao ula.

Tetragnatha spider at kawainui marsh

Tetragnatha spider.

Umi'i akoko - Akoko planthopper- Dictyophordelphax swezeyi_

Umi’i akoko / akoko planthopper (Dictyophordelphax swezeyi).

Wandering glider - pantala flavescens top view

Wandering glider (Pantala flavescens) top view.

Wandering glider - pantala flavescens

Wandering glider (Pantala flavescens).

Weevil - Lixus mastersi

Weevil (Lixus mastersi).

Western pygmy blue - brephidium exilis

Western pygmy blue (brephidium exilis).

White rumped shama

White rumped shama.

Honu at Kiholo bay



I also wanted to share a few of J’s landscape photos. Being that he hikes so much, he often sees some amazing views.

Olomana sunrise_

Olomana sunrise.

Poamoho sunrise_

Poamoho sunrise.

Heaia sunrise

Heaia sunrise.

See also:

  • Follow Francis Joy’s (“J”) nature photography on Instagram: @zenjin808
  • For more Hawaii nature photography, you can check our pal Nate Yuen’s website Hawaiian Forest.
  • I asked J what macro photographers inspire him and he emphatically recommended I check out Thomas Shahan.

This story was last modified on May 13, 2024. (Originally published in February 2015.)

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