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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Faded Love

Since I spaced out on doing a Valentine’s Day post yesterday, I thought I would do a post-Valentine’s Day post today.


Vintage Sugar Mill

…there was a sugar mill in this building.  The R. W. Meyer Sugar Mill operated on Moloka’i from 1876-1889.  It is now a museum and still has some of the old processing equipment in the building.

Gecko on Screen

Geckos are frequent visitors to Hawaiian homes, especially in the moister parts of the islands.  I love watching them climb up the walls and even across the ceilings.

This tiny one was climbing across the window screen of the cabin I was sleeping in one evening.  You wouldn’t think there would be enough surface area on a wire mesh screen for the gecko’s little sticky toes to grab onto, but as you can see, you would be mistaken.  This gecko had no trouble at all meandering across the screen.

This critter is holding what I call a classic gecko pose:  legs extended, toes splayed out, and tail artfully curled.  Even in a silhouette shot, its bulbous toes indicate that it’s a gecko and not another type of lizard.  Plus the screen lends not only some texture, but also scale:  you can guesstimate that this gecko is about three inches long.

And no, geckos don’t glow in the dark…the light from inside the cabin illuminated the gecko’s light belly and made it appear extra bright against the dark night outside the window.

Halawa Church

You may recognize the title of today’s post as the opening line of the poem “Mending Wall” by one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost.  Although Frost talked about a wall along a property line in New England that was damaged by ground frost and hunters, there are certainly other forces at work on this old church wall in the Halawa Valley.

After the church burned, the humidity and the foliage have been disintegrating the remaining cement and stone walls slowly but steadily.  I love how you can see the way the round lava rocks were used to construct the walls.

In a few more years, hard to say how many, there will be nothing left of this building except piles of lava rock scattered on the floor of the jungle.

Moon Over Palm Grove

Even when you’re finished shooting the sunset–which by tropical standards was not that spectacular–and you’re moseying back to your vehicle with your camera gear and tripod in hand, it pays to look behind you.  Because there, almost as if to make up for the lackluster sunset, is a lovely new moon bathed in earthshine hanging over the palm trees.

You may be tired, you may be hungry, and you may already be happy with what’s on your memory card from the day’s shoot, but it would be a crime to pass up such a lovely scene and not take at least one image.

While I usually shoot the moon with a long telephoto to make it larger in the frame, I took this shot with my zoom set around 100mm in order to get a large grouping of palm trees in the image.  Since I was shooting through a palm grove, the challenges for me were twofold:  to get some pleasing silhouettes of the palm trees as well as to find an opening between the palms that showed off the moon with some sky around it.  I did a little dance at the edge of the palm grove with the camera on the tripod until I found a view that met both criteria.

With the gentle tradewinds rustling the palm fronds, the sky turning lovely shades of turquoise and cobalt, and the stars beginning to wink on one by one, it truly was an enchanted evening.


Although they look quite fearsome, especially to an arachnophobe, these spiders are actually pretty harmless…unless you happen to be the unfortunate insect that has gotten itself fatally stuck in one of their webs.

In that case, prepare to be bound in silk, get sharp fangs injected into your flesh, and have all the blood sucked out of you while you’re still alive in a sort of spider vampire apocalypse.

Sweet dreams…


There’s nothing shy about a brightly colored hibiscus blossom almost as big as your head!  And if its size doesn’t get your attention, its colors will.  Bright red, orange and yellow against a background of dark green leaves WILL be noticed!

I don’t normally liket to shoot flowers “head on.”  I call these types of flower images “mug shots.”  But this bloom was so bold that it seemed appropriate to put it front and center.

This flower will catch the attention of every passing human, as well as bee. I’d say this sucker is virtually guaranteed to get pollinated…repeatedly!

Call it “survival of the showiest.”

Blue Boat Sunset

The sun sets on yet another perfect day in the islands.  This skiff is moored in knee-deep water.  I know that because I waded out to it to get this shot.  Oh, the things we do to get the shots we want!

I love that the colors of the boat echo the colors of the sky:  bright blues and orange/yellow/browns.  And it’s always fun to get an interesting foreground element in the sunset shots…they can be a little boring, otherwise.

And remember that we don’t need to put our cameras away at sunset…for me, that’s when the fun really begins!  I love shooting during twilight, and even at night.

I fudged the definition of “nautical twilight” a bit here.  Technically, it’s when you can’t quite make out the horizon, and it’s too dark to navigate safely, but not completly the dark of night.

For me, the skiff makes it a “nautical” image…

Pallet Fence

I love the ingenuity and creativity of this island resident who created a fence out of multi-colored pallets.  I shot it on each of my previous visits to Moloka’i, but the weather had always been dry.  This time around, I was lucky to be in this area the day after an epic tropical deluge, and found this fabulous huge puddle in the dirt parking lot in front of the fence.  The folks who were visiting the small grocery store next door weren’t thrilled, and either drove slowly around or through it.  I, on the other hand, was delighted, because puddles mean reflections, and I love shooting reflections.  I had to perform some interesting contortions to get the reflection where I wanted it in the puddle, and I’m sure some customers were baffled and/or amused by my “parking lot yoga,”  but I got the shot I wanted.  Because the only thing better than a wildly colored homebuilt fence is…two of them!

Rock in Surf

Through the magic of continuous shooting at some crazy number of frames-per-second, I was able to capture the exact moment that this wave came into contact with this rock. This is the sort of thing that happens, quite literally, in the blink of an eye.  Our minds register the water washing over the rock, but the nuances of the event escape our consciousness…like the way the wave explodes into hundreds of individual droplets before “re-forming” as foam…or how the rock, which is clearly a three-dimentional object, appears almost two-dimensional from this perspective…or how opaque the spray of even this crystal-clear tropical water becomes as it literally turns into “white water” before our very eyes.

Look at the shape of the rock, the scalloped edges standing out against the surf, and marvel at how many millions of times that rock was struck by waves to erode the way it has.

So much drama takes place each day in just this one square yard of shore…now multiply that to encompass all the coastlines of the world…most of it unwitnessed by humans…neat.