With this blog post I am adding nearly 80 new images to my existing Hawaii portfolio. These are new images created on a recent trip to Oahu and the "Big Island" of Hawai'i.
As I do so I must reflect on the fact that this portfolio is now the largest one on my website. I have photographed extensively in most of our western states, but next to California probably none more so than Hawai'i. There is good reason for this. Having a son and daughter-in-law living on Oahu is certainly one good reason. But beyond that Hawai'i itself is another good reason. Our 50th state is an incredibly diverse place especially suited for my preferred genre of scenic photography.
I have not visited either Lana'i or Moloka'i, but the others have been my destination at least twice each. O'ahu, of course, is the most tourist and commercial oriented island in the archipelago but boasts many good opportunities for landscapes. The North Shore especially provides incredible ocean action. The island of Kaua'i boasts the magnificent Waimea canyon and the remote and beautiful Napali coast. Mau'i has miles of beautiful seashore and the mammoth Haleakala which dominates the majority of the southeast portion of the island. Then there is the Big Island of Hawai'i, my latest destination which may be the most diverse of all. It's landscape is characterized by the twin behemoths Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, volcanic shields that soar nearly 14,000' into the Hawaiian sky. Given my understanding of such "peaks", say for instance those in the Colorado Rockies, these two do not seem to fit into the category of "fourteeners" or "thirteeners", but considering that they occupy the majority of the real estate of the island their volume is prodigious. So much so that the saddle road that connects the two sides of the island, and finds it's way between these two mountains, climbs to over 6,000' without one having the slightest feel of being at that altitude. The only clue that these two mountains stand another 7,000'+ above this road is provided by the fact that they dominate the landscape, and the appearance of snow atop their rounded domes.
The other significant and unique feature of the Big Island is the presence of an active volcano, Kilauea, which has been erupting since 1981. Until November of 2013 it sent lava flowing down the mountainside into the sea on the southeastern side of the island, activity that continues to build the island. Even though that has (temporarily?) stopped there is still activity within the caldera itself which can be easily witnessed by visitors to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. No one knows what is yet in store for this remarkable place, except perhaps Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess who may again decide to send lava to the sea. It is somewhat sobering to think that what we see as the island of Hawai'i is in reality but the top of a huge volcanic mountain which is active. Moreover this same line of thought extends to the entire island chain which is of volcanic origin. This landscape is still in the process of creation and we are privileged to witness this. How cool is that?
The Hawaiian islands are moreover a good laboratory for the observation of micro climates. The windward side of the islands are characterized by rain forests, wet and lush with tropical growth. The lee sides, however, are just the opposite, dry, covered with volcanic rock, with little or no vegetation. In fact cactus can be found growing in the sparse earth or in the rock itself. And where one expects to spend his time in tropical attire when visiting the islands a visit to places such as Hakeakala will quickly send one scurrying for long trousers, a sweat shirt, and or windbreaker. It can get cold!
It seems incongruous to photograph lava, cactus, waterfalls, mountains, tropical flora, and seascapes all in the same day, but I did just that on the island of Hawai'i. It is truly a photographer's paradise and I am pleased to present this portfolio. Perhaps it will portray something you have not seen before as I endeavor to underscore what attracted me when I pushed the shutter release. As I review these images I am encouraged to return yet another time.