I see things better from behind the lens of a camera. I notice more details, I judge the contrast of light and dark more accurately, and generally I feel more “in the moment” than I do as a casual observer. Taking photos makes me feel like I am thoughtfully in wonder, and that is a feeling I am addicted to.
We left the beach and drove north. The elevation increased dramatically and soon we were amongst the clouds. (If you know anything about me, I am a SUCKAH for cloud pics.)
Then, we found ourselves chasing a rainbow.
As you can see, these pictures were shot from a moving vehicle, so the quality isn’t outstanding. But it’s a RAINbow!! We drove THROUGH a RAINBOW!!
AND we even got to see where it ended. Look closely for the pot of gold… 🙂
This is the view from the other side, after we had driven UNDERNEATH A RAINBOW!!!:
By the time we finished “up there”, it was time to head to the airport. On the way down, we got treated to a most amazing sunset (although, really? I’m beginning to think that every sunset in Hawaii is spectacular). This one looked at first like something was literally on fire. Nope. It’s just the sun and clouds doing their thang.
Then, we topped the ridge and started heading down toward the ocean.
At this point, I was close to tears, not only from the sheer beauty I was witnessing, but also the fact that I couldn’t be still enough to get a good shot. Although, I don’t even think the best picture I could have taken would have truly represented the splendor that I saw.
Looking back toward the way we had come, the clouds were still putting on their show:
This is the last shot I took:
Goodbye, My Love. Until we meet again.
Boohoo. Our last day here. Thankfully, our flight wasn’t until evening, so we had one last day to explore the island.
Saying goodbye to this view from our balcony was hard to do:
But…we managed to pull ourselves away. We got in the car and drove north to check out the nearest State Park, Hapuna Beach State Park, and Kaunaoa Beach, which I had read about being on of the Top 10 Beaches in the US according to Condé Nast. My family was humoring me this day with all my picture-takings.
The first thing I noticed about this public beach was the grove of trees that sheltered picnic tables and camping sites.
I quickly became obsessed.
I’m thinking I *might* have a problem, so I turned my attention to the beach 🙂
I loved the unruliness of the vegetation. It was not in a contrived, perfect formation. It just *was*. It made me think that this is what the beach might have looked like even before it became a maintained state park.
The junction of sand, rocks, sky, and water gave me an almost primal feeling. In that moment, I was blown away by not just nature, but the beauty in unadorned simplicity. I did not take the moment for granted and, thanks to my patient family, I was able to just sit in reverent wonder. I cherished it doubly, I think, because I live in Suburbia, where everything is planned and homogenous and perfect.
Sigh…onto the next Most-Gorgeous-Place-on-Earth…
This beach wasn’t as crowded. Although it was open to the public, in order to gain access, you had to enter the grounds of the Mauna Kea Beach hotel, drive through and around the lush golf course, and sign in with security to get a pass to park. Then you had to make sort of a hike down to the beach itself. It was totally worth the hassle.
While my family remained under the shelter of trees, I couldn’t resist a walk down the beach.
Ka-pow-ee! I captured some of my beloved sun-flare!
I happened upon a guy hanging out on a low rock wall.
I must have scared him off, because I was able to take his spot and get this fun shot.
To be continued…
We took a lazy day and mainly just hung out at or near the hotel. We swam, we walked over to the market at Waikoloa Village, and just generally loafed by the pool. I took the opportunity to explore the hotel grounds.
I had heard that there were sea turtles living on the hotel beach, and I walked the length of the rock pier to see if I could see them swimming.
I decided to walk along the beach away from the hotel. The rocks on the beach were incredibly sharp, and I had to carefully watch each step I took.
As I’m walking with my eyes to the ground (literally), I happened upon this:
I stopped in my tracks, afraid I would scare them. But they were asleep, and I was able to get very close to them.
The colors in Hawaii are amazing. I know that the sun has everything to do with how vibrant a color is, especially in nature. I shoot in Manual, and I do my best to capture the color and the light as my eye sees them.
Then of course, I had to play with sun flare. It’s one of my favorite things to do because shooting in digital leaves very little room for anything unexpected showing up on your photograph. But sun flare! You never know where the little prism of light is going to show up on your picture.
Here’s one of my favorite “candid” shots of the trip. What is Hawaii, if not for lovers?
The kids finally joined me and I was able to get “The Christmas Card” pic. I avoid using a flash when there is natural light available, but it was necessary for this pic. I turned the strength down on it so as not to make them pasty white.
We woke up and decided to drive the circumference of the island.
Along the way, we passed:
Next stop Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Park
After leaving there and arriving at Volcanoes National Park, we could tell by the steam coming out of the ground at various places along the drive that we were about to see something special…
This was as close as we were able to get. TA-DAAAH!
Before leaving the park, we walked through the Thurston Lava Tube. We had to hike down to get to it because it was in the middle of a tropical rain forest. The picture I took inside wasn’t great because it was so dark, but you get the idea.
The hike down and back was a visual feast!
P.S. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m kind of a freak about taking pics of minutia. 🙂 So again, thanks for looking!
We got up bright and early and drove an hour to Keauhou Bay. We boarded the Fair Wind and sailed to Kealakekua Bay, where we snorkeled near the Captain Cook monument. We hugged the coastline, and the views were fabuloso!
We had a line along the back of the boat in hopes of catching something along the way.
When we arrived to our destination, it was ON! I have no idea how deep the water was, but it was crystal clear all the way to the bottom.
A really cool thing was a pod of dolphins came to play with us. There were 17 of them. How do I know this? Because they hung out under Tee for awhile and he was able to count them on two different occasions.
On the way back, we actually did catch something. (No, not one of the snorkelers!) It was large and when pulled aboard, it was a gruesome kill. I didn’t get pics. I did get a video, but, nah… I’m not including it here.