Thursday, May 27, 2010
At Low Tide Exploring Was Amazing
Kahaluu is one of the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island. Many of the tourist brochures and maps simply refer to this place as "Snorkel Beach". Fed by a fresh water spring, up to 10 million gallons per day. These waters are almost always calm, with colorful corals, rock formations, and 100+ species of fish. Swim with huge schools of colorful fish and green sea turtles in these protected waters; don't forget your underwater camera! The north end of the beach is where the waves break and is best for body boarding and surfing.
Green Sea Turtle Resting In The Shallow Tidal Pool
The Green Sea Turtles that I saw while snorkling here were enormous. You are not allowed to touch them, but they would swim right up to you. It was uite an experince to swim in open water with these gentle giants.
Sadly I again had to cram in as many things as possible in a very short time, so I hopped over to the Island of Maui after my stay on Hawaii.
A Rainbow in the West Maui Mountains
After a brief tropical rain while driving to my hotel, this rainbow was pretty spectacular. The difficult part was finding a safe place to pull over to try and photograph it. Every tourist had the same idea, and there were several near wrecks from everyone rubber necking and stopping in the road. It reminded me of how people react to seeing a bear in Yellowstone National Park. I found a spot and then walked around until I found a composition with no man made objects in it and snapped a few frames.
My view from the Sheraton Hotel Ka'anapali Beach
Ka'anapali Beach has been rated one of the top ten beaches in the world on the travel channel. I would now have to agree with that. Paradise probably sums it up best if you can only use one word. I absolutely fell in love with this place. So much so, that I actually bought a time share at the Westin. Now time shares are not a real smart investment, but with starwood Properties the trade value and high end resorts they own sold me. So I can now brag that I own a miniscule sliver of real estate here.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Hanauma (pronounced "ha-na-OO-mah", in Hawaiian) is a marine embayment formed within a volcanic cone that collasped and allowed the ocean waters into its shallow base. Located along the southeast coast of the Island of Oahu, Hanauma is both a Nature Preserve and a Marine Life Conservation District. If you plan a trip here get there early! This is an extremely popular place and they limit the amount of visitors to protect the environment. If it gets full, you will get turned away. Some of the best snorkling and swimming to be found in the Hawaiian Islands.
Waimānalo Beach (the town) lies along the eastern half of Waimānalo Beach (the beach), with an overall length of nearly 5.5 miles the longest stretch of sandy shoreline on Oahu. The drive along the East coast really gives you a sense of how Hawaii was years ago. There is much less development here and the scenery is amazing for mile after mile. The waters along many of these beaches are very calm due protection from offshore reefs. This allows for great swimming and snorkling in the calmer waters.
Oahu’s North Shore is home to the world famous Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline and Waimea Bay. Oahu’s rustic North Shore is famed for big wave surfing during the winter months but offers calm, swimming beaches in the summer and beginners can learn more about surfing by taking a class at a North Shore surf school.
North Shore Canoe Club
I visited the North Shore on a beautiful sunny calm day in the month of February. By all apperances the surf at first seemed calm and peaceful. Then my ears picked up the sound of bigger surf and when I looked further out the waves coming over the reef were about 8 feet high on a calm day. There are beaches along the North shore that a more protected and calm, and there are some where you should not go unless you are a very strong swimmer.
Smaller Waves Hitting Lava Rocks Along The Beach
Big storms far out in the Pacific Ocean generate the giant surf that reaches the North Shore of Oahu in the winter. So even on a nice day, the surf can be enormous, and very dangerous.
Big Waves Reaching The Beach
I waded out a few places but soon realized that the undertow and surf was far to strong for my average swimming skills. If the waves throw you into the coral it will shred you like a cheesegrader. so I was content to say on the beach and just get marvel at the power of the big surf.
Big Waves Hittng A Wall of Lava Rocks
The Island of Oahu has an amazing amount of attractions to visit and natural beauty to experience. I could simply not get them all in with only spending three days on this island. Being the beach person that I am, that is where I choose to spend the majority of my time. My next stop was the Big Island (Hawaii). Here is a good link for more information on the Island of Oahu.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
When I planned my trip to Hawaii, I flew in and out of Honolulu, which is located on the Island of Oahu. Honolulu is a city of about 400,000 people, but it feels much bigger since much of it is packed along the famous Waikiki Beach. Oahu, an island occupying 597 square miles, is the second oldest island in the Hawaiian chain of visitable islands. She lies between her sister islands Kauai and Maui.
Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, HI.
With its calm waters, the beaches of Waikiki offer a great place for swimming as well as your very first surf lesson. Waikiki is known in Hawaiian as “sprouting waters”. The water is very calm and a great beach to relax on and people watch. It will get pretty crowded though with the urban population so densley packed around it. I really enjoyed the sunsets from the beachfront area though. The sunsets I experienced in Hawaii were pretty amazing. Pull up a beach chair and have a cooler with some relaxing adult beverages and watch the show.
Sunset from Waikiki Beach
The weather on Oahu is ideal, and tempreatures range between 75-88 degrees F. With moderate humidity and constant ocean breezes, even the hottest months are very comfortable. There are many great attractions, and resturants in the Honolulu area. I knew that Hawaii was going to be expensive, but the sticker shock to my conservative (cheap) mid-western values was painful. It is very easy to bust your budget trying to see and do all the tourist things you want to do while you are there. I only had three days to spend on Oahu, so I rushed around to see as much as I could fit in and afford. At least the sunsets were free.
The Sun Sinks Slowly Into The Pacific Ocean
I think this photograph is a good representation of the Honolulu area. Beautiful but somewhat crowded. You see a commercial air plane, cruise ships, sailboats,and swimmers and surfers in the water. Although I prefer my beaches to be less crowded, Waikiki is a very cool place to hang out.
The Honolulu Pier after Sunset
This was my favorite photograph of my numerous attempts at long exposure shots and sunsets. The sun had dipped below the horizion and left the orange after glow in the sky. I took numerous exposures to try and capture people when they were not moving much so they would retain their forms. This was my best shot of the bunch.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Entrance to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor
If you plan to visit the Arizona Memorial while you are on the Island of Oahu, I recommend getting to the memorial as soon as they open. The crowds that come to visit and tour the memorial are massive. I arrived early and the lines to get in were extremely long. No matter, I would have waited all day.
The memorial that is attached to the sunken battleship Arizona
The USS Arizona (BB-39) was a Pennsylvania-class battleship of the United States Navy. Shortly after 08:00, a bomb dropped by a high-altitude Nakajima B5N "Kate" torpedo bomber from the Japanese carrier Kaga hit the side of the #4 turret and glanced off into the deck below, starting a small fire but causing minimal damage.At 08:06, a bomb from a Hiryū "Kate" hit between and to port of Turrets #1 & 2. The subsequent explosion — which destroyed the forward part of Arizona — was due to the detonation of the ammunition magazine, located in an armored section under the deck. The massive explosion ripped through the forward part of the ship.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Sunrise from the summit of Haleakala Volcano
I had watched a special on the travel channel of the things you must do when you visit the Hawaiian Islands, and high on the list was traveling to the summit of the Haleakala Volcano to watch the sunrise. Haleakala National Park is located on the Island of Maui, near the costal town of Lahaina. So I set the alarm for 4:30am and made the 2 hour drive to the summit at just over 10,000 feet. When I left my hotel at sea level it was about 75 degrees, and at the summit it was about 30 degrees with a strong 30+ mph wind. This sent the wind cill factor to single digits. I have watched many beautiful and inspirational sunrises in my lifetime, but I will admit that watching the sun come up above the clouds at 10,000 feet gave me goose bumps and had me completely awe struck. I was so riveted watching the light come up that almost forgot to take photographs.
Haleakala in Hawaiian means "House of the Sun". I cannot think of a more fitting name.
Inside the crater of Haleakala Volcano
From the summit you look down into a massive depression some 7 miles across, 2 miles wide, and nearly 2,600 feet deep. The surrounding walls are steep and the interior mostly barren-looking with a scattering of volcanic cones. The potentially active volcano has produced numerous eruptions in the last 30,000 years, including in the last 500 years.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
When I have a desire to shoot the more exotic wildlife of the world, I again consult my checkbook and figure out that an African safari is out of the question and still only a dream. So I do the next best thing and I visit the Saint Louis Zoo. Now if you are from the St. Louis area and have visited the zoo, you appreciate how really great it is. The Saint Louis Zoo is consistently rated as one of the top zoo's in the country. The best part is it is free. Now let me repeat that. No admission, It is free!
I really enjoy visiting zoos, and do so whenever I travel to a destination that has one. I cannot recall ever getting into any other zoo free. They all have an admission charge of some type. Many are way over priced for what they offer, but I understand that it is very costly to run a zoo. So I am happy to pay the entrance fee to help support that institution.
The Saint Louis Zoo is celebrating it's 100th anniversary this year. They continue upgrade and expand the facilities there. The animal exhibits are designed to resemble their natural habitat and give the animals as much space as they can. The zoo is a world class facility, and I am lucky to get to visit as often as I do.
As a photographer the Saint Louis Zoo is a great place to visit and create some amazing photographs. My goal on each visit is to come away with great photographs of the animals and the viewer not be able to say that is a zoo shot. I can't always accomplish that, but I will work extra hard to find a background or odd shooting angle to make the scene look as natural as I possibly can. Many times it will be a very tightly cropped shot, or carefully selected DOF to blur the background .
Crested Screamer - South America
Not only do I enjoy creating a good photograph, but I also enjoy learning as much about the animals as I can. I doubt I may ever see many of the animals I photograph at the various zoos in the wild. I am not here to debate the whole issue of keeping perfectly healthy animals in zoos, or the whole other issue of shooting captive verses wild animals. My personal opnion is zoos are vital for education and research into protecting and saving many species.
Chinese Water Dragon
There are many factors that work against you as a photographer shooting at a zoo such as bars, wires, horrible lighting and backgrounds. But the good thing is the animals are accessible and not bothered by your presence. This allows you to take your time and figure out how to create the best possible shot. In the wild you may only have a few seconds to get a few frames off before the animal dissapears.
I took Wednesday off last week since the weather was going to be perfect. Although the zoo does not offically open until 9:00am, I walked in at 7:00am and found plenty to shoot and had the place to myself except for the keepers working in their areas. All was going well until every grade school in the metropolitian St. Louis area showed up at 9:00am for their field day at the zoo. WOW! It would have been safer to climb into the bear pits to avoid the mobs, but I beat a hasty retreat and got out before I was trampled by thousands of out of control children. So if you live in the Saint Louis area, you ought to visit the zoo again just to realize how lucky you are to have a world class zoo so close to you. If you are ever visiting St. Louis, put this place on your must see list. Here is a link to the offical zoo website: http://www.stlzoo.org/
I hope you found this useful. Let me know if you think they look like zoo shots, or something a cut above that.