Posted by: kerryl29 | April 20, 2020

Hawaii Day 13, Part IV: South Maui Ramblings

[If you’re wondering why I’m detailing photographic experiences on this blog as if a pandemic wasn’t ravaging the planet, click here.  Be sure to read the comments.]


It was early afternoon by the time by the time I wrapped up at Kealia Pond,  That meant there was still time to explore the area of Maui south of Wailea.

There are numerous spots to explore as you approach the end of the road in south Maui.  The spot that was tops on my list was Makena State Park, and I stopped there first.  I didn’t even take my gear with me, as the light was poor and the area crowded.  It was a scouting session.  Makena State Park essentially provides access to two beaches, known colloquially as Big Beach and Little Beach.  There’s a tall, fairly decent-sized outcropping of volcanic rock between them.  Where I parked put me on Big Beach, and I slogged through the sand to reach the outcropping.  From there, a fine view looking down Big Beach can be found, and the outcropping itself, parts of which are covered by trees and naupaka, make an interesting spot.  I decided that I would return in time to shoot sunset from this west-facing location.

I returned to my car and continued south down Makena Road all the way to its end at La Perouse Bay.  This area provides access to a wild part of the south Maui coast by way of the Hoapili_Trail in the Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve.  I hopped out, applied a new layer of sunscreen, grabbed my gear and hit the trail which runs several miles out to a couple of different desolate spots astride the ocean.

Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

As I wound my way through the trees and across stretches of lava-strewn beaches, I stumbled across a large herd of feral goats.  I’d seen some feral goats back on Day 10, on the way to the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, but hadn’t had the opportunity to make any photos.  This time was different.  The feral goats on Maui are the remnants of goat ranching many decades ago.  Like just about every other organism, the goats have thrived on the island.

Feral Goats, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Feral Goats, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Feral Goat, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Feral Goat, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

The goats seemed almost entirely unconcerned by my presence, as they caught up to and passed me.  But one baby goat ended up between me and the rest of the herd and seemed intimidated by my presence.  While the rest of the herd wandered off down the trail, this small goat was left behind, bleating plaintively.  I felt awful about this and decided to see if I could somehow rectify the situation, so I took my things and hid behind a tree trunk, in the hope that the small goat would interpret the coast as being clear and catch up to the rest of the herd.  And it worked!  While I remained “out of sight,” the little goat looked around and then raced off down the trail and was reunited with the others.  (Said small fry is shown below.)

Feral Goat, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

After crossing several beach areas, perhaps a mile into the hike, the trail bends inland and then becomes really obnoxious, footing-wise.  The route crosses a seemingly endless field of small, roundish rocks.  The footing isn’t so much bad as it is annoying.  Imagine walking on nothing but grapefruit-sized rocks for miles.  The route splits at some point, with the shorter of the two paths heading off in the direction of a light beacon, perched on a cliff above the water.  There was literally not another soul on this stretch of trail, which ran at least an additional mile in length.

When I reached the beacon, I found myself at an extremely windy, desolate spot about 40 feet above the water.  Monster waves were rolling in, one after another, and lashing the lava coast below me.  As I had done one evening at Poipu Beach back on Kauai–Day 3, to be exact–I decided to engage in some wave photography.  I always find this a fairly challenging exercise as it’s much different than most forms of landscape photography; the subject is always moving and you can’t ever be entirely certain whether the shot is worthwhile until you see the final product.  But I spent about 30 minutes so engaged.

Breaking Wave, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Breaking Wave Black & White, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Breaking Wave, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Breaking Wave Black & White, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

It was about 2 1/2 miles back to the trailhead and by the time I got there It was only about an hour until sunset.  I made the short drive back to the Makena State Park lot and headed back along the now mostly deserted sand of Big Beach to the rock outrcopping that separates Big and Little Beaches.  I picked out a spot up on the bluff to photograph Big Beach.

Big Beach, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Then I headed down closer to the water and set up to photograph the sunset.  It wasn’t the best sunset of the trip, but it wasn’t the worst either.

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

As the sun went down to the right–from my viewpoint–of Kaho’olawe on the horizon, I hoped that the prodigious clouds to the southwest would light up, but it didn’t quite happen.  Still, the sky–as it always seems to in Hawaii at the edges of the day–took on a variety of interesting hues.

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

That brought the second to last full day of the trip to a conclusion.  The final day would be quite different in nature from any of those previous…

[If you’re wondering why I’m detailing photographic experiences on this blog as if a pandemic wasn’t ravaging the planet, click here.  Be sure to read the comments.]


The image discussed in this post was made during the photo tour that was part of my first trip to the Canadian Rockies, in the autumn of 2014.  This was around the midpoint of the tour and Day 11 of the entire trip for me.

The decision had been made to make an early morning–read:  in the pitch dark, long before sunrise–trip to the Waterfowl Lakes area of Banff National Park, just west of the Icefields Parkway.  (From where we were staying, about 30 miles east of Saskatchewan River Crossing, it was close to an hour’s drive.)  I had driven past this area about a week earlier during my own drive north, from the Lake Louise area to Jasper, but stopped only briefly.  As I had a lot of ground to cover that day, countless places to see and was facing inclement weather conditions at the time, I had made no images during my solo time at Waterfowl Lakes.

And it is lakes, plural.  There’s an Upper Waterfowl Lake and a Lower Waterfowl Lake, with a campground in between them.  When we arrived in the deserted campground area, still in the pitch dark of predawn, we made our way, with the aid of headlamps and flashlights, to the southern shore of Upper Waterfowl Lake.  (Lower Waterfowl Lake is north of the campground.)  The lake itself is of modest size, perhaps a bit more than a mile long and maybe a half-mile across at the widest point, and is surrounded by thick conifer forest and ringed by mountains.  Mt. Chephren and Howse Peak are the most prominent of the peaks to the west and northwest of Waterfowl Lakes.

It was entirely unclear what kind of a sunrise, if any, there would be that morning; the forecast that day was for mostly cloudy skies–a forecast that would be quite accurate, as the rest of the day would prove.  But we made the short walk, through the forest surrounding the campground, and were on the sandy lake shore in short order.  There were seven of us present and we more or less informally split into two groups; I went with the smaller gathering and set up in the middle of the southern shore while the others picked out spots a few hundred yards away on the southwest shoreline.  It was light enough at this point to roughly make out the silhouette of the mountains and I liked the look of the gap to the north, with the prominent peak of Mt. Chephren anchoring the left-hand side of the scene.

Once in place, we waited for the light to present itself.  While there would be plenty of compositional options at this location, demanding a variety of focal lengths to capture them before it was all said and done, once thing was certain:  if there was going to be a nice sunrise this morning, a wide angle approach would be called for.  As a result, I started out the day with my 14-24/2.8 ultrawide lens mounted on my camera.

As the light came up, slowly, we could see that the sky above us was partly cloudy:  perfect, as long as the southeast horizon was clear enough to allow sunlight to light those clouds up.  There was no way for us tell if that would happen, as the southeast view was completely blocked by tall mountains.

So we waited…and, before too long, the clouds did indeed begin to take on a purplish/pinkish hue.  There were no prominent complementary objects to use as a foreground–no shoreline rocks protruding from the water, no attractive fallen logs or anything of that nature.  So, I decided to use the reflections in the shallow waters to serve as foreground interest.  Fortunately for all of us, there wasn’t a breath of wind anywhere near us; the lake surface near our position, and for hundreds of feet out in the water, was glass-like.  Just to complete the perfection, the clouds visible to us that morning were in long substantive strips, running more or less perfectly along the V-shaped “cut” in the mountains to the north.

All I had to do was to double check exposure, confirm focus and trip the shutter with my remote release:  perfection.

Sunrise, Waterfowl Lakes, Banff National Park, Alberta

Posted by: kerryl29 | April 6, 2020

Hawaii Day 13, Part III: Kealia Pond

[If you’re wondering why I’m detailing photographic experiences on this blog as if a pandemic wasn’t ravaging the planet, click here.  Be sure to read the comments.]


When I wrapped up at Iao Valley State Park it was late morning and, truth be told, I wasn’t sure what to do.  I wanted to check out the coastal area of Maui south of where I had already explored in Wailea,  so I headed in that direction–south from Wailuku.  But, just shy of Kihei, on HI-310, I approached the western access point for Kealia Pond National Wildlife Sanctuary, and I quickly made the decision to stop.

I’d driven past both of the entrances to the refuge multiple times since arriving on Maui, beginning with the day of arrival.  The guidebook I was using made it sound as though there was no point visiting the refuge at this time of the year; the pond apparently dries up in the summer and doesn’t replenish itself until the early stages of winter, when the sanctuary is evidently teeming with birds.  But I thought I’d have a look anyway.

The main part of the pond lies on a good-sized tract located between HI-310 and HI-311, and that was indeed mostly–if not completely–dry.  But the section of the refuge I was visiting–accessed by a boardwalk that runs for at least a half-mile, between HI-310 and the shore–was another matter.  In this location, water remains in a number of spots–all year long, apparently.  Expecting to see nothing, I left my gear in my vehicle and started to wander down the almost entirely deserted boardwalk.  It wasn’t long before I saw some birds and, in short order, returned to the car, snagged my tripod and the camera with my 80-400 lens, and went back to the boardwalk.  For the next 90 minutes or so I had fun trying to photograph the surprisingly large number of birds, given the time of the year, that I saw.  It kind of reminded me of the time I spent in south Florida, several years earlier.

As I have noted a number of times previously on this blog, I’m no wildlife photographer; I simply take photos of wildlife from time to time.

The first images I made at Kealia Pond were of Hawaiian stilts, an interesting looking shorebird that’s a native sub-species of the long-necked stilt.  Unfortunately they never came particularly close to the boardwalk, so I had to settle for long distance shots.

Hawaiian Stilt, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

Hawaiian Stilt, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

After that, I was able to get relatively close to all of the other species that I saw that day, including the native Hawaiian coot–about the same size as the American coot.  The Hawaiian coot is an endangered species, but, fortunately, appears to be slowly increasing in number throughout the state.

Hawaiian Coot, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

Hawaiian Coot, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

Hawaiian Coot, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

The smallest bird I saw at the refuge was the Pacific golden plover.  It’s a migratory species by nature, but apparently some stay in Hawaii year-round.  The Pacific golden plover is a bit smaller than the European golden plover, but has longer legs, and is a bit slimmer than the American version of the species.

Pacific Golden Plover, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

Pacific Golden Plover, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

Pacific Golden Plover, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

I also saw some mallard-Hawaiian hybrid ducks.  These ducks, the result of natural interbreeding between the endemic Hawaiian duck (koloa) and mallards, look superficially very much like mallards in terms of coloring, but they’re notably larger and have longer bills.  The native Hawaiian duck is endangered and its numbers appear to be decreasing throughout the state, unfortunately.

Hawaiian-Mallard Hybrid Ducks, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

Hawaiian-Mallard Hybrid Ducks, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

I was surprised to find black-crowned night herons at the refuge.  They were all over the place in south Florida and I hadn’t realized that they were found all over the world.  They made some of my best subjects at Kealia Pond.

Black-Crowned Night Heron, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

Black-Crowned Night Herons, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

Black-Crowned Night Heron, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

Black-Crowned Night Heron, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

Black-Crowned Night Heron, Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge, Maui, Hawaii

It was early afternoon by the time I left Kealia Pond and moved on to what would be the final adventure of Day 13…

Posted by: kerryl29 | March 30, 2020

Hawaii Day 13, Part II: Iao Valley

[If you’re wondering why I’m detailing photographic experiences on this blog as if a pandemic wasn’t ravaging the planet, click here.  Be sure to read the comments.]


When I finished my early morning shoot at Papawai Point I hastily made the 20-odd-minute drive to Iao Valley State Park.  The park is located just west of Wailuku, in the southeast part of the West Maui bulge.  The park gates open at 7 AM…or are supposed to, anyway.  I arrived about five minutes before 7; there was no one else around, but after a few minutes another car showed up…then another.  It was well after 7 and there were at least 10 vehicles waiting to enter when a pickup drove up and someone–an employee of the state park service, I presume–finally unlocked the gates.

Despite the back up at the gate, there weren’t many people present when we entered the park.  I quickly slathered on some sunscreen while standing in the parking lot, then grabbed my gear and made a quick reconaissance of the short official trail network and sized up my photographic options, which were considerably more plentiful than might appear at first glance.  The valley is exceptionally lush, reminiscent of the locations I visited along the Hana Highway or spots on Kauai, and quite a contrast from many of the arid scenes that had dominated my itinerary over the past few days.

The most recognizable symbol in the park is the Iao Needle, a 1200-foot high feature, covered in greenery.  There’s a staircase to n observation deck, which provides a decent view.

Iao Needle Black & White, Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Iao Needle, Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Most visitors wander up to the observation deck, look at the Needle, and then wander back to their vehicles and leave.  But there are two streams (Iao Stream and Kinihapai Stream) that run through the area that reach a confluence just steps away from the parking area.  I found this general location to be reason enough to hang around for a couple of hours, particularly at a time of day when there aren’t (yet) many people in the park.

Iao Stream, Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Hibiscus blossoms were all over the place.  The Iao Stream area was in open shade while I was in the park, which was helpful.

Iao Stream, Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

I had a pair of waterproof overshoes and I donned them, which allowed me to set up at various spots in the water.

Kinihapai Stream, Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Kinihapai Stream Intimate, Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

My footwear made it possible to reach certain locations along the stream without getting wet.

Iao Stream, Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

I also found several compositions well up on the bank that I found interesting.

Iao Stream, Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Iao Stream, Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Iao Stream, Iao Valley State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Lots of locals like to swim in the park’s streams, which have specific spots that work well for this.  There are a number of places where it’s possible to jump from bridges or rocks into deep water pools.  More and more people were engaging in this activity as I was wrapping up that morning.

It had grown increasingly warm as the sun began to dominate the sky that day.  I wrapped up at Iao Valley by late morning and moved off to my next location…

Posted by: kerryl29 | March 23, 2020

Hawaii Day 13, Part I: Papawai Point at Daybreak

Many thanks to everyone who commented on yesterday’s post.  Since the response was unanimous in favor of continuing, that’s what I’ll do for the foreseeable future.  I sincerely hope that reading these accounts and viewing the accompanying images serves as a distraction, albeit brief and inadequate, from the seemingly relentlessly bad read world news we’re all experiencing every day.


 

[If you’re wondering why I’m detailing photographic experiences on this blog as if a pandemic wasn’t ravaging the planet, click here.  Be sure to read the comments.]

 


 

This was the second to last full day of my Hawaii trip and I was determined to make the most of it.  I covered a lot of ground with far too much material to include in a single post so I’m going to break up the chronology into a series of entries–three or four in total; the exact number is still to be determined.  I started the day off with a return to Papawai Point for sunrise; then it was off to Iao Valley State Park, where I spent several hours; my next stop was Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge; and I ended the day with an exploration of south Maui.

This post covers my time at Papawai Point, a spot I originally visited on Day 11.  The sunrise fizzled that morning, but the location’s potential was beyond doubt.  If only conditions would cooperate.  Fortunately, on Day 13, they did.

There was a very interesting, and extensive, cloud formation spanning the eastern and southern skies when I arrived, shortly before the onset of civil twilight.  The views from Papawai Point–an easily accessed overlook right off the Honoapi’ilani Highway (HI-30), best known for whale spotting during the winter months when humpbacks are in the area–are extensive, covering roughly 180 degrees.  As you stand on the point, south Maui–dominated by the hulking presence of Haleakala–unfolds to the left.  Straight ahead lies the southern tip of south Maui, fringed by Molokini, a tiny crescent-shaped island designated as a marine sanctuary.  Continuing the sweeping view to the right, the uninhabited island of Kaho’olawe (the smallest of the eight major Hawaiian Islands, Kaho’olawe has no permanent population and is officially designated as a reserve) is next and, following a wide sweep of ocean, Lanai completes the vista, lying far to the right of one’s gaze.

The cloud formation began to take on color not long after the start of civil twilight and the show unfolded in stages from there.

{To assist those of you interested in the geography, I’ll make brief italicized comments about physical features below some of the images.)

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

The bump you see at the end of the south Maui mainland, near the bottom-center of the frame above, is known as Pu’u Ola’i, a vestige of a centuries-old volcanic eruption.  The little indentation just above the horizon line near the bottom-right part of the frame is Molokini.

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

From left to right, you can again see Pu’u Ola’i and Molokini.  The island in the right-hand corner at the bottom of the frame is Kaho’olawe.

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

The southwest slope of Haleakala undulates to the sea.

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

The color in the upper cloud cover faded to nothing.  Was the sunrise show over?  Hardly.

West Maui Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

That dome in the background is Haleakala.  They surely had a sunrise up there this morning.

The rising sun lit up the clouds over South Maui and the upper strata gradually came to light for the second time that morning.

West Maui Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

The show was in the sky.  I included a minimal amount of sea and land to anchor the compositions and placed the overwhelming emphasis on the part of the scene that was…well, overwhelming.

West Maui Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

West Maui Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

As you can by the changing colors of the clouds, by the time the image above was made, the sun had just crested Haleakala, to the southeast.  I turned my gaze–and camera–to the west.

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

That’s the lightly inhabited island of Lanai–home to the former Dole pineapple plantation–in the background at the right-center of the frame.

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

Morning, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

I mentioned the 180-degree views from Papawai Point.  But on this day, photographic interest was extended to 360 degrees.  Across the highway from the point is a rocky bluff, covered by chaotic grasses and dotted with trees.  It’s generally of no particular interest and typically ignored.  But as I was looking around that morning I noticed the sky above this bluff and had to capture the scene.

Sunrise, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

Sunrise Black & White, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

The sun was climbing in the eastern sky by now–though partially blocked at times by clouds–and I turned back toward south Maui for a parting shot or two.

Morning, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

Morning, Papawai Point, Maui, Hawaii

And with that, it was time to make my way to Iao Valley State Park.  I figured to arrive just about the time the gate opened at 7 AM.  There was a bit of a hiccup upon entry, but it wasn’t long before I began my several hour stay.  I’ll detail that experience in the next post.

Posted by: kerryl29 | March 22, 2020

The Elephant in the Room

In the 10 1/2 years that this blog has existed, I have almost completely avoided writing about anything that doesn’t directly touch on photography and/or blogging.  There have been very few exceptions.  This entry represents one of those rare occasions as I will briefly discuss how the current situation surrounding the novel coronavirus impacts my intentions pertaining to this blog.

Ignoring the virus is like ignoring the elephant in the room; one can act is if it’s not there but doing so seems guided by obliviousness.  The impact of this virus is, after all, affecting almost literally everything, at least in my little part of the world.  I’m currently holed up in northeast Illinois, where the entire state is under a stay home order.  Day-to-day routines have been interrupted–as they have all over the world–to the point where they can’t even be recognized anymore.  Fear and uncertainty are rampant, and understandably so.  As I type these words early Saturday evening, the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center puts the number of confirmed and presumptive positive cases of coronavirus worldwide at 304,526 and the number of fatalities from the disease at 12,973.  By the time you read this, those numbers will be significantly higher.  No one can say with any sort of conviction when this pandemic will crest or whether multiple additional spikes in new cases are in our future.  We are living through a very dark time.

Under the circumstances, as things relate to this blog, I have asked myself two questions:

  1. Do I want to continue to post regular entries, as I have been doing for years?
  2. If the answer to question #1 is yes, is it appropriate to do so?

The answer to question #1 is yes, at least for the time being.  There’s something broadly therapeutic, I think, in maintaining at least some shred of normality to the rhythms of day-to-day life, so as long as I feel I have something to write about, I’d like to continue doing so.

I believe question #2 is a bit trickier; I can make a pretty cogent case either way.  But, unless I hear differently from the readership of this blog, I’m gong to operate under the assumption that these forthcoming posts, devoid as they will be of virus-related content, may serve as brief distractions, microscopic though they may be, for those who choose to read them.  I reserve the right to alter these plans, but for the time being I’m going to push forth.  If anyone feels differently, please feel free to let me know.

Stay healthy, everyone.

Posted by: kerryl29 | March 16, 2020

The Story Behind the Image: Serendipity

Sometimes, you just get lucky.

During an autumn trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in 2013, I paid a pre-dawn visit to Council Lake.  I’ve shot at Council Lake many, many times over the years I’ve visited the Upper Peninsula, experiencing a variety of conditions.  The principal shooting perspective at Council Lake is north-by-northwest–obviously not in the direction of sunrise–but the best time of day to shoot there, I’ve found, is first thing in the morning.  Despite the lack of a sunrise orientation, there’s still excellent light to be utilized early in the morning and this is the time–at this location anyway–when wind is typically the lightest, making for very good reflection opportunities.

It certainly didn’t look promising for anything particularly noteworthy that morning, but every once in awhile you get something special when you least expect it, and if you’re not in a position to take advantage of it, you’re sure to miss out.

So, about an hour before sunrise, I headed off to Council Lake, which is roughly a 20-minute drive from where I was staying.  On the drive, I noticed that it was almost entirely cloudy.  There was, however, a very thin band of light near the eastern horizon. I took note of it, and hoped that it would mean that something interesting might happen at sunrise.  My hopes were tempered by the occasional spurts of light rain that hit the windshield.

When I reached Council Lake, it was still dark, but there were two photographers already there.  These women had moved their vehicle in a position where the headlights lit up some trees on the far bank of the lake–a kind of a light-painting exercise, which was kind of interesting.  But as it began to become lighter, they turned off the headlights and we all began to engage in ambient light photography.

As the appointed time of sunrise approached, it was still socked in clouds and, every so often, some light rain fell.  Sunrise appeared to be a rumor this morning. After I’d been on site for perhaps 20 minutes, I heard another vehicle on the access road.  Someone got out and approached me; this gentleman asked me if this was Red Jack Lake.  I told him no; Red Jack Lake is accessed via a spur from Council Lake Road.  I told him that, to reach Red Jack, he needed to go back down the road in the direction he’d come from and take the first left–in perhaps 1/4 mile. After 1000 feet or so, he’d find himself at Red Jack.  He thanked me and openly pondered whether he should head over there or just stay at Council Lake.  The rest of us returned to shooting.

After a minute or so the newcomer said, “Hey, look at that rainbow!”  We’d all been so engrossed in what we were doing–mostly reflection shots or isolated telephoto images–that none of us had noticed that a full rainbow had appeared, arching over the trees on the north bank of the lake.  Everyone stopped and looked…and there it was.  And, not surprisingly, everyone rearranged what they were doing to take advantage of the newly discovered–and breathtaking–scene.

Council Lake Rainbow, Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan

I had my 24-70 mm lens mounted on my camera at the time and used it to compose a couple of shots, racking all the way back to 24mm.  This got me a nice image or two, but this was a full rainbow and I wanted to include all of it–and as much of the reflection as possible–in the frame, and 24mm simply wasn’t wide enough (see above).  Not even close, in fact.  If I backed up I could include more of the rainbow in my image, but it would also introduce a number of elements that I didn’t want in the frame.  There was still some light rain falling and time was a-wasting.  So now I faced a dilemma: should I scramble and try to change lenses, putting my ultra wide-angle 14-24 mm lens on?  Or should I try and shoot a series of frames with the 24-70 that I would later attempt to stitch together into a wider-looking single shot?

I decided to switch lenses.  Both approaches would take time–and there was the possibility that the rainbow, which had already been visible for a couple of minutes–would fade.  The problem with the stitching option was that I really wasn’t prepared for it.  The tripod would have to be leveled and I would face possible issues of parallax if I didn’t get things just right on set up, which could kill the stitch.  While switching lenses–with rain coming down–was far from ideal, I thought it gave me the best chance to get at least one image of this phenomenon, so I found my backpack (which was perched on a picnic table, about 50 feet away), grabbed the 14-24, a back lens cap and a body cap and made the switch as rapidly as I could.

I was lucky. Not only did the rainbow not fade, it had become more intense in the time that I had made up my mind to change lenses and the light, if anything, was even nicer. Having completed the lens swap, I recomposed the shot, made sure the camera was level, confirmed exposure, verified focus and fired away.  I got several shots in before the rainbow began fading.  Eventually it disappeared completely, but it was visible for 5-7 minutes all told.  As I mentioned, in addition to the full rainbow itself, the quality of light during a few minutes of its appearance was absolutely exquisite.

Morning Rainbow, Council Lake, Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan

It was another lesson in simply being there.

Posted by: kerryl29 | March 9, 2020

Hawaii Day 12: Haleakala Crater

A popular thing to do on Maui is to head up to the Haleakala Crater rim for sunrise.  It’s so popular now, in fact, that the National Park Service (NPS) requires a reservation to carry out the act.  The fee is nominal (something like $1.50 per car), so it’s not a case of gouging.  Apparently sunrise at the rim was so high in demand that the parking lots up there were overflowing every morning and, in an attempt to keep things from becoming a total circus, NPS established this system.  You have to sign up in advance to obtain a reservation and if you don’t do so  something like six weeks in advance, you can forget it.  A small number of slots are held over until the day before, but you have sign up on-line at a specific hour of the morning a day in advance.

I didn’t find out about all of this (“You need a reservation to see the sunrise in a national park?”) until about three weeks before I was planning to leave for Hawaii so literally every day that I was to be on Maui was sold out before I had a chance to do anything about it.  That would limit me to either taking a crack at the day-before lottery or just forgetting it entirely.  I chose the latter.

I have to say, I’m truly amazed that the tourist crowd is so besotted with the idea of viewing sunrise from the rim that they’d overflow the lots.  Sunrise time at Haleakala doesn’t change much throughout the year (a product of the latitude and the fact that daylight savings time isn’t observed in Hawaii–it’s entirely unnecessary, given how little the number of daylight hours changes throughout the year).  Sunrise ranges from 5:30, on the early side, to shortly before 7 AM, on the late side, depending on the specific date with the former being on and around the summer solstice and the latter being on and around the winter solstice.  (When I was there, it was around 6:15.)  But what does that mean practically?  Most tourists stay in either south Maui or West Maui, and it’s a solid two hour drive to get up to the rim, depending on where you’re coming from and how aggressively you drive…particularly after reaching the winding park road that makes up the final segment of the trip.  You’d want to be there…oh, I’d say at least 30 minutes before sunrise, even if you’re not a photographer (most people attending aren’t) and just want to view the spectacle.  Assuming you can be ready to be out the door 30 minutes after you get up…well, you see where I’m going with this.  Assuming a 6:15 sunrise, Joe Tourist is going to have to arise somewhere in the neighborhood of 2:45 AM to make it up to the rim on time.  What self-respecting tourist is going to do that?

What’s more, there’s no guarantee that you’re even going to see the sunrise.  Haleakala Crater–the rim is approximately 10,000 feet above sea level–is frequently swathed in clouds.  And it’s cold up there!  This is Hawaii, so there’s a kind of tourist ignorance at work, but at the warmest times of the day the temperature at the rim rarely exceeds 60 F.  It is frequently below freezing at daybreak, and is often windy.  Legends abound involving tourists shivering in flip flops and shorts, waiting for the (damn) sun to rise (already!) so they can get back in their vehicles and turn the heat on full blast.

And yet, despite all of that, there are more people who want (or think they want) to observe the sunrise from the rim than can be accommodated.

I had made up my mind that this–my fourth full day on Maui–was to be the day I was going to spend time at the Crater.  Knowing that I couldn’t get into the park (without a sunrise reservation) until 7 AM or thereabouts, I timed my departure that morning with the thought that I’d find some spots along the park road to photograph sunrise.  There were plenty of clouds when I departed Kihei that morning and there were still quite a few when ambient light rose, as I neared the turnoff to Haleakala in Maui’s Upcountry.  Still, I found a few opportunities to stop along the way.

West Maui at Sunrise from the Park Road, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

2 West Maui at Sunrise from the Park Road, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Rainbow from the Park Road, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

West Maui Morning from the Park Road, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

West Maui Morning from the Park Road, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

The partly to mostly cloudy skies gave way to more or less entirely socked in fog/clouds as I reached the visitors center, at around 7000 feet above sea level.  As I climbed beyond that, and approached the first of several crater overlooks, the fog loomed everywhere.  It was chilly and windy, with occasional drizzle.  I didn’t stop at any of the overlooks–there didn’t appear to be much point under the circumstances–and followed the road all the way up to the second park visitors center, which is located just a half mile’s drive below the rim, where the road ends.  The visitors center was open and I went in and spoke with the ranger on duty for a few minutes, mostly asking about the weather and the likelihood that it might clear up.  He shrugged.  “We never know,” he said.  “It’s completely unpredictable.”  I asked him if there had been a sunrise for the throngs that had driven up that morning.  “Nope,’ he said.  “Not so much as a glimmer.”  That explained the sour faces I’d seen from the occupants of the countless cars that had been exiting the park as I’d driven in.

What to do?  It was still early in the morning and I’d planned to spend pretty much the entire day up at the crater.  The current weather was miserable, but it might get better.  As long as I was up here, I thought, I might as well hang around and see what might happen.

I drove back down the park road a few miles and stopped at the lot for one of the overlooks–Kalahaku Overlook, to be specific.  There was one other car in the entire fog-strewn lot when I pulled in, and just as I was getting out of my car, two young women were returning to there’s.  I didn’t even have to ask them how things appeared from the overlook, which was about a quarter of a mile down a trail which, with foreboding, was all but obscured in the swirling fog.  “You can’t see anything!” one of them blurted to me.  The other just nodded, then added “It’s so disappointing.”  I thanked them for the scouting report and they then drove off, leaving me in the otherwise deserted lot.  I figured I’d check out the overlook anyway and, even though I figured it was a waste of time, I brought my gear with me.  The trail was so short I figured why not?

In a few minutes I was at the overlook.  It was extremely windy, but there was a large plexiglass shield which formed a kind of shelter, like a bus stop along a city street.  That was nice because it got me out of the wind, but it was clear that the two women had reported things accurately: absolutely nothing of the crater was visible.  I put my things on a bench and waited.  I had dressed appropriately for the weather; the air temperature was in the mid 40s F at this point.  It was a solid 40 degrees colder than I’d experienced just about everywhere I’d been in Hawaii up to that point.

The wind kept blowing fog all over the place but I still couldn’t see anything.  And then, after about 15 minutes, a rocky promontory briefly came into view.  I stood there and watched as the clouds and fog began to lift, just a bit….then a bit more.  I set up my tripod and pulled out my camera in anticipation.  And, like magic, parts of the crater began to be revealed.

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

I found the combination of the mysterious clouds, the occasional piercing of sunshine, and the lunar like surface inside the crater fascinating.  The tapestry was ever-changing with the capriciousness of the fog and wind.

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook Black & White, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook Black & White, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Haleakala Crater from the Kalahaku Overlook, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

After a solid 20-30 minutes, the window of sight began to close and within two more minutes it was effectively gone.  I felt convinced that it would open again, eventually, but I didn’t know exactly when and, rather than hang around, I decided to return to the rim and do some hiking on a trail that I’d identified during my research on the Crater:  the Keone’ehe’e (or Sliding Sands) Trail, which starts near the upper visitors center and descends deep into the crater.  It networks with many other trails down in the crater and you can take it more or less as far as you like, but it’s worth noting two things:  first, the trail descends relentlessly, which means that you’re going to have to ascend relentlessly to return to the trailhead; and second, you’re starting a hike at 10,000 feet elevation.  It’s pretty thin air at that altitude, so you have to be prepared to deal with that fact; coupled with the steepness of the trail, you can get pretty gassed on the way back if you’re not ready to deal with it.  I’ve done some significant hiking at an even higher altitude before, most recently when I was in Colorado a few years ago and hiked the Bear Creek Trail above 11,000 feet (round trip distance of that hike was roughly nine miles).

It was cloudy/foggy when I started the hike but I hoped that, as had been the case at the Kalahaku Overlook, that would change.  And it did.  Clouds/fog rolled in and out and back in and back out throughout the entirety of what ended up being approximately a six-mile round trip hike.

Keone’ehe’e Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Keone’ehe’e Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Keone’ehe’e Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

The inside of the crater is a truly remarkable landscape; I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  The constantly shifting fog really added to the dynamic nature of the scenery, speckled as it is with silverswords.

Keone’ehe’e Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Keone’ehe’e Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Keone’ehe’e Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Keone’ehe’e Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Keone’ehe’e Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

In addition to the clouds changing the direct feel of the landscape by revealing or obscuring certain features, they also cast a remarkable set of shadows on the colorful, but batten, crater floor when enough of a gap existed to let the sunshine through.

Crater Cloud Shadows Black & White, Keone’ehe’e_Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Keone’ehe’e_Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Keone’ehe’e Trail, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Keone’ehe’e Trail Black & White, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Keone’ehe’e Trail Black & White, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

I ended up hiking roughly three miles into the crater, which meant I had to hike three miles out.  That return hike was a bit of a slog.  Some of the crater images you see above were taken on the way back, which helped break up the monotony a bit, but I was fairly tired when I got back to the trailhead in the middle of the afternoon.  I moved the half mile up to the rim overlook for a parting shot.

Haleakala Crater from the Rim, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Things were clouding up substantially–again–at this point.  The cloud cover might well lift again…but it might not and I didn’t much feel like sticking around to find out.  I had enough time to drive back down to sea level and take in sunset–assuming there was one–from the beach right next to the hotel where I was staying.  And that worked out brilliantly, as luck would have it.

Keawakapu Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Keawakapu Beach stretches for a couple of miles in South Maui, and where I was staying was at the northern edge of it.  To the south runs nearly two miles of uninterrupted sand, but just steps to the north–literally, no more than about 200 feet–from my beach access was this splendid rocky area, filled with spits of sand and tidepools.  Now dressed in shorts and a t-shirt in the 80-degree (F) weather, I wandered out to this area with my gear and watched the western sky as it was gradually enveloped in a dreamy Hawaiian sunset, dropping the curtain on another long day of photography.

Keawakapu Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Keawakapu Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Keawakapu Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Keawakapu Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Keawakapu Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Keawakapu Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Keawakapu Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Keawakapu Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Keawakapu Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Posted by: kerryl29 | March 2, 2020

Just Do It

I’ll get back to the Hawaii chronology next time.  What follows is a public service announcement.

Oneida Falls, Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania

I don’t believe I’ve ever discussed the subject of image (and other) file backups on this blog prior to now, largely because the boredom typically induced when reading about the subject is only surpassed by the boredom induced when writing about the subject.  But the truth is, sleep producing or not, it’s a subject of critical importance, as I was reminded just a few days ago.  (More on that below.)

Beauty Creek Reflecting Pool at Sunset, Jasper National Park, Alberta

A bit more than five years ago I put together an article on image organization that was posted on the now dormant 1001 Scribbles, when I had a guest blogging gig there.  The main thrust of the piece wasn’t backups but I did broach the subject.  To wit:

Nothing, in my opinion, is more important when it comes to image management than establishing and religiously following a well thought-out, comprehensive backup plan.

I have four—yes, four—full copies of all of my image files, RAW and processed, arrayed across a total of six dedicated external hard drives.  Two full sets of files are kept in each of two places, roughly 1100 miles apart.  If you think this is extreme…well, it may be, but I’d much rather be safe than sorry.  I back up my files after literally every image editing session.

As always, you don’t necessarily have to do what I’m doing, but what you should do at a minimum:

  • Back up your files regularly.  Here, I don’t think I’m being extreme at all. Every time you add or change a file, run a backup (assuming you don’t have a system that includes backing up in real time).
  • Don’t settle for any fewer than three backups.  Why isn’t two enough?  Let’s say that something goes wrong during a backup. Your original file set can be compromised and so can your backup.  In one miserable moment, all of your images could go poof.
  • If at all possible, keep at least one backup in a remote location.  That way, if something catastrophic happens to one place (a house catching fire, for instance) you’ll still have a full copy of your images.  The “remote location” doesn’t have to be 1100 miles away (I only do that because I split my time naturally between two places), but it should be somewhere other than the same structure.  A number of people I know keep a backup hard drive in a safety deposit box at a bank.

Waterfall, Ash Cave, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

I stand by all of the above; it remains good, solid advice.  And why am I bringing it up again now?  No, I didn’t have a recent event involving the loss of image files…but I did have the next worst thing.

Lily Meadow, Obstruction Point Road, Olympic National Park, Washington

I still use Adobe Bridge CS6 for image organization.  Included in my workflow is an extensive keyword list that I’ve built up over the span of something like 12 years.  The list is dynamic; I add to it regularly as I visit new locations–and occasionally old ones as well.  A few nights ago, while processing and keywording images from my trip to Big Bend National Park a few weeks ago, a big chunk of that list was accidentally deleted.  I lost the entire part of my list dealing with general image subjects, a component that included a few hundred keywords and one that I use for every image I process.

Fern Forest, Riverbend Park, Palm Beach County, Florida

I was positive that the file that contains the keyword list was among those files being copied every time I performed a backup (which is done after every processing session I conduct).  Guess what?  I was wrong.  The file wasn’t backed up anywhere.  This meant that I had to recreate the subject part of the list, which was a major pain.  I was able to find a freeware program that would extract the keywords from every file, but they were in a massive, redundant jumble.  I spent at least 10 hours over parts of two days parsing that file to recreate the full list.  It could have been much, much worse, of course, but it was plenty bad enough.

White Trillium, Cove Hardwood Nature Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

I have now made certain that the keyword list file is regularly being backed up (multiple times) with each editing session.  Do yourself a favor and learn from my mistake.  Make sure that you back up every file that is important to you–not just photography-related files:  everything.  Don’t wait for something to go wrong to take action.  Doing so would be like purchasing homeowner’s insurance after your house burns down.

Koyukuk River at Sunset, Brooks Range, Alaska

Posted by: kerryl29 | February 24, 2020

Hawaii Day 11: West Maui

Earlier in this series I posted a piece talking about all of the portions of the landscape on the islands I visited that don’t fit the Hawaii stereotype.  To those, add a substantial chunk of West Maui.  West Maui is loosely defined as virtually all of the island contained by the northwest semi-circle evident when you look at a map of Maui, less the Iao Valley.  West Maui was where I planned to spend the bulk of my third full day on the island.

First, I needed a convenient sunrise spot and I decided to check out Papawai Point, conveniently located right off HI-30 and right on the way from Kihei, where I was staying, to the West Maui coastal area beginning north of Lahaina.  The sunrise turned out to be a bit of dud but I made a few images nonetheless and determined that if there was a good sunrise later in the trip, this would be a very good location from which to photograph it, given the 180-degree views, easy access and various compositional choices at hand.

Molokini from Papawai Point at Dawn, Maui, Hawaii

Papawai Point at Dawn, Maui, Hawaii

Papawai Point Black & White, Maui, Hawaii

Papawai Point Morning, Maui, Hawaii

This was shaping up to be a mostly cloudy morning and early afternoon, so I made my way north along the coast, past Ka’anapali to Kapalua, to explore part of the Kapalua Coastal Trail.  Before doing so, however, I visited the nearby area known as Dragon’s Teeth,

Dragon’s Teeth Trail, Makaluapuna Point, Maui, Hawaii

Dragon’s Teeth Trail Black & White, Makaluapuna Point, Maui, Hawaii

This twisted, sculpted lava/rock formation, right on the water, sits on Makaluapuna Point, just past the golf course of one of the expensive Kapalua resorts.  It’s a fascinating place, and another locale for which “that’s Hawaii?” has routinely been incredulously asked of me when displaying these images to others.

The northern trailhead for the Kapalua Coastal Trail is only about a half-mile from the Dragon’s Teeth parking area, so I went there next to do some exploring.  The trail begins on the bluff above Mokuleia Beach and fans out to the west and south for several miles, with numerous side trails that cover some of the oceanside cliffs along the route.  The light wasn’t ideal, but I found numerous compelling locations.

Kapalua Coastal Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Kapalua Coastal Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Lanai from the Kapalua Coastal Trail Black & White, Maui, Hawaii

I didn’t hike the entire length of the trail, but held out the possibility of returning later in the trip, time permitting, to cover more of it in (hopefully) more flattering light.

I made my way farther north along the coast, stopping at a couple of overlooks to make images.

West Maui Ocean Overlook Black & White, Makaluapuna Point, Maui, Hawaii

Finally, I reached the spot that was the jumping off point for a hike to the Nakalele Blowhole.  The hike isn’t really an official trail, but it follows the coast past some crazy rock formations (more on this in a bit) on the way to the blowhole.  It’s possible to make a much shorter hike, from farther up the road, to the blowhole, but then you miss out on this wild part of the West Maui coast.

The guidebook I was using refers to the intermediate area with the rock formations as the “Acid War Zone” (because it appears that someone dumped acid on the rocks in this arid area).

Unnamed Blowhole Black & White, Acid War Zone, Nakalele Blowhole Trail, Maui, Hawaii

The lava formations in this area have been sculpted over the years by the wind, the water and the combination of the two in the form of salt spray, and they are indeed fascinating, more reminiscent of numerous locations in the desert southwest of the continental United States (such as the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico) than anywhere else I’ve been.

Acid War Zone, Nakalele Blowhole Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Acid War Zone Black & White, Nakalele Blowhole Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Acid War Zone, Nakalele Blowhole Trail, Maui, Hawaii

It’s easy to forget where you are…except for the pulsating sounds of the ocean waves crashing against the headlands 50-100 feet behind you.

Ocean Overlook Black & White, Nakalele Blowhole Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Ocean Overlook, Nakalele Blowhole Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Eventually–after perhaps a mile, though it feels farther because some backtracking and serpentine wandering in this area is inevitable–you arrive on a shelf above the Nakalele Blowhole.  It’s a simple matter to climb down to blowhole level.

The blowhole is impressive…even when the tide isn’t super high.  And you can get much, much closer to it than the Spouting Horn on Kauai.

Nakalele Blowhole, Maui, Hawaii

Nakalele Blowhole, Maui, Hawaii

Nakalele Blowhole, Maui, Hawaii

Back on the road I bypassed the access area to the feature known as the Olivine Pools.  The roadside was jammed with cars, so I figured I’d move forward and come back later.  My next stop was at the Ohai Trail, a pleasant, if largely unremarkable 1.5-ish mile loop.

Ohai Trail, Maui, Hawaii

There were several nice displays of wildflowers along the trail.

Ohai Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Ohai Trail, Maui, Hawaii

There were also some nice overlooks along the way.

Ohai Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Next on the agenda was what I termed the Mushroom Rock Trail.  Mushroom Rock is a formation on a promontory above the ocean, situated on a wild part of the coast, where large waves beat up on the shoreline incessantly.  The trail, such as it is, navigates a rock strewn bluff, and it requires a careful traversing of a steep hillside to approach Mushroom Rock directly.  It’s not a particularly difficult walk, but it does require some care.  There are numerous coastal views along the way.

Coastal Overlook Black & White Mushroom Rock Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Coastal Overlook, Mushroom Rock Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Coastal Overlook Black & White Mushroom Rock Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Mushroom Rock Trail Black & White, Maui, Hawaii

Mushroom Rock, Mushroom Rock Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Mushroom Rock, Mushroom Rock Trail, Maui, Hawaii

Mushroom Rock, Mushroom Rock Trail, Maui, Hawaii

It was late afternoon at this point and I returned to the Olivine Pools area and, sure enough, there were far fewer vehicles parked on the road near the trailhead, so I stopped and made the hike down to the water.  The Olivine Pools are a kind of natural ocean-water swimming pool. formed by lava flows.  High tides and big waves wash into the pools regularly, cleansing and replenishing them.  People like to frolic and swim in the pools, though doing so during rough seas is extremely dangerous.  If a wave washes over the adjoining natural breakwater anyone in the pools will be tossed around by the force of the water, which could cause injury, possibly serious.  In high seas, the possibility of being swept over the breakwater into the open ocean is a very real threat.  People have, in fact, been injured and a few have been killed at this site.

I didn’t get in the pools myself or, for that matter, get particularly close to the breakwater.  I surveyed the scene from well up on the bluff above this area before descending carefully to water level.  There were about a half a dozen people in the pools when I was there and another few milling about the periphery (some of them shockingly close, in my estimation, to the breakwater itself and a few of them actually climbing on the perimeter lava wall).  The tide was out and the surf wasn’t incredibly high, but I was still amazed how cavalier many of the people at the site were.  There were, in fact, some big waves and, before I vacated the scene, I saw a couple of waves breech the breakwater.

When I was up on the bluff, I didn’t regard the swimming pools to be of particular photographic interest.  And when I descended all the way down to water level I lost any interest I might have had in photographing the swimming pools, captivated as I was by some of the other features I discovered, such as the boulder-filled cave/pool I found…

Olivne Pools, Maui, Hawaii

…and the smooth crevice filled with rounded rocks…

Olivne Pools Intimate Black & White, Maui, Hawaii

Olivne Pools Intimate, Maui, Hawaii

Olivne Pools, Maui, Hawaii

Olivne Pools Black & White, Maui, Hawaii

It was a fairly long drive back to Kihei and it was rapidly approaching sunset when I arrived at the now-familiar Wailea Point area–Polo Beach, specifically.  Late as it was, I didn’t have time to check out another location before losing the light, so I returned to this spot for the third time in the last four evenings.  I think it went pretty well…

Palm Evening, Polo Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Palm Evening, Polo Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Polo Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Polo Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Polo Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset Sail, Polo Beach, Maui, Hawaii

Polo Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Polo Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

Polo Beach at Sunset, Maui, Hawaii

West Maui Mountain at Sunset from Wailea Point, Maui, Hawaii

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