Lāhainā Noon

Photographers are encouraged to take advantage of the golden hour shortly after sunrise or shortly before sunset, when the light is soft and golden. Photos taken here during the golden hour showcase the wonders of Hawaii’s beaches, volcanoes, and wildlife.

Taking that as my cue, I feature one of the wonders of Hawaii in these photos. No, it’s not concrete lamp bases, which can be found in most, if not all, states. Nor is it the golden hour. But only in Hawaii can you find a concrete lamp base like this one. It’s a sunny day. Those rectangular shadows are from the lights at the top of the lamp pole. But where’s the shadow of the concrete base? There isn’t one, because these photos were taken at Lāhainā Noon.

Lāhainā Noon, a name thought up by the good folks at the Bishop Museum, occurs when the sun is directly overhead on its apparent passage north and then south again, before and after the summer solstice. This phenomenon occurs in places located between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. Hawaii is the only U.S. state in tropics and so is the only place in the country to see this.

The timing of Lāhainā Noon varies from place to place, depending on latitude. It occurs twice a year, the first time in May as the sun appears to head north, and then again in July as it dips south again. These photos were taken yesterday in Kawaihae, but where I live in Hawi, Lāhainā Noon occurred two days ago. The last place on the island to experience it will be South Point, the most southerly point in the U.S.A, on July 27.

The bottom photo shows the Sky Gate sculpture in Honolulu. This sculpture, designed by Isamu Noguchi, casts a wavy shadow most of the time, but twice a year, at Lāhainā Noon, the shadow is perfectly round. The sculpture wasn’t particularly well-received initially, but now people visit from all over the world (when that’s possible) to see it do its thing.

For more information about Lāhainā Noon go here.

Posted in response to Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.

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