Category Archives: July 2020

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.

Bee on a ribwort plantain

When I saw this bee I thought, I know that plant, but what’s the name of it? Well, it’s ribwort plantain, but my knowledge of it stems from many years ago when, as kids, we used to pick them, loop the stem around just below the head of the plant, and then jerk that loop forward to send the head of the plant zinging in the direction of the intended victim. It was amazing how far those heads would travel.

This bee is using the plant for more beneficial purposes.

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

Things are looking up

In this case, what’s looking up is a giant porcupinefish and it’s looking at me looking down. It looks friendly, but I would never wave a finger in its direction in case it thought it was a gift and kept it.

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

Praying mantis

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Wild and Weird.’ See more responses here.

No matter how you look at them, there’s something wild and weird about praying mantises. They look like Popeye with that spindly body and bulging forearms (no pipe though). Parts of them look like they came off the production line with some assembly still required. They remain motionless for long periods, watching, waiting. When they do move, it’s with a constant back and forth motion to sneak up on prey. Then they strike like a cobra and make short work of their victims.

And yet I find that despite all this weirdness, there’s something endearing about them. They put up with intrusive photographers and they keep still for them. What’s not to like.

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

Pueo stare

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Capturing a Feeling.’ See more responses here.

A fair number of my photos of perched pueos (Hawaiian short-eared owls) show the birds giving me a scowling look of disapproval. This one has a bit of that, but there’s also a look of astonishment. If I had to give this bird a speech bubble, it would be something along the lines of, ‘He took my picture. He didn’t even ask. The nerve.’

I like this photo for two additional reasons. One is that single, visible curved talon resting on the post. Easy to imagine the effect of that on some unfortunate rodent. The second reason is the eyes. Notice anything about them?

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

Kilauea trails

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park recently opened up more areas of the park that had been closed because of the Covid-19 virus pandemic. I thought this was a good opportunity to hike some of the summit trails that I usually avoid because they’re more accessible and popular with tourists. I put together a loop hike that would have been great had all the trails listed as open actually been open.

Despite this glitch, I had a good time and enjoyed the variety of landscapes the park has to offer. The top photo shows the part of the Kilauea Iki Trail that traverses that crater. The crater floor is a little under a mile across. This crater used to be much deeper before an eruption in 1959 filled it up another 400 feet. There is some vegetation, but the crater floor is mostly bare lava and steam can often be seen rising in various places.

The middle photo was taken on the Halema‛uma‛u Trail, which winds down from the summit into Halema‛uma‛u Crater. Despite the trail’s proximity to the vent in the crater, which was active until May 2018, vegetation thrives here as it does on many trails in the park.

The bottom photo shows a section of active steam vents alongside the Crater Rim Trail. This section of the trail is paved because the area normally sees very heavy use. When I was there, it was mostly deserted because of the lack of tourists on the island. The buildings on the horizon are the Volcano House Hotel which recently reopened for business, though the restaurant is still closed.

For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to nps.gov/havo/. For more information about Volcano House Hotel, go to hawaiivolcanohouse.com/.

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