Category Archives: Photo Challenges

Sunrise over Kohala Mountain

Sunrise over the Kohala mountains

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Signs of Autumn.’ See more responses here.

We’re a little short on autumnal changes here. I tend to mark seasonal changes in terms of wildlife, such as the return of humpback whales in winter. For autumn, the return of Pacific golden plovers from their summer breeding grounds in Alaska is probably the most notable.

Outside of wildlife, the shortening of the days does register here. It’s not as dramatic as when I lived in Washington State, with summer sunsets around 9 p.m. and winter darkness setting in a little after 4 p.m.. In Hawaii, the equivalent times are 7 p.m. and 6 p.m., not such a big difference.

But it does make a difference for my morning commute, and autumn signals the time when I usually leave home when it’s mostly dark and arrive at work when it’s mostly light. I also try and give myself a little extra commuting time so I can pull over and take photographs when the sunrise merits it, such as this streaky red sunrise over Kohala mountain.

Subaru Telescope visit

The Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii at sunset
The Subaru Telescope at sunset.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Going Back….’ See more responses here.

I was thinking about posting photos going back to my first visit to Hawaii, but in looking at them, I realized that I’d never posted photos from my tour of the Subaru Telescope, which I took a few months after moving here. At the time, the Subaru Telescope was the only one on the summit of Mauna Kea that offered tours to the general public, though the tours have been shut down by the current Covid situation.

I particularly remember the fabulous views from the walkway around the exterior of the telescope. The interior of the telescope was also interesting, though in the abstract way of a giant piece of equipment. This is not a telescope where one gets to put an eye to the lens to see what’s going on, though I was charmed to learn that when Princess Sayako of Japan dedicated the telescope in 1999, she was able to do just that because a special eyepiece had been constructed for that purpose!

The Subaru Telescope is a Ritchey-Chretien reflecting telescope. It has a large field of view which makes it ideal for wide-field sky surveys. For more information about the Subaru Telescope, visit https://subarutelescope.org/en/. The telescope’s live camera stream captured a cool video of last month’s Perseid Meteor Shower which can be seen here.

Hawi mural

A colorful mural in Hawi, Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Colorful Murals.’ See more responses here.

I was going to take a photo of a now completed mural-in-progess I used in a previous challenge (here), but it was rather obscured by a food wagon and some other items being stored in the corner of an open square. Instead, I took this photo, of one of the several other murals surrounding that square, which is the site of a former restaurant that burned down a few years ago.

Sunset from the lanai

Sunset in Hawaii

I took some photos yesterday morning and was looking to see what the final one was for Bushboy’s Last on the Card challenge (see more responses here), when I happened to glance out of the window and saw this splendid sunset in progress. So I dashed outside and got this shot.

While I called this ‘Sunset from the lanai,’ a more accurate title would be ‘Sunset while wobbling unsteadily on the lanai railing.’ This is kind of appropriate since, earlier in the day, I’d had a discussion with someone about the stupid things photographers do to get a shot. In that context, I could just call this ‘Exhibit A.’

The ins and outs of outrigger canoe racing

An outrigger canoe entering harbor in Hawaii
An outrigger canoe about to change paddlers in Hawaii
An outrigger canoe changing paddlers in Hawaii
An outrigger canoe changing paddlers in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Afloat.’ See more responses here.

I had a different canoeing post lined up for this, but a couple of days ago I happened on this scene at Kawaihae harbor early in the morning. I noticed an outrigger canoe heading in and thought it might provide a photo opportunity, so I readied myself for the canoe’s arrival. While I waited, I heard voices. I looked around but didn’t see anyone. Then I realized the voices were coming from the water and there were three people not far from shore, only their heads visible above the water. They can just about be seen in the top photo, to the far right.

At first I thought they were taking an early morning dip, but when the canoe zipped into the small harbor, I thought they were probably there to help bring the canoe to shore. Sure enough, the canoe curled around to where they were and I snapped photos. But where I expected the canoe to slow to a halt, it didn’t. Instead it curved back out toward the harbor entrance and I was left wondering what just happened.

It wasn’t until I looked at my photos that I realized what I’d seen. What the canoeists were practicing was changing crew while still in motion. In the second photo, the moving boat comes alongside the three people in the water. The third photo shows three of the boat’s crew toppling into the water on the other side of the boat. Photo four shows the trio in the water climbing aboard to take the now empty seats. Finally, the bottom photo shows the canoe heading back out into open water with barely a break in speed.

The purpose of this exercise was practice for long-distance canoe racing. During a race, a support boat takes fresh crew ahead and drops them in the ocean. At a certain point the crew change will be made in the way I’d seen. According to Wikipedia, “Longer races involving the OC6 (Six-person outrigger canoes) often involve paddler replacements, which involve exit and entry to the canoe directly from the water while the canoe is underway (this is called a water change). Typically, nine paddlers form a crew, with six paddling the OC6 and the other three resting, drinking, and/or eating on an escort boat. Replacement typically occurs at 20 to 30 minute intervals; the escort boat drops the relief paddlers into the water ahead of the OC6, which is steered toward them. The relief paddlers climb in on the ama side as those they are replacing roll out into the water on the opposite side. The escort boat then picks up the paddlers in the water so that they can rest, drink, and/or eat before they, in turn, relieve some of the paddlers in the OC6.” Wikipedia has more information about outrigger canoes and canoe racing here.

I knew about this practice, but hadn’t seen it before. I think it says something about how smooth this crew had the exchange down, that I didn’t even notice it at the time!

An outrigger canoe leaving harbor in Hawaii

In a tropical garden

A bunch of bananas in Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘In The Garden.’ See more responses here.

Since I don’t have a garden currently, I’ve gone for some images from my most recent visit to Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, north of Hilo.

For more information about Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden, go to htbg.com.

Mauna Ulu

A view of Mauna Ulu crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
A view of Mauna Ulu crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Burlywood.’ (See more responses here.) It’s a color I’d never heard of before, apparently a shade of khaki. I’ve gone for some photos of Mauna Ulu, a crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The Mauna Ulu eruption took place between 1969 and 1974 and transformed the landscape of the park. A good guide to the eruption can be found here. These days, it’s a quiet area and plants have gained a foothold in the main crater, though the slopes are still mostly barren. And it’s those slopes, seen from the air, that have a pronounced khaki, or burlywood color.

For more information about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, go to nps.gov/havo/.

A view of Mauna Ulu crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.