Category Archives: Photo Challenges

The golfball

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

Up near the top of Kohala Mountain is this array of towers. They sit in the middle of pastureland, surrounded by cattle and horses. The one with the large white ball on top is NEXRAD, the Next Generation Weather Radar, which provides current time information showing where clouds and rain are moving through the area. It’s also a navigation aid to local pilots who refer to it as the golfball.

The cattle don’t have access to the information from the golfball, but they know that when they’re wet, it’s raining, and when they’re dry, it’s not, and really that’s all anyone needs to know.

The morning dip

A whitetip reef shark passes below looking, I think, for a quiet place to get some rest.
A fourspot butterflyfish swims by a patch of cauliflower coral, some living, some dead. There are two spots on each side, but this fish was very small so the second spot was still filling in as space allowed.
A blue goatfish cruises by.
A green linckia sea star and lobster molt. Most green linckia have five arms but can have four or six. They’re able to reproduce by detaching an arm which will eventually develop into a new star.

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Morning Rituals.’ See more responses here.

Most mornings, I try to get in the water, as conditions and schedules allow. Morning is the best time for snorkeling as the water is usually calmer before the wind picks up as the day wears on. Visibility can vary from day to day and it can help to check surf reports to see if there are any swells moving in. But calm water doesn’t guarantee good visibility just as swells don’t always mean bad visibility. There’s only one way to be sure and that’s to jump in.

My favorite thing about snorkeling is that every day is different and I never know what I’ll see. Going to the same spot means I become familiar with some of the regulars, but there are always transient creatures passing through including rays and dolphins. And while those big creatures are great to encounter, it’s equally interesting to watch the activities of smaller fish and marine invertebrates.

It’s a rare day indeed that I don’t emerge prattling on about something I saw while I was in the water. And on those rare days, well, I’ve still had a good swim to set me up for the day ahead.

It wasn’t until I processed this photo of a goldring surgeonfish that I noticed the stocky hawkfish resting motionless below it.

Gecko and pasta

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

I have a ladder I keep in a shed. Lately, I’ve had to access the attic on a regular basis (rat problems!) and have to bring the ladder inside to do so. I’ve learned from experience that, while in the shed, the ladder is home to a variety of creatures, mostly geckos. So before I bring it in the house I do my best to shake out the residents. Almost always, one or two will leap to safety. However, sometimes it’s not until I have the ladder in the house and set up that the more tenacious geckos make a break for it.

I’ve had a spate of this happening, which has resulted in a boost in the numbers of nocturnal house geckos inside. This, in turn, has resulted in territorial clashes between the geckos.

What does this have to do with jars of pasta? Well, at one end of this shelf is a cupboard which is home to one of the resident geckos. The other end of the shelf falls into the realm of a house gecko that lives in a closet in the next room. Into this setup, up above the jars, stumbled one of the new geckos. When it got too close to one end, the cupboard gecko chased it away. It ran to the other end where the closet gecko chased it back. Back and forth it went with the other geckos closing in with each pass. Soon the three of them were very close together.

At this point, the new gecko scurried down the wall in amongst the jars. This left the two resident geckos facing off in close proximity. Cupboard gecko charge the other one, but ran right past while closet gecko just looked bemused. Problem was, now they were both separated from their respective territories by the other gecko. A series of feints and scampers ensued before they regained their own homes.

In the meantime, the new gecko kept a low profile down amongst the pasta jars. That’s when I took this photo, as it was tentatively checking to see if the coast was clear.

Place of Refuge and Two Step

There’s a good variety of fish at Two Step including raccoon butterflyfishes, seen here mingling with goatfishes and yellow tangs.
A barred filefish swims by with a startled look on its face, which is just their usual look.
Ki’i at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, better known as Place of Refuge.

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Anniversaries.’ See more responses here.

Often, on our wedding anniversary, my wife and I go to Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden (formerly Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden). This year the garden was shut, and still is, probably until tourists return to the islands. So a different anniversary is my birthday, which is not marked with candles on a cake, since that would be prohibitively expensive, but usually by a trip somewhere and a meal out. This year we went down to snorkel at Two Step and then had a wander around Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, otherwise known as Place of Refuge, which is right next door.

Two Step is a very popular snorkeling spot on Honaunau Bay, south of Captain Cook. This is a marine reserve so no fishing is allowed and the fish tend to be more numerous and mellow because of this. It’s a popular spot to see and swim with dolphins, though I haven’t done either of those things there. Currently, it’s not nearly as busy since there are very few tourists on the island and those that are here are diligently following quarantine rules (I’m trying to keep a straight face writing this!).

After our swim we made the short walk to Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. The park is on the south side of the bay and, at the moment, is fully open only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. However, on the other days, pretty much everything else is accessible, it’s just that the parking lot and visitor center are closed. What this means is that there’s basically nobody there so our visit was quiet and uncrowded. The park is an important place in Hawaiian history, and the location is beautiful. What’s not to like?

For more information about Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, visit https://www.nps.gov/puho/index.htm.

Palm trees reflect in one of the fishponds at Place of Refuge.

Hawi street art

Street art in Hawi, Hawaii.
This humpback whale art was painted in 2016 on a fence around the local car tow company, which is located in the heart of downtown. There’s also a whale tail farther down the fence.
Street art in Hawi, Hawaii.
This image has been on this wall for as long as I’ve lived here. It was getting very faded until recently when this vibrant new version appeared. It was only then that I noticed that the image is painted on some kind of canvas and attached to the wall.
Street art in Hawi, Hawaii.
For authentic street art it’s hard to beat Blake’s Corner, where a variety of ever-changing small bits of art can be found amongst a small patch of aloes and other plants, at the end of a covered walkway.

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Street Art.’ See more responses here.

Here’s a tour of some of the street art in beautiful downtown Hawi. The actual walking tour would take you about the same amount of time as it will to read this post, since Hawi is not a big place. But, it being an arty community, there’s a fair bit of street art in a small area. As for graffiti, I posted a bit of that just the other day (here).

A mural in Hawi, Hawaii.
I posted about a mural in progress a while back (here). This is another mural on one of the solid fence sections that surround the concrete slab, all that’s left of the Hub Pub after it burned down.
A mural on the wall of Hawi Post Office in Hawaii.
A mural on the side of Hawi Post Office, painted by local high school kids, which I previously posted in 2018 (here).

Humpback whales

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

There are seasons in Hawaii, but they’re not as markedly different as they are on the mainland. So when it comes to a seasonal challenge theme I tend to fall back on migratory creatures. When it comes to winter, I think of humpback whales.

Humpbacks spend their summers in Alaska, which is their prime feeding ground. They come to Hawaii to calve and to mate. The first humpbacks arrive in Hawaii in October or November, but the high season for them is January through March. They can be seen anywhere around the island, but the prime viewing spots are on the more sheltered west side, from Kailua Kona all the way up to Upolu, at the island’s northern tip.