Category Archives: Photo Challenges

Collector urchins and their collections

According to my marine invertebrates book, collector urchins (Tripneustes gratilla) gather algae, shells, and other material on their spines. Why they do this is not entirely clear. It might be for disguise, protection from the light, or even to store food. These urchins are quite common in the shallows and their adornments are many and varied.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Past Squares – Spiky.’ See more responses here.

Early morning substation

An electric substation around sunrise in Hawaii

I took this photo on the way to work when I realized that the sun was about to crest the ridge in the background. I like these substations for their orderly arrangement of equipment, poles, and lines.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Past Squares – Lines.’ See more responses here.

Java sparrows in a plumeria

A pair of java sparrows in a plumeria tree
A pair of java sparrows in a plumeria tree

This pair of Java sparrows was easy to see flitting about in the bare branches of a plumeria tree. Plumerias start out this way before flowers bud and bloom. Leaves are the last to show.

Java sparrows are a favorite of mine, for their perky nature, bold marking, and those pink legs and beak.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Past Squares – In the Pink.’ See more responses here.

Later that same day

A view towards Hualalai volcano
A view towards Hualalai volcano, obscured by vog

I took the top photo on my way to work one early morning. It’s a tranquil scene (the reason I go down there) shot from the beach below Pu’ukohala Heiau in Kawaihae. The second photo was shot on my way home in mid-afternoon. It was taken from the same beach in roughly the same place and looking in roughly the same direction.

Astute observers will see past the similarities in the photos and notice something is missing. Hualalai Volcano has disappeared. Now, it’s not unreasonable to think that those puffy white clouds in the second photo have something to do with this, but that’s not really the case. True, they might mask the upper reaches of the volcano, but the whole thing? No, the culprit is the fuzzy band between the clouds and the land – vog!

The latest eruption of Kilauea Volcano, which began on September 29th, is churning out vog, which forms when volcanic gases interact with sunlight, air, moisture, and dust. Two days later, when these photos were taken, it was having a visible effect. I’d noticed the vog drifting up the west side of the island during the morning and by afternoon visibility was greatly reduced. But it’s not just visibility that’s affected. Vog is especially troublesome for people with breathing difficulties, but can also irritate the eyes and skin of just about anyone.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Past Squares – Time.’ See more responses here.

A spiky passion vine butterfly caterpillar

A Passion vine butterfly caterpillar on a passion vine in Hawaii
A Passion vine butterfly caterpillar on a passion vine in Hawaii

This is a caterpillar with a message and the message is ‘Back off.’ This is illustrated by the orange and black coloring and black spikes, which in this case conveys that these caterpillars are poisonous. Fortunately, I wasn’t hungry at the time so no harm done. Passion vine butterfly caterpillars, on the other hand, seem to be permanently hungry. Whenever I see them they’re munching leaves like old time video game characters.

Posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Past Squares – Spiky.’ See more responses here.

Surfing looks easy

Surfers returning to shore at Pine Trees in Hawaii
Surfers returning to shore at Pine Trees in Hawaii

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

Hawaii is the home of surfing, a sport that accommodates everyone from the casual weekender to fixtures on the professional circuit. On this day, Pine Trees surf break at Kohanaiki Beach Park was thronged with surfers in the water, but not many catching waves. Those that did tended to be far away from where I was. But I liked watching these two surfers casually glide back to shore on white-topped blue-green water, under a blue sky.

Also posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Past Squares – Blue.’ See more responses here.