Category Archives: Photo Challenges

Rainbow orange

A rainbow over Kawaihae, Hawaii
Orange flags by a pedestrian crossing
An orange Kou flower in Hawaii

This is the second of my little series of rainbow colors in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.)

In the top photo, a rainbow arcs over the port of Kawaihae.

Below that are orange flags available for waving while crossing the street. I haven’t yet felt the need to use them, still being able to leap out of the way of drivers focused on their phones! Actually, drivers here are pretty good about stopping for people to cross the street. I’m more surprised by how many people will just step out into traffic 20 feet up from the crosswalk. Then they look aggrieved if you fail to stop instantaneously.

The bottom photo shows the lovely flower of the kou tree (Cordia subcordata). Kou is indigenous to Hawaii but is also a canoe plant, brought here by Polynesian settlers. It likes the sun and grows along the coast.

Another humpback whale breach

This is a follow up to yesterday’s post. These were taken just a few minutes after yesterday’s photos. It might well be the same whale, but here, it had moved along far enough that I was no longer shooting straight into the sun. The blue of the ocean comes out and my eyes also had a chance to recover!

Last weekend was the third and final of this year’s Sanctuary Ocean Count of humpback whales. Each year, counts are conducted between 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. on the final Saturday of January, February, and March. These months are the height of whale season in Hawaii, though whales can be seen here from November through April. The counts happen on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi and are coordinated with similar events on Maui. Volunteers gather at sites around the islands to watch for whales and count their numbers and activities. This information is used to help researchers track how many whales come to Hawaii to calve and mate. Over the last few years, numbers have been in decline, but it’s not clear whether that’s due to drop in the whale population or a change in their migration patterns.

Volunteers for the counts are mostly local people, but more visitors are taking the opportunity to get involved while they’re here. This year, because of Covid restrictions, only site leaders took part in the count, but that will hopefully not be the case next year. I’ve done several of these counts and it’s fun to set aside the time to sit and watch the humpbacks. Sometimes they just cruise by, but often they splash and leap out of the water, putting on a show that’s wonderful to watch.

For more information about NOAA’s Sanctuary Ocean Count, go to https://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/involved/ocean-count.html.

Posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ See more responses here. Also posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme of ‘Volunteering.’ See more responses here.

Humpback whale breach

  • A humpback whale breaches off the Big Island, Hawaii
  • A humpback whale breaches off the Big Island, Hawaii
  • A humpback whale breaches off the Big Island, Hawaii

This is the first of a pair of similar posts for Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.)

Early last month, I was nearing the end of a walk on a trail along a west-facing shore in North Kohala. I looked out toward the late-afternoon sun sparkling on the water and thought I saw a paddleboarder. A moment later, the paddleboarder fell into the water, then miraculously emerged again. I realized this was not a person, but a humpback whale slapping a pectoral fin. The whale was close enough to shore that the long fin appeared human-sized.

I moved to the shoreline, sat on a rock, and got my camera ready. The whale moved on underwater. So I returned to the trail, looked back one last time, and saw a different whale breach a little farther out. Back to the shoreline and my seat, camera again ready.

This whale was more cooperative and launched itself upward again. I was able to get these images which, shooting into the sun, look almost black and white.

Rainbow red

A rainbow off the Kohala coast, Hawaii
A bright red hibiscus flower
The door of St. Augustine's Episcopal Church in Kapaau, Hawaii

This month’s Becky’s Squares challenge theme is ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.) Since I plan to post some bright colors in response, I thought I’d do that using a rainbow theme.

I’m starting with a rainbow off the north Kohala coast followed by a bright red hibiscus flower growing wild on that same coast. The third photo shows the front door of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Kapaau, illuminated by a single bright light.

Stick swimming crab

A stick swimming crab in the waters off the Big Island, Hawaii

This month, Becky’s April Squares challenge theme is ‘Bright.’ (See more responses here.) First up I thought I’d share something very unusual, which I consider myself lucky to have seen.

You’ve probably heard of stick insects, but the stick swimming crab is a far less often encountered creature. Most crabs scuttle about on the sea floor, but swimming crabs have flattened segments on their legs, which they use to propel them through the water. But even with this different method of propulsion, swimming crabs tend to stay close to the bottom.

The stick swimming crab (Charybdis baculum) has a different approach. It heads for the bright light at the surface where it paddles along, maneuvering with its spindly legs. It will sometimes snag bits of floating debris and attach them to its body to enhance its appearance. Its goal is to look like a small, drifting haven for juvenile fishes and other marine organisms that often gather under such floating islands, which offer them some protection from predators. With the stick swimming crab, that safety is an illusion. Instead, they’re part of the crab’s lunch box, to be picked off at its leisure.

Stick swimming crabs spend most of their time at the surface, but return to the sea floor for periodic molts. This one looks like it has recently molted.

Oh wait, it’s just a stick.

Also posted in response to this week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme of “Something Learned.” See more responses here.

The BGP

A cat sits by a puddle

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Respect the Cat.’ See more responses here.

We don’t have a cat here in Hawaii, but this is one of our neighbor’s cat. It used to spend more time around our house, but as it’s got older, it seems to stick closer to home. We call it the BGP, which stands, of course, for big gray pussycat.

Surfboards

Fins on a surfboard
A surfboard ready for the water

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

I’m not exactly sure what qualifies as spring green. I found a variety of values online, none of which matched anything in my archives. I went out and took photos, thinking I’d found a match. No dice.

In the end, I noticed these surfboard fins while walking at Kohanaiki Park and thought they made a cheerful scene, in the ballpark of the color I was looking for. Just beyond them was a surfboard under a tree that more or less matched the fins. And while there’s no spring green in the bottom photo, I thought it proper to show surfboards in action. These are only little waves, but there were plenty of surfers waiting to catch a ride.

Surfing in Hawaii

More black and white photos

Clouds swirl around Pu'u Ahumoa on the slopes of Mauna Kea
Surf crashes ashore at Mahukona, Hawaii

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Your Best Black & White Photos.’ See more responses here. Having posted only one black and white photo until recently, this is the second such post in a couple of weeks.

In the top photo, clouds swirl around Pu’u Ahumoa on the southwest slope of Mauna Kea. The second photo shows surf crashing against the same wharf seen in the previous post. Last, but by no means least, is a photo of a tide pool on the North Kohala coast.

A tide pool on the North Kohala coast, Hawaii