Tag Archives: Sunday Stills

Work in progress

Last year, a commercial building in the center of Hawi burned down. Some time after the fire, the site was cleared down to the concrete slab. I’m not sure what the long term future of the site is, but currently there’s a food truck operating there.

The area is surrounded by a short, solid wooden fence and on the panels of the fence, some artwork has been started. On one section, the artist has lined out perspectives for the figures to be painted there. The full image on this section of fence is below.

Posted in response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Perspectives’ (see more responses here), and Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective’ (see more responses here).

Great frigatebirds on the wing

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Freedom.’ See more offerings here.

When Terri posts the Sunday Stills challenge themes for the month ahead, I usually check out what’s coming up. That way I can see what photos I have that fit the themes, or come up with ideas for what I could shoot.

When June’s themes were posted, my first thought for this one was of flying. Since the earliest of times, people have looked to the skies, watched birds, and envied their freedom of flight. Of the various birds I see here, the great frigatebird most epitomizes that freedom. These large birds cover great distances, gliding effortlessly across the sky, rarely flapping their wings but using the wind to maximum advantage.

I picked a couple of photos from my archives, expecting to use them since I hand’t seen any frigatebirds for many weeks. But a couple of days later, I saw one, though I didn’t get any good photos. That’s the other thing about these birds: they seem to have a knack for sneaking up on me, so that I usually notice them disappearing into the distance.

Over the next week or two, I saw a few more birds in similar situations. Then, one day, as I neared the coast below Upolu Airport, I saw a frigatebird flying into a strong wind. By the time I had my camera ready, it was again getting smaller. Still, I took photos and as I did so I saw a second bird, then a third. They continued heading east and I carried on down to the coast.

I hadn’t been there more than a couple of minutes when one of the birds shot by in front of me. It was pointing east, but heading north of west riding the stiff northeast trades that were blowing. A second followed, then a third, and a fourth that I hadn’t seen before. I expected them to quickly disappear on the wind, but once over the water, they regrouped and held their position, circling and gliding up and down. Then I noticed them edging back into and across the wind, heading my way. Slowly they came closer, still appearing to make little effort.

Eventually, the four of them passed directly overhead, the lowest maybe 20 feet above me. Almost immediately they turned and slipped back they way they came, only this time they kept going, gliding sideways in the general direction of Maui. I watched until I couldn’t see them anymore. The whole episode probably lasted no more than 15 minutes, but it seemed to last much longer.

I’m not much of a poetry buff, but these birds made me think of the opening lines of a poem called High Flight, written in 1941 by John Gillespie Magee Jr. when he was 19 and a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force, stationed in England. They read:
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.

Fishing at sunrise and sunset

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Rise/Set.’ See more offerings here.

I decided to go with sunrise and sunset photos taken from more or less the same spot on Kawaihae harborside. Above, a man fishes from the end of the harbor breakwater around sunrise. Below, a fisherman seated on the shoreline at sunset, with the breakwater across the harbor in the background.

Tenting for termites

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Home.’ See more offerings here.

Here in Hawaii, home is where the termites are, and if nothing is done about them, they will literally eat you out of house and home. So every few years most houses get tented and filled with poisonous gas. Best not to be home at the time. The house stays tented overnight to give the gas time to seep into all the nooks and crannies. Next day, the tent is removed and the homeowner is supposedly guaranteed a few more years of termite-free living.

This was a neighbor’s house, and every time I see a tented house like this, I think of circuses.

Tropical foliage

A riot of tropical foliage frames a view towards the ocean.
A single purple orchid is a spot of color against the green and brown background.

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Plant Life.’ See more offerings here.

The east side of the Big Island is the place for plant life thanks to good soils, warmth, and abundant rainfall. These photos were taken on my last visit to Hawai’i Tropical Botanical Garden, before it closed because of the Covid-19 virus.

This doesn’t mean they’ve been slacking during the closure. Instead they appear to have launched a new name and new website. The new name is Hawai’i Tropical Bioreserve & Garden and, I think reflects more of the purpose behind the garden. The new name, conveniently, means they didn’t have to change their website. It’s still htbg.com.

The new website is definitely a spiffier looking production, but it comes with a drawback. They used to have a plant database that I found very useful in identifying what I saw there. I can’t find it on the new website. Hopefully, this is just an issue with transitioning the information. Otherwise, I’ll be in a bit of difficulty.

Early Yellow beehive ginger makes colorful focal points against a backdrop of green foliage.
On the left, a deep red heliconia against large green leaves. On the right, the purple bract of anthurium schlechtendalii or pheasant’s tail.
Not all leaves are green as these colorful ti plants attest.

Powerline Trail

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Straight.’ See more offerings here.

Last week, I revisited the Powerline Trail off of Saddle Road. This trail, when combined with the Pu’u O’o Trail, makes a good long loop hike. I like hiking the Pu’u O’o Trail because it passes through several kipukas (patches of old forest that have been spared by lava flows) and those kipukas have lots of birds living in them.

The Powerline Trail is a bit less interesting. There are fewer kipukas and it’s a long, exposed hike in a straight line across the lava. The reason for this can be found in the name. It follows an old 4-wheel drive road that serviced a power line that ran across the lava fields. The line is gone, but the sawn-off stumps of power poles can be seen alongside the trail (to the right of the trail in the top photo, to the left in the bottom photo).

One advantage the Powerline Trail has over the Pu’u O’o Trail can be seen in the bottom photo. This was near the end of my hike in the mid-afternoon as clouds closed in. It’s not unusual for this part of the saddle to be shrouded in thick fog and, if you happen to be out hiking in those conditions, the straight and clear Powerline Trail is much easier to follow than the Pu’u O’o Trail which, crossing the lava fields, can be hard to follow when you can’t see the cairns that mark its route.

The trail, of course, isn’t perfectly straight (though I suspect the power line was). It bumps around lava upwellings and collapsed tubes. But most of the time, one just needs to look up to see, straight ahead in the distance, the faint pale thread of the trail topping a hill or emerging from a dip in the landscape.

Yesterday’s swim

A small shoal of convict tang feeding.
I think this is a spotted coral blenny on a head of purple cauliflower coral, and possibly a small trumpetfish.

This is a second response to this week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme of ‘Waterworld.’ (See more responses here.) Yesterday, I posted about the movie Waterworld. Today, it’s a probably more expected response.

These are photos I took during my swim yesterday. Visibility in the water was patchy with some good areas and some not so good. I didn’t see anything startling, though the mackerel shads aren’t a common sight. Last time I saw such a shoal there was a great barracuda lurking on the other side. I looked around and, sure enough, there was another one looking interested as it cruised low down, too low for a decent photo.

The other oddity was in the photo at left. I saw what I think is a spotted coral blenny on this patch of cauliflower coral, and snapped a quick photo before it took off. But it was only when I processed the photos that I saw something else, to the left and slightly below the blenny. I think it’s a small trumpetfish, but it could be something else. A lot of small fish and other creatures hide in coral heads so I must pay more attention from here on.

In short, it was a fairly typical swim.

A shoal of mackerel scad on the left with yellow tang on the right.
Little fish enjoy the comparative safety of the shallow water in the surge zone.
On the left, a fourspot butterflyfish and a cushion star. On the right, black triggerfish are cleaned by a Hawaiian cleaner wrasse.
Just before getting out I saw this small Pacific trumpetfish with goldring surgeonfishes.

Waterworld

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Waterworld.’ (See more offerings here.) So why this photo of Kawaihae harbor? Well, this was where the 1995 movie, Waterworld was filmed. Actually, most of the filming took place beyond the stubby rainbow in this photo, out there in the deep blue ocean.

The movie blew away its original budget, spectacularly overran its 96-day shooting schedule, and suffered a laundry list of disasters from start to finish. It started shooting without a finished script despite the efforts of multiple screenwriters. The director and the star had different ideas about how the movie should work. It was shot almost entirely on water. Actors and production crew got seasick. Two actors were dumped from a boat and then run over by it. Several of the cast were stung by jellyfish. A stuntman nearly died from the bends after a diving scene. The star himself was lashed to a mast, 40-feet up, for one scene but when it was over, a gale sprang up, and he and the boat couldn’t be retrieved for half an hour.

Bad weather often prevented any shooting and numerous delays carried the production into hurricane season. High winds duly destroyed one of the intricate and expensive floating sets.

The completion of filming didn’t end the movie’s traumas. The director quit before the editing was complete. Test audiences gave it a lukewarm reception leading to continued tinkering. Ultimately, the movie wasn’t a total disaster. While it didn’t do that well in the U.S.A., it covered its costs with overseas income. There’s even a popular Waterworld attraction at Universal theme parks.

I saw the movie when it came out and made it the subject of one of the weekly columns I wrote for my local newspaper. That column is reproduced below, as it was written at the time. Bear in mind that was 25 years ago and some things have changed in that time (if you don’t know what a VCR is, look it up!).

Waterworld on the rocks, no ice

I went to see Waterworld last week. That’s the movie that was supposed to be the most expensive ever made at around $100 million, but turned out to be the most expensive ever made at more than $175 million.
It’s set way in the future when some cataclysm, such as the balancing of the Federal budget, has caused the polar ice caps to melt. The survivors live on wacky floating stage sets and dream of finding dry land and pizza without anchovies.
Right from the start I was in trouble. Where was all this water coming from? I wondered. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, if all the world’s ice melted, sea level would rise about 230 feet. While this would bode ill for the likes of New Orleans and Miami, there would still be quite a bit of land sticking up, such as Asia. I would have thought that someone, somewhere would have bumped into some of this land by the time the movie started, possibly during the previews of coming attractions.
Still, as readers of this column know, I am not one to let facts get in the way of a story. Perhaps, in addition to the ice caps melting, it also rained a lot. Or, maybe, the cataclysm that caused the ice to melt was a gigantic alien intergalactic water tanker crashing into Earth.
In any case, in this water-covered world the only clue as to the location of dry land is a little girl with a map tattooed on her back and a glossy real estate brochure offering view lots at attractive prices.
This girl is sought by bad guys whose bad lifestyle includes riding jet skis, living on the Exxon Valdez, and worst of all, smoking cigarettes. (Presumably they’re stale cigarettes since there isn’t anywhere to grow tobacco and or any government to provide subsidies.) The bad guys are even called Smokers just in case anyone might not realize how thoroughly awful they are.
Pitted against the bad guys is Kevin Costner sporting webbed feet, gills, and a mean temper. This may be because his last three movies bombed or it could be dissatisfaction at the amount of money being wasted instead of going into his pockets.
Unlike Meryl Streep, who tends to research her character’s background and come up with appropriate behavior and accent, Costner acts in the John Wayne tradition. He sounds pretty much the same in Waterworld as he does in all his movies. For all I know his dialogue is the same. That could explain why the couple down the row from me decided to chat all the way through the movie.
Now, I’m not an intolerant person (and anyone who says I am should be taken out and shot), but people talking through movies is one of my pet peeves. It drives me bonkers when something happens on screen and I hear someone ask, “What did he say?” By the time the explanation is given, another scene has gone by prompting the question, “What happened there?” They never catch up.
This is why God invented the VCR. VCRs allow such people to have no idea what’s going on in the privacy of their own homes. They also avoid the risk of having me pour hot buttered popcorn on their heads.
Playing opposite Costner in almost the only female role, apart from the girl with the map, is Jeanne Tripplehorne. You can tell hers is a supporting role because she did not get as much material for her costume as Costner and consequently ran short in the bosom area. Not that I’m complaining.
One reason there are so few women in the movie is because Waterworld is an action/adventure movie. Hollywood rules state that in action/adventure movies, women cannot appear for more than about 20 minutes and during that time they must be either naked and/or get killed.
Because it’s an action/adventure movie, it also features a stipulated number of explosions, fires and, of course, meaningless violent deaths. There is even a mandatory car chase, not an easy thing to work in when the freeways are deep under water.
Actually that scene is one of the many tongue-in-cheek bits in the movie. In fact, apart from Costner being permanently cranky, everyone else seemed to be having a pretty good time, albeit while acting as though they’re desperate and starving.
It may be that this lighthearted attitude spilled over to the accounting department of Universal, the company that made Waterworld. That was my first thought to explain where the $175 million went. But then I noticed that all those fires burning through the movie were fueled by studio executives throwing actual dollar bills into the flames.
I understand that, in an attempt to recoup some of their costs, Universal plans a sequel. It’s about a movie studio that drowns in a sea of red ink when the accounting department’s computers crash and burn.
It will be called Realworld.