Category Archives: Hawaii

Long Lens Tuesday

27/12, I’ve been here on the Big Island for a week and I realised that I’ve been carriying around a telephoto lens and not use it once.  So, today is Long Lens Tuesday!

I head south along the Mamalaoa Highway and it’s not long before I’m enjoying Antique shops, hippy hang-outs, coffee shops and photo ops galore!

Heres a couple of favourites

















see the rest on my Flickr:

Boxing Day

After visiting the Seahorses and having lunch at one of the Plastic resorts I headed north on another road trip.

I rediscovered the joy of driving without a particular destination and no pressure to be anywhere at a set time.

I ended up at the End Of The Road, literally the highway ends and the only way to continue is on foot. I took a few photos along the way, my favourite photo op was the lovely St Augustines church.

Mauna Kea Summit & Stars Adventure

It’s Christmas Day and I’m G I D D Y with excitement at the prospect of visiting the telescopes at 14,000 feet on the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii.  It all started on Jan 3rd 2011 when I watched the BBC’s Stargazing Live prog with Prof Brian Cox at Jodrell Bank with a live link up to the observatories on Manua Kea.  Right then I *knew* had to visit Hawaii, had to see the telescopes and the lava flow!

I’m glad I chose a tour company to do the trip to the summit, the drive is treacherous and the altitude very uncomfortable.  John from Hawaii Forest and Trail was my guide and I travelled with 10 or so other lovely guests in a mini van complete with onboard oxygen just in case someone gets altitude sickness.  It was great to sit back and relax as John explained details of the geology, fauna and flora around us.  After about 2 hours of driving we stopped for picnic dinner in a tent set up in the grounds of Humuula Sheep Station, once part of the famous Parker Ranch.  The disused ranch buildings were a photographers heaven, I didnt want to stop and eat . .

















After taking time to acclimatise to the altitude we continued onwards, heading for the summit.  On the way, John leads a discussion: Physics and Astronomy News.  Obviously the Higgs particle had top billing, I was in sub-atomic physics Bliss!

By now it was getting chilly, the aircon had been switched off in favour of heating and we were all wearing the parkers provided by John.  This is another good reason why I should not have attempted to do this solo – the clothes I had were not adequate.

We reached the summit just prior to sunset, it was FREEZING but I got out my tripod and took these:




































I can honestly say this is the coldest place I have ever been, I only managed a few photos before I lost feeling in my hands & feet and had to retreat to the mini bus.  On thawing out everything hurt but it was worth it, absolutely fanbloodytastic!

And, the nights not over yet!  We descend to about 9000 feet, just past the visitors centre and park up for stargazing, hot chocolate and cookies!  John unpacks a telescope, a BIG one, well by my standards . .   The night sky was indescribable, the last time I saw so many stars was in the London Planetarium!  I *tried* to take some long exposure shots but didn’t have much luck and gave up in favour of Johns guided tour of the skies.  I’ve never looked through a Proper telescope like this one, it was truly awe inspiring to see the Andromeda Galaxy, Venus and the other ones whose names I forget!

Here’s my rubbish attempt at star photography:








I had the most amazing time, the experience was even BETTER than I imagined.

more photos:

Heli Flight

What better way to spend Christmas eve than an island tour with Paradise Helicopters . .

I got another view of the Lava flow, much easier than the hike I did!

Here’s our Pilot, I really did think he was using his iPhone for navigation or something, but then I realised he was cuing up the in-flight music, for take off we had the Dambusters!










Here’s another shot of the Lava flowing into the sea, I’m so THRILLED to have seen this twice!













I was blown away to be allocated the co pilot seat!













Here are the rest of my photos . . . .

Road Trip

Yesterday I did a little road trip from Hilo on the east side to Kailua-Kona on the west side of the Big Island.  First stop was the pharmacy, yes I have an ‘oops’ with my feet.  Whilst the hike to the lava flow was one of the best things ever, it has resulted in this:
I have two of these god-awful blisters, they hurt like heck and I can say that the hike to the Lava flow will be my only one on Hawaii 🙁

Next stop was Alamo to swap the stupid Jeep thing for a car with a boot (or Trunk as they say here).  I was scared to leave my camera bag in the back of the Jeep, so when they offered me a convertible, I snapped it up.  Trouble is the boot is tiny, I had to put my main bag on the back seat, LOL!  At least my camera bag will be safe if I want to go walk about – assuming I can ever walk properly again . .

With all that out of the way I head north along the east coast stopping off at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden – this place is LUSH!  Despite my hobbling I really enjoyed it.  It was much bigger than I imagined, set right on the coast so as well as all the amazing plants I got to enjoy some fantastic surf views.  I met a guy with a tripod and DSLR who gave me some great tips and then said ‘you’ll be sorry you dont have your tripod . . ‘  He was right, I  would have done a much better job on the waterfalls, but I was pleased to get this one by resting my camera on the handrail.












From the gardens I continued my drive north and then south west.  I’m using an GPS app to track my travels, the main purpose it to be able to geotag the photos from my Canon but it also generates maps, this is my journey:








I’m now settled in at Uncle Billy’s Kona, sister hotel to where I stayed in Hilo.  It’s a tad faded, but clean and cheap!  The vibe here in Kailua-Kona is much more what I expected,  its very much like So-Cal beach restorts and NO RAIN!

Today I’ve been trying to keep off my feet, doing normal, sit in the shade and read a book stuff.  I went to a nice coffee shop, enjoyed real Kona coffee and was treated to this:












It’s a real Gecko dining at a miniature coffee shop, how cool?!

I’ve edited some photos and got them up on flickr, you can see them below . . . Mahalo!

Lovely Hot Lava

Today I hiked 10 miles to see the Lava flow. The Park Service describe the hike as ‘Challenging and Extreme’ – they are not wrong!  It was hard going over the lava, I had to concentrate a lot to be sure not to fall and break something or die . . .  It took me 5 hours and I now find myself to tired to type much or edit my photos.  Here’s a short movie showing the terrain, this was an easy bit!