I’m a long time fan of Herb Kane’s work. I can still remember visiting the Bishop Museum, where his artwork would bring life to the Hawaiian folklore that we would learn about in Hawaiiana class. If you grew up in Hawaii, then you can probably relate. Maybe not to seeing Herb Kane’s work at Bishop Museum, but surely you can remember sitting Indian-style in Hawaiiana class as your Kumu (Hawaiian teacher) taught you how to count in Hawaiian, play the ukulele, and told you stories about the ancient Hawaiians. Yes, going to elementary school in Hawaii is way better than going to elementary school anywhere else (if you can look beyond national standardized test score averages). Of course, I’m bias, but I digress. The point is, Herb Kane is not just a talented artist, but a living legend. Herb Kane is an author, historian, and cultural leader. So, I was very pleased when I stumbled upon his work during a recent stay at the Grand Wailea in Maui.
All posts in Sights
Throughout the most popular spots in Waikiki exists 23 markers for an urban trail. While it is easy to stumble upon a few of them simply by chance, visiting all takes some effort. Most of the markers are wooden surfboards with both images and text that narrate the history of Waikiki. Building upon the efforts of Troy Solano, I was able to finish the whole trail over 2 days while also practicing long exposure night shots.
Troy became interested in the urban hike a few months ago after finding an essay documenting all the markers. Despite becoming the laughing stock of the hiking community for his ridiculous mission, Troy would finish the trail over 3 days. The final day of his hike also included me and allowed me to see a few of the markers before attempting the whole thing at night. The following will list all the markers’ locations as well as images from nearby locations. Detailed information about what is found on the markers can be found here and here.
The first marker, pictured above and titled “Beaches”, is found where Monsarrat Ave. and Kalakaua Ave. merge. This marker details the four nearby sections of Outrigger Canoe Club, Sans Souci, Kapi’olani Park and Queen’s Surf.
Continue walking West on Kalakaua and soon you’ll find another surfboard. “Waikiki” explains the popularity of surfing in the area as well as the importance of streams leaving the Ko’olaus. While on the walkway taking pictures of that patio thing, a local became interested in what I was doing and let me know about some dark areas on the Windward side as I was here trying to get some star shots near the current New Moon. He would also let me know my pronunciation of Hawaiian names was very good. Just wanted to let everyone know.
This marker has you leave Kalakaua temporarily to visit Ala Wai canal. Walk up Kapahulu Ave. then head left on Ala Wai to reach this marker. “Queen Liliuokalani” shows how Waikiki began as an agricultural community to become what it is today.
Head back down to Kalakaua and head West again. Soon, you will find a statue of Prince Kuhio, along with an urban waterfall just a little more West. The marker here will tell you the story of Prince Kuhio. Continue reading →
Hulihee Palace, not to be confused with delicious hulihuli chicken, is the former palace of John Adams Kuakini, the second Governor of the Island of Hawaii. The palace, which was completed in 1838, was built “by foreign seamen, of native lava rock, coral lime mortar, koa and `ohi`a timbers.” Later, it would serve as a popular vacation home for visiting royalty. Although not as opulent as Iolani Palace on Oahu, Hulihee Palace is still very rich in history.
Ahuena Heiau sits in Kamakahonu Bay in the historic Kailua Village on the Big Island. Michelle and I recently had the chance to visit this temple that served Kamehameha the Great when he returned to the Big Island in 1812. According to the official Ahuena Heiau website, three significant events occurred here. First, in 1910, Native Hawaiian’s mourned the loss of their King, as Kamehameha The Great died inside of the heiau. Second, it was here that Liholiho (Kamehameha II) broke the ancient kapu system (taboos that provided the framework for traditional Hawaiian government). Third, the first Christian missionaries traveled from New England and came ashore here in 1820.
Night photography is something that I only just recently became interested in. And it took a little nudge by Ahnate, who suggested that we spend a Friday night on the east side of the island, in the cold darkness, and try to take pictures of the Milky Way. I didn’t think that it was possible to take photos of the Milky Way without the use of expensive photography equipment and super fancy lenses. I was wrong. And Friday was awesome.
How do you Photograph the Milky Way?
I’m not 100% sure. The best advice that I can give you is to experiment. This first shoot really was my first night photography session experimenting with the Milky Way. I’m no pro photographer, but here are a few of my notes.
- Choose a dark location on a cloud free night. There are a few locations on the island that will give you a pitch dak experience. On this trip, we chose Lanai Lookout. There were still some obvious light sources and more clouds than expected, but for the most part, it worked.
- Shutter Speed. I chose to experiment the entire night only using a 30 second shutter speed. If you keep the shutter open for too long, though, the stars in yours photos might begin to look oblong. Also, because you’ll be using such a long exposure, it’s important that you have a tripod. You’ll also want to use a self-timer or remote shutter button. This is to prevent the shake from pressing down on the shutter button from affecting your photos. Next time, I’ll play around with much longer shutter speeds.
- Aperture. Ahnate suggested here that I drop my aperture down to the lowest possible f-stop. I was using my Canon EF-S 10-22mm, so the lowest f stop that I could drop down to was f/3.5. The idea here is that you want maximum depth of field. By setting your focus to infinity, you’ll then be able to capture those distant stars.
- ISO. This setting can be played around with a lot. I experimented with ISO’s ranging from 12oo to 2000. Ahnate, I believe, bumped his ISO up to 3200. Remember, though, the higher the ISO setting, the more noise that will be present in the image.
- Use Star Chart for the iPhone. With the app, you simply point your iPhone to the sky and it will show you the location of the Milky Way.
- Equipment. For this session, I used my Canon EOS 7D.
Right now, I don’t have much more to add. I’m more than certain that we’ll be doing this again. And I’m more than certain that I’ll have more notes to add next time. Until then, enjoy the photos!
Very cool video that was shot and edited by Ben Boutwell and Steven Alan. The video was inspired by the intro to Modern Family. They actually covered a large portion of Oahu while shooting the video. You’ll notice Diamond Head, sugar cane fields on the North Shore, and the view from Aloha Tower. Regardless of location, it looks like they had a great time shooting this video!
I recently stumbled upon a short film compiled by Richard Sullivan. The footage was taken from video that his father shot more than 65 years ago on August 14, 1945. On that day, Japan officially surrendered during World War II.
The days leading up to the surrender were bleak. On December 7, 1941, Japan surprise attacked Pearl Harbor. On August 6 and 9 1945, the United States would drop atomic bombs on both Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not soon after the drop of the destructive bombs, Japan announced their surrender. The day would be known as Victory Over Japan Day (also known as Victory in the Pacific Day).
This video was filmed throughout Honolulu, including Kapiolani Boulevard, Ala Moana Boulevard, and Kalakaua Avenue and shot using Kodachrome 16mm film. You’ll notice that, other than the Moana Surfrider, most of the buildings along Waikiki have since vanished. Toward the end you get an excellent view of Diamond Head from Waikiki. That view, hasn’t changed much.
Some locations worth noting:
- :28 – South St. next to the now defunct Honolulu Advertiser building
- :38 – Kapiolani Blvd. seen from South St.
- 1:05 – “Parade” goes from Victoria St. onto King St. with Thomas Square in background (with military buildings in it)
- 1:21 – Lippy’s Service Station on Kalakaua Ave.
- 1:26 – Ala Moana Blvd. with HECO plant at back left
- 1:28 – Kalakaua Ave. nearing Kapiolani Blvd., with Kau Kau Korner at the intersection (later Coco’s and then Hard Rock Cafe; now CW’s at the Clubhouse aka CW’s Nightclub)
- 1:40 – Moana Hotel
- 2:05 – Looking up at viewers on the exterior fire escape stairs of the Moana Hotel
- 2:17 - The orange awning is the House Of Coral store
Over the last few days Hawaii has been experiencing moderate to very heavy rainfall. The weather seemed to be at its worst on Tuesday with heavy rain and flash flooding throughout the state. On Wednesday, Governor Abercrombie declared a state of disaster for the islands of Oahu and Kauai. Some areas on Oahu saw more than 15 inches of rainfall, while Kauai saw 35 inches. Many schools and golf courses closed due to the severe weather. The state even shut down Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve because of the surface runoff from the heavy rain.
With the rain falling like crazy, Joel and I decided to set off on Tuesday to see if we could catch a peak of the many natural waterfalls flowing down the Koolau Range. We decided that our best bet would be to jump on the John A. Burns Freeway or, as it is better know, Interstate H-3. The H-3 runs along a viaduct through Halawa Valley for about 6 miles. This particular stretch of the freeway was entirely socked in. It was as if we were driving through the clouds. However, things cleared up a bit and we had amazing view of the Koolau Mountain Range just after the Tetsuo Harano Tunnels. We pulled over on the side of the freeway and proceeded to admire the many waterfalls surrounding us.
I came prepared for this moment (sort of). I donned my surf shorts and decided to jump out of the 4Runner to snap some photos. We brought along my Sony NEX-5N, Joel’s Canon EOS 50D, my GoPro HD HERO, and of course our iPhones. Unfortunately, the only waterproof camera we had (the GoPro) was dead (including the spare battery). For a good 15-20 minutes it was just drizzles with intermittent rainfall. We took advantage of this by taking as many photos as we could, however, because of the rain we had to get creative in order to protect our cameras. I flexed and contorted my body in ways that I never knew I could.
Doug Urquhart of Atlanta, Georgia, based The upThink Lab recently put together an excellent collection of timelapse videos taken during a recent wedding anniversary trip to the Big Island and Maui. The video features images from Kilauea and Mauna Kea in Hawaii and Haleakala in Maui.
Being above the inversions on Mauna Kea (13,796′) and Haleakala (10,023′ summit, Holua back-country cabin @ 6,900′) was a memorable experience. The weather was so predictable during our stay. Clear through the night and into sunrise, then the Trade Winds shift all the clouds into the Haleakala’s crater around 9am. For the rest of the day you’re stuck in the clouds with limited visibility. Around sunset the clouds begin to clear and the inversion settles back into place just under 7,000′.
The shadow of Mauna Kea (13,796′) attempting to bend over the earth’s atmosphere, although it wasn’t as spectacular as I have seen in other videos due to some unwanted clouds blocking the sun near the end.
The Zodiacal light is visible near the end of several easterly facing star-lapse sequences. This is caused by sunlight reflecting off of dust particles in space in the final hours of darkness proceeding sunrise. Normally this is masked by light pollution.
Viewing other islands: you’ll notice Maui as seen from Mauna Kea (Big Island), Mauna Kea & Mauna Loa as seen from Haleakala (Maui), and Molokai, Lanai, & Kahoolawe as seen from Southern/Western Maui coastline.
Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, as viewed from where we camped on Green Sand Beach, the southern most point of the United States. Lots of other Hawaii Milky Way photos posted on my Flickr page.
Waxing Gibbous moon light across Haleakala’s Ko’olau Gap with the grand finale being the setting moon as shadows dynamically passed across the super wide cater and Hanakauhi (8,910′).
Urquhart also posted a few of his photos from his Hawaii trip. They were way too awesome for me to pass up posting here. All photos are by Doug Urquhart of The upThink Lab. And if you enjoyed the Mauna Lapse: From Sea to Summit video then be sure to checkout The upThink Lab’s current project, Mountains in Motion: The Canadian Rockies.
The Aloha Tower located at Pier 9 of Honolulu Harbor was completed in 1926 at the cost of $190,000. At the time, Aloha Tower was the tallest structure in Hawaii at 10 stories tall and measuring 184 feet (56 meters) in height. For 34 years the Aloha Tower was the tallest structure in Hawaii but has since been eclipsed by the First Hawaiian Center in Downtown Honolulu . Although no longer the tallest structure, many still consider the Aloha Tower to be one of the most famous landmarks on Oahu. The tower was restored in 1994 and serves as both a welcoming point for incoming ships and as a fully functional traffic control center for the harbor located at Mamala Bay. I was able to pay a visit to the top of the enduring Aloha Tower following my recent tour on the Star of Honolulu Premier Whale Watch Cruise.
Entry to Aloha Tower Observation Deck is free from 9:30am to 5:00pm. A guard is present at the bottom of the tower and he will check your bags if you do plan to catch the elevator to the top. This minor inconvenience is a small price to pay for the amazing views that await you at the top of Aloha Tower.
Though restored on the exterior, the interior of the tower still maintains it’s vintage feel. When you first step into the elevator you are greeted with a musky feeling that feels as if it’s coming to you straight from the 1940′s. It doesn’t help that both the elevator and the top floor are devoid of air conditioning. These things don’t matter. The elevator ride up is a relatively short one, definitely nothing like the ride up to the CN Tower in Toronto. And who cares that the top floor lacks air conditioning? You’ll be stepping out on the open balconies anyway. There’s natural air conditioning there.
When you step out of the elevator after you’ve reached the top floor, you will be greeted with some vintage Aloha Tower signage. The next step will be to determine which balcony to explore first. There’s a lookout balcony on each of the four sides of the tower. For what it’s worth, you’ll probably get the best views first if you work your way around the tower in a counterclockwise fashion. Or, if you prefer to save the best for last then start in a clockwise fashion.
As you exit the elevator, the balcony to your right is the best view in the house. Here you will get a mix of city and harbor landscapes. To your left will be downtown Honolulu while on your right will be Pier 8. Docked at the harbor will be the Falls of Clyde, which is currently being restored. In the distance you’ll be able to make out Kaka’ako and the John A. Burns School of Medicine.
Continue counterclockwise to the mauka balcony (closest to the mountains) positioned facing downtown and you will get a city landscape featuring downtown Honolulu and Hawaii’s version of the Twin Towers. These twin towers is actually One Waterfront Towers, a pair of high-rise and high-priced condominiums.
The next balcony offers an excellent view west of the Aloha Tower. You will get views of the Kapalama Canal, the Harbor Turning Basin, and the Waianae Mountain Range in the far distance. The Kapalama Channel actually doubled the original harbor in size. Most cargo that travels between the Hawaiian islands go through the Young Brothers’ barges out of Pier 24-29.
Finally, the makai balcony (closest to the ocean) offers an excellent view of the vast Pacific Ocean and any incoming ships. Here you will see Piers 1 and 2 which are used for loose cargo, and roll-on/roll-off cargo, such as automobiles. This balcony might be best to watch the sunset from. Since the Tower closes at 5:00pm, this should be done during the winter months when the sun sets earlier in the day. You might not be able to see the entire sunset, but you should be able to see a part of it.
The Aloha Tower offers a unique view of Honolulu that you really cannot get from any of the hikes that we’ve featured on Exploration: Hawaii. A short elevator ride up 10 floors will score you a sweet four perspective view of the city that is the soul of the State of Hawaii.
While at the top of Aloha Tower, I played around with a photography technique called Tilt-Shift. Tilt-Shift shots like these can be achieved by using special lenses that allow you to manipulate depth of field. With the correct aperture settings and depth of field, you can achieve what looks like miniaturized landscapes.