Over the past couple of weeks I've spent quite a bit of time hiking in Waimea Canyon and Koke'e State Parks. My time in Waimea Canyon has been spent mostly on the Canyon Trail, and of course, Waimea Canyon Drive-- that beautiful winding road that leads up the parks and cools you off with each gently sloping switchback.
Passing Showers along Waimea Canyon Drive (bw), Waimea, Kauai
I took the above photo just before sunset on Tuesday December 22. My wife and I drove up to the canyon for some fresh air and on the way down, stopped to watch the clouds play with sun. The island in the distance is Niihau or the "Forbidden Island." It's privately owned by the Robinson Family, and I've heard that you must have an invitation to visit. Other than that, I don't know much about it. As far as picture taking goes, I think it is best to shoot Niihau from various turnouts along Waimea Canyon Dive, and I find winter light best because the sun sets just off Niihau's western edge (left of frame).
One of my favorite trees on island-- this Australian Paperbark Tree-- is literally right behind where I stood for the Niihau shot above. Turn around, cross the road, and there she is. This is the same tree in one of my top selling photos-- Koke'e Night Sky. It's interesting to see how much it has grown in the last year or so. That's one reason why photography is so amazing-- everything changes. Nature is always moving. Our feelings are always changing. And so too our perspective-- if we have an open mind. Openness and the belief that we know nothing. And an understanding that our personal experience-- no matter how varied-- is always limited.
Road Trip (Waimea Canyon Drive), Waimea, Kauai
One of the things I miss about the mainland is the great american road trip. There are some days I'd just love to hop in the truck and drive to a completely new place with completely new (and fresh!) scenery. Especially now as I am researching for a photo trip to southern Utah. Oh the distances to be covered! Is it any wonder that one of my all-time favorite books is On the Road by Jack Kerouac?
A couple of Ohia Trees. The first one is around the Alakai Swamp trailhead. And the second is along the Canyon Trail. I find such grace and dignity in these wiry trees. They grow in somewhat harsh environments and have such beautiful red flowers, full of such energy and defiance(?). It's almost as if they shake their spindly petals at the wind and say, you won't deter me! I will grow! I will grind! I will be! :-) (Perhaps a little too much personal personification, there....).
If you've ever pulled off to the side of the road to look at a two-tiered waterfall flowing into the northwest corner of Waimea Canyon, then you've seen Waipo'o Falls. And if you've ever hiked the Canyon Trail, then you've probably stood right here, smiling with the sound of Waipo'o Falls rushing by (in winter) or maybe you've even hopped onto the rocks in the middle of the falls to get a killer view of the canyon (in summer). Either way, the Canyon Trail is a fun hike any time of the year. Just be prepared for slick, muddy conditions in winter, and drier conditions in summer.
Over the years I've probably taken hundreds of pictures of the boardwalks lying along the Alakai Swamp Trail. It's one of my most favorite hikes on the island. Through jungle and forest and eventually swamp, it leads you through a surreal landscape that ends with this view:
Aloha and Melekalikimaka!
All photos in this blog entry were taken in the last two weeks (December 12-24, 2015) except the first Ohia Tree which was taken in the middle of November 2015.