Remembering You

Beauty and Tragedy

One of my favorite things about Hawaii is the freedom. It exists deeply in the place. All of the beaches are public and free for everyone to enjoy. Often access to these places are difficult and people tend to look the other way when you go someplace you shouldn’t. Signs give warning, but often these are ignored on the islands.

I love this section of cliff in Oahu. I have been several times…I like to sit and take it all in. I also know this is a place of tragedy. The ocean below is treacherous and a fall from the cliffs would be all too easy. There are a few memorials like this and I have always put off processing them, but I think perhaps the danger, the beauty, the harsh reality of this place is what draws me to it and to ignore the tragedy is to ignore part of the freedom that live gives.

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The Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Every Time I Visit Oahu

If there is time, and usually there is, I do a morning hike to the Pillboxes overlooking Lanikai. It’s an easy hike, as far as hikes go in Hawaii. I wouldn’t suggest taking any little ones up unless you are confident of their skill. There are points that can be treacherous in muddy conditions and plenty of opportunity to plummet to your death if you don’t take reasonable precaution. Make sure to have reasonable shoes, though I have seen everything from hiking shoes to flip-flops. One trip, I was passed by a man doing sprints up the path, he was wearing trail runners.

The mountain has little opportunity for shade, so it can be exceedingly hot at times. The best part is the beach waiting below. Lanikai beach is my favorite beach in Hawaii. The black sand beach in Maui comes in close, but it’s not quite as comfortable and further away by car from where you will inevitably stay. After a hot hike, there is nothing like the calm waters of Lanikai…it’s what they mean when they call Hawaii, heaven. I can’t think of a more perfect morning.

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Volcanic Plain

Parts Unknown

I had never been here before, WE had never been here before. The terrain was unfamiliar and looked to me like something from an African Safari. It’s strange how things strike you when your surrounding are not automatically known to you. The mind tries to conjure up something that makes you feel safe even though there was no danger here. We were in the heart of one of Oahu’s most popular destinations, Diamond Head Crater. A long dead head that became inactive some 150,000 years ago.

More Experiments

Today’s photo was another experiment in which I have been dabbling more and more on Battered Luggage. It’s a triptych of sorts, but the images are presented in a nonsensical sort of way. It’s a very basic abstraction, but I found myself enjoying the way my mind spins around then looking at it. I wonder where these photo experiments will take me. Do you enjoy them or do you prefer a more straight forward photo when looking at my work?

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Lonely Contemplation on an Oahu Hawaii Cliff

Diverse Landscape

One of the main reasons I love Hawaii is the diverse landscape. This location is actually very dangerous and there are many places you could easily fall into the ocean! It an extremely wealthy part of Oahu and I couldn’t help but think the whole time if you wanted an ocean fortress that was not susceptible to normal beach problems…this would be an ideal location. I was struck by this woman sitting all by her self, it seemed someone else thought this a good place to be alone with your thoughts.

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A History of Fighter Planes at Pearl Harbor

Fighter Planes at Pearl Harbor

It’s no secret I love planes. I have always known I was not cut out for a military life, but many of the men in my family have served. My father in particular was in the U.S. Air Force and might be much of the genesis of my love of flying machine. For me planes are all about transportation. Hop aboard and as if by magic you are transported half the world away. There is of course another line of work these machines are employed by and during my visit to Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii, I visited the Pacific Aviation Museum. They have a wonderfully and lovingly restored collection of military flying machines through the ages. This particularly awesome specimen is an F-111.

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Waikiki Beach Pier Sunset

I have visited pier on Waikiki Beach many times in the past. It’s not the main crowded pier, but one to the East that hardly gets any attention. This location always looks different to me and in much the same way my photos look different each time I sit down to work on them. The previous was bright and colorful, this one dark and moody. Perhaps my current temperament effects my processing decisions more than I think or perhaps I am drawn to darker images in the first place when I am feeling less than chipper. Despite the duality, I love both images and it’s a great reminder how different days create totally different moods, both in photography and in life.

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Wild Flowers on the Shores of Oahu

Incredible Diversity

One of the things I absolutely love about Hawaii is its incredible diversity. It is a CRAZY melting pot of people from all over the world who seek paradise, but I am talking about the landscape. From rocky shores to sandy beaches (and every color imaginable), from forests to mountains, from tundra to big city speed, Hawaii seemingly has it ALL! On a hike to the western tip of Oahu and Ka’Ena Point where I found a cool/weird lighthouse beacon I noticed there wild flowers along the shore. They reminded me of the wild flowers that grow on the fields of Missouri, despite the roar of the Pacific Ocean in the background.

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Lighthouse at Ka’Ena Point on Oahu, Hawaii

Loving Hawaii

Here is the thing…every time I go to Hawaii, it seems harder and harder to actually leave Hawaii when the time comes. For the past few years I have been trying to get there once or twice a year and this last visit to Oahu I really was NOT ready to leave. There is just a raw beauty in Hawaii, truly unlike anywhere else. You have to get out away from the tourists, but the Hawaiian’s have a really good thing and they know it!

Ka’Ena Point is West

As far west as you can go on the island of Oahu is Ka’Ena Point. You either need a 4×4 to get there or you walk like I did. It’s probably a hot hour+ hike but I think the point is worth the trek, especially if you enjoy walking on a muddy 4×4 trail with the beach on one side and the Hawaiian mountains on the other. The entire area is a wildlife preserve for several species, but I specifically got to see the Laysan Albatrosses up pretty close! This big bird was just chillin in his nest apparently unconcerned by all the gawkers. This “lighthouse” overlooks the rocky beach where there were quite a number of locals having a good time.

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Aboard the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial

Designing our Nations Monuments

I sometimes wonder how it is that we have been so blessed in this country to have some of the greatest monuments to our heroes. What a task, honor and responsibility it must be for the designers. They are building something that countless visitors will see for all of our remaining history. Something that must encapsulate remembrance, that must honor and make us all reflect on tragedy, courage, valor. I believe the two finest examples of many in the United States are the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C and the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Oahu, Hawaii.

A Different Sort of Hallowed Ground

The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial is one of the most solemn places I have visited. It is an active cemetery and most of the crew members are still aboard (only a few hundred survived the attack). The space is open and airy, serene…a very stark contrast to December 7, 1941. This life preserver struck me at the end of my visit. It’s an almost ironic thing on a memorial to so many sailors who died without enough time to even attempt to use one. It’s there for the living of course, but then again, perhaps the memorial is there for us as well. May the dead only know peace.

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Rock Stack in Oahu

Stacking Rocks

I have visited several of the Hawaiian islands and on each I have been all over. I tend to wander on my trips and with SO much great hiking in Hawaii, it’s hard for me to stay still on a beach. One thing I have noticed quite a few places is these stacks of rocks. I have always found this interesting, but a recent bit of research into them seems they are actually perhaps disrespectful of Pele (goddess of fire, lightning, wind and volcanoes)! In many places on the Big Island, the practice has elicited the installation of signs saying not to stack the rocks. I have always seen these stacks in places frequented by tourists and I think most people assume they are being respectful. It is perhaps a good lesson to do as you see the locals doing and perhaps abstain if you aren’t sure of a custom. When in Hawaii, Please, Don’t Stack the Rocks!