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!

Sunrise from Lanikai Beach

Talking to Locals

If there is one thing I need to do more when traveling, it’s making friends with people who live where I am visiting. They know the best places to go! I took this fantastic photo of sunrise off Lanikai Beach one morning in Oahu. Later that day I went to check into my hotel and was talking about hiking and sunrise and the girl at the hotel checking me in said she had been hiking Lanikai that very morning. Wait…I was just there! In reality she was hiking Lanikai (mountain) up to the pillboxes while I was chilling on the beach. Regardless, the next time I am in Oahu I found yet another amazing location to catch sunrise! It just goes to show you being friendly pays off.

Shangri La Garden

Richest Little Girl in the World

What an interesting place Shangri La must have been back in it’s hay day! Not that it isn’t interesting now…there is perhaps no finer Islamic art collection in the Western world. It’s just the people that inevitable came and went from the mansion must have been an interesting counterpoint. General a sanctuary for Doris Duke from the world, the mansion was know to host Andy Warhol and Truman Capote among others…what a life.

Waikiki Lifeguard Stand


I couldn’t help but think of David Hasselhoff when I came across the occasional lifeguard stand on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. I caught the 2E stand at sunset before following my monk friends down an ocean walkway. It really Waikiki is a wonderful place for a sunset if you can get over the cheesy beach vibe and overlook the throngs of tourists. It’s a great place to spend a bit of down time!

Waikiki Sunset

Mahalo Sunset

One of my favorite things about Hawaii is watching the sunset over the water on a isolated beach. Now while you can’t really call Waikiki isolated, it is one fantastic spot to watch the sun sink below the ocean. And somehow when I walked down this little strip, I felt right with the world.

I should also mention that when I walked to the end I did so with a group of Buddhist monks visiting from Asia. I felt a bit awkward as I wasn’t quite sure the exact decorum. They seemed to not speak much English and they had a guide translating to English. I went all the way to the end to get some photos when a big wave came up and completely splashed me. I was done taking pictures as I walked by sopping wet, I said to the guide, “It’s much the same with life.”

The Best Sunset in Honolulu

Awesome Sunsets

Happy Labor Day everyone! I hope everyone gets to get out and spend time in the sun one last time before the official end of summer. This photo was taken in Oahu at Puu Ualakaa State Park. There is a great overlook and not too many people. The trees were a bit tall for my liking, but you get a decent view regardless. I shot this as an HDR with multiple frames stitched together. I am afraid, because of its width, it displays smaller on the site. Click the photo below to get a slightly bigger version!

Hawaiian Sunflower


A simple photo for today, but sometimes the most potent beauty can be discovered in simplicity. This simple sunflower was in a bucket at the O’ahu Saturday Farmers’ Market at Kapiolani Community College. There wasn’t any fanfare. It’s just a simple flower, but, there is also an exquisite beauty in its form. Just look at it. No. Really look at it. How can a thing be more perfect. A sunflower in the Hawaiian sun.

Honolulu Memorial Park


On the drive back to Waikiki Beach from visiting the Pali Lookout, I saw a roadside turn off that I immediately pulled over on. I love these scenic overlook as they are most often great places to shoot landscapes from. There is a strong Japanese influence on Oahu which can plainly be seen in Honolulu Memorial Park also know as Kyoto Gardens. It is both a garden park and an adjoining cemetery for Buddhists…I didn’t get a change to visit while I was there, but I have this on my stop list for a visit next year.

Byodo-In Temple Offering

Peaceful Offering

Honolulu is a city of hustle and bustle. I hope to ho back and explore some more next year, but in a big city, sometimes you want to get away from all the movement. You want some peace from all the go. You drive to The Valley of the Temples and visit Byodo-In Temple. This is a replica of a Buddhist Temple in Kyoto Japan. This particular temple is non-denominational and everyone is invited to visit. I sat quietly for some time beneath the 9 foot tall wooden Buddha. People came and went. It is a lovely location.

Tiny Buddha

This little Buddha statue was collecting offerings in the gardens in front of Byodo-In Temple. I almost missed him if not for another photographer lying on the ground to take his picture. Sir, I say thank you.

The Mughal Garden of Shangri La

Old Mansions

There is, for me, something fascinating about touring old mansions. In part it is the history of the place. Fantastic stories of visitors and deals made under a roof as powerful men and women visit a person’s home. I also love old building techniques. There is an impersonal nature to sheetrock and modern building techniques. I simply love seeing the works of master craftsmen and artists. Then a good portion I think has to do with all the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous I saw as a kid. Who doesn’t like to think of actually living in one of these palaces.

On my most recent trip to Hawaii I visited Doris Duke’s Shangri La. I was on the regular tour as sadly the person who helps with special access was away. There is little you are allowed to photograph, but I was allowed to handhold a shot in the fantastic Mugal Garden. The cypress tress are a sort of oddity for Hawaii, but they somehow seem to thrive here. If you happen to be on Oahu, definitely put this on your list. They have one of the finest Islamic Art collections in the western world! On my next trip, I hope to get to photograph inside the estate as well as bring my tripod!