Photo Friday: Shine / Maui Sunset



Sunset in Maui

Photo Friday Challenge: Shine

Today’s Photo Friday Challenge is called “Shine” – and I immediately thought of the shining sun. I’m quite fond of the sun, and I enjoy being outside when I have time off or when I travel. I love to view the sunrise and sunset wherever I travel, and I especially enjoyed watching the sun set on the lovely Hawaiian island of Maui. I also saw a few sunrises, but I usually went paddle boarding in the early morning, so I didn’t bring along my camera!

Catching the sun behind the clouds makes the sun shine since it doesn’t wash out the shot with light, but rather filters it around the clouds. Maui is primarily a resort island, but whenever I watched the sun set into the Pacific Ocean at the end of the day, the atmosphere was calm and peaceful as if I was the only person on the island. I think this is part of the magic of tropical islands.

What is your favorite time of day – sunrise, sunset, midday? Let me know in the comments!

Photo Friday: Frame / Lava Tube


Maui - Waianapanapa State Park

Photo Friday: Frame

At Wai’anapanapa State Park in Maui off the Road to Hana Highway, I crawled into a lava tube to take this photo of the surf beyond the beach. The black sand that makes up the beach here comes from the weathered dark volcanic basalt, which forms the lava tubes. Using the dark lava tube to frame the photo brings the attention to the waves beyond, and the beautiful blue color of the ocean.

Stooping to go through the lava tube – that’s big enough to enter but not quite big enough to stand up in – it’s incredible to think about the volume of lava that passed through the tunnel. Lava on the big island still flows out of long active tubes like this one, and someday perhaps others will crawl through the remnants of those lava tunnels! Black sand beaches are unique to areas with volcanic deposits that create the unique sand color. This black sand beach is a little less comfortable than white sand beaches, as the gravel size of the black sand creates a surface that’s not enjoyable to walk on in your bare feet, but with sandals it’s still a really cool beach!

What is your favorite beach trip? Let me know in the comments!

Photo Friday: Narrow / Maui Ocean Center


Maui Ocean Center

Photo Friday Challenge: Narrow

This week’s Photo Friday Challenge is “Narrow” – which can have quite a few meanings. I chose a meaning along the lines of the contributor’s original photo, which is a narrow space. This photo is from the underwater tunnel at the Maui Ocean Center in Wailuku, HI on the island of Maui.

When I visited Sea World in San Diego, CA as a child, the Shark Encounter exhibit, which has a similar tunnel, always freaked me out, and years later this tunnel in Maui had the same effect. You feel the pressure of the water that surrounds you, as sharks and manta rays swarm around and above you. For a kid it was creepy, but even as an adult I felt like I entered a portal into another world, a quiet, dark world full of strange and deadly creatures. I feel like this photo captures the atmosphere really well!

What is your favorite Narrow space? Let me know in the comments!

J is for Jodo Mission of Lahaina


Just outside the historic whaling town of Lahaina on the island of Maui lies a Buddhist temple. Thus, J is for the Jodo Mission of Lahaina for today’s entry in the A to Z Challenge.

Amida Buddha at Jodo Mission

Amida Buddha at Jodo Mission in Lahaina – photo by kei

The great Buddha and temple bell were constructed in 1968 to commemorate the centennial of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. It is the largest Amida Buddha outside of Japan. It was cast in Kyoto and is made of copper and bronze. It is 12 feet high and weight 3 1/2 tons. Continue reading

A is for Ali’i Kula Lavender Gardens


Today marks the start of the A to Z Challenge! As I announced before, my theme is travel, and so I will start it off with A for Ali’i Kula Lavender Gardens on the island of Maui (that’s in Hawai’i).

I spent 2 weeks in Maui one year while I was in grad school, and after getting super sunburned in the first couple of days, I decided to travel up the hill (or volcano) to a cooler part of the island and visit the lavender gardens. This place stands out in my memory as an escape from the tropical sun where I wandered the garden paths, and watched as the sun chased the mists up towards the top of the volcano Haleakala. It was a completely different atmosphere than the beaches of Kihei, but it took less than an hour to reach the farm.

Ali’i Kula Lavender is a commercial garden in the upcountry of Maui which practices environmental stewardship, and for only $3 you can gain admission to the farm. Tours cost $12 but you can wander the gardens on your own for just the admission cost. There are a variety of lavender goods to choose from at the gift shop, and you can order them online even if you can’t make it to the gardens. I think the best way to explain why I love these gardens is to show you!

Ali'i Kula Lavender Gardens

Watching the mist move up the volcano at Ali’i Kula Lavender Gardens – photo by kei

Continue reading

Photo Friday: Vibrant / Kapuaiwa Coconut Grove



Photo Friday Challenge: Vibrant

Today’s Photo Friday challenge is being posted on Saturday, because I’ve been having computer issues… But, anyway, the challenge is “Vibrant” and my interpretation of this is the Kapuaiwa Cocount Grove in Kaunakakai on the island of Molokai, in Hawai’i. The coconut grove was planted in the 1860s, during the reign of King Kamehameha V. The beautiful palms create a vibrant contrast to the blue sky, and the grove itself is vibrant with palms and other tropical plants.

What do you think of my interpretation of vibrant? Link your own vibrant photo in the comments if you like, and I will check it out!