Here we have the reason my wife and I chose the Big Island rather than another Hawaiian location: actual flowing lava.

The lava is not to be seen from the Kilauea crater in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. It is roughly an hour's drive from there (because of the route one must take to get to that destination), down at the coast. The lava flows underground and emerges where the land meets the ocean.

At the end of route 130 people a dirt parking lot allows the public to start assembling around sunset. Then from there it's about a half-mile trek across hardened lava fields to the viewing area. Which itself is about 3/4 mile away, because the flow is (at least on the day we were there) on private property.

Mostly what one sees is the massive plumes of steam caused by the lava hitting the water. And before the sun has completely set, the orange glow of the lava on the steam is less vibrant. But after darkness is complete, the glow is impressive.

The lava is only visible in two of these (the third and fourth from the end--notice the bright yellow portions) because the burbling spurts of lava that popped up from time to time never occurred when I was shooting. Suffice it to say: These shots don't capture how phenomenal it was.

(The last shot is the spots of glowing lava coming down the hill, peeking through holes in the ground.)

[For the photo geeks:  Not having a tripod and not being able to get up to the edge of the viewing area (because of all the people lined there), most of these had to be taken by holding the camera over my head (to get over the people), with the zoom set to its maximum, employing very fast exposures, and trying to hold my arms as steady as possible. So please pardon that some of these aren't perfectly sharp.]

2 July 09

Kahuna Falls

Big Island of Hawai'i
Kahuna Falls (in Akaka Falls State Park) is less impressive than the ones for which the park is named--the first shot is the only one of the falls, and from the vantage point available really all you can see is the crevice and not so much the falls. (That's undoubtedly why everyone recommends one visit this one first, almost as an appetizer for the eyes before Akaka.) However, along the trail to the falls in the foliage there's bamboo trees, little streams, and gorgeous red flowers.

Fern in Akaka

Big Island of Hawai'i
Along the trail to Akaka Falls my wife took these amazing macros of these new fern leaves--and with a point & shoot A1000.

2 July 09

Akaka Falls State Park

Big Island of Hawai'i
In Akaka Falls State Park, along the trail to the eponymous falls (see previous post) one encounters impressive foliage, and a little waterfall to whet the appetite. Near the vista point are a number of toppled trees covered in moss.

(As with the previous post at Akaka, a few of these shots were taken by my lovely and talented wife.)

Akaka Falls

Big Island of Hawai'i
Akaka Falls in Akaka Falls State Park, north of Hilo along the Hamakua Coast

We start with two shots of the falls including the sign on the overlook. Why? The first one was taken by me with my S3 (and spruced up a tiny bit on the computer):

And this second one was taken by my talented wife with our other little pocket camera (no post processing):

We were shooting separately, but both recognized the same general layout. However, notice how she went with aligning the bottom with the line of the text on the sign whereas I went with a fairly conventional straight orientation. One doesn't need a fancy camera for good photography.

Now the rest of my semi-worthwhile shots:

2 July 09