Travel Theme: Illuminated

Without illumination, there would be no photography.  Even the worst pictures illustrate illumination.  That being said, shooting into the sun illuminates.  When the sun is blocked, an interesting outline appears.  I scooted under a huge anchor to take this picture.

Luau Kalamaku in KauaiIf an object is translucent, it acts like a filter shadowing what is behind it.  To me this looks like a little alien carrying a pappoose pointing its finger at something.  We had gone to a Luau in Kauai.  The grounds attracted us back the next day for closer inspection.

SFW Luau Grounds030c

The night before at the luau, illumination came from man-made lights.  Since it required longer exposures, the photographer has to be careful not to move.  When a tripod isn’t available, that is difficult, but the results can still be interesting.

Luau Kalamaku in Kauai

Slow motion shows up when illuminated.

Luau Kalamaku in Kauai

Some surfaces reflect back the sun or lights when the photographer shoots toward them.  Nothing behind or underneath the reflective object is visible.

SFW Santa Monica165

I visited Santa Monica to get this sparkly picture.  My bird friend is well illuminated.

Clouds change colors when illuminated.  Cameras capture the sun as it truly is, a gaseous object.  People everywhere take sunset shots and it seems that we never tire of them.

SFW Santa Monica175

Santa Monica at sunset combined both artificial and fading natural light to illuminate the ferris wheel.

I hope you enjoyed my beachy tour of lights.  To be further illuminated, click here.

Manny and Marsha at the Botanical Gardens in Kauai, HI

The air dripped that day, but not with rain.  The sun burned it into sweat, dripping into my pores.  Manny seemed cool as a cucumber and was his rambunctious fuzzy self.

"Mom, why are you sweating so much?  It's cloudy!  Come on take me out in the garden to play!"
“Mom, why are you sweating so much? It’s cloudy! Come on take me out in the garden to play!”

The palm frond tickled as he slid down its ridged surface.

"Mom, there's sticky stuff on my ...whoaaaaa"
“Mom, there’s sticky stuff on my …whoaaaaa”  You can see in this picture that Manny has had a body lightening treatment at Spa Photoshop.

He couldn’t even look up, he slid so fast.  Must  have been the G force!  🙂

"Wheeeeeeee!  Catch me , Mom"  Too late!
“Wheeeeeeee! Catch me , Mom” Too late!

No sooner had he slid to the ground, than he found a rock to climb.  I was afraid he might get dirty since the palm did have sap on it. As it turned out, I was the only one that got sapped.  It took all my energy to play that day!  🙂  Mostly I just watched at he frolicked.

Ugh!  Help me up, Mom."
Ugh! Help me up, Mom.”  I lightened Manny in Photoshop so that he would stand out, and darkened the rock.   Do you like it?

He was tired by the time he made it to the top.  (Thank goodness!)

"Mom, could I just go back to the car now?"
“Mom, could I just go back to the car now?”

He posed with the women who sold us our $35 walking tour tickets.  Then he told me he wanted to go back to the car and sleep.  That sticky stuff must have been honey, and he ate TOO much!

OK, I'll get down now, please!"
OK, I’ll get down now, please!”

The two ladies weren’t too sure about getting their pictures taken with Manny, but I convinced them it was a good thing.  Manny wasn’t so sure it was.

"Say cheese!  Manny you lok tuckered out."
“Say cheese! Manny you look tuckered out.”  “I am Mom!  I’m sitting up nicely, aren’t I?  I’m sooooo sleepy!”

I walked him back to the car, and by the time I got back it was time to get on the air-conditioned bus for the mile drive down to the garden floor.   Air-conditioning never felt so good.  The trade winds have changed directions, according to the news, and left Kauai in a world of muggy air, bugs, and less rain.

Like a rain forest.  Where's the Bird of Paradise?
Like a rain forest. Where’s the Bird of Paradise?

Manny had a nice rest in the car.  Cindy, Vince, and I enjoyed Driver Bob’s narration for one mile, then we were off to see the garden.

Driver Bob narrated the entire 1 mile drive.  We busily memorized plant names.
Driver Bob narrated the entire 1 mile drive. We busily memorized plant names gazed glassy-eyed out the windows.

We watched the building dedication ceremony, walked back, and made it back in an hour – just in time to get picked up to catch the bus back up the hill.

Two girls read while they waited for the bus.  Everybody's energy was sapped!
Two girls read while they waited for the bus. Everybody’s energy was sapped!

Hope you enjoyed Manny’s and my adventures.  He will be back next Thursday!  🙂

Monk Seal at Poipu Beach

We spent only a week in Kauai, HI, but I have way more than a week’s worth of posts – even though they are not written yet.  I’ll post this one, the I’ll take a break from HI so I don’t bore you too much.  This was our first visit to the local beach.  We didn’t have a sandy beach outside our resort, and the one within walking distance wasn’t guarded.  So each day we drove five minutes to Poipu Beach where there was a life guard, picnic tables, and a guarded section of the beach that was like a wading pool.  This was Day #1  Before we could even hop in the ocean, the lifeguard tower blasted out a warning.  “Get out of the water.  A monk seal is approaching.  Get out of the water!”

Rumor is that she’s dangerous.  I think she’s just hormonal.  Anyway she cleared the protected beach at Poipu, Kauai, HI.  She approached lazily, and no one moved very quickly to get out of the water in response to the lifeguard’s microphone’s voice warning swimmers of her approach.  There are only 1,500 left and they live here in Kauai, so they get their way.

Everyone out of the water!  Give her room!  She is dangerous.
Everyone out of the water! Give her room! She is dangerous.

My pictures of her turned out blurry.  Soon she sped up and swam to the protected shallow waters where kids played protected from the surf by a ledge of unapproachable lava rocks.  She lounged on her back soaking up some rays, then dipped under to get cool while the multitudes warmed their heels in the sand.

Nobody minded getting out of the water, and everyone ran to grab their cameras.
Nobody minded getting out of the water, and everyone ran to grab their cameras.

Day #2  I should have known to take my camera today when we went out for a cup of coffee.  I mean we were only going to grab a cup and bring it back to our Diamond Resort home away from home.  Right?  Of course, WRONG!

After we grabbed our coffee, the car turned towards the beach at Poipu Point again, and there she was.  Charming the tourists she flapped her way over to give them a little kiss and a playful tap with her flippers.  The life guards ran frantically out of their tower like ants swarming a piece of peanut brittle on the cement.  They shooed back the squatting onlookers trying to get a good picture and a chance to rub her tummy.  They spent a bit of time penning her in because she moved, then flopped, moved, flopped.  They gave her a large playpen with multiple warning stakes with “keep out” ropes marking a perimeter all around her.

Day #3 The next day she was sunning herself when we got to the beach.  After enjoying a brief float, I joined the large group of onlookers, and clicked pictures at every angle.

Our Monk Sea Lion is pregnant.

Day #4  By our last visit to Poipu Beach Monk Seals were old news, so I didn’t take any more pictures.  She was just sleeping.  She did move her flippers much like fingers, and sort of scratch herself.  She was laying on her back this time, so I don’t thing that her tracking device bothered her too much.

If you can read and remember all this, you get a gold star!  :)
If you can read and remember all this, you get a gold star! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this brief vacation to Hawaii.  I know we did.  But it is good to be home, too.  Our puppy girl, Kalev, was very glad that finally got back.  She was jealous that Manny got to go and she didn’t.  I hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend.  🙂

Sunday Post: Perspective: Best Luau Ever

Thank you Jake for this challenge to help me share my perspective of our luau experiences.  To learn how to enter your own posts about perspectives, visit Jake’s Sunday Post.

water-snake-2013

From my perspective the luau we attended in Kauai on Friday, May 30, 2013 was the best we ever attended.

Luau Kalamaku in Kauai
Can you guess how I got this perspective?  No I wasn’t inside a bottle!  The answer is in one picture in this post, but you will have to guess. I didn’t label it as the answer!

The concierge at our Diamond Resort, The Point at Poipu, influenced our perspective when he told us LUAU KALAMAKU was the best luau we ever attended.

We're going to a hukilau.
We’re going to a hukilau.

We felt like expert luau attenders because we have had the privilege of going to several luaus on other islands over the years. The last luau we attended we decided would be our last.  From our perspective it was a waste of money.  We spent most of our time standing in long lines.  If I had just won the lottery in Florida, I would have a different perspective on the price of luaus.  However, from the perspective of my budget, luaus are ALWAYS EXPENSIVE, and the food in every other luau tasted just ok to #@%#@% from my Midwestern taste buds’ perspective!  (Did I say that out loud?)  Not only that, luaus are always buffets which from the perspective of a husband who hates people dishing food out of the same bowls was an experience to be endured and not enjoyed.  My mother and cousin Hal would have a different perspective on the buffet style service. The luau shows have been good, we usually had a back row seat which gave us a distant, and somewhat blurry perspective.  Nonetheless, this was Vince’s sister, Cindy’s, first trip to Hawaii, and we felt she should experience an Hawaiian luau from her own perspective.

Luau Kalamaku in Kauai

From the moment we drove in, we knew this one would be different.  No, it wasn’t cheap!  It wasn’t at a hotel, however.  First of all, there was no line, and beautiful people greeted us at every turn.  The requisite picture-taking took seconds, and again more smiling, gorgeous, hardbodied people appeared to pose with us.  We then entered the huge permanent tent structure where a polite and friendly usher escorted us to our assigned table, which was about 6 feet from center stage.  Our perspective would be excellent for the entire show.  All of us at our table happened to be from CA.

We were free to play until the show started.  From the perspective of a child this would make going to dinner a great experience.  As an adult, I didn’t come in from all the activities outside until they rang the dinner bell three times.  Outside of the tent were opportunities to play original Hawaiian games.  Cindy and I both tried bowling.  You had to throw a wooden disk between the same color pegs stuck into the ground about 10 feet in front of us.  The two girls demonstrated, then we were on our own.  We both bowled 150/300.  Not bad for 2 disks!   It’s all a matter of perspective!  My worst score in regular bowling was 9/300.  (Don’t ask!)

We didn’t take time to try any other games, but walked around to the different vendors.  Soon the show started – BEFORE the dinner.  In fact it kept going while the dinner salad and bread was served.  Singing and dancing continued while each group went to one of the four smoothly running buffet lines.  Yes, we still had to go through a buffet!  There was a brief intermission after everyone had received their food, and then the main attraction, the history of Hawaii’s settlement, started two hours after we arrived.  We hadn’t even realized that two hours had elapsed.  Our perspective would have been much different if the pre-food show hadn’t been so interactive.  Vince even took me to center stage to dance with full house of romantics.

The Playbill had the gist of the story.  I’ll summarize it for you.

A Polynesian father tells his daughter, Orama, that he and her fiancé were going with the other island men to Hawaii to seek a better life.  The long canoe trip would be long and dangerous across open waters with nothing to guide them, but the stars.   He prays to Akua for safe traveling and to watch over his daughter.

Devastated, Orama has a dream shown to her by Ka Uhane o Ke Kai.  In the dream she reunites with her love, Ari, and they have a child.

The arduous journey brings the island men safely to Hawaii.   Ari, in the meantime, has a dream of dragon ladies, a fire goddess, and her lover.  (I think he was working too hard.)  The industrious men produce abundant crops and find plentiful fish in the new land of Hawaii.

Father sends for his daughter, who arrives safely, marries, and has her dream child.

This story is skillfully set to ORIGINAL music with dancing in beautiful costumes.  The dancers are both young and old, and up close and personal.  Very personal!  (but modest, too)  Even from our perspectives as haoles, the musical story clearly explained how amazing it was that Polynesians discovered and settled Hawaii thousands of years ago.  The pictures aren’t nearly as clear, but from my perspective as a experimental photographer I think they are more than cool, so I’m including them.  Don’t look for any explanations!!!  🙂

After the end of the production, the actors posed with anyone in the audience who wanted to take a picture with them.  We tried taking one of Cindy, but we weren’t ready with the flash, and after two tries without one, Cindy grabbed her disposable camera, and we tried that.  I hope it comes out!

Anyone besides me have an astigmatism?
Anyone besides me have an astigmatism?  Why doesn’t someone come up with a challenge:  Blurry But Beautiful?

Now for some different perspectives.  Neither Cindy or Vince are known for their overwhelming enthusiastic endorsements.  Both come out of the luau showering praises all over the parking lot, and in the car all the way home.  It was “wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!” Cindy exclaimed.

“It was the best luau ever – BY FAR!” Vince raved.

If you are ever in Kauai be sure to go to the LUAU KALAMAKU.  You won’t regret it.  It’s the highlight of our trip.  I hope you enjoyed it as well, complete with totally weird pictures.  🙂

Here are some pictures of the grounds we took on a different day.

If you would like to visit Hawaii, and want a rent a two bedroom resort suite with an ocean view, email me at tchistorygal@gmail.com.

Manny Goes to Grove Cafe in Kauai, HI

Aunt Cindy and Vince go on ahead while Manny explores the lay of the land.
Aunt Cindy and Vince go on ahead while Manny explores the lay of the land.

We, V, C, M and I,  just got back from a wonderful vacation in Kauai, HI.  Manny’s favorite place in all of Kauai was a famous restaurant in the little town of Waimea called The Grove Cafe.  Yelp gave The Gove Cafe three star rating, and told us how to get there, but Manny gave it 6 stars and a few planets.  You know when you see tour busses, that it must be a good place to eat.

"Whew, they're just leaving!"  Manny breathed a sigh of relief.  :)
“Whew, they’re just leaving!” Manny breathed a sigh of relief. 🙂

Manny loved The Grove Cafe for many reasons.

  • First of all everyone was very friendly and helpful and Manny got to drive a cart.
  • He got to explore an outdoor brick oven.
  • He got to order from the menu like a grown-up bear.
  • The waitress smiled at him a lot, and told us that he cold play outside when we finished eating.
  • It had a big room for dancing with Ute, only she wasn’t there.
  • The food was amazing.  Vince had a shrimp appetizer.  Cindy had minestrone soup and salad, and Marsha and Vince shared catch of the day with sweet potato fries.
  • There were no windows, just ledges so the ocean breezes ruffled his fur.
  • It was so fun to play outside after we all ate.
  • There was a huge banyan tree in the back yard.

You can play this song as you watch Manny in this slide show.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlYUsZFTaWo

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The weather in the Garden Isle of Kauai at the end of May couldn’t have been better. A few sprinkles were all that fell on us the entire week.

BTW We are going to have a week or two that we will rent at either Maui or Kauai.  If you are interested in taking a trip to Hawaii, and are interested in renting our timeshare, please contact me by email:  tchistorygal@gmail.com