From the Mana Road

I posted about a trip we took along the Mana Road back in December. When reviewing and reflecting on that day about a couple of months ago, I realised that I wanted to do more with those images.  I finally managed to get a few of those photos together and put them into an eBook of sorts. As well as showing a selection of 11 photos from that trip, I also talk a bit about the experience I felt while on the Mana Road. As you can see by the title, it is not really about the road itself, but what you experience and see from the road that mattered to me.

It was a short trip along the Mana Road that day, perhaps just 5 or 6 miles up from Waimea. And now I’m itching to go back and photograph the landscape seen along the length of the whole road. You can find the little eBook published at from the following link (go into full screen mode when you get there):

From the Mana Road.

honomu theatre

Honomu town is just 20 miles or so north along the Hamakua coast from Hilo. It is perhaps most famous as the town you drive through to get to Akaka Falls. It is a quaint town, full of character and is surely known for other things. If the number of churches at the end of the main road are anything to go by, there is a thriving spiritual community present. The gift shops cater to the Akaka tourists but have something to offer for locals also. The antique bottle shop is a fascinating place, providing a sharp and immediate sense of nostalgia to anyone who remembers drinking out of a glass Pepsi or Coca-Cola bottle. And it also has what is probably one of our most favourite eateries in the world, making oh-so-ono sandwiches and home made ice cream.

This burgeoning vitality stands in stark contrast to the decay of the old Honomu Theatre, situated right in the middle of town. I imagine that at one time the H Tanimoto & Sons building was a proud and vibrant focal point for the community at large, a gathering place for people that also happened to present the latest movie shows. Now, the wind beats at the closed doors and boarded windows, and within, I expect the passage of time since the last gathering took place is marked by thick layers of dust carpeting the interior design.

natural sine

This is an antique compass that we have which also doubled up as a navigation device. The list of natural sines on the back would help in calculations of a sailor’s position on the globe. I would also rather have GPS, but it just doesn’t have the same romance, does it?

H/ware: Canon 7D, Canon 500D close up lens
S/ware: Nik filters

the moment of anticipation

Another image from Coconut Island. It really is one of our favourite places, a great spot for families or just a tranquil place to see off the end of the day. The children especially like to come and entertain themselves, and any onlookers, with their antics as they jump off the <…. what is that thing? …> into the waters of Hilo Bay.

H/ware: Canon 7D, Canon EF-S 15-85, Tiffen and B+W filters
S/ware: Nik Software filters

bridge to coconut island

You might notice some softening of the trees and the water. This is because I stacked a neutral density filter (6-stop) with a graduated filter (3-stop) to bring the sky even further down, which enabled me to capture a 6-second exposure in the late afternoon light. I rather like the softness this gave the image.

H/ware: Canon 7D, Canon EF-S 15-85, Tiffen and B+W filters.
S/ware: Lightroom and Nik Software tools.

mana road

While the rest of the island was being deluged by the storms this weekend, we decided to go on an excursion along the Mana Road. This is a road which skirts around the northeastern edge of Mauna Kea, between Waimea and the Mauna Kea Access Road. We went to Waimea, joined up with some friends and spent a few hours driving and exploring along the Mana Road.

Continue reading “mana road”

a sunny weekend in puna


I enjoyed a sunny weekend in Puna and Hilo this weekend with my daughter. Mum was away having fun with her girlfriends so it was just me and Mira. We went down to Puna on a beautiful Saturday to collect some water samples, for Mira’s science project, from the hot ponds at Ahalanui Park and from the tide pools at Pohoiki. These are great places and we always enjoy them when we go, but for me the highlight is always driving through the countryside and especially the tree tunneled road.

The images here have been hdr processed (4 images, each 1-stop apart). I used LR/Enfuse for the top one and Photomatix for the one below. But the soft and glowing look I gave to the images comes from filters within the Nik Software Suite (Color Efex Pro). That’s some cool software!


monster leaf


I took this picture this past weekend. It’s a close up of a leaf from a tree, and this tree had some monster leaves – huge. But I don’t know the name of the tree. I have to brush up on my botany as it’s a bit embarrassing that I should be posting a picture of something that I do not know the name of. It was close to midday and the light was quite harsh, and so I cropped in really close. I was attracted by the naturally regular patterns of the veins in the leaf, the contrast between the highlights and the shadows, and by the texture of the leaf itself. The leaf did not possess a shiny and taut surface but reminded me of old and wrinkly skin.

The post-processing was done with the black & white conversion in Nik Silver Efex Pro, followed by a bit of dodging and burning in lightroom.

pre-visualising a fallen leaf

wpid584-20081019-5008-Edit.jpgWe’re told by the best photographer that pre-visualisation is a key technique to make good photographs. You are supposed to look at a scene or subject and try and imagine what the final result will look like before you press the shutter. And by ‘final’ what is meant is after all the post-processing is complete and you’ve printed your image or published it to your blog.

Continue reading “pre-visualising a fallen leaf”

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