Hawaii: Pukas

This was one of the most beautiful spots we visited while in Hawaii. The sun, the water, and the rocks all sang in perfect harmony at this photogenic beach.

LotsaSmiles Photography

In Hawaiian, “puka” means simply “hole.”  It is most commonly used in association with the small shells strung together into a necklace.  These have a naturally occurring hole, making them nature’s beads.  The term is also used to refer to holes in the lava rock, much like Pali Puka on Oahu or the heart-shaped puka next to Nakalele Blowhole on Maui.

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Hawaii: Highway Ghosts

An oddity of the Big Island. You learn something new every day!

LotsaSmiles Photography

As we were traveling from beach to mountain to snorkel spot on the big island, we noticed an odd sight: cars abandoned and completely stripped on the side of the road, mere shells of once functional vehicles.

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Hawaii: Punaluu Beach Park

This might have been my favorite part of our trip to Hawaii. I was fascinated by the ruins, and it was interesting to read about it after we got back. I could have spent the entire day there photographing this relic of history.

LotsaSmiles Photography

This is it, folks – the last Hawaii post!  I know some of you are sad about that, but I’m excited to share some photos from some of our other adventures as well.

We took it easy on our last day, making our way back to the Kona side of the big island, stopping into a beach or two, hitting up the southernmost restaurant in the U.S., and wrapping up the trip back at our Puka spot near the airport.

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Hawaii: The Volcano

This was something we missed on our first visit to Hawaii. I’m glad we were able to make it a priority this time around. So much geology to examine and explore!

LotsaSmiles Photography

Hawaii is a series of islands created through volcanic activity.  However, when we honeymooned there seven years ago, it was the one major thing we didn’t fit into our itinerary, despite Aaron’s affinity for geology.  Therefore, we were determined to explore it this time.

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Hawaii: Mauna Kea

The view from atop Mauna Kea is always awe-inspiring. It’s one of the few places one can go from sea level to 14,000′ in an hour or two (without an airplane). Here, you can be on top of the world.

LotsaSmiles Photography

If you’re going to the Big Island, and if you have any fascination with the night sky, you won’t want to miss Mauna Kea.  Home to the world’s largest observatory and nearly 14,000 feet above sea level (and above most cloud layers), you won’t see more beautiful stars, especially if you live anywhere near a metropolitan area.  And for a photographer?  Just, wow.

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Hawaii: South Point

Come explore the southernmost point in Hawaii and (debatably) the U.S. Take the plunge off the 40-foot cliff if you dare…

LotsaSmiles Photography

We couldn’t visit Hawaii without hitting the southernmost tip of the United States.  We had, of course, already been to Florida’s Southernmost Point (though this isn’t even accurate), but this is markedly less touristy and clearly more south.  

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Hawaii: Waipio Valley

We’ll keep the posts to Hawaii for a little bit, then we’ll switch it up again. It’s hard to decide what to post; we do so much!

This trek down to the beach was quite exciting, but we got some cool pictures and some fun memories!

LotsaSmiles Photography

“Waipi’o” means “curved water,” and this can be seen in the concave shoreline and the arcing twin waterfalls visible from the beach nearly a thousand feet below the viewpoint.  Images primarily feature the lofty view.  Most don’t dare brave the 25% grade, 4-wheel-drive-only road down to the bottom, but we aren’t “most people.”

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Hawaii: Two Step

We’ve been posting a lot for Japan, and we have more we’d like to share with you, but we do travel to other places! We thought we’d give you a bit of variety with some other locations.

This was an impromptu photography trip to Hawaii, and it was quite the adventure!

LotsaSmiles Photography

It’s been too long since we’ve travelled (Japan feels so long ago!), and we’ve been itching.  So when a photographer friend invited us to Hawaii for a week of photos, how could I resist?

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A Taste of Japan: Old Meets New

I loved the mix of old and new in Japan!

LotsaSmiles Photography

Japan is full of some of the most amazing culture and fascinating history.  With a civilization many centuries old, Japan has had a lot of time to evolve.  However, they staunchly retain the rich past that defines their architecture, shrines, attitudes, and traditions.  They respect each other and have an incredible work ethic.  They impress the world every year with their technology, yet they loyally maintain structures that have been in existence for over 1300 years.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

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A Taste of Japan: Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

One of our top spots on our photography list, this famous bamboo grove is magnificent, beautiful, and humbling. Be sure to stop by if you’re in the area… or put yourself into the area so you can stop by!

LotsaSmiles Photography

A visit to Kyoto isn’t complete without a trip through the stunning bamboo grove of Arashiyama.  There is nothing more humbling than acres of majestic trees towering above your head, cutting thousands of completely vertical lines 115 feet into the sky.

Bamboo has been revered for its durability for centuries, and it grows incredibly fast, making it a popular renewable resource; the wood is used in thousands of applications.  It is particularly important to the Japanese, who view it as a symbol of prosperity and see its simplicity as representing purity.  Bamboo is unique in its elegance, which is why stalks frequent many zen-hopeful desks, but they are seldom seen in such magnificence.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

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