Hawaii Getaway, July 2010

All text and photographs are Copyright (C) 2010, David A. Oshinsky. 

Our 2010 two island tour of Hawaii began with a July 11 flight into the island of Maui (photos), where we stayed for four nights at the amazing Fairmont Kea Lani Resort, located on the south shore in Wailea. This is the second time that we have visited this island and resort (the previous trip is documented at 2008 Hawaii trip). As with our first trip, we found Maui to be a most beautiful island, with an amazing range of scenery from the dry south shore where we stayed, to the barren peak of Haleakala Volcano that is often above the clouds. We did not visit the tropical, wet eastern portion of the island this time, as we knew that we would be visiting that sort of terrain during the next leg of our trip.

The second leg of our trip began with a short flight from Maui's main airport in Kahului to Hilo on the eastern (very wet) side of the Big Island, also known as Hawai'i. The flight provided a marvellous overview of the Big Island, as we flew right past massive Mauna Kea Volcano (with the observatories at the peak clearly visible from the airplane). Since the world's most active volcano, Kilauea, is most accessible from near Hilo, we stayed the first two nights on Hawai'i in the small town of Volcano, at the Lotus Garden Cottages (tripadvisor.com article). We toured amazing Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park for about two days, including a drive one evening to Kalapana to see lava flowing.

We then drove through Hilo to the Hamakua Coast (northeast side of the island, with the same wet climate as Hilo) and stayed for one night at the Palm Cliffs House Inn. After leaving this hotel, we drove further north to Waipio Valley, where we took advantage of our 4WD SUV to drive into the valley. (Judi was terrified that the SUV wouldn't make it; I had a blast.) We then drove towards the western, dry side of the island, where we stayed at the beautiful Fairmont Orchid Resort for four nights. We drove to various locations in the west, north, and south sides of the island from our base on the Kohala Coast. Photos from our entire stay on the Big Island of Hawai'i are located here: Big Island photos.

Our second Hawaii adventure ended with a flight from the Kona airport (about 30 minutes from the Fairmont Orchid). The Big Island of Hawai'i is truly a land of extremes - from the tropical wet region near Hilo, to the world's most active volcano (and the national park surrounding it), to the massive volcanoes of Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea that dominate the landscape from so many locations on the island, to the barren lava fields that pop up all over the dry, Western side of the island.

Finally, a note on the photography. On this trip, I began my experimentation with a fascinating photographic technique known as High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. Basically, this involves taking multiple photos of the same scene at different exposures. The separate exposures are merged into a single photograph using software as explained here. All HDR photos are marked as such in the caption.

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