Green Flash

It was a beautiful evening as I drove home from work. The clear air allowing appreciation of all five volcanoes that loom over South Kohala. Indeed, the horizon was completely clear, the island of Kahoʻolwe visible over 60 miles away.

As I drove I noted the Sun beginning to settle into the distant horizon. At the wheel I couldn’t look long enough to be certain, but I thought I saw an Etruscan vase effect as the solar disk made first contact with the horizon. Curiosity peaked, I pulled over to properly watch the end of sunset. A pleasant surprise rewarded my view, a decent green flash was apparent as the last glimmer vanished.

Better yet, the camera caught the effect as well. Of the dozens of sunsets I have stopped and watched, this was the best green flash seen yet from such a high elevation. Still, it was modest compared to a couple flashes I have seen from sea level. I can only wonder how good this evening’s flash was as seen from the shoreline, 2,000 feet below.

Green Flash
A modest green flash as seen from the Mamalahoa Highway outside Waimea, 1 Dec 2011

A Media Symposium

A substantial portion of my life is now online. In addition to my writing and photography here, I read a number of other blogs. Indeed, much of my view of the world comes from the wide variety of information sources I consume.

The era of a few authoritative news sources (newspapers, network TV, etc.) serving large segments of the public is gone. Perhaps, while this may still be true for the generations of folks who grew up with this arrangement, it is certainly not true for younger generations who have become accustom to the wide variety of information sources available today. We select our news and information sources from a bewildering array of choices. Who we are is reflected in what sources we choose.

In addition to utilizing these new services, an increasing number of people choose to contribute to the dialog. Through removing the traditional barriers, technology allows anyone to begin publishing. Websites and blogs, social networks and video services, permit any voice to be heard, widely distributed and shared with a worldwide audience.

Many news organizations are struggling to come to grips with this new model of information. This was the theme of today’s symposium. A day of seminars and discussions into this new world of journalism.

Panel Discussion
A panel discussion taking place at the UH Media Symposium, with Ian Lind, Andy Parx and John Temple
Assembled by the journalism department at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo, the symposium brought together journalists and bloggers from across the state. An impressive array of names, with many of the most notable figures in Hawaiian media. Together in the same room to discuss a wide variety of issues facing the news business today.

Along with the discussions there were a number of seminars on media basics. A welcome opportunity for a rank amateur such as myself. Unfortunately these were all too brief, as we hurried from room to room through a day packed with events.

A number of the presenters brought their personal experience of living through the tumult of this transition. Folks who had pursued careers in traditional journalism, now finding themselves having to adapt to new media, and new business models. Lives upended by change, stories of loss, and how they are coping, or even taking advantage of the new opportunities. More importantly, as they enter into this new era they have attempted to bring with them the core values of traditional media, of integrity and pursuit of the story.

I may be a mere blogger, but there is always something to learn. Particularly when offered an opportunity like this symposium. I spent today learning. Learning about the business of journalism. Exploring the issues involved with providing an indispensable public service. And seeing, if dimly, where we may be going as a society. A society defined by information and what we do with that information.

(My thanks to Tiffany, who spearheaded this event. She was everywhere and kept everything moving. Well done!)

A Saturday Morning Underwater

An almost empty dive boat with one diver wanting to make the best of his vacation. How to fill the boat? Just ask a couple local divers to round out the group and offer a deal. Why not? So we go diving with a few hours notice.

A splendid Kohala morning! Deep blue water, over 100′ visibility, just a day that you are happy to be out on the water. We depart Kawaihae harbor for Black Point. The new boat Blue Wilderness uses is quite nice. Larger, with much more room, and a very smooth ride as we head north. There are only three divers in a boat that can comfortably handle ten or more.

A Hui Ho
The Blue Wilderness Boat, A Hui Ho, moored off Black Point
I love the Black Point site. Great terrain with ridges and pinnacles of rock, it drops to around 90ft at the sand. On arriving we could easily see the bottom 90ft below, and fortunately there was no current. This exposed site can be nearly un-divable when the current is bad. Not sure if the the site is named for either the black lava point above water, or the black coral to be found at depth. We spend about 10mins at the base of the reef where we find a couple nice black corals.

At the bottom a large green sea turtle fins past, I shoot him against the deep blue water. Swarms of Pyramid Putterflyfish hover above the pinnacles. I get my first good, close up photo of a pyramid. It is generally a very fishy site, with a lot of great photo ops, of which I make good use. Potters angelfish are common, as frustrating as usual as these colorful fish dive into the coral at the merest hint of a diver. There are some nice photos of squirrelfish in the crevices, including the largest species, the Longjaw Squirrelfish.

Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) at 80ft, Black Point
We dive Horseshoe for the second site. Here a number of long caves beckon. Low ceilings, but extensive, the caves lead through the reef and offer opportunities to see many interesting critters. A few species of lobster, shrimp and a couple nudis appear in the lights. I had never before seen the Red Reef Lobster, a handsome red and gold fellow is cornered by my light allowing a few great photos.

Unfortunately the arm holding my flash breaks and I spend the second dive holding the flash separately from the camera. My hand still aches while I type this from clutching the two together. But I am determined to keep shooting. While clumsy, it did allow me unlimited flexibility in flash placement when composing a photo. Time to shop for a new tray and arm for the strobe.

Four dives for me in two weekends, not bad, as I really have not gotten enough bottom time this year. The best season for diving in Hawai’i is now, I should make good use of it!