Only Mountains Can Be Better Than Mountains

When someone mentions Hawaii what do you think about? Sandy beaches? Blue ocean? Palm trees?

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I go to Hawaii every year for the past I don’t know how many years. Over time I noticed a pattern: I’m more and more drawn to inland of an island. To the mountains, cold rough peaks, tropical forests.

Most memorable time of my last trip to Kauai was a hike thru a tropical forest in Waimea canyon. It was windy, cold, with a drizzle. And it was mesmerizing. I have not brought any images from the hike but I brought my best emotions from it.

Now that I’m reviewing images from the whole trip I noticed that I have not a single image of palm tree or a sandy beach. I have images of ocean but it is not blue and pleasant. It is rough and grey fighting with a rocky shore.

Next time I go to Kauai, I’ll likely spend even more time hiking inland.

Fascination with Lofoten

I’ve spent 3 amazing days in Lofoten and I fell in love with it. It is a chain of islands in Norway above arctic circle connected by bridges and tunnels.

I had such a misconception from my childhood about life above arctic circle. I imagined Lofoten to be ice and snow, and rock not covered by ice and snow, devoid of life.

It turned to be something completely different. Lofoten was vibrant and lively with green grass, blue sky, sunshine, white sand beaches, emerald ocean and mild temperatures. It was not even nearly as cold as I imagined it. I found it hard to believe I was above arctic circle.

I wanted to stop and touch every tree, touch the grass, the sand and water. It was so far from what I expected that it felt surreal, science fiction. I had to touch it all to check that it was real and not a figment of my imagination.

Sitting in the car watching ripples of water run up and down while sandy beach made me feel like I’m in Hawaii. It was a bit colder than Hawaii when I was getting out of the car. 🙂

You know what was even more surreal? Having no night. It was a beginning of arctic summer, when the sun shines round the clock. It was surreal to hike at midnight and have daylight.

Driving thru the small towns at “night” felt eerie. It was bright as day but there were no people, no movement. It was like in science fiction or horror movies when you wake up one day and all the humanity is gone.

There is so much to photograph there: snow capped mountains, waterfalls, ocean, sandy beaches, rocky beaches, mountain rivers, green meadow, lakes, tiny islands. And best of all I could hike pretty much everywhere. There is very little private land. I spotted a waterfall up the mountain while driving, I just stopped where I could and went up. This was such an enjoyment to roam the land, to wonder around.

There was a payback for all that “night” travel as I was red eyed from lack of sleep but it was totally worth it. If you’ve never been above arctic circle in summer, make sure it is on your “bucket list”.

Kubota Garden

Isn’t it amazing how sometimes we have something interesting close by and yet cannot seem to find time to visit the place?

I’ve heard of Kubota Garden in Seattle long time ago. I’ve meant to visit it many times. And yet I have not visited it once. That was until this this year. A few fellow photographers went there to photograph fall colors. While I could not go with them I made a promise to myself to go there next week. I kept the promise and I’m glad I did.

Turned out the Kubota Garden is a very picturesque place with large variety of trees, human made waterfalls, intricate network of trails. The bright hues of fall were mixed with evergreens.

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The weather was not great the sky was grey and featureless but promise is a promise I had to keep it. In the end it turned out well. The sun broke thru the clouds and I was treated to a nice rainbow. I found this nice composition with a bridge and rainbow repeating each others arc. It was raining and you can see water drops on the water.

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