Wednesday, October 08, 2014
Hawaii sky viewers were blessed with good weather early Wednesday morning as the moon went into eclipse for the second time this year. It was a cosmic show as the Earth's shadow slowly nibbled away on the night's full moon as the giant white disc slipped into darkness. At its apex was totality, an erie state of being where the Earth's shadow almost completely blots out the sunlight. While not exactly dark, the fully eclipsed moon turned a blood red / rustic orange color for all the world to see. And so there it was, the perfect cosmic photo op that had thousands of shutter-bugs snapping away in the early morning darkness. It was a sight to behold!
Wide shot of the fully eclipsed moon high above my building.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Honokaa People's Theatre has beaten the odds and got its funding through a Kickstarter campaign to purchase a new digital projection system in order to keep showing films well into the future.
The theatre was forced to purchase a $60,000 digital projection system in order to continue showing films beyond the end of this year. The movie industry is abandoning the practice of sending films out on 35mm prints and moving on to a digital delivery system. All of the big, mainstream theatre chains have converted to digital projection.
Small operators and second run movie houses have been caught in an expensive dilemma of either biting the digital bullet and upgrading, or going dark because of cost and the fact that movies will not be delivered on film anymore. Film projectors will become as obsolete as victrola phonographs, 8-track tape players and VCRs.
Because the cost of obtaining a digital projector was so great, Honokaa People's Theatre turned to the community in order to seek funding. The Kickstarter campaign was launched early this summer with the goal of bringing in $40,000 to fund a major part of the system. At the campaign's end on September 27, the theatre covered its goal and then some by bringing in $43,995.
The theatre held an earlier campaign in which it raised $10,000. The film Honokaa Boy is being used as a fundraising vehicle where it has been shown numerous times in the theatre. The Japanese made film was shot in Honokaa in 2008 where the theatre itself was one of the central locations in the story about a young man's relationship with an older woman.
To say the least the operators of the theatre are happy as expressed in their latest Kickstarter email: "Big mahalos friends! From the bottom of our hearts, we love you all and we're so glad to be here! Wooo hooo we made it!"
Honokaa People's Theatre has been in business since 1930 operated for most of its existence by the Tanimoto family who owned other theaters on the Big Island of Hawaii. The theatre changed hands in the late 1980s when Dr. Tawn Keeney bought it and upgraded the facility over several years.
Today People's Theatre not only shows movies, but is a showcase for many live music and dance events as well as classes for the people in the Hamakua - Honokaa community.
While a digital future is assured in Honokaa, Hilo's discount movie theatre in the old Kress building closed on September 26 because its operators Regal Entertainment Group could not justify the cost of upgrading their equipment to digital. The theatre space has been leased to a church.
The author spent his childhood and teen years in Honokaa and attended many movies at People's Theatre from the 1960s through the late 1970s. He is one of the donors to the Kickstarter campaign. Written and photographed by Melvin Ah Ching. Photos (top): Honokaa People's Theatre familiar facade. Below: The interior of the theatre looks much like it always has except that some of the front row seats were removed to make room for a larger stage area.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Gotta love the sunrise light of this shot.
The waves seem to come in sets that create layers.
The southerly wave action creates quite a salt spray that corrodes a lot of things over time.
The sunrise light is one of the best times to take these surf shots.
All of the published photos stream on this embedded Flickr slideshow. I have not only the waves, but also some of the people watching and photographing the event, as well as some sunrise shots. All photos were taken by Mel on September 14, 2014.
Monday, September 15, 2014
I'm starting a new feature here at The Hawaii Files. It's the Flickr Set of the Week. As some of you know, I post thousands of pictures to the Flickr photo sharing service every year. Over the past 10 years I've managed to post more than 17,000 photos to Flickr. I'm still adding photos on almost a daily basis to Flickr of just about anything and everything.
I figure why not share some of the Flickr sets and albums with The Hawaii Files readers. So here we go.
Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to go on a State Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) excursion to the top of Mt. Ka'ala in the Waianae mountains on Oahu. Mt. Ka'ala is the highest peak on Oahu rising 4,025 feet above sea level. The tall mountain is actually a plateau and is located in a pristine watershed area and rain forest that is zoned for preservation by the State of Hawaii.
What I learned on the day-long excursion is that the area like several others in the State is the home of valuable watershed, a place where our life giving water originates. The Mt. Ka'ala Natural Area Preserve encompasses 1,100 acres of lush, green rain forest. It is the home to many rare plant and animal species like the tiny Happy Face Spider. Endangered plant species are numerous and rare.
One thing for sure about Mt. Ka'ala. The weather can change quite fast. It may look clear and sunny from the base. However by the time you reach the top of the mountain, it can be socked in with low lying clouds with falling rain.
Access to the mountain for the general public is by a grueling uphill hike. Once you reach the top, you are greeted by a wooden boardwalk that spans the publicly accessible rain forest. If the weather is clear one may be able to catch spectacular views of areas downslope from the mountain.
Government officials use a narrow, private road that is closed to the public. Signs and a locked gate at the road's beginning warn the public to stay away or face a monetary fine or arrest.
A view of Mt. Ka'ala from urban Honolulu. It's a world removed.
The top of Mt. Ka'alA is often shrouded by low-lying clouds (fog) and rainy. Here is a view from the top and the nearby FAA tracking station that is off limits to the public.
Happy Face Spider, though the face doesn't seem to be present.
The wooden boardwalk at the top.
Gotta love the lush green ferns.
Flickr slideshow: More than 100 photos.