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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Surf's Up! Honolulu's South Swell

Today's Southern Swell

The waves were pumping this weekend. I was lucky enough to find some time to capture these images of the raging surf that brought happy surfers to the beach. The waves attract not only surfers but also adventurous and casual photographers as well as curious onlookers. The large waves are not recommended to anyone who does not have experience with these type of conditions. Honolulu life guards spend quite some time warning and rescuing people. The safest spot to be is on shore and watching the surf from a distance. It also helps if you have a decent camera with a good telephoto lens. The day I shot this the only cameras I had were my 8 megapixel Canon S5 iS Super Zoom and my iPod Touch. The photos in this set were taken with the Canon.

Big Waves at Sunrise

Gotta love the sunrise light of this shot.

Surf's Up! South Swell Honolulu

The waves seem to come in sets that create layers.

Surf's Up! South Swell Honolulu

Today's Southern Swell

Surf's Up! South Swell Honolulu

The southerly wave action creates quite a salt spray that corrodes a lot of things over time.

Surf's Up! South Swell Honolulu

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

Flickr Set: A Trip to the Top of Oahu - Mt. Ka'ala

Destination: Mt. Ka'ala

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.

Waianae Mountains 2

A view of Mt. Ka'ala from urban Honolulu. It's a world removed.

Top of Mt. Ka'ala - 4,025 ft.

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.

Top of Mt. Ka'ala - 4,025 ft.

Happy Face Spider, though the face doesn't seem to be present.

Top of Mt. Ka'ala - 4,025 ft.

The wooden boardwalk at the top.

Top of Mt. Ka'ala - 4,025 ft.

Gotta love the lush green ferns.

Top of Mt. Ka'ala - 4,025 ft.

Top of Mt. Ka'ala - 4,025 ft.

Top of Mt. Ka'ala - 4,025 ft.

Flickr slideshow: More than 100 photos.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9-11 - We Shall Never Forget

Never forget what happened on this day in 2001. God Bless America.

September 11, 2001.

We Will Never Forget

Monday, September 08, 2014

Beretania Street Construction Project Will Be More Than a Year Long

Safeway Beretania Street

Motorists beware. Construction on Honolulu's Beretania Street is set to begin today. This will be deep, disruptive construction that will last for at least 13 months. What's happening? The street will be dug up, re-layered and coated with new asphalt and cement bus pads. Should be nice when done. The part of most concern is the construction phase that will take place at various hours depending on the location. The project will start at the intersection of Beretania and University and work its way westward to the project's end near the Honolulu Police Station and Alapai Street.

They're adding a bike lane to the street and I am wondering if this will be as disruptive as the one planned for South King Street soon. Will motorists lose on-street parking? We'll see.

The project will cost taxpayers $9.44 million.

Here is the press release from the City and County of Honolulu:

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that the city’s Beretania Street resurfacing project will begin Monday and advised drivers to take alternate streets.

This Beretania project is “full-depth reconstruction,” meaning crews need to dig deeper than most resurfacing projects to ensure the repairs last.  The project will take longer to complete, but then it will last longer.

The road construction is scheduled to begin this Monday, September 8 and be completed before November 2015.

The project includes pavement milling, removal of underlying concrete pavement, reconstruction of curbs, gutters and driveways, construction of new curb ramps, and the installation of concrete bus pads.

The Department of Design and Construction has contracted Road and Highway Builders, LLC to perform reconstruction and resurfacing of the asphalt roadway of South Beretania Street, from University Avenue to Alapa‘i Street.

Work will begin on the University end of Beretania and work towards town. Some lane closures will be in effect 24/7, including the concrete bus pads that need to harden.

The contractor has a noise variance permit from the city and the State Department of Health to work in certain areas between the hours of 7 a.m. and midnight in order to complete the project faster.  Most work will happen Monday to Friday, but some work at major intersections may occur over the weekend.

For any issues or concerns during Beretania Street construction, please call the project hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 945-1000.

On-street parking will be prohibited at times during the project.  Please observe and obey all traffic control devices and special duty officers.

Motorists are advised to take alternate routes, such as Kapiolani Boulevard, Ala Moana Boulevard, Young Street, and other surface streets and allow for extra time.

When resurfacing is completed, a new bike lane will be added onto Beretania Street.

The city is making Honolulu a bicycle-friendly city through the installation of bike infrastructure and the establishment of a bikeshare program, which is scheduled to be operational late next year.  Bike lanes or sharrows were added on both sides of Waialae Avenue when it was resurfaced this year and construction of Oahu’s first off-grade bike path on King Street begins next week. The newly reopened Ala Wai Walking Path also features a bike path.

To view the full schedule of upcoming and completed city road paving projects, please visit honolulu.gov and click “Road Repaving Update

Photo: Beretania Street traffic near the Piikoi Street intersection.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekend of the Super Moon

Waikiki Under the Super Moon

After the week's hurricanes passed Hawaii, the tropical evening was turned into a time to catch the 2nd "SuperMoon" of the season. The phenomenon "is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth." (Wikipedia).

Technicalities aside, the night afforded for some great picture taking at Ala Moana Beach Park. Enjoy the photos that I have of the night lights from Honolulu. All photos copyright Melvin Ah Ching Productions. (2014)

The Evening's Super Moon
The actual moon! Shot with Canon S5 iS.

Honolulu Morning Light

Honolulu City Lights (above early morning shot)


Light Patterns from 2 Planes

Light streaks from passing aircraft. This area is about 3 miles from the airport.

Hilton's Refreshed Rainbow Tower

The Hilton Hawaiian Village wears an updated Rainbow mosaic that is well lit.

The Yacht Club @ Ala Wai

Night shot of the Yacht Club at Ala Wai Boat Harbor.

All photos were shot using a Canon S5 iS super zoom camera. Tripod mounted. Long exposures. File under "photography".