Sunday, September 14, 2014

Catching-Up A Little.

This post covers the last week, or so, culminating with a bit of a "travel-jog" to Waikiki Beach this morning to have a look at the large waves south-facing beaches of O'ahu will be enjoying through Tuesday.  Here we go!  Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

September 12th, just after six AM.  We don't see the sunrise from our lanai, but we are able to enjoy it indirectly as it illuminates whatever clouds are about.  The colors were so beautiful that morning.

Later that morning, we were having breakfast on the lanai and heard a rather distressed voice.  Looking down, we noticed this homeless man had decided to take a nap on the sidewalk.  All of his few belongings are in the baby stroller seen in the photo.  Passersby walked around him, sometimes even entering the street to avoid getting too close.  Eventually, paramedics arrived to check on his condition.  They spent about fifteen minutes with him and before they departed, he was up and moving slowly with his things.  Even Paradise has its share of homeless people, many of whom need mental health care much more than food or shelter.  It's sad to see emergency medical professionals, as well as, police, called upon to respond to people who should clearly be in institutions designed and staffed to properly care for them.  Maybe someday...

This was taken this morning, 14 September, at 6:03 AM.  I've posted a photo of this state government building before, but this morning I saw it in a "different light", so-to-speak.  I never realized it was a giant stained glass window!  During daylight hours, it simply looks like decorative cut-outs, with no hint that it's so much more.  I was on the way to Waikiki Beach to have a look at what was predicted to be waves up to eight feet high.  It's the second south shore swell in just over a week.

Made it!  My previous surfing experiences were at Star Beach Boys, located just down the beach from Hawaiian Oceans Waikiki, but I had a reason to try this place.  A neighbor in our building is a surfing instructor here, so a week ago Friday, I jogged over and took a lesson.  Todd is about my age, in great shape and really knows how to teach.  With his help and great coaching, I caught four decent waves and was very pleased with the experience.  Sadly, their photographer wasn't there to capture my success, so you'll just have to take my word for it. :)  Today, however, I was only there to play tourist and snap photos of the big surf.

The water was crowded with experienced surfers eager to try the great waves.  This was taken at 6:38 AM--a beautiful time to surf.  The sun hasn't yet risen over Diamond Head, the sky is pink and blue and the water is perfectly comfortable.  Farther out, you can see the sun illuminating the breaking waves.  This young lady will soon be out there!

A group of early-rising tourists have gathered near the shore to get photos of the large waves.

Sorry about the poor focus, but this photo still shows a surfer having a great ride.  The sun made the white water really stand-out.

Looking west, the sun has lit-up the Sheraton Waikiki hotel.  Nestled in front of the Sheraton is the "Pink Palace of the Pacific"--The Royal Hawaiian hotel.  All of those boards lined up belong to Hawaiian Oceans Waikiki.

Another not-so-hot photo, but notice the tip of a surf board sticking out of the white water.  Must have been an exciting wipe-out!

Two more surfers working their way to a spot to enter the water.  These guys must be very good surfers according to their boards.  Beginners (like me) are usually on boards twelve feet long, which is like surfing on a dining room table! :)

The waves crashing into the beach.  The orange canopy to the right, is where Hawaiian Oceans Waikiki instructors and attendants hangout.

One final shot of the action.  These waves would have been wasted on me!  I plan on pursuing surfing with my neighbor until I can competently handle waves this big.  That is, if I stay healthy and mobile for another couple of years! :))

On the way home, I came across this vintage auto at the Luana Hotel.  I don't know if they use it to pick-up guests or if it's just a beautifully-restored static display.

What a sweet ride.

Nice radiator cap.

A bit of a building boom is underway here.  I like the contrast of the curve of the trees along Kapiolani Boulevard with the angular condo tower under construction.  Still on the way home.

The previously "Super Moon" setting and plumeria blossoms.

The "Never Ending" Self-Portrait at 64.  This photo was taken on 9 September and after re-examining it today, I decided it was the closest yet to looking more like a painting than a photo.  It's gone now, too, re-worked to death until it had the blended look I'm so eager to get beyond.  Maybe, just maybe, it will morph into a final and completed self-portrait before I turn 65! :) 

Yeah...I know...another boring sunset. :)

Have a great week everybody!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Harbor, Sunsets And Favorite Portraits.

Today, I thought I'd share a few spectacular sunset photos, some examples of what I consider to be exceptional portraiture by envy-worthy artists and a very clean harbor.

This was taken at 6:36 PM on August 29th.

This image of the harbor was taken at 10:37 AM on August 31st.  I wanted you to see an example of a busy port with water clean enough for fish to live in and people to swim in.  This morning the colors were what you expect to see at tropical island beaches, not a harbor.  Moving on...

Sunset, August 31st.  Click on any photo to enlarge.

A detail of a self-portrait by Lucian Freud.  My blogger pal, Rhonda Carpenter commented about not knowing what I was trying for after seeing the rework of my Self-Portrait at 64.  This would qualify as an excellent example. :)

This portrait was painted by Anthony Connolly.  Not much blending to be found here, but another example of what I'm trying to do.

Portrait of Mo, by Julian Merrow-Smith.  These three artists have so much to offer if one desires to go beyond mere photocopying in paint.  I hope Rhonda stops by to view this post and all her questions are answered. :)))

Forgot to add this:  By Andrew James, it's a portrait of General Yakubu Gowon.  And how 'bout this:  It's 40 x 30-inches, which just happens to be one of my favorite canvas sizes!  I love everything about this painting, including the simple background. 

September 1st sunset and what a grand one it was.  Smoke from a brush fire added the reddish colors.  I almost expected to hear a heavenly choir thundering out Handel's, Hallelujah Chorus!

A zoomed view.

The sun finally made an appearance to put its exclamation point on the spectacle.

I've changed my running time to 6:00 AM the recent week and must remember to take along the camera.  The sunrise does put on a pretty great show, too.  This morning, cumulus clouds, seemingly on the horizon and high enough to catch the first rays of the sun, were turned beautiful shades of pink and soft orange.  Much less traffic and lots more joggers out at that hour.  Honolulu is an early-rising city!  I hope you had a good day, too. :

Friday, August 29, 2014

Update: The Self-Portrait At 64.

As usual, I couldn't leave well-enough alone, so for the past weeks it's been re-work time for the self-portrait at 64.  At the bottom, you'll see what it looked like in a July post and the top photo is the painting as it is today.  Major changes include changing the direction of the light and darkening the background.  I'm also trying really hard to limit blending.  Brushstrokes are nice to see for a change! :) 

All recent work has been done from life, using a mirrored closet door, a hand-held mirror and a plumb bob.  It's been challenging at times, due to the too-strong light flooding the studio through the wall of windows, as well as, getting accurate measurements to improve the drawing.  A tiny blind spot in the center of vision of my right eye turns any attempt using it into a "best guess".   

I purchased a three-fold screen to help reduce the intense light, but even though the windows are tinted and have blinds, it's still not enough.  The ultimate solution has been to work at night, using a single lamp to achieve some semblance of the desired "Rembrandt Lighting".  Anyone who has tried painting a portrait--a "selfie", or someone else--knows how important accurate drawing is to achieving a likeness.  On the other hand, many great portraits are anything but a likeness of the subject, so there's still hope for this! :)

27 August.  I'm liking the painting more now, because it looks like a painting, yet still retains a pretty good likeness.  It's been drying for the last few days and it's time for further work.  Click on any of the photos for a close-up.

26 August.  Still struggling with everything.

 18 August.  Chalky and still needing work...lots of work.

Here is the August 9th version.  Quite a change to the lighting, among other things. 
This was the painting when it was posted on July 11th, 2014.  It's a combination of photo reference and life.  Not all bad, in my humble opinion, but the eyes were a little strange and I wanted it to be closer to what I see in a mirror rather than the camera's idea.

Couldn't end this post without a sunset and a photo or two of a dinner we had on August 21st, with our great friends Sally and Barbara.  

Barbara raising her glass, me pouring another and Michele working on dinner.

Barbara, Sally and Michele.  Michele prepared a magnificent dinner of salmon, asparagus and a cucumber salad.  Dessert was vanilla ice cream with blueberry reduction.

This group shot was taken without a flash and gives a truer sense of a candlelight dinner on the lanai.

28 August sunset.  Ah-h-h. :)))  Have a nice Labor Day Holiday!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sunsets And The Super Moon.

Some photos from the lanai the last couple of days:

This is the August 11th sunset, along with an Hawaiian Airlines jet heading for one of the other islands.

A longer view of the August 11th sunset.  The sunset colors have been truly beautiful lately.

This was taken on the morning of August 12th as the "Super Moon" was setting.  I know this doesn't make the moon look particularly super, but technically, it was a day after the actual event.  That's what I get for zooming-out to have something else in the photo. :(

Wow!!  Yeah...I know, pretty boring.  I waited patiently for one of several airliners departing from Honolulu International to cross its path, (or come close) for what would have been a much more interesting photo, but was unsuccessful.  The one aircraft that did come close did so before I was ready and I missed the shot.  After that, the moon sank lower, becoming much more difficult to see and the aircraft didn't cooperate, either.

August 12th sunset.  As the sun's path moves to the south, it's now visible setting behind the Waianae Range and before long, we'll watch it slip beneath the waves again.  A day or so ago, the local news featured a video taken which caught the "Green Flash".  Sure hope we see it again some day.

An inter-island flight departing as the sun sets.  Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

A few seconds earlier, another shot, zoomed a little.

Finally, the sun adds a golden glow to these puffy clouds .

Hope you all had a good day.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Tropical Storm Iselle, 8 August 2014

Hawaii is normally ignored by the world's meteorologists, due to her boringly perfect weather.  Thanks to El Nino, things are a bit different this year.  "Iselle", born off the west coast of Mexico, grew into a Category III hurricane at one point in its journey across the Pacific and took direct aim at the Hawaiian Islands.

Early Friday morning, she made landfall as a tropical storm, on the Big Island of Hawaii.  The storm did plenty of damage, which has likely been documented by TV crews even as I write this post.  Maui also received a lot of damage and flooding, but not as much as had been feared.  O'ahu was next in line for heavy rains and gusty winds.

Last evening was normal for people on O'ahu, as Iselle wasn't predicted to reach us until sometime in the morning.  Since Hawaii has not been hit by a hurricane since "Iniki", in 1992, all precautionary measures were taken to keep people safe.  When I got up this morning, winds were blowing hard, with even greater gusts, along with lots of rain--sometimes falling almost sideways.  I saw no downed trees or damaged buildings and our power was still on.  The Honolulu streets were mostly empty as many businesses, schools and government offices were closed.

As the morning passed, winds diminished slightly and rains became intermittent.  High tide was to occur at 2:45 PM, so I decided by one PM that it was time to venture out for a firsthand view of what Iselle had--or hadn't done and to get some photos of the predicted high and rough surf.  Join me on my tour:

On Fort Street, a pedestrian-only area, this small tree was cracked and bent-over, the first sign of damage from the winds.  Click on any of the images to enlarge. 

Along my route, a federal government building has a long hedge of hibiscus plants.  These two beautiful blossoms withstood the winds and rain in such fine shape, I had to take a picture.

At the entrance to Kaka'ako Waterfront Park, I came upon another victim of the winds.  When I arrived, the gates to the park were still closed to vehicular traffic, but anyone could walk in.

All city parks were closed as a precautionary measure, but I did find this lone fisherman casting a line into the churning water.  He hadn't caught a thing. :(

A view of the empty park and wind-blown palms.

High tide and tropical storm surge produced these breakers.  Diamond Head made it into the photo, too.

View to the northeast.  The clouds were magnificent and had probably dropped all their rain on the windward side of O'ahu.

My destination today...Point Panic.  I've posted about this body surfing spot previously.

If you look closely, you can just see a body surfer's head above the wave, to the left.  It was rockin' and rollin' pretty good this afternoon and the locals were there to enjoy the fun.

Farther away, on the east side of Kewalo Basin harbor entrance, some very talented surfers were putting on a show.

Two young surfers head toward the concrete steps leading out of the water.

A surfer at the head of the steps leading down to the water.  I don't know if he was coming in or preparing to go out.  Beyond is Kewalo Basin, one of Honolulu's smaller vessel harbors.  Those ominous looking clouds never came our way. :))

More surfing action, with Diamond Head for a background.  Sweet.

These folks make it look so easy!

Before heading for home, a shot of two very lonely looking body surfers.  I was talking to one young man about it, asking if he'd ever had a leg cramp while out there.  He had, he said, and to stop it, he told me he reached down, grabbed his foot and pushed.  Wow!  By the way, there are no lifeguards posted at Point Panic which has, thus far, kept me on shore.

On the way out of the park, I saw this downed palm frond.  As I said, O'ahu was VERY LUCKY today!

I know you must be asking...What in the world is this photo doing here?  As I continued out of the park, a police car passed by.  As it did, I could clearly hear the crack and crunch as its tires rolled over some of the many nuts in the street.  Immediately after the car crushed the tasty treats, these two birds (common Mynas) zoomed in and began to have an "early-bird" dinner.  I was amazed at how they've adapted to urban living, allowing passing vehicles to prepare their meals.

So, we were lucky this time around, though I hope the other islands recover quickly from their storm damage.  The Hawaiian Islands location on the globe has protected them for countless years, from countless storms.  In this respect, the islands mimic current thinking about our planet's place in the Solar System.  Both Hawaii and earth, exist in their own "Goldilocks Zone". 

Have a nice weekend, everyone!