Friday, December 2, 2016

"Untitled"

Another mixed bag of photos for your amusement.  And one very important announcement:  On November 28th, we saw our first humpback whale of this season!  On December 1st, we saw more of the beasties, heading east, likely to the waters off Maui.  When I wrap-up this post, I'll be heading to the lanai, binoculars in-hand, to hopefully see more.  What a thrill to see them!

Thought I'd start this post on a happy note:  A morning rainbow, seen from the lanai, looking west.

A couple of the many long line commercial fishing boats which bring the islands most all of the ahi tuna, ono and mahi-mahi we all love to eat.  These two are berthed in a cluster of similar vessels in Honolulu Harbor.

A U.S. Coast Guard Cutter looks like it's either on fire or laying a smoke screen.  Another more plausible possibility is she is blowing stacks.  Here's the nautical definition: To force compressed air through the exhaust pipes in order to clean them of creasote deposits.  We've witnessed this before and it's nice to know the captain takes the ship far enough out to sea to avoid having the "dirty air" foul the port.

A close-up of the procedure.  Of course, I could be wrong about this, so keep that in mind. :)

The past two days, after slaving away in the studio for several hours, I take a couple golf clubs and visit the hitting cages on the 8th-floor of our building.  Thursday, we received quite a bit of rain and much of it falls on the Ko'olau Range, seen here.  I interrupted the practice session to photograph this rainbow over the Nuuanu Valley.  It lasted for a very long time and the colors were much more intense than seen here.

We made the two-block walk to Brick Fire Tavern on Monday night for...what else?!  Pizza Margherita, ala Napoli.  I felt it was only fair to show how the pizzas look hot out of their magnificent imported Italian wood-fired dome oven.  In a previous post, I included an image of my pizza which had traveled to our home and it didn't do justice to their fantastic fare.  Unlike most domestic pizzas, which are made for the delivery market, Brick Fire pizza should be enjoyed in-person, right out of the oven.

We've enjoyed a lot of Italian digestivi over the years, but on Monday night after the wonderful pizza, we tried two delicious offerings unknown to us.  I highly recommend both! :)

Thought I'd slip this in, just so you'd know I actually still paint.  After about six months struggle with the Doc's father portrait, I thought it was high time to turn that painting away and try something different to hopefully, shake me out of the indecision and doldrums.  This painting is four days old and will be titled:  Self-Portrait at 66...if I finish it before turning 67, which is not far off.  The canvas is 14 x 11-inches and it's being done in oils.  I'm letting it rest for a few days while I return to the other work.  It's been fun working on a "previously disastered" canvas, with no pressure to produce a masterpiece.

A grape vine early spring, Siena, Toscana, Italy.  Ah-h-h.

Preparing for a feast, Siena-style.  That metal device is holding a prosciutto.

A beautiful sunset on December 1st.

Same sunset, looking east.

At anchor at sunset.

Last light really makes a few clouds come alive. 

That's all folks.  Have a nice weekend!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Recent Photos From Paradise

Here are some photos from the last few days I thought you might enjoy:

This, along with the next three photos, were taken from Channel-8's broadcast of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Here, you get an idea of the immensity of Hawaii's All-State Marching Band.  Over 400-band members and 200-hula dancers performed in this, the 90th-Anniversary of  one of America's most iconic parades.

They had to dress warm for the low-40's temperatures Thursday morning in New York City, but their incredible energy, excitement and Aloha Spirit must've helped keep them toasty.

What an honor to be one of ten marching bands selected out of 200 considered.

They even had a float with a volcano spewing confetti "lava".  They did a fine job representing Hawaii and I'm sure their parents are busting with pride.

A couple of days ago, we were treated to a rainbow appearing in front of a huge downpour, mostly over the ocean.

Atlantis Adventures Majestic, tours Honolulu Harbor at sunset.  Normally, we see her heading out to sea, but on this evening she took a leisurely trip around the calm waters of the expansive harbor.  The trade winds were very strong, along with rough seas, which may have been a factor in their decision to stay close to home.  I'm sure more than a few of the passengers appreciated their concern. 

Click on this photo to better see why I took it.  The cruise ship Star Princess was berthed at Pier-11 when a Matson container ship passed by on the way to her berth.  We feel really lucky to be able to watch these giant ships maneuver--or be maneuvered by tugs--in such a small area.

For some reason, many container ships are turned-around and backed into their berths.  This would be the case today.  Normally, however, there isn't a nearly thousand-foot long cruise ship so close.

She's being turned by the tugs.  It's probably not at all exciting for the tugboat captains--just routine.

A couple of passengers with their morning coffee, one watching the container ship being turned and one enjoying the view of Honolulu.

Later that morning, the NYK vehicles carrier, "Harvest Leader" headed to sea under the control of at least two tugboats.  Here's a link to more information on this "green" Eco-friendly behemoth.

It's just an illusion of close proximity, but I'm quite certain the caution exercised by everyone involved in moving these large vessels within the harbor is very real.

No green flash yesterday, but once the sun disappeared the scattered clouds took on some amazing colors.

As the evening crept-up on us, we had a pretty decent view of that giant TV screen on the Star Princess.

A Hawaiian Airlines inter-island jet took off not long after sunset.

The sky just kept getting more and more beautiful, though the mai tai might've helped my perception.  Friends who live on the mountain view side of the building shared the spectacle and really enjoyed it.

Hope you all had a nice weekend! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Coconuts And Golf

Thought I'd share some photos from a pre-Thanksgiving round of golf Wednesday morning.   

A not uncommon sight in the islands, but an important, potentially life-saving service.  The man located in the "cherry-picker" bucket is removing unripe coconuts from these very tall palm trees.  The job was made a little more exciting today as the trade winds were blowing from from 20-35 mph.  You know the drill...click on any of the photos for a closer look.

In this image, the young, greenish-yellow coconuts can be seen.  The workers use a machete-like hatchet, almost as big as a canoe paddle, to hack palm fronds and coconuts from the trees.

An Air Force C-17 about to land on Runway-8L.  That's the Waianae Range in the far background.  Landings and takeoffs of military, commercial and civilian aircraft add to the unique character of Mamala Bay Golf Course.

Back to coconuts and golf.  On this hole, I hit my drive into the pile of palm fronds and young coconuts at the base the tree with the worker climbing down.  In addition to finding my shot, we found four other balls that had been dislodged after who knows how many years up in that tree.

He's almost down.  Workers use spur-like attachments to their boots to aid in climbs and descents.

One of our group about to hit his tee shot as a Hawaiian Airlines inter-island jet is about to land on Runway-4R.

That's all for now.  Have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Did You Ever Wonder...

This post is about a few of the interesting things happening every day, all around us, but often just out of sight.  Have a look...

Did you ever wake up in the middle of the night wondering where construction crane operators learn this challenging job?  Me neither, but now we know.  On the morning of November 16th, we were enjoying breakfast on the lanai, when we noticed the crane on the pier just about dead center in this photograph.  With binoculars, we were able to see what appeared to be a training set-up for student crane operators.  Click on the photo for a closer look.

This photo was taken on November 18th, on what appears to be "final exam" day.  The operator trainee was tasked with moving the white cylinder between the rows of "obstacles".  We're guessing the folks in the orange/yellow vests are grading the student's performance.  Since we never saw a single obstacle bumped, we're betting he, or she, will get their license.  Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

Now, when we look at a construction site, we'll have confidence that the crane operator(s) are well-trained and qualified to do this very demanding and potentially dangerous job.  Notice the huge sailing vessel in the background.

Zoomed-in, you can see just how big it is, especially compared to the dingy tied to the stern.  We have seen the upper portion of her very tall mainmast when she was moored at Kewalo Basin, but for some reason, she was anchored just outside the small boat harbor for a day or so.  Wish I knew more about this very big, no doubt luxury yacht.

This is the OSRV (oil spill recovery vessel), Clean Islands.  The 130-ft. long ship just moved to a berth directly in our view and we couldn't help but notice the big Santa Clause this morning.  Cars zooming along Nimitz Highway will have something seasonal to brighten their view now.

It's a bit early in my humbug opinion, but what the heck.

We often see giant, Noah's Ark-like vehicle carrier ships here, wondering just how many new vehicles are off-loaded.  Most of us never see them, either.  These are on a pier, not visible from the streets.  It seems hard to believe so many vans and cars will be sold here and on the other islands, but there it is.

Ever wonder where all the countless tour buses go to spend the night?  A small portion of them park in this garage facility just off Nimitz Highway.  We've counted twenty inside and another eleven  outside the building (to the right) early morning, before the drivers begin heading out.  There must be nearly a thousand on O'ahu, between the city and tour companies.

This outside parking area next to the bus barn can hold another bunch.  It gives some perspective on the scale of the tourist industry in Hawaii.

The Firebird fishing vessel.  I included this photo in case you ever wondered where tired, beat-up, rusty commercial fishing boats go to die.  Last year, one in much worse condition slowly sank very close to this hulk.  Seems port authorities were unsuccessful in reaching the owner (living in another country) to either repair, remove or sell it.  Army (yes, Army!) divers patched the hull and re-floated the hulk and it was towed away.  By the looks of this one, they may soon have another training opportunity.  Hope a few of life's nagging questions have been answered for you. :)

That's it for today!  Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

First Supermoon In 48-Years

Late Sunday night, or early Monday morning, depending on your point of view, the most super of supermoons brightened the sky above Hawaii.  If you missed it, or your view was obstructed by clouds, geography or buildings, it'll be awhile until your next opportunity--November 25th, 2034--to be exact.  For us, the strongest view would occur at 3:52 AM!  I cheated a little and finished taking photos at just about 2:00 AM.  The moon's path was pretty much overhead, which meant I had to hang over the lanai railing to get the shots.  That made stability almost impossible, so the images aren't as sharp as I'd like.  I expect lots of you enjoyed the show watching, or recording one of several live broadcasts.  Ain't technology grand!   

And Saturday, we had what are called "Kona Winds", which simply means a southerly wind direction instead of the dominant northeast trades.  When that happens--happily not that often--O'ahu's normally clean and clear air is supplanted with a bit of volcanic dust from the active volcano Kilauea, located on the Big Island, also known as Hawaii Island.  The particulates in the air make for some wonderful sunsets and yesterday was no exception as you'll see below.

Finally, a few days ago I was on the golf course hustling along before dark, but it was tough to concentrate due to all the rainbows.  Thought I'd throw in some photos to make this post a bit more colorful and happy.

So, what's the big deal, you must be asking.  Nothing much, really.  I mentioned the challenge in taking photos and this underwhelming image is proof.  No background, city lights or ocean to suggest scale, just a gray moon.  Maybe conditions will be better the next time around in 2034.  I wonder if I'll be alive then and, more importantly, remember my name or how to use whatever passes for a camera. :))

The first of several sunset photos taken on a day with a fair amount of volcanic haze over O'ahu.  This photo was taken at 5:31 PM.  Nice reflection on the water.

This was taken a minute later.  The sky had a bronze cast, with a bit of gold dust thrown-in.  Not your typical Hawaiian sunset, but beautiful in its own way.

As the sun descended, the golden reflection moved across the harbor and was quite stunning.  This was taken at 5:38 PM.

My favorite of the day.  The darker clouds looked more like mountain tops peeking out from the clouds below.  Click on any of the photos for a closer look.

Happy time and colors!  One of the many rainbows distracting me from the game that day.  Golfers are always looking for an excuse for not playing "up to par", and rainbows works for me. :)

This one was subtle, but still photo-worthy in my humble opinion.  That's the clubhouse at Mamala Bay Golf Course, on Hickam Air Force Base, known today as, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Diamond Head substituted for the rainbows in this photo.

Another one, flanked by coconut palms, swaying in the trade winds.  It is truly lovely being there as late afternoon eases into twilight.

That's all folks!  Enjoy your tomorrow!