Tag Archives: MKS10

Molokai, Hawaii, photography workshop – Day 6

When it comes to sleep patterns, I have two modes in my life.  Assignment mode, when I get up long before the sun to catch the sweet light of the first rays of dawn, and everything else mode, when I prefer to let the day start at a decidedly more leisurely rate paced by a cup of tea and a few pages of the Wall Street Journal.  When my alarm woke me at 4:15am today it took a snooze cycle to change gears from everything else mode into assignment mode.  As oxygen rich cells blood cells began to pump to my  bleary brain, I could feel the excitement build – I was heading to Mo`omomi!

Mo`omomi preserve sits on a pristine part of the north west shore of the island of Molokai and aside from harboring an abundance of endangered plants, it affords a feast of a view along the famous sea cliffs that Saint Damien hiked so many times to tirelessly serve the Kalaupapa leper colony.  As we bumped down the dirt road to the preserve in our four wheel drive vehicles, the first rays of the dawn reveal ominous rainclouds hanging over the ocean that are slowly being pushed on shore by an incessant wind.  The cars arrive, and we pile out into the cold breezy salty sea air to stake out a spot for our tripods along the coast.  The drive had not been long, but a combination of general lack of sleep over the past week, a strong chance of rain and a stiff cold onshore salty sea wind made me start second guessing my decision to get up this morning.  Cosmically, the universe answered this thought when I reached into my camera bag and took out my small Panasonic point and shoot.  Displayed in large block letters on the back of its screen were 8 words: MODE DIAL IS NOT IN THE PROPER POSITION  It was as if this little electronic device had been tasked to tell me to get on task!  And get on task I did!  After getting lost to the beauty of the sunrise surrounded by sand dunes and sea foam, I began looking around at my students and fellow teachers.  All their eyes spoke as one with the simple joy of having found an excuse to witness a show that happens in all its spectacular glory every morning whether there is someone to witness it or not.  Its moments like these that pluck a guilt string in my heart for ever switching out of assignment mode and missing all the good sunrises – but I know that if I ever get to far off course, my little panasonic will let me know that my mode dial is not in the proper position, and with the flip of a button I will be reminded that I have the greatest job in the world.

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Click below to listen to a short clip of Rikki talking about what turns my head and pre-verbal reactions to subjects.

Click HERE to watch on an iPhone or iPad

Looking east from Mo`moomi Nature Preserve at sunrise, Molokai, Hawaii (tonemapped).
Looking east from Mo`moomi Nature Preserve at sunrise, Molokai, Hawaii (tonemapped).
Rocks and surf at Mo`omomi Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii (5 shot HDR, tonemapped).
Rocks and surf at Mo`omomi Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii (5 shot HDR, tonemapped).

Molokai, Hawaii, photography workshop – Day 5

Rikki often says it not about me taking the picture, but about the picture taking me.  The phrase what will I be taken by today? regularly enters my mind when I am shooting. Its simplicity disarming the inner critic that tells me that I have to go make a good picture. Its a phrase that gives me the freedom to wait.

This evening the banyan trees near the Hui took me.  Below are two of the results.

Click on the player below to listen to a short clip of some beautiful ukulele’s music and singing in the lodge before dinner.

Banyan tree near the Hui Ho'olana, Molokai, Hawaii
Banyan tree near the Hui Ho’olana, Molokai, Hawaii
Old Hawaiian home with large Banyan tree in the background, Molokai, Hawaii
Old Hawaiian home with large Banyan tree in the background, Molokai, Hawaii

Molokai, Hawaii, photography workshop – Day 4

Driving the red dirt road to Kamakou preserve on Molokai, one could easily mistake the landscape for western Tanzania.  Grassy plains surrounded by wind sculpted trees make my eye look for the giraffe that will never walk into my frame.  Today we found ourselves bouncing down this road in spite of the rain that insists on clinging to the hills in a shroud of ever changing gray.   It has been at least two years since I last wandered into the preserve and I am excited.  Dewitt speaks often about beginning ones day with a full cup, and as the four wheel drive vehicle I am piloting crawls through the mud into the cloud bank, I feel my cup filling with excitement.  The road is a canyon surrounded by cliffs of moss covered trees reaching to the sky.  When the caravan of cars stops, I feel that tingle of excitement travel from my right index finger, up my arm and around my body.  The light is gorgeous.  A giant soft box in the sky.  So much biodiversity I can’t find the words other than to quote what one workshop participant said — this is what eden must have been like.  My cup overflows.

So now I sit in front of my computer staring at the digital representations of what I saw, and although I am happy with some of the frames, the intense joy I felt while photographing feels muted.  The inner dialogue starts.  My inner critic that had been locked away by the beauty in front of me at Kamakou preserve slips out of his cell. He is gearing up for a lengthy discourse on better use of foreground elements, but before he begins, another voice quiets him.  It says Its OK!  The prize is the moment, not the photograph.  And it is right.  How often I forget.  The prize is the moment, not the photograph.
Some short videos and of course photos from the day below.

Click HERE to watch on an iPhone or iPad

Click HERE to watch on an iPhone or iPad

Red dirt road to Kamakou Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii
Red dirt road to Kamakou Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii
Trees and fog, Kamakou Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii
Trees and fog, Kamakou Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii
Leaf and moss, Kamakou Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii
Leaf and moss, Kamakou Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii
Biodiversity, Kamakou Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii
Biodiversity, Kamakou Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii
Tree branches sculpted by the wind, Kamakou Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii
Tree branches sculpted by the wind, Kamakou Nature Preserve, Molokai, Hawaii

Molokai, Hawaii, photography workshop – Day 3

This morning it was not the usual cacophony of birds and subtle song of wind chimes that woke me, but rather the melodic drumming of rain on the tin roof above my head.  Before I was fully conscious I knew our plans of a field trip to the mesmerizing ancient rainforest had washed away and by the time I sat up, I knew that the torrential downpour would make it hard to go anywhere but the computer lab.

“OK Jonathan” I thinking to myself, “how do I ride this thermal of change rather than flapping my wings in frustration?”  The answer arrived moments later when I nearly destroyed a rain laden spider web on my walk to the lab.  Something usually invisible had been transformed into jeweled strings of translucent pearls.  As I took my camera out of its bag, I could feel the thermal of excitement lifting my wings.

By the end of the day, the worst of the storm had blown over Molokai, and I headed down the hill to catch the sweet evening light.  The day didn’t turn out like my agenda had planned, but thanks to keeping my heart and mind open to change, I didn’t flap my wings in frustration all day long, and managed a few good frames in the process.

As a special treat Glenna Garramone performed some of her new songs at the Hui this evening.  Click below to listen.

Crab spider hanging on to a rain covered web, Molokai, Hawaii
Crab spider hanging on to a rain covered web, Molokai, Hawaii
One Alii Beach Park, Molokai, Hawaii
One Alii Beach Park, Molokai, Hawaii
Broken fence and vibrant field, Molokai, Hawaii
Broken fence and vibrant field, Molokai, Hawaii
Dead red car, Molokai, Hawaii
Dead red car, Molokai, Hawaii

Molokai, Hawaii, photography workshop – Day 2

A comment by Mr. Miroslaw Swietek in response to these stunning insect photos refused to leave my mind today.  Mr. Swietek said Its not the camera which takes pictures but the mind and the heart – and in mantra like fasion his comment repeated itself over and over in my mind during the photography workshop today.  What is turning my head?  What is pulling my heart?  What is engaging my mind?  Here are a few of my answers from the day.

Field near Kahanui Ahupua'a, Molokai, Hawaii
Christmas berry trees in a field near Kahanui Ahupua'a, Molokai, Hawaii
Dried palm frond, Kamehameha coconut palm grove, Molokai, Hawaii.
Dried palm frond, Kamehameha coconut palm grove, Molokai, Hawaii.
Mangrove roots, Molokai, Hawaii
Mangrove roots, Molokai, Hawaii
Tsunami warning speakers, Molokai, Hawaii
Tsunami warning speakers, Molokai, Hawaii

Molokai, Hawaii, photography workshop – arrival day

A cacophony of birds awoke me on the island of Molokai this morning.  Exquisite morning light whispered through the Koa trees as a wind chime sounded out its unpredictable melody to the day.  This is my fifth year helping to teach Rekindling The Creative Spirit with Rikki Cooke, Dewitt Jones and Theresa Airey, and like fine wine, the workshop gets better with each passing year.  One of my favorite things about arrival day is hearing Bronwyn Cooke sing.  This year her daughter Heather joined in.  Click below to listen.