Just A Quick Trip To Paradise ~

I tried to stick to my new year's resolution to attend to this blog every week, and immediately fell behind by two of them. But in my defense, the last two weeks included Christmas and New Year's, which should automatically trigger a vacation response in every North American. Me, especially, since I obviously work so darn hard...

So what's a guy to do, other than gather up an assortment of cameras and lenses and catch an early flight to Kona? It certainly sounded reasonable to me. I'd been to Hawaii many times: regular workshops and trade shows in Honolulu, and a photo trip to Kaua'i in 2013. But this was my first trip to the Big Island, and it was a joy and a revelation.
As far as gear goes, I really just travelled there with my Fuji Xe2 and the two lenses I own with it: the 18-55 f2.8-4, and the 10-24 f4. This is such an easy and lightweight system to carry around, and I'm getting more and more impressed with the precision and clarity of the optics. The images above and to the left were taken in the Tropical Botanic Gardens north of Hilo. The sun was bright and shiny, but the foliage so dense that I was shooting at an ISO of 800 and, at times, 1600. Truth be told, there's a bit of noise at 1600, but the new NR filter in Perfect Photo Suite 9 from onOne nails it down perfectly.

We stayed a couple of days down at the Kilauea volcano, and did a couple of hikes around there. (My wife calls them hikes; I likened them more to "death marches", but whatever). I never go anywhere without my iPhone 5s and took this shot of the crater, visible from the Jagger Museum, in HDR mode. Some editing in Snapseed, and finished up with some onOne filters, too.

There was plenty of snorkeling, swimming, and hanging out on the beaches around Kona, to be sure.  I saw this gorgeous tortoise swimming in the shallows at Pu'uhonoa, near Kona, and posted it to Facebook directly from my iPhone, but I've done a little extra work on it since then to bring out the incredible color and iridescence of the water.
We have a couple more trips planned this year; a trans-Canada adventure with a few days in Montreal, and hopefully the Albuquerque Balloon festival in the fall. Oh the things I'll do and the places I'll go just to make an interesting blog post. Honestly.
But Hawaii draws me back every year. There's a lot of pictures there I haven't taken yet.
And I ain't getting any younger.