Two Days in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Following our beach day in the Kona and Kohala coast area, and then our drive to Volcano, HI with a few stops along the way, Laura and I had two full days in the National Park. Unfortunately, it rained like crazy the first day. We were told it was the heaviest rain the area had gotten in years. But we ventured into the park anyway, hoping to catch a break in the downpour. We stopped at the visitor center for some recommendations on hikes, and Mark, a ranger, convinced us that despite the rain, and despite the forecast for 24 more hours of rain, the park was filled with “micro climates” and there could be plenty of relatively dry areas. So we decided to take our chances and go for a hike.

We drove a few miles into the park, and then the weather improved slightly. Seemed like a reasonable opportunity, so we started the Kilauea Iki trail, which was the most highly recommended hike and also happened to begin right where we were when the rain stopped. It’s a 4 mile loop that begins along a the Kilauea crater rim and then descends into a crater where you walk across a hardened lava lake from an eruption in 1959. We enjoyed the first mile, and then the downpour kicked back in. In a big way. So we got soaked for three miles, but the landscape was still impressive.

The weather wasn’t great for photos, but I got a few while we were walking across the lava lake, which looks like a giant parking lot that was destroyed by an earthquake.

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The next day we woke up early and the rain had stopped, so we went back into the park to explore a bit more and do a couple more hikes. We first stopped at the Thurston lava tube, which is a tunnel created by lava flow about 100 years ago. It feels a bit like walking through a cave. We arrived before 8am and were the only people there. By 10am it seems to get packed with tour buses, so early was good.

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Next we drove along Chain of Craters road all the way to the coast where we did a couple mile hike across some of the hardened lava flow. Some interesting patterns.
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On the drive back, we did another hike up Mauna Ulu. I didn’t get many interesting landscape shots, but focused quite a bit of some of the plants we saw along the way:
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Afterwards, we went back to our cabin for lunch, and then ventured out on an 8 mile hike to see some lava flow, which I’ll cover in the next post.

Drive from Kona to Volcano

After our first day at the beach outside of Kona, Laura and I drove to Volcano, HI to spend a few days in Volcanoes National Park.

We first stopped at Big Island Bees, a local honey farm that’s south of Kona and is just outside Captain Cook. We picked up a few jars of honey, and I was able to get a few shots of one of their demonstration hives, which was inside a large glass container:
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Just around the corner, we found a beach with perfect blue water:
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The guy at the honey store had recommended a hike along our route that’s only open on weekends. It’s called Kahuku and is in a separate section of the National Park that isn’t connected to the main area. We took a quick detour, and did a couple mile loop hike in the park, which had some beautiful landscapes and was our first time seeing lava beds:
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After the hike we made a quick stop at the Punaluu black sand beach, but it started raining so we didn’t stay long. Got a few overcast shots that looked better black and white:
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The rain got worse as we arrived in Volcano and checked into our cabin, so I wasn’t able to get any more shots. But more to come.

Here was our route:

Turtles, Lava Rocks, Sunset

Laura and I arrived on the Big Island Thursday evening for a week long getaway, and we had our first full day yesterday. Had perfect weather, a great start to the trip. Here are a few of the highlights.

A bird on a tree while we were having breakfast at our B&B outside Kona:

Some turtles, or Hono, on the beach at Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park:

Some lava stones at Mauna Lani:

And then finally the sunset from Anaeho’omalu Beach:

Time for day two.

CO2 Emissions by Country

Yesterday I was searching for some public data, and stumbled upon some good carbon emissions data from the European Commission. I decided to toss it into Tableau to visualize CO2 emissions by country – current state and trend. It’s been a while since I’ve done any data visualization outside of work. Here’s what I came up with after a couple beers.

Seagull – Photography Archives

I’ve recently begun going back through photos I’ve taken over the past ten years and carefully editing some of my favorites. Many of them are shots that I previously reviewed as part of a batch, and at the time didn’t give any one particular photo a meaningful amount of attention.

In doing this, I’ve also begun building a portfolio at Shutterstock, one of the more popular stock photography websites. I view it as a bit of a challenge, as their technical requirements and standards are quite difficult to meet. Historically I’ve taken a more artistic approach to photo shooting and editing, and as I first submitted shots, most were rejected. Gradually I’m learning what I need to do to get them accepted, which has been rewarding.

It’s been some time since I’ve written on this blog, and view this as an opportunity to share some of the photos I’ve been editing.

The first is a picture of a seagull I took in Chicago in June of 2009:

Samuel Kornstein: Photography Archives &emdash; Seagull

I’ve also included the Lightroom Preset available for download: Seagull

Sorachi Ace Single Hop Home Brew Recipe

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time. I discovered Sorachi Ace when someone brought a homebrewed gallon to a friend’s party and I gave it a try. For the first time in years, I felt as though I was trying a new style of beer. It wasn’t just good, it was completely unfamiliar. A hop profile I had never experienced. It’s a strain that was developed in Japan by Sapporo in the 70’s and 80’s, and is only now making it’s way to the US market in meaningful quantities.

I went home and immediately did some research, eager to brew something similar. The below recipe is what I came up with. And I’m very happy with it.

Here’s what I went with:

3 lbs Maris Otter Light
3 lbs Pilsner Light
1 lb Wheat
1 lb Rice
1 lb Flaked Barley
2 oz Sorachi Ace (30 min, 15 min, 5 min, flame out)
2 oz Sorachi Ace (Secondary dry)
California Ale Yeast

The rice lightens it up a bit, the flaked barley adds a creamy head profile, the the California Ale Yeast is unobtrusive, allowing the hop profile to dominate the taste.

A few weeks after this was ready I tried the Brooklyn Brewery Sorachi Ace single hop. It seems to be the most popular one on the market. It was alright, but I think the high 7.6% ABV and Belgian yeast they use masks the Sorachi Ace flavor. I’m still looking for something on the market that I like, but until then, I’ll keep brewing it.

As always, shoot me an email with any questions.


Here was the first pour:72A007E5-EBAE-4E9F-82F0-E4ABC42E2051

Zion National Park

Laura and I had the opportunity to spend a couple days in Zion after CES. It’s actually a great place to visit in the Winter. The park was practically empty, places to stay were cheap, and it was perfect hiking weather.

Angels Landing, with its steep narrow final stretch, was definitely a highlight. Quite a few people on the trail had turned back before reaching the end (and the signs continuously remind you that quite a few people have fallen off and died), so I was actually expecting it to be more narrow than it is. When I got to the end, I didn’t realize I was there because I was expecting to hit a point where I questioned whether I’d continue. Not to say it isn’t intense.

Here are a few shots, first from the West Rim Trail hike on the way to Angels Landing:

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And here’s the final stretch:

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It actually felt steeper on the way down:

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We drove around and had some good views, mostly in the evening and the following morning:

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Another highlight was the Watchman Trail, where we saw a bunch of mule deer:

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And the view at the top:

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