Sunday, 3 October 2010

Sunrise at the Fairmont

The Maui trip a few weeks ago was a little stressful for us and certainly not quite what we'd planned, so as compensation I spent a few dollars for some nights at the Fairmont Orchid in South Kohala on the leeward side of the Big Island.

Let's just say the visit was very relaxing, very expensive but very nice! On the last morning I took a walk out into the grounds for some photos at sunrise.

The hotel has its own very sheltered beach which seemed popular for late night parties - mostly honeymooners I think. In the evening those canoes were out on the ocean and the flashes of light meant a lot of photos were being taken!

Not quite the harvest moon but close to it. The moon was setting while I was out on my stroll.

There was a little cloud around but not much.

Pam wanted some photos of the waterfalls in the hotel grounds, so here they are - well before sunrise I might add...

Taking photos of running water in the dark is actually quite cool, the water blurs out and the rocks sparkle. You need a tripod though and I think I was the only guest at the place with one, and got some odd looks...

OK, so the sun has risen, off to the rocks.

Not a particularly awe-inspiring picture, but off at the top left are a couple of birds that had caught my attention in the evenings. They were very big and were perched on some rocks just off the beach. Since it was so dark I couldn't get a good view and asked the bar staff at the beach bar what they were. Herons is all I got back. In Hawaii?

Maximum zoom so the image quality isn't good. But this was one of them in the early morning light.

I managed to get a little closer to the other but still had to zoom in. It was still quite dark so thankfully the bird didn't move too much. One or two people walked by for the sunrise strolls and asked what bird I was taking pictures of and I had to admit I had no idea - it helped having a British accent since they thought I was a visitor who had no idea what I was talking about (admittedly, I didn't).

The bird at the bottom is a Black-crowned Night Heron. It caught a lot of attention after sunset each evening because so many visitors were watching it on the rocks, mentioned how big it was but couldn't identify it because it was so dark. The bird above, a surprise to me, is the same species but a juvenile. That's why I posted the third from bottom picture - you can see them together.

I don't know if the mature heron is the father or mother, but it was fun to do a bit of wildlife photography for a change!

Then it was time to leave and pay the usual extortionate parking fee. Oh well, it was worth it. When I save up a few more dollars I might just go back again. Next time I might be able to afford more than one Mai Tai!


Hilary said...

Beautiful shots, Tom. It looks like a beautiful spot. We get those same night herons up here all summer long.. right on my pond and yet, I've never seen a juvenile.

Lorna said...

You have the loveliest photos; the not-quite-harvest-moon is beautiful. You can see the craters in the shading! Growing up (once upon a time) I wanted to be an astronomer, so thank you for sharing your world and giving us a glimpse of the magic :)

Anonymous said...

hmmm. So, I guess you missed seeing the earthlike planet 20 light years away that made the news the other day? It was seen by astronomers in Hawaii -- can't remember where -- Haleakala or Mauna Kea.

Your pics of the bird and waterfall are really pretty.

Keera Ann Fox said...

Ooh, so many beautiful and interesting photos all at once!!! Which to choose as a favorite, which to choose…

Tom said...

Hilary - thank you. At first I thought it was some exotic sea bird because we don't see too many herons over here, but when I looked it up later I found this species is pretty common all over the world. I couldn't work out the juvenile though and spent ages trying to identify it until I looked at a web page about herons and saw a picture of a juvenile night heron. I had no idea I was looking at a family! It was strange because I'm sure the juvenile was a lot bigger than the parent.

Thank you, Lorna! this trip had nothing to do with astronomy but of course it's hard for me to not take pictures of a beautiful moon if I see one!

Giga - I was aware of the discovery as soon as it was announced, but of course this kind of stuff is kept secret until the scientists are sure of their discovery and I certainly wasn't part of the team! (although I know one or two who were). The planet was discovered on Mauna Kea using the Keck Observatory.

The waterfall pictures were fun to take but I did get a lot of odd looks!

Keera - thanks!

Cheryl Kohan said...

I couldn't possibly choose a favorite photograph from this collection...they're all just stunning. Wow!

Tom said...

Thanks, Cheryl. Sometimes I think my photos off the mountain aren't very good but I have to admit my favourite is the top one - and the one after!

Thanks for popping by.