Lē’ahi, Diamond Head Monument, Oahu, Hawaii

Lē’ahi, the summit that resembles the forehead/lae of the ‘ahi fish as named by Hi’iaka the sister of the fire goddess Pele. Another Lē’ahi meaning is ‘fire headland’ from fires lit high on the summit to guide canoes safely back. The Western name, Diamond Head comes Western explorers thinking the calcite crystals found on the slopes were diamonds. Perfect names for a volcano on an island born of volcanic fire.

If I wasn’t feeling already a little uneasy that I was on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean without any more solid mainland behind me, walking around a now extinct volcanic crater may have added to a little more freak out if I gave it more thought. Lē’ahi/ Diamond Head Monument’s crater is believed to have been created from a single eruption 300,000 years ago. The highest ledge along the south-western side was created as the wind blew the ash at the time of eruption making it look like the now ‘ahi fish forehead. The seaward slopes are protected by a coral reef, which is why coral reefs are so important. Aside from the marine life they shelter they also protect land from coastal storms. Another thing cool thing about the crater is in winter, rainwater collects in mini lake in the centre! Most of the plants and animals along paths were introduced in the 1800’s. There’s one native plant still standing, ‘ilima!

Only some of the path is paved and flat. The rest is cut from rock so it’s uneven most of the way with some steep parts
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Under The Mediterranean Sea: Late July 2021

I think there’s a British Seagull on holiday in Barcelona at the moment. 

Striped sea bream

Que? For about 2 weeks occasionally I’ve heard a different sounding seagull. I’m used to hearing and seeing yellow legged gulls who sound like they’re laughing at you. This gull sounds like the UK, or rather beaches in the UK. That’s the first thing I noticed when I visited my parents last year back in the UK, the beach didn’t sound right. The gulls had a different voice. Maybe I’m imagining it, made they got swept here with the storms in March, maybe they’re just exploring for a while.

Striped sea bream
Striped sea bream and the mystery fish. You can see their tentacles fangs in the group of 4 fish. Read on the help me id them! 

I’ve also seen more of a type of plover, I think ringed plover (I swear not I’m a bird geek! I just like to know the names of birds like I do animals!) at a spot where I run too. There was 1 and now there’s 4. I’ve never seen them before here so was curious. Same way that I’m not a bird geek, I got a bird ID book as I kept seeing different coloured gulls from the balcony last year. Turns, out they’re teenage gulls 🤦‍♀️.

Anyway, back in July last year baby fish clouds were still around and I was getting more comfortable being in the water. The visibility wasn’t so good most day. I was getting a little frustrated that I could never focus the camera on what I was shooting and that most of the shoots were grainy. Nat, you’re in the water and the water’s moving! Photography works differently in the water to on land. I still didn’t want to use flash to disturb the fish or to attract larger scarier fish! 

On good vis days I had fun watching tiny fish who only kept the the bottom not bothered by the drama higher up in the water column.

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Exploring Valldemossa. Majorca/Mallorca

Nested in Majorca’s/Mallorca’s Tramuntana Mountains is Valldemossa which claims to be Spain’s most prettiest village. 

A 20 minute drive from Palma de Mallorca, luckily we visited during in 2020 when holiday travel was permitted only within Spain during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s a popular tourist destination for its most prettiest village claim, Choplin who spend time there and it’s Arabic influence from the Moors, so it gets busy quickly. Minus the international tourists it felt more comfortable to look around. Get there early though as there was a car park queue when leaving. 

The views from the village are amazing, with the village itself filled with terracotta pots, geraniums, crafts shops, boutiques, ice cream parlours and cafes. It doesn’t take long to walk around, maybe an hour. Make sure to explore off the main paths (please be respectful of the locals!) as that’s where gems are to be found! 

The hidden terrace at Can Molinas. Sparrows know this is the spot for snacks!

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Project Light: Cute Parakeets

Most of these were taken on the same day in mid January 2022. I think I missed the zoo and didn’t want to go back until it got dark. The light was good, the ducks and parakeets were on the snack hunt and it was warm in the sunshine huddled in layers. Christmas lights while not on were still up looking like spider webs. The light was great for for seeing architecture detail too!

Don’t let the sunny light deceive you, it was cold!

While the geese rule the park, everybody as in the water fowl gets out the way for the white ducks. They’re not afraid to go after any duck, seagull or goose that annoys them.

Everybody gets out the way for the white ducks!
PAAAN!

Black headed gulls winter in Barcelona and can be found in Parc de la Ciutadella. As they can take off almost like helicopters they compete for the pan or bread quicker than the ducks. You can see the ducks and geese flinch when they dive around them to get the pan/bread, but will happily if lunge and nip at them if they can. Otherwise they just swim off leaving the humans to feed the seagulls. Black headed gulls are also amazing at catching bread in mid air! I think it’s mostly teenage guys that winter here.

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Lyon Arboretum, Oahu, Hawaii, February 2020 Part 2

The rest of the garden at Lyon Arboretum leading from the Buddha was more semi wild rainforest. Still manicured, yet compared to the actual manicured part it was wilder, more forest. I’d got to the point I couldn’t and didn’t want to take any more photos, yet every twist and turn of the path was something I wanted to photo knowing I’m probably never returning again. Trees were more than just trees. They were cities in themselves with ivy, moss and host of other plants growing on them who in return housed hundreds of bugs, insects and animals. The big tropical leaves growing free competing for the sunlight. Leaves as big as umbrellas.

I only realised editing these photos I never changed the ISO. In my defence I wasn’t using or understanding how to use ISO 2 years ago. Yes, it’s been 2 years and I’m only just sharing the photos! This part the island has its own climate (The Hawaiian Islands have 10 of the 14 climates in the world!). Sunny skies accept for the Manoa Valley that day. It’s crazy how for such a small island in the middle of Pacific ocean different locations on the island have different climates and weather all in one day. It freaked me out almost daily when I was there that I was on a tiny volcanic island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which is huge and deep, feeling open and exposed. I live by the Mediterranean Sea with a huge continent behind me with one fault line running in the middle of the med sea. I feel safe as there’s lot of space. Even in the UK an island itself where I grew up I never thought I was on an island. It’s what you’re used to. None of this however excuses my lack of using ISO.

Jungle, jungle more jungle!

Just like how plants grow in cracks in walls!

Canopy tops like coral fans looking up matched each other like jigsaw puzzles for light. Neither one bumping into each other leaving a little breathing room between them.

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