I see it’s been a very rainy and cold spring so far on the Mainland this year. Especially the East Coast. It isn’t very often the grounds crew at the U.S. Open figure so prominently in water removal! Just in case you’re getting tired of that weather here’s what it looks like in Waikiki this summer.
The North Koreans have been in the news a lot recently. What with launching some missiles, withdrawing from the Armistice they signed to end the Korean War. Now they want to add to our July fireworks by firing a missile towards Hawaii. Since there’s not much I can do about it, I’m not going to get too excited. If I were in charge, I’d simply tell the North Koreans I’ve got some bunker busting bombs with Kim Jung-il’s name on them. Which will get delivered if any missile came within a thousand miles of Hawaii, Alaska or any other part of U.S. territory.
As a result of this the Pentagon has sent out the sea based X Band Radar that has been sitting in Pearl Harbor docked at Ford Island. Its been getting work done on it for the past few months. In January I visited the Utah Memorial. It’s an out of site – out of mind place because it’s on the opposite side of Ford Island from the Arizona Memorial and USS Missouri. The radar built on top of a twin-hulled oil-drilling platform was tied up at a dock next to the Utah Memorial. I’m sure those who work on the radar couldn’t help but consider the juxtaposition of the rusting hulk of a Navy Battleship destroyed for want of an early warning system.
Every June Hawaii celebrates the first ruler of the Hawaiian Kingdom, King Kamehameha I. Friday afternoon is the Lei draping ceremony on the King’s statue in front of the State Judiciary Building – Aliiolani Hale in Honolulu. The Royal Hawaiian Band provides music to start. A Hula Halau dances in celebration accompanied by a local musical group. While Hawaiian civic groups present 13 foot Leis for draping over the statue with assistance from the local Honolulu Fire Department Ladder Company. It’s usually a beautiful afternoon with good light for taking pictures of the ceremony.
There in lies the challenge. First, in the strong afternoon light blown highlights are guaranteed to show in your photos given the bright white in the base of the statue plus the golden robe and headdress on the King. Then the angle of the sun puts the Judicial building and the people standing in front of it in shadow. So how do you expose to cover both extremes? If you concentrate on just the statue it’s easier to expose for the brightness. I like to add context to the picture and show more of the surroundings. This means finding the sweet spot where both the brightest and darkest areas have enough data in them to allow you to adjust the image in post processing. In this photo it means being able to reduce the brightness to bring out the texture in the base and lighten the shadows without noise becoming prominent and reducing detail.
A graduated filter attached to your lens helps you to balance the exposure before you record the image. The latest version of Lightroom includes a Graduated filter which allows you to create the same effect. I find it better than the adjustment brush. The Adjustment Brush has a narrow range of effectiveness. Too much adjustment on the white base turns it a pale gray instead of reducing the brightness.