I ain’t be gots much to talk about . . . doing some beta reading, fencing with my writing and editing, snacking, but mostly trying not to move lest I break out in a sweat. That’s right, entering the hot months.
I mean, it’s always hot here but some days the weather gets a bee in its bonnet and decides to crank things up. But, you — dear reader — don’t be wanna hear about that. I’ll tell you instead about Highway 19. Heading north out of Kona, this two-lanes highway sports wide shoulders usually populated with cyclists. I mean, not like when they hold the Ironman, but still, on any given mile stretch you’re likely to see a biker or two.
It’s not a particularly scenic highway although it is listed as such. You drive through miles and miles of old lava flows and while they have a beauty all their own, most of the lava you see has been dumped there, probably during the construction of the various resorts and the highway itself. You do see distant palm trees and the ocean, but it’s not close enough to marvel at.
What you do see, are the occasional plant/shrub/tree like the one pictured above.
They’re not even spaced close to each other. Nope. Every few miles, there will be a lonely tree holding a silent vigil to the passing cars as it battles the often strong wings strafing the road.
I admit to finding beauty in these solitary sentinels; sentinels that have been here as far back as I can remember (we first visited in 1991). I can’t say they are the same plants year after year, but neither can I say they are not.
I photographed them so that I could play with them in post-processing. Specifically, in B&W, a challenging proposition given the blandness of the surroundings.
Hmm . . . I played with a few filters to help the flowers pop. If I hadn’t, the conversion of the red flowers to B&W would have them blend in and not show at all.
I also tried some of the vintage settings, like this tin-type.
So far, so good.
Anyway, Highway 19, or — as we call it — Death Highway. That’s right. The highway is dotted with memorials to people who lost their lives along its gently sloping curves. Whenever I drive anywhere in Hawaiʻi, my driving alertness level is fairly high.
Most of the roads on the Big Island are two lanes highways. Saddle road will have stretches of three lanes because of the steep hills, but that can still put you in the path of local drivers. You see, local drivers are all in a rush. They don’t give a shit about the speed limit, no-passing zones, or the lives of others.
Something like THIS is not a rare occurrence. What pisses me off is that the two people on the 4-Runner are mourned as victims. In my book, they were assholes who killed the father of two kids and seriously injured his wife.
This is the same plant and here I try a different post-processing path . . .
I like how this turned out . . . I probably should have saved the setting. However, I did pass it through an artistic filter . . .
Anyway, traffic deaths so far this year are double (20) what they were last year at this time. Impaired driving is sometimes the cause, but often it’s speed . . . Hawaiʻians, you see, fancy themselves as capable drivers.
Per my experience — going on one year now — they are some of the poorest drivers I’ve ever seen. I mean, I’ve railed against Colorado drivers before but drivers here found a lower bar than I thought possible. BTW, if you do click on that link, know that those pieces were written in the style of interviews; as in an imaginary reporter interviewing me. Some people liked them, and some thought they were puerile, corny, or just plain dumb. Seeing as those adjectives perfectly describe me, I like them. Here are the other “interviews” dealing with our move from Michigan to Colorado: Beautiful Seniors, DD News 1.
The bottom line, it’s always a bit worrisome venturing onto these roads. More often than not, especially on some of the narrower roads, I make it a point of moving over and letting people pass if they’re pushing me (I rarely go over the speed limit). I mean, I do pray to non-existing gods for the hemorrhoids of reckless drivers to explode in crimson glory but seeing as they are non-existing — the gods, not the poor drivers — it’s just wishful thinking.
When we go up the coast, we usually stop at the Kawaihae port/marina. There are a couple of nice parks and it’s a convenient place to decide if we’ll continue on or turn back, having had our fill of risking our lives.
There too, I occasionally find an interesting composition . . .
. . . which I then — of course — have to play with.
Sometimes the transition to B&W works. Other times, it’s less than spectacular.
People with less than . . . ah . . . wholesome imaginations might construe something crude from these photos, entirely missing the safety aspects of this impromptu safety improvement.
That particular branch protrudes out near a walking path and is just about the right height to potentially take out an eye. I believe the coconut was added to both make it more visible and to present a friendlier (rounder) interface in case anyone walked into it. Personally, I would have snapped off the branch, but then I would not have these photos.
I played with those conversions a bit and then gave up. They are OK, but not memorable.
On a side note, late June had us waking up to s nice sight out of our balcony . . .
I tried a few B&W conversions but they were for crap. I aim to work on that and see if I can find a worthwhile B&W conversion of the rainbow.
This next shot is from the front of our rental looking toward downtown Kailua Kona on the evening of the 4th of July.
That is a 13 seconds exposure with the camera mounted on a tripod. And you know what? A B&W conversion is not too bad . . .
I also shot videos of the 4th of July fireworks. Those are four miles away, hence the delay in the explosions. Plus, someone was playing their music a bit loud and the microphone in the camera might have picked it up. I hope you like oldies.
The first video is only a half a minute. I then recomposed at a higher zoom and shot the rest, so the second video is longer (almost eight minutes). In case you are wondering if you should watch it . . . it’s just fireworks and they are shot from a long way away. I’m just using the post as a placeholder for the videos so don’t feel like you have to watch it.
The gallery of all the photos is below, but I also added the original full-size photos to the Miscellaneous SmugMug gallery HERE.
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