For the past month, we’ve been practicing hula in a space with no mirrors and dance-unfriendly flooring, but tonight, we returned to dancing in Polihua a Mauliola, a quonset hut that was converted into a hālau dance space and where we’ve danced our entire training prior to ʻūniki. Stepping in to the space felt kind of like visiting your childhood home after just settling into your first apartment. Returning home, everything feels intimately familiar. You know where things are located and you can relax in the space, but the truth is, itʻs not really your home anymore. That’s how I felt tonight. I missed Polihua, but more so, I missed how my body responds in that space, and how I am able to dance beside people I’ve danced with for all these years. Here are some other photos I’ve taken on my travels that speak to the amazing architecture I’ve never really noticed before going abroad.
I came across a few pūkiawe bushes with bright pink berries today. After I took the photo, I noticed that although the pink stood out, the green leaves were amazing in their own right. I should have saved a few photos from yesterday’s post for today because some of the dancers’ pāʻū were an amazing orange, so I’ll repost just because I love the color and texture of the pāʻū. Finally, I’ve not known what to do with this photo that I took last summer at the Esprit Dior exhibit in Seoul last year, but on display was Charlize Theron’s Dior dress from Cannes 2015 and the yellow popped inside that darkened room.
These photos were taken today at Kaʻauea in Volcanoes National Park. My hula brother debuted his new hālau and after the performance, I trekked out to Uwēkahuna for a short pilgrimage to visit Pele at Halemaʻumaʻu. The photos were taken between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm, using my Nikon D70, which I’ve not used in forever.
I love photos with dramatic lighting and darkly obscured scenes, but it’s not so easy to capture when I’m behind the camera. The first photo was taken at sunset in Hilo. Since we are on the eastern side of the island, we get very different skies at sunset from Kona, but they’re still beautiful. This was taken in the parking lot of my college alma mater. The second photo was taken in Seoul last summer, walking through the Esprit Dior exhibit in Dongdaemun Design Plaza, and seeing a row of mannequins displaying the evolving fashion of the House of Dior. The final photo was taken in Taiwan last summer, in an overpass/flyover in Chia-yi.
Backlit photos are my favorite and here’s my entry for today. It was taken on a recent hike on the Makapuʻu Trail on Oʻahu before sunrise. On our way to Kaulanaakaʻiole, we reached a spot on the trail and stopped to admire the glow from the sun that had risen above the horizon, but was still obscured behind the cloud cover in the distance.
This picture of Mauna Kea was taken from Liliʻuokalani Park in Hilo. Mauna Kea is the highest peak in Hawaiʻi and considered a sacred site to Hawaiians. It is also home to several endangered species, including the threatened wēkiu and the critically endangered palila.
I took this photo at Bongeunsa Temple in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea. The peacefulness of this temple complex is a noticeable change from the bustling Gangnam that surrounds it and it’s definitely a place to both disconnect and reconnect. It was at Bongeunsa that a friendly woman motioned to my hula sister and me to enter into the building where she was praying. Once we reached the door, I noticed the room was filled with other women, some sitting in silent meditation or reading passages, while others were in the process of bowing. We removed our shoes and the woman who had welcomed us in, laid cushions on the floor for us to sit. Although she didn’t speak English, we followed her lead, entering quietly so as not to disturb everyone else. I sat quietly on the cushion and allowed all the elements of the room to engage my senses; the smell of incense, the hushed praying, the ornate statues. I glanced around me and made eye contact with our host, then bowed my head slightly to thank her for her hospitality while she smiled back. After 10 minutes of adjusting …
Playing around with composition with plants at Rainbow Falls here in Hilo.
On a hike to Sanbutsu-ji Temple, the cliff temple, I took this picture of my hula brother at a rest stop. Our hula tradition is based upon the concept of environmental kinship, so as he looked out at the mountains and the trees in foreign Japan, I could tell that he wasnʻt just resting and admiring the beautiful view, but that he was syncing himself and connecting to the environment around him. His breathing steadied, his body relaxed, and he would occasionally close his eyes to feel the gentle breeze on his skin and once, he was in harmony with his surroundings, he inhaled deeply and turned to me and smiled.
Solo hikes are bliss. Every other part of my life requires me to be sociable, which is exhausting for an introvert like me, but being alone in nature allow me to relax. If I’m in a forest with tall trees, the bonus is being reminded of how small I really am in the world and that’s not a bad thing.
There are several words for water here in Hawaiʻi, the most common ones being “wai”, a general term for fresh, drinkable water and “kai” for salt water. The first photo was taken at the base of the famed Hiʻilawe in Waipi’o Valley. I was fortunate to hike in with friends, but only after we received permission to cross through another friend’s property to see this historic waterfall. This second photo was taken at Hilo One (hee-low oh-ne), otherwise known as Hilo Bayfront. The water in the bay is usually calm due to the breakwater. As an extra, Iʻve also posted a scene taken at two different orientations. My personal favorite is the second landscape version. One can appreciate the fullness of the rainbow much better than the portrait version.