Olivine Pools - The Infinite Ending Photography


Olivine Pools

So, I had never been to Hawaii before. I had grown up in Wisconsin, and have been through a few states, but I had not known what to expect. I knew to not have any expectations. This place blew my mind. Nothing could have prepared me for it, and that was great.

The drive here was amazing. Some windy roads along the edge of the island. A few times, along the way, it would rain a bit. There was always a but of mist in the air. You could always feel a few drops on you here and there, the entire time, and it feels great because it's not cold. There was a sign near the road stating that the road was closed several miles ahead, but we decided to push on, and see if we could get here before the road closure.

Luckily, the road closure was right after where we could park. Now, the roads aren't too terrible for a normal car, but if you do plan on taking these windy roads to go and see things, you may want a vehicle that can take the conditions... the rain, mud, potholes, windy roads. We were in a Chrysler 200, and Jen Hated it. I had enough Legroom... which is rare. She drove, and really hated this gear shift knob which was there instead of that stick you clench your hand around to push and pull it into place to change gears in the engine. A knob, to put into Park, Neutral, Drive. So strange.

Now we had a bit of a rough start to the morning. Luckily my wife thought quickly of a destination. She wouldn't tell me where we were going. I didn't mind. Just driving around and looking at scenery through the car window is beautiful enough. 

Olivine Pools Location


As you carefully descend past the signs warning you of death and injury if you proceed, you pass beyond the thick foliage and eventually are presented with a variety of rocks, and colorful mud.

Reading that last bit to myself... I have to clarify that I was actually saying that with excitement. "presented with a variety of rocks, and colorful mud." I know normal people would say this to describe something boring and unpleasant. I was excited though.

The trip back up is a little tough... especially because it's all mud, and loose rocks. Leave yourself time to get out, and stay close to your companions. The weather can change quickly, and you may find it overwhelming to get out in a hurry when conditions worsen.

The Textures of Olivine Pools

The variety of rocks and muds here are so beautiful themselves... My fascination with this must allow me to get along with a Geologist. Probably one of my hidden superpowers.

I loved this red and orange in the mud. So beautiful!

And I know I'm a nerd... Yea. I photograph textures, because I'm into them.

A true nerd.

Oh, the layers! I love it!

Some rocks are speckled with such a variety of interesting ingredients.

The plant life takes hold wherever it can here.

When gases are being released from the lava as it cools. Such a cool thing to see. The patterns in nature are so amazing to me.

Actually,  I'm guessing on that one. maybe some geologists reading this can confirm? It's the answer that makes the most sense to me on how it got to look that way.

The Water

One of the first things my wife has said to anyone looking at my Hawaii photos for the first time...

"Yea, it was that blue. Yea, that's what it looks like."

Now when I'm editing... typically when I bring up the saturation (an adjustment of how much color) I feel a little guilty for trying to bring out colors that were maybe not too obvious in real life. I do find it cool to bring those colors out, as the camera is only capturing what it sees... so showing more color... well, the color was there, the camera saw it, and maybe we didn't. 

Some of my photos go through a process to make them look best as black and white, and then I slowly add the color back in, and usually can't because I don't want to ruin the tones that are there.

Luckily this was not a person or animal. I actually took some shots so I could zoom in and make sure.

The waves crashing are mesmerizing.

You see, when I'm shooting, I shoot in RAW format. Photo nerds can skip this, as you should know this. Raw format is the closest thing you can get to film. The camera has not done ANYTHING to it yet. There is no white balance, and no sense of what you were taking a picture of. Just the data that the camera sensor got. Even on a DSLR, in order to show you the RAW image, it has to convert it into an image that can be displayed on the camera. If you also save a JPG with it, the JPG has some image processing done. RAW leaves everything up to you. In fact, RAW images have more data than can be displayed on a typical display, so you actually have to make some adjustments for that being in mind.Now  on this trip, as I was editing photos on the plane (Lightroom Mobile is pretty sweet), I was grabbing up that saturation slider past my typical comfort zone. I had to ask my wife for reassurance on the matter. I needed a second opinion. "Am I remembering it right? Maybe it was so beautiful that i'm in shock, and not remembering it right". I said in my head. But she assured me, I wasn't even close yet to the color as we saw it. 

I'm not even sure how long we were here. Time didn't seem to matter in a way. My wife was keeping track, so we could go do some other things before it got too late, but otherwise time was an abstract construct here. Typically, I'm good at figuring out the time without looking at clocks. I pay the game with my wife... I'll guess the time, and I'm typically within 7-9 minutes, even if it's been a few hours since I last looked at the time. So, in a long, ridiculous fashion, I'm trying to explain how I can typically keep track of time pretty well.

Well, it wasn't happening here. 

A lot was going through my mind. Of course my typical safety anxieties... as usual.

And let me tak a moment to point out that yes, I know it's strange that I have anxieties about safety, considering I also have the stupid photographer condition. It's a condition where people do stupid things because they are thinking about taking a picture, and not their own safety, or life for that matter. It's what makes someone trip over a rock and break their camera and their face because they simply didn't look away from the viewfinder. 

These rocks were dangerous... some very sharp edges. You could also see that the water level must go a bit higher than it was, because there were smooth rocks in places... and reading a few warnings on the way in about sudden tide, flooding, rain, etc. It was like being in this forbidden place, that we had to leave, but even though you know that staying here could cost you your life, or least get you injured, you only want to stay a few minutes.

My wife was getting concerned for me, about the rain.

"5 more minutes" I said.

Shit... that's usually the last thing some idiot scientist, or whatever says right before shit goes wrong to them in a movie.

Being fully aware of this, and then feeling the rain pick up a bit actually got me shaking a little. Fear hit me.

Stay focused.

Get a few more shots, and calmly climb back up the impossible slope of mud in the rain without getting your camera wet, or hit on a rock. I slipped and fell. Stupid photographer. "More concerned about his damn Lens than his life is what they will leave on your tombstone" I thought to myself. Luckily I didn't fall... in the worst sense that you could mean here. I wasn't on anything too precarious unless it was possible that the large slab I was on was about to give way, but luckily I didn't land on the sharp rocks. I grabbed my camera, and thought... gotta make it worth it now. Because thats making a logical statement about safety right there.

Just climb over here and get a few more shots in and get the hell out of here before I fall victim to it's dangerous beauty.

We made it out. My wife slipped on the muddy slope, and had mud on her butt the rest of the day, but we were OK. 

On the drive out, I noticed that in the last few photos I had taken, there was a hair. I had cleaned the camera out the night before we left. I removed dust from the sensor, the mirror, and the viewfinder. It had looked spotless.

I was saddened, worried that none of it would turn out ok. Luckily, this is the kind of thing Photoshop is good for. Most of the photos you just looked at had a hair going through the photo. One advantage, was that most of these images are large panoramic photos made from several photos.

This camera should be dead though. The pins that read the memory card... two of them had broken off. I managed to successfully take my camera apart, and re-solder some home-made pins onto the logic board of the camera. Probably the toughest repair i've done yet. A hair on it is simple stuff. And the shots I had to have on that memory card... would be worth taking some time to remove grover from them.

Not many people have a cat that photobombs them in this way.

I could get the hair out of my camera, as it was within 4mm of the surface of the sensor... not going to risk it, with the primitive poking tools I can find in the middle of nowhere. The next day I brought a tweezers with me... and removed the hair in the car. I don't EVER advise anyone to do this, as the slightest touch of that sensor would wipe out dozens if not hundreds of pixels. It was a hair from our tabby cat, Grover. The hair was positioned in the photos like a big middle finger. Grover doesn't like when we leave him, and this was how he decided to tell me.

He'll probably be mad to see these photos still turned out ok.

Just the drive to get here was so beautiful, wonderful, and delightful. Seeing this, and having these profound experiences were just the beginning of this trip. This first adventure was very life changing... let alone the whole trip.