Recently I was contacted by the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo to provide an image of Mauna Kea that would be printed on a banner measuring 25 feet by 6 feet in an area right next to the Planetarium at the Center. In their words:
“No one captures the majesty and reverence of Maunakea better than you. Our goal is to give our community a place that they can share about why Maunakea is special to them. We hope that this will allow our community, both local and global, to express their pilina, connection, to this mauna as well as serve as a first step in helping to bring a community together towards shaping a new vision of the future of this beautiful wahi pana.
Me ke leo haʻahaʻa, Celeste Haʻo
This image they chose with the combination of snow and evening sunlight, was a photograph I had been waiting to capture for a long time. This panoramic image was taken on March 9th 2015. After days and days of stormy weather with high winds and blizzard conditions on the summit, the mountain finally could be seen for the first time at around 5:50pm. The sky was over cast with high clouds, however you could see the mountain’s huge mantle of white snow!
With the grey conditions I was not enthusiastic about getting that “perfect” image I waited so long to capture, however, I grabbed my camera gear and headed out to see what might come of things. My experience told me the lighting could change at any moment. My first vantage point of the evening did not produce any images, but looking to the west I could see a opening in the clouds where hopefully the sun would peak through and light up the mountain. I then changed locations and headed to my “secret” location, tripod and camera gear in my backpack. My camera set up on my tripod, I waited and waited and waited.
It was then a friend texted me. She said, “Can you see Mauna Kea?” I texted back YES I can see the mountain!! It was beautiful, however, not what I was hoping for…. I looked to the west again, the sun was still obscured by clouds, I had some hope though…. then just a moment later, the beautiful pink warm sunset light began shining on the mountain and I enthusiastically began taking panoramic images over and over and over completing 3 series of images. The light began very faintly, getting stronger and brighter as I shot. This beautiful “Kukahau’ula Light” lasted for only two and half minutes before it was gone… I knew I had just captured that perfect shot I envisioned so long ago.
The image can be seen at the the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo and is also available for print in custom sizing on metal. Please contact me for pricing or visit Wishard Gallery in Waimea or Harbor Gallery in Kawaihae.