For a few years our family enjoyed going to Waikiki once a month or so for movies on the beach. I'm not sure why, but they stopped showing movies many years ago. They kept the frame for the screen on the beach but it was only used by people exercising or doing yoga. This summer they started showing movies again and yesterday my wife and I went to see "Coco."
I like to go to Waikiki on Wednesday mornings and walk around. Yesterday there was an unusual quality to the light early in the morning, maybe because of the strange cloud patterns we were experiencing from Hurricane Flossie passing north of the islands. I even saw a full rainbow on the horizon, something I haven't seen in 27 years.
Last Saturday I went to the Byodo-In Temple for their annual odon festival. Byodo-In is a replica of an ancient temple outside of Kyoto and is part of a large cemetery in the Valley of the Temples in Kaneohe. I first went to their odon three years ago and had a great time taking photos. Last year it was raining, as it often does near the mountains in Kaneohe so I didn't even go. This year the weather was a little cloudy but it didn't rain, nice weather for photography. I started with the Bon Dance in the parking lot that was lead by two different groups. When I got tired of photographing the Bon Dance, I'd go to the Temple and photograph and then go back to the Bon Dance. After the sun set, a huge crowd gathered around the koi pond in front of the Temple and watched the Lantern Floating Ceremony. People had been writing expressions of love and prayers for beloved relatives and these were attached to wooden lanterns. Over 1,000 were released into the water.
My favorite local bon dance is at Koganji Temple in Manoa. Three years ago, just a few months after moving to Manoa, I noticed the sign on Oahu Ave. announcing that the dance was coming in a few weeks. I'd heard of bon dancing but had never attended one until that night three years ago. As I walked the half block to the entrance, I noticed that cars were everywhere and a large crowd was walking toward the temple. When I walked up to the railing overlooking the bon dance, I was stunned by the lights of the Japanese lanterns, the smell of meat grilling, the sounds of drums and singing, and the sight of hundreds of people dancing. I ran all the way back home to get my camera and told my family to get ready and come back with me. My son-in-law was ready to go to bed and decided to come over in his pajamas. No one seemed to notice. I've enjoyed the bon dance at Koganji Temple every year since then and have loved taking pictures there.
Last Friday night I went to the reception for the PNM Foundation's exhibition: Contemporary Photography in Hawaii 2019. It was a strong show and I enjoyed seeing what other photographers had produced. I stayed a little while and then went to the bon dance at Koganji Temple in Manoa.
I got lucky again and was able to get a photo into the PNM Foundation photography exhibition at Marks Garage. It's the best photography exhibit in Hawaii all year and it's the hardest to get into. They receive about 500 photos and this year they selected 50. Some years it's less than that. The photos must be taken within the last two years but I always submit photos taken within the last 12 months. The five photos below were taken from a much larger group that I put together. It's impossible to know what a juror might be looking for, so I tried to come up with a variety of things that might appeal to him.
The first photo is the one he selected for the show. I took the photo in April at the Iolani Fair. I've taken many photos of these swings at different carnivals on Oahu so I decided to get down on my knees and see if I could get a different angle on them by shooting from the ground. Right away I could see I had two problems: people kept walking in front of me and the railing was taking up too much space in the shot. I took a couple of shots anyway and started to see the possibilities of including passersby in the shot. I began timing my shots to include them on the edges, but the railing was still too prominent. I moved to a different side of the ride where the railing had been pushed over for some reason and was almost horizontal. That's why it looks so wonky in the photo. I took 20 to 30 photos on my knees and a few of them were interesting, but this was the best of the bunch. The sky is dark so it contrasts well with the lights but it still has some color and isn't completely black. I should also point out that this photo represents what I'm looking for in many of my images by being both complex and coherent. I tried to take into account at least five things when shooting this image: the gaudy center of the swings, the riders on the swings, the rail, the sky, and the passersby.
The reception is tonight, August 2, and the exhibit will run through the end of the month. If you're on Oahu and have a chance to visit the exhibit, the gallery will be open Tuesday through Saturday from 12 to 5. I'll take photos tonight so you can see what the reception was like.
The focus of the blog is to share larger groups of shots than I can share in the galleries.