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Snapshots: Oahu

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Snapshots: Oahu

During my month in Hawaii I visited Oahu twice, but only for a total of four days. I enjoyed a lot of the historic buildings in Honolulu, especially Iolani Palace. Pearl Harbor was fascinating and heartbreaking, the North Shore was full of amazing scenery and cool places to stop and poke around, and Waikiki had a beautiful beach and some wonderful recreational opportunities and nightlife. It was always hectic when I was there as I was running around trying to get trips started and dealing with taxis and rental cars, but when I finally had a little bit of time and space to breath, I really enjoyed my brief visit to Oahu. Although I didn’t have time to take a lot of photos there, I quite like some that I did take. I hope you do too.

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Snapshots: Kauai

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Snapshots: Kauai

Kauai was the island I spent the least amount of time on during my month in Hawaii, having only been there for a scant 48 hours. I was still very happy I made it to this distant and quiet island, as any time on Kauai is better than no time there at all. Arriving in tiny Lihue Airport, we seemed to be a world away from the sparkle and noise of Honolulu. With a population of just 72,000 people, about the same as tiny Lake Charles, Louisiana, Kauai sure does pack a punch. With lovely beaches, a rugged north coast and incredible Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, tucked into its interior, anywhere you look you’re bound to see something beautiful. The towns are all small and quaint, the beaches almost deserted, and there was hardly a car on the road. We even made it to a luau on the beach. I hope you enjoy these photos from the lovely “Garden Island” as much as I enjoyed taking them.

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Snapshots: Maui

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Snapshots: Maui

I got to visit Maui twice during my month in Hawaii, and what a beautiful island it is. It seems like each time you turn the corner the view is somehow more stunning than the last. The beaches are beautiful and inviting, the locals are friendly and quick to offer advice, and the landscape is amazingly diverse for such a tiny island. This post will start with the amazing journey down the Road to Hana, one of America’s greatest road trips. Although short in miles, it’s long on beautiful views and sites to see. Then I’ll take you to the summit of Haleakala in the National Park of the same name, to gaze out over this amazing volcano, high above the clouds. Finally, we’ll go on a sunset stroll around the beautiful town of Lahaina, where whalers, missionaries and Hawaiian royalty once mingled. Even though these photos only scratch the surface of what Maui has to offer, I’m sure you’ll understand what all the fuss is about.

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Snapshots: The Big Island of Hawaii

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Snapshots: The Big Island of Hawaii

During my month in Hawaii I had the pleasure of spending more time on the Big Island than anywhere else. It became my home base in the state and I really enjoyed exploring all the little off-the-beaten-path places as I made my way around. From the awesome Green Sand Beach near South Point to the breathtaking Waipi’o Valley in the far north, the Big Island has such a diverse landscape and personality. And best of all, there weren’t the big crowds I ran into on Maui and Oahu. It’s a relatively quiet little corner of paradise. I hope you enjoy these photos from my two and a half weeks exploring Hawaii’s Big Island. I can’t wait to go back!

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Hello From Salt Lake City

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Hello From Salt Lake City

It’s been a crazy busy few weeks out here on the road. It’s the peak of the summer season, and I’ve been working hard trying to show people some amazing and beautiful parts of the United States. Time and internet have been scarce, but I promise I haven’t forgotten you all and I’ve been taking plenty of beautiful photos out here.

I returned from an amazing month in Hawaii about two weeks ago and then headed north to Seattle where I picked up a two week tour into the Rocky Mountains. We got to spend a good amount of time in the amazing national parks of Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton, three of my favorite places on earth. We did some great hikes and spotted a ton of wildlife including at least a dozen bears and a pack of wolves hunting a fully grown bison. It was a pretty awesome trip.

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In Focus: Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

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In Focus: Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park is a wonderful park full of contrasts on the Big Island of Hawaii. The volcanic landscape seems so harsh and inhospitable and yet beautiful plants and delicate flowers are everywhere within the park. I was very happy to make four visits to this wonderful park during my month in Hawaii and each brought new insights into this amazing park. The Kilauea Iki hike brought us all the way down into this crater to explore the area where just last year a lake of lava could be seen. The Chain of Craters Road took us through incredible volcanic landscapes full of Ohia Lehua trees and lava formations. The Holei Sea Arch at the end of the road was incredible to sit and watch as powerful waves crashed into it and sprayed us on the rocks above. Ancient petroglyphs at Pu’u Loa provided some small insight into what life was like for Native Hawaiians who lived in the area. They buried their children’s umbilical cords here to connect them to the land. While there is currently no flowing lava to see in the park (a huge disappointment for this photographer), it is still a magnificent park with a lot to offer. While I enjoyed many things about Hawaii, this amazing National Park was definitely a highlight. I hope you enjoy these photos from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

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Snapshots: Waimea Canyon - The Grand Canyon of the Pacific

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Snapshots: Waimea Canyon - The Grand Canyon of the Pacific

At 10 miles long and 3,600 feet deep, Waimea Canyon is often called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. Formed by the erosion caused by the Waimea River, a river which flows from the “rainiest place on Earth”, the canyon gets its name from the red hue of the exposed iron-oxide of its walls. Situated in the heart of the tiny and remote island of Kauai, there didn’t seem to be nearly as many visitors there when we visited as I would have expected from something of this size and grandeur. All the better to enjoy it, though. While it was a bit hazy for photography that day, I hope you enjoy these photos from beautiful Waimea Canyon.


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Aloha From Hawaii

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Aloha From Hawaii

Whew, it has been an unbelievably crazy and busy month here in Hawaii, but a wonderful one. I had every intention of posting regularly on this blog while I was here, but I’ve been so busy with work that there just haven’t been enough hours in the day. My apologies. I am back guiding tours for the summer, and after three busy days of preparation in California, I flew to the Aloha State with two days to get things ready here before my first trip began. My first trip was a 10 day, 4 island blitz, and then with just one day in between to prepare I launched into an 8 day camping trip on the Big Island. Another one day turnaround and I am on another 3 island run. Hawaii is so different than what I’m used to as a guide because there aren’t a lot of long journeys as there isn’t a lot of distance to cover here. Our days are full of activities and beautiful sights and sounds and tastes, but it’s a lot to keep organized and moving forward. All three of my tours have been wonderful though, and I’ve really enjoyed them, and never fear - my camera has been snapping away furiously the whole time I’ve been here.

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Gallery: Alabama - A Month in the Heart of Dixie

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Gallery: Alabama - A Month in the Heart of Dixie

I’ve had an amazing month in Alabama, and these are the very best photos from my trip. I started my journey on beautiful Dauphin Island right on the Gulf of Mexico, traveled through the shrimping town of Bayou La Batre, and then made my way north into the stunning city of Mobile. From there, I dropped down to Gulf Shores and then out to Dothan in the southeast corner of the state. I traveled up the east coast to charming Eufaula and then through breezy Tuskegee to the State Capital in Montgomery. I made my way out to fascinating Selma and then on to tiny Demopolis in the west. From there I headed northeast through Tuscaloosa, Bessemer and Birmingham before zigzagging back west into The Shoals region. Finally, I made my way across the north through Huntsville before dropping south to Gadsden and Anniston and then north again through Fort Payne and Little River Canyon on my way out of the state. Alabama has so much to offer from history to natural beauty to clean and beautiful small towns and cities. The tragic history surrounding slavery and civil rights is not hidden away, but right in plain view and interpreted thoroughly and honestly. I found wonderful and welcoming people everywhere I went, and of course enjoyed some fantastic food and music as I’ve come to expect from the South. It was an incredible month, and my camera was very busy throughout. I hope you enjoy this “Best of Alabama” photo gallery as I take you along for one final romp through the Heart of Dixie.

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Snapshots: Rural Alabama

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Snapshots: Rural Alabama

As I wind up my photos from Alabama, I wanted to include a selection of rural and small town photos from The Heart of Dixie, many of which haven’t made it into my previous posts around the state. Alabama has some beautiful rural areas and some very clean and well kept small towns. I loved just driving down the byways and back country roads of the state and seeing what I could see out there. Sometimes it was nothing at all, but sometimes I came across the most beautiful little gems and hidden treasures. Many I couldn’t find a place to pull over and photograph, so they will have to live in my memory. Others I could stop and shoot and have included here. A few of these photos are from larger towns like Selma, but they were too rural looking to not include in this post. I had a great month in Alabama and loved my visits to the towns and cities I’ve featured in earlier posts, but didn’t want to leave the state in my rear-view before I posted some of these from more rural areas as well. Enjoy!

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Snapshots: Gadsden, Alabama's City of Champions

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Snapshots: Gadsden, Alabama's City of Champions

Gadsden rests quietly on the banks of the Coosa River in Northwest Alabama. Founded in 1825 and originally called Double Springs, the town was renamed in honor of American diplomat James Gadsden. James Gadsden was most famous for negotiating the Gadsden Purchase, which included parts of southern Arizona and New Mexico, the acquisition of which allowed for the building of a transcontinental railroad. The town of Gadsden was once a major riverboat port and would become a center of industry during the industrial revolution. That industry would allow Gadsden to thrive for much of the next century, but as companies left town in the seventies and eighties, the city fell on hard times. Gadsden has worked hard to redevelop its downtown area and while it’s definitely a sleepy town, it has a lot of charm. I really enjoyed my visit to Gadsden. I hadn’t been there in many years and was happy to see so many storefronts occupied and to find downtown bustling. If you ever find yourself in the area, set aside some time for a stroll downtown, a visit to the art gallery and some seafood at one of the many excellent restaurants in town. You’ll be glad you did. Enjoy these photos from downtown Gadsden, Alabama’s City of Champions.

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The Fat Man, The Rougarou and The Day The Civil War Was Put On Hold

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The Fat Man, The Rougarou and The Day The Civil War Was Put On Hold

In this episode of American Anthology, Mike takes us on a romp through the cities, swamps and bayous of South Louisiana. First up, hear the story of the Rougarou, the legendary man-wolf that preys on Cajun children out past their curfew. Then comes the story of the German Coast Slave Revolt of 1811, the largest slave revolt in U.S. History. Next you’ll hear about the day the Civil War was put on hold so a Union officer could get a proper burial in a Southern cemetery, with officers from both sides in attendance. Then comes the fascinating story of the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott, the first of its kind during the Civil Rights Movement. Lastly comes the story of Fats Domino, a Creole kid from New Orleans who brought Rock and Roll to the world. Music for this episode comes from Teddy Johnson, owner of the legendary Teddy’s Juke Joint in Zachary, Louisiana

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