You can’t come to Maui to shoot a picture every day and not post a picture of a gecko.  I mean, they’re everywhere aren’t they?  What I learned was that they are everywhere when you don’t have a camera in your hand.  But if you go out and want to shoot one, well you had better bring some patience.

I posted a picture yesterday of the gardens in the Wailea Grand Resort and Hotel and would go there every day looking for one of these guys to shoot.  The first time I found one I got all excited and pushed my lens too close and the little guy bolted!  I couldn’t believe it, it took me three days to find a gecko on a leaf for a picture and the bloody thing ran off.  So I waited, and waited and, well you get the idea, I waited a long time – unfortunately without any luck.

Next time I was in the gardens I got my opportunity again, only this time I went slower.  I started taking shots from some distance away and slowly moved in.  I guess once I got a few pictures under my belt I got a little more adventurous and got closer still.  Eventually the gecko moved but he went up the leaf and I got this shot today.

When I got back to my room, I found that photographing a gecko and photographing an “in focus” gecko were two entirely different things.  Most of my images had a nice blurry gecko but the one below came out really well.

I actually had a different picture in my mind that I wanted.  Shooting these leaves into the sun captured really beautiful colors and having a gecko on the other side of the leaf poking his head around would produce a great leaf with a gecko’s face appearing around the leaf and the silhouette of the gecko’s body through the leaf.  I even got one of these and if it had been in focus I would have posted it tonight.  That said, I’m pleased with this one.

Carter enjoyed a go on the water slide, here he is hitting the water at the bottom.

I’ve mentioned (a few times now) that the Grand Wailea Resort was really big facility.  One of the areas of the hotel I haven’t really talked about are the gardens.  Directly below our hotel room are these amazing Koi Carp ponds that are surrounded by beautiful gardens.  Each morning I’d go down to the gardens to take pictures and I got quite a few that I really like.

I spent a lot of time looking for little geckos to photograph that would come out in the morning sunshine to warm in the sun.  I had one successful morning and got a gecko sitting on a huge green leaf, I’m sure I’ll post that in the future.

There are paths that take you through the gardens that cross the ponds that the are linked together and the water is full of huge Koi Carp.  The little wooden bamboo bridges you walk across and bamboo stairs that take you to different levels within the garden are really cute and there are also several little water falls joining different pools and levels together.  Also every now and then you come across a thatched roof gazebo.  These provide lovely places to chill out and avoid the direct sun in the afternoon and enjoy the serene atmosphere of the gardens and I’ve even seen people enjoying breakfast in the gazebo’s in the mornings.

A lot of the palm trees (at this time of year) have really small coconuts which are the size of a small potato.  In the evening we’d swim in the pools and find these baby coconuts at the bottom.  The kids called them potatoes and used them as dive targets to retrieve from the bottom of the pool.  The naughty thing we did with them however was take them to our room on the 9th floor at the end of the day, and throw them off our balcony into the Koi ponds – this was completely Lisa’s doing (nobody is going to believe that) and I spent lots of time suggesting it was a bad idea.  Fortunately she never hit a fish and nobody saw us or kicked us out.

Today’s picture was actually taken on our last day.  I wanted an image that had a bamboo bridge, part of a pond, a fish and a thatched gazebo in it, and ironically this was the only one I got.  I even got a tiny waterfall under the bridge.  The vibrant colors really capture the gardens and hopefully help you appreciate just how beautiful this place was.

When we got to the airport, Carter and Master Chief spent a lot of the time looking out the (very dirty) airport windows at the plane that was going to take us home.

24. July 2012 · Write a comment · Categories: Image a Day · Tags:

The Grand Wailea Resort hotel is pretty big.  It has 780 rooms, 5 pools, a lazy river, 2 large water slides, a collection of smaller slides and some rapids, numerous gardens with Koi carp ponds and a massive bar in the middle of the hotel.

One of the things that makes the hotel different (I think) is that when you walk in everything is open to the elements. There aren’t really any walls and the the main bar that’s just past the reception has no ceiling, when you look up you see the sky.   I’m sure that a lot of the hotels in hotter locations are like this but it makes it different and fun to have a drink in the hotel bar after a day in the pool with cool breeze blowing around you and stars above your head.

There are numerous statues around the bar as well and these are a little odd, I may post pictures of these in the coming days.  They are all black (probably marble I would imagine) and depict naked men and women with “traditional” Hawaiian bodies shapes and sizes.  By this I mean they are rather large (as in over-weight).   It’s actually rather refreshing to see images and statues like this rather than the traditional western super slim muscular body types we are used to seeing every day.

To add to the relaxing ambiance they have live music every night.  Usually someone with a guitar who just sings contemporary songs REALLY well.  At least I think they’re good – James may disagree.  Either way its a lovely place to end the day.

Also in the middle of the bar is this collection of Absolut Vodka bottles that are lit up with blue lights that seem to rotate around the structure (so the brightest part actually moves).  This looks really cool and you can see it from the entrance of the hotel and it definitely draws you in.  Today’s image tried to capture the Absolut structure, I’m not sure I caught it well enough for you to really appreciate how cool it was but I thought I’d post the image anyway.

While Carter was off having a swim, I caught Master Chief admiring this statue!

The other day Lisa asked me if there was somewhere I’d like to go while in Maui.  I told her I’d like to photograph a Hawaiian waterfall and she hit the web and started her research.

In the end she found a place on the northern part of the island called Iao Valley State Park.

Now some of the best-known waterfalls in Maui are in the Hana region of the island.  This is where some of the waterfalls were shot for the film Jurassic Park.  However this is a pretty inaccessible part of the island and the best waterfalls can only be reached from the air.  So we hit the road to go to Iao Valley.

A couple of years ago we visited Kauai.  This was a really beautiful island but we found every day it rained for an hour or so.  Maui is a little different; you really don’t see any rain on the coast at all. However if you head inland and drive towards the mountains you hit what are in essence tropical rain forests and can get very wet.

Flowing through the valley is the Iao “stream” – at least that’s what it’s called.  But you say stream to me and I envision something you can jump across, but this stream is a pretty wide river with a lot of water.  While there we didn’t find any big waterfall drops, but instead came across a number of small drops.

What made it “interesting” was that in the middle of the river were a number of young women who were swimming in tiny bikini’s.  Now I have nothing against pretty bikini clad women but not if I’m trying to take a landscape shot.  I pointed the camera in their direction once just looking for some thing else to shoot (honest) and the looks I got would kill a cat!

In the end I took a number of shots of different parts of the river.  Tonight’s posting was taken by the entrance to the park, in the future I’ll post some other shots.

I liked this one because of the large rocks in the foreground, the very green foliage in the center and the large peaks in the background, one of which (the one of the left) is the Ioa Needle which is a 1200 foot lava remnant covered in vegetation.

As you can see the sky was pretty gray – but it was still 82 degrees – so standing in the river to get some pictures was actually a lot of fun.

Yesterday Master Chief buried Carter when he fell asleep on the beach – big mistake, today was payback time.

If you should happen to find yourself in Maui and staying at the Grand Wailea Resort and decide to either renew your wedding vows or even get married, well, the hotel has just the facility you need.  This small church is in the hotel grounds and is available for weddings and vows and I would imagine it’s a pretty busy place.

The church is nicely lit up with stained glass windows providing color inside so I thought I’d grab a shot for the site.  The large number of lamps that light the way to the from the church and the abundance of tiki torches add to the evening ambiance.

While staying at the hotel I’ve seen quite a few weddings, some people have large receptions at the hotel and there are loads of people who opt for a beach wedding instead of the church (it’s probably pretty pricey – everything else is here), and almost every night there’s some bride and groom having their pictures taken on the beach.

Having your wedding pictures taken on a beach really sounds nice, and I’m sure for the wedding party it’s great.  But if you want to take a picture and you have nothing to do with the wedding good luck!  The local professionals hog all the good locations and prevent you from standing in the best place for a sunset picture – that is of course unless you want to photograph the bride of the day as well.

Talking of sunsets… I can’t get a good one, and I’ll tell you I’ve tried, several times.  The main problem is that the sun sets over Lanai which is an Hawaiian Island to the west of Maui.  To make matters worse Lanai has a large extinct volcano in the middle (don’t they all) and all around the peak are puffy white clouds.  So the sun actually sets behind the white clouds, and the sunset lasts around 60 seconds.  Even in it’s best moment, it’s not great.  I’ll keep trying though and I may get one before I leave.

Anyway, back to the church.  I took this shot just after the sun went down and with a long exposure got the sky to look almost light blue.  Fortunately nobody was in the way and I got the shot below first time.

Cater and Master Chief hit the beach this afternoon, but Carter made a huge mistake and fell asleep, so Master Chief buried him!