A dip in the Obama pool

A dip in the Obama pool

I won’t start ringing the bells just yet and start selling off the cameras but my professional writing career is taking off.  We should take my statements lightly as  I’m not sure if my authorship can cut the mustard, let alone pay the mortgage; however, we have liftoff.  With the first published article on Nimitz in the Star Advertiser to two major bylines worldwide with the Associated Press, I am off to a good start…a GREAT start and end to 2013.  I am soooo grateful to Associated Press news editor who happens to share my last name as he put his trust in me to report on the big news.  And that big news was following Obama and la famila around during their annual Xmas vacation in Oahu.  I also have to thank Audrey-san and cuz Jen as they might have been the ones who put my Nimitz article in front of hermano Garcia which convinced  him I was the right hombre for the job.   Señor Garcia (no relation at all) assigned me to cover POTUS and my reporting seemed to do very well and was sent ’round the world.

My assignment placed me inside the media circus that follows the President around.  Permanent staffers from all the major media are assigned to cover the President wherever and whenever he travels or just stay put.  The coverage, sometimes affectionately referred to as death watch, needs to ensure every minute of the President is accounted for.  It is one of the most taxing assignments any journalist is assigned as you have to be ready to capture that moment.  Sadly, you have to sacrifice your life as you live for POTUS.  Vigilance through the lens or the pen is crucial to this job as anything can happen at any point in time.  A slip in concentration could mean missing the assassin’s bullet or the angry Iraqi’s shoe.  No telling when that slip will occur or when the aliens comeback to reclaim their property.  The truth is you never know when you’ll have the Zapruder film or classic bloopers from the Bush years.

Sadly Obama strongly disregards the professional media and his administration would rather use social media than independent media to get his message out.  He routinely uses hand outs from his personal photographer and fiercely guards his image from the press yet; as he keeps back the pros, regular citizens and paparazzi get much better access.  The Obama Administration is one of the most unfriendly administration in history towards the media and clearly lacks the transparency he campaigned on.


My above video shows the view the media bus gets of Obama and it really never gets any better. Some might argue that the President owes the media nothing; however, the media is needed to ensure the government stays honest.  If you allow the government to police itself, there will be very few arrest.

Some of you might recall my so called paparazzi encounter with then Presidential candidate Barack Obama in August of 2008 when I parked myself on Kailua Beach waiting for the future POTUS to make an exit and walk down the shore.  For three straight days, Obama stayed away and I figured his security detail just kept him informed of my existence.  So I took a gamble and left the beach and snuck around to a different beach access point opposite his hoping he’d think I abandoned my assignment.  Sure enough, as I walked from the opposite direction, Senator Obama and his two kids left the house and strolled down the beach, hand in hand, with nary a though to where I stood.

Obama, Sasha, Malia,


I took some of the most intimate pictures of the Senator with his daughters which I feel defined him as a father and made him human.  So many times, candidates fake their photo ops and try to pretend they are just like us.  They roll up their flannel shirts and help wash dishes, serve food at a homeless shelter, eat at McDonalds like the rest of us.  I’ve NEVER believed these people really were who they are.  It was fake.  Always fake…Romney and Kerry with their millions, Bush with his dynasty.  Obama, on the other hand, was caught off guard, and it shows.  I caught him being human.

When the Senator actually realized he was being photographed, he got pissed.  He waved his sandals at me and yelled at me to leave.  Sorry, Senator, its a public beach and you’re a public figure.   Secret Service said nothing.  I stood next to them and showed everyone respect and dignity.  The future President might have been really upset but he signed up for the whole public image thing.  In my view, a politician is owned by the public.  We demand to see him.  His kids are off limits but whenever the parents are out and about, they are fair game.

As far as the writing assignment went, it was beyond boring.  It was a tedious exercise in hours of playing Candy Crush, being pestered and pestering others on the media bus, not to mention snacking on really bad vanilla creme cookies and other terribly unhealthy things Michelle surely wouldn’t approve.  Obama kept the media completely away, as in many ways, he should as his vacation is somewhat private but we are not there to paparazzi him but to ensure we cover his every move in the inevitable…well lets leave it at that.

I’m extremely thrilled to have more writing under my belt.  I’m aiming to continue to add more bylines and stories to my every growing career.

The Nimitz Byway

The Nimitz Byway

My first professional written article was published in the Star Advertiser Sunday, Nov. 24th.  On a trip to Texas last year, it dawned on me how Hawaii and Fredericksburg, Texas, a small town just west of Austin, north of San Antonio, are directly connected by a man who helped win the Pacific War against the Japanese.  So I wrote a travel piece on visiting this small town in Texas and the significance of one of the town’s greatest sons has in the history of Hawaii.

Chester Nimitz was born to a German pioneer’s family who help settled parts of Texas.  Nimitz rose to be the US Navy Admiral in charge of the Pacific Fleet after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  His role in the defeat of the Japanese is slightly overshadowed by the US Army’s Gen. Douglas MacArthur; but in Hawaii, Nimitz’s legacy is not forgotten.  Nimitz’s name lends itself to one of Oahu’s most important thoroughfares, Nimitz Highway, along with a nearby elementary school several businesses including a yoga studio and a BBQ joint, although those might be named for their proximity to the road, not the Admiral.  At the end of the war, upon returning to Hawaii, he was given a hero’s welcome and led a parade from the battlegrounds of Pearl Harbor to the Kingdom of Hawaii’s historic Iolani Palace.  The Admiral was named “Alii aimoku,” or supreme chief, by all the Hawaiian Orders in Hawaii – a rare feat for a haole from Fredericksburg, TX.  A war museum was established in his family’s old Fredricksburg hotel and the collection of WWII artifacts rivals Pearl Harbor’s historic museum.  The Nimitz Museum actually has the Japanese midget submarine that washed ashore on the beaches of Oahu after the  Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  Quite a collection, indeed!

Please take a moment to read my first travel piece written as a professional “writer.”  I’ve never thought of myself as a writer yet I’ve written most of my adult life.  Here’s my first chance to prove I can.







I hate the Canon 5D Mark II.  I hated mine copy so much I sold mine within weeks of purchasing it.  Not because it busted while on assignment in Nara, Japan.  Not because it didn’t make some amazing shots because it did.  I hated it because of the handling.  I hated the feel of the body.  I hated the focus points.  I really hated the focal points.  But in reality, I hated it because to me, it wasn’t a 1D series camera.  I purchased it as a back up to my full frame Canon 1Ds Mark II body.  Canon’s 1Ds Mark III body didn’t match up to my expectations and I figured why bother doing an expensive upgrade when the gains were so little.  But I sadly found the 5D was a fancy toy that non professionals used, not something serious pros would consider as a primary camera. (Just another GWC uttered in disgust as a wannabe wandered over to work next to us with a 5D.)

Yet, 5Ds were flying off the rental shelves at Hawaii Photo Rental.  Major photographers were using the camera to make amazing stuff.  TV shows and movies were being made with it.  I made a timeless shot in Kyoto with the camera.  The 5D Mark II can take some pretty amazing pictures and videos!

Maiko in Kyoto, Japan with a 5D MII

I know so many people who use it as their primary and love it.  There are thousands of photographers and cinematographers who use it and do amazing work with it. But for me, a rough-and-tumble kinda photographer who uses a t-shirt to clean his lenses, the 5D Mark II is and was a toy.  Mind you, so many pros, from White House photographers to travel-in-the-jungle photogs use and love it.

I didn’t.

Low and behold, Canon released the new Canon 5D Mark III with some major improvements.  As I’m faced with upgrading my 1Ds Mark II (this is a whole different story…the Mark II is amazing…at times it feels like there is enough flaws within technology that its like shooting film…you get organic-ism, not perfect-ism.)

So thanks to Josh and the crew at Hawaii Photo Rental, I had the chance to test drive and review the new Canon 5D Mark III for the shop. What made it more exciting was I was going to lunch with two amazing photogs, Eugene Tanner, AP and commercial guy, and Jamm Aquino, full time bad ass staffer at the Star Advertiser.  I pitched my review idea to Josh and he liked the idea that he’d here from three professional opinions on the newest Canon camera.

I picked it up from Austin and Natalie (and Christine) at Hawaii Photo Rental and immediately, I felt the camera was built a thousand times better than the 5D Mark II.  Natalie quickly pointed out how the flash card door was now lined with a piece of “leather” making it harder for the card door to slip open.  She, and Austin, noted the seals, feel, and design of the body stating Canon must have listened to pros and made major improvements.  The selection dial on the left of the body now has a lock to keep your settings in place.  That feature alone was one of the better and noticeable upgrades that can make it a winner.  The menus were updated and a bit complicated with numerous upgrades and features.

We rattled off the motor drive and it was fast for a prosumer camera.  Its about 4.5 frames a second?  Plenty of time to do moderate action.  But the greatest thing about the camera as the increased focus points.

The 61 focus points ROCKED.

Oh what joy to see a camera where you can actually find focal points throughout the frame.  The ability to move your focal points to almost any part of the camera gives the camera a major improvement in handling.  This was the main Achilles tendon of the camera for me…along with it just feeling like a toy.  The Mark II always reminded me of my first Canon digital camera, the 10D.  Just a prosumer camera off the shelf.

So I walked out with the camera and went to meet Jamm and Tanner for lunch over at Murphy’s Bar and Grill in downtown HNL.  We were having a late birthday lunch for Eugene but it was a celebration none the less as it was good cheer around.  We passed the camera around and all took pictures and made pro comments on the feel, style, and responsiveness of the Mark III…all over burgers, fish and chips, and a few adult beverages.

Kramer by Tanner.

Jamm, being a bit snobby in the use of in his gear, said immediately it was a GWC camera but after playing with it for a few minutes, he changed his tune.  I think all three of us are snobs with gear as we rely so much on our cameras to give us 110% all the time that its hard for us to “trust” a prosumer camera.  But again, we were quickly proved wrong.

The handling, structure and feel of the camera was reasonably good and beyond our expectations.  Eugene liked the fact the Mark III could easily fill the void a Canon Mark IV’ cropped sensor lacked.   But as we started to feel out the camera further, we three quickly noted several shortcomings and issues…all in reference to professional standards, conditions, and situations.  Immediately we all said the response was good but was it good enough, rather quick enough?  I stuck my Canon 35mm f1.4 lens on the body and took it for a spin down Ft. Street Mall.  I immediately felt it wasn’t responsive as a professional body.  Both Jamm and Tanner said roughly the same thing.  It doesn’t fire when you want it to.  Jamm pointed out it was probably a custom feature but we just felt it didn’t snap when you snapped.  Those instances when the decisive moment appears, you need a camera that will do what you tell it to do.

Knocked kneed on Fort St. with the Mark III

Now, we really only had this new tool for a short time and can’t really speak with any major authority about the camera and its functions but the responsiveness was noticeable.  So it could have been the custom function in the menu.  Knocked kneed was out of focus.  I aimed, fired, and the camera didn’t catch it.  There are so many quirks that we are not accounting for (my lens being out of tune, the camera settings, my lack of precision to catch the focus properly…there are numerous things to ask before I judge this scenario) but I would have expected some reasonable sharpness on the girl.  Who knows.  On the elevator in my building, I tried to sneak a few frames of one of the maintenance girls in our building and shoved the camera in her face.  Wouldn’t fire.  Nada.  Again, I have to refer back to Jamm and the custom functions in the menu but alas, no book and no time to fuss with buttons.  I feel strongly that if you gotta mess too much with the menus, etc…then you can’t take a picture.  Fire away and deal with the after mass later.

Lunchtime Stella

The one noticeable and wonderful feature was the lack of noise in high iso.  25600 is ABSOLUTELY useable.  Why you, the average user, would need to hit this high is beyond me but its absolutely useable.  Butter as some would say…silky smooth as butter.  The above shot of the lunchtime Stella was shot at 2000 iso.  Clean.  Amazingly clean.  Like shooting at 640 0r 800 iso on an older body.  Just simply amazing a prosumer body is capturing files like this.

Padded elevator rising to 32nd at 2500 iso with the Mark III.

Now the issues we all agreed upon was the focusing and the buffer were not 1D series standards.  Does that matter?  Should any of our shortcoming decision force you to spend $6700 over $3500 for a little bit faster focus and longer buffer (think renting for at least $150/day versus doing a three day rental from Hawaii Photo Rental at $185)?  I think not.  Most of you who have been renting from Hawaii Photo Rental have probably used a 5D Mark II and know its a fantastic camera.  Whatever short coming I (we) found or you might have figured out shouldn’t discount it.  Now with the new Canon 5D Mark III, the game shifts drastically and you can now rent a semi pro camera that works as close as to a professional 1D standard as you can get.

Deep thoughts with Tanner by Jamm and a Mark IV.

In reality, the 5D Mark III is a super camera.  The fantasy world we live in in reference to long buffers, etc…also reflect a world where we sometimes don’t live.  90% of what I shoot could be done with an iPhone.  The camera, priced a little too high (a strong demand and possibly a lack of production due to tsunami damaged factories or last year’s Thailand flooding) but it is a camera well worth its weight.  To rent it is to see where you stand with it.  Jamm, Eugene, and I all felt it was a superb camera but lacked just a little bit to make it a professional grade body.  Now does it matter as I stated above?  To 99% of you GWCs who are going to use it to shoot your dog, family or friends, absolutely not.  To those of you who will rent to shoot a wedding or paid job?  Absolutely not (maybe if you are picky) but no way if you’ve done well shooting with a 5D Mark II.  For a picky pro, its a great tool and if you are a pro you will have to know your limitations like anything.  If you are shooting a sporting event and your timing and focus mean the difference between a paycheck or going home empty handed, you’ll have to know your limitations with the tool.  And again, its a tool.  You can’t shoot an elephant with a bb gun, but how often do you get the chance to shoot an elephant?  The high ISO range expands your horizons drastically.  You can literally shoot in the dark now with little notice.  I find that option fantastic.  What a great new tool.

To note, I didn’t process any of the raw files as my version of Photoshop isn’t upgraded to open the new Mark III files and I couldn’t be bothered to deal with downloading it at this moment.  But the damn jpgs files are so damn good, its almost as if you don’t even need to shoot raw.  The files are amazing.  This is a superb camera and well worth renting from Hawaii Photo Rental.

We three photographers did not do any technical testing.  This is just talk over beer (and a whiskey) over the use of cameras, handling, and whatnot.

I highly recommend renting this fantastic camera from Hawaii Photo Rental.  Its a really, really nice camera and its a huge improvement over the Mark II.  Well worth the rental fees.


The humble beginnings…

The humble beginnings...

While editing and doing some archiving, I found a disc of old images from my time working for the community newspaper in San Antonio.  How humbling to see how I started off and what images I shot as a student and budding photographer.

I shot the Mexican dancers at a community event on the West Side of town.  I remember being in love with this shot because of her loving reaction to her partner.  She’s so happy.  I photographed this event for the San Antonio Express News community newspaper, The Sun.  Each district of town had their own edition so there was always something different to shoot.

So many times, I’ve seen how digital has changed the field of photography.  Even more importantly, how cheap credit has allowed many people to purchase pro equipment and how digital has allowed the average flickr type to create amazing bodies of work.  Now students and prosumers can compete with full-time professionals.  I know I’ve talked about the old Nikon gear and manual focus lenses but I can’t stress how it was such a different time.  There was no Photoshop, no Lightroom, no computers!  Darkroom, stop bath, fixer.  A steel can and reels.  A red light bulb.  It was so long ago and technologically speaking, it was truly the dark ages of modern photography.

What may have taken several hours to create can now be produced in seconds.  I remember shooting an event like football or a late night press conference.  I’d have to  leave half way through to get back to a darkroom, develop film, print from the negative and make a 10 pm deadline.  Now I’m shooting boxing matches and transmitting images in between rounds.  I’m talking seconds to get an image from a digital camera into a laptop, process the raw file, caption it, and ftp’ed to a client.  Seconds!  And technology will eventually allow streaming images to be sent directly to an editor thousands of miles away as the photos are being shot.  I mean they do that now with TV live feed so surely they will find away to get images on line immediately.

A mime play shot for the San Antonio Express News community newspaper, The Sun.  I was probably paid $25 per assignment back in 1997.

Whats more interesting is seeing how my professional career in Hawaii has evolved.  How my views have changed…from portraits to street work.  How I’ve visually grown.  I constantly read art books.  Study old paintings.  Visually stimulate my senses so I can “see” when I put the camera to my eye.  And its working.  My timing is different, my angles are changing.  My views are evolving. I try to look at images as paintings.  I try to think of how a painter or sculptor would see a face or scene.  My actions seems so far away from what I used to shoot.

The family above had parts of their home catch fire in San Antonio due to faulty wiring in a junction box.  The family holds the box which caused the problem. (I think thats what happend!)  The Sun Community Newspaper, 1997.

 These images seem so long ago but when I view them, I can clearly see how I naturally had a vision but it wasn’t developed.  It was raw, unexpected, and unreliable.  I was just a kid with a few cameras and pocket full of film.  Sure, I was in my 20s.  I though I knew more than I did but couldn’t prove it.  I knew I wasn’t good enough to get a staff job at the Dallas Morning News or the LA Times but I though if they gave me a chance, I could do it.  The Express News gave me that chance but it was shooting for their community newspaper. It was really bad work on my end but in many ways, I think it was some of the best stuff around.  I shot so many images of real life that it made me realize what life was about.

Lilly Tejeda is the mother of Frank Tejeda, a local politician who had high hopes but sadly died of cancer a some time after this picture was taken.   His death was a loss to the Hispanic community as he might have gone to much higher positions.  I remember going to her humble house on the South Side of San Antonio and asking her if we could take the photo of her and her son’s pictures.  How much they looked like.  Funny, this image still makes me sad.  She held a brave face but she knew her loss.

How far I’ve come from the 90s to the 2010s.  How arrogant I was to think I new so much but in reality I knew nothing.  The base was there but the experience was not.  So many kids and prosumers I’ve encountered over the years here in Hawaii and elsewhere seem to think because they have a digital camera, have a few images published here and there, they are equal or better than me or anyone who has shot for years.  Maybe they are.  If I had top digital cameras and technology back on my side in the 90’s, maybe I would have been just as good.  But what they lack is experience.  They don’t have any experience shooting high school plays, community dances, kid’s swim meets, or a local strawberry fair.  I regularly would drive an hour or so out to the the middle of nowhere to shoot a portrait of man who raised a prized steer.  All for about $25!  There is lots to really say about starting from the bottom.  It humbles you and makes you realize you don’t really know what the hell you are doing.

I shot an event for Reuters a few weeks ago and worked next to the Honolulu Star Advertiser’s senior photographer Craig Kojima.  He’s in his 50’s or so but walks around like he’s a nobody.  No attitude, no beef, no nothing.  He wears those ridiculously stupid shoes that you can put your toes in…you know the ones!  Ugh!  He’s such a great guy and he knows how to shoot. After looking at his take the next day in the paper, I realized that experience trumped anything I did that day.  He shot unbelievable images that I failed to see.  And why was that?  Experience.  I called him a few days later and told him so.  He laughed in that soft, fatherly way and denied he was any better.  Yet he clearly has 20 plus years on me.  Experience counts.  Not workshops, or degrees, or attitude.  Experience makes up for anything some stupid classroom can teach.

Would I go back and shoot the community newspapers again?  As Sarah P would say, “you betcha!”  In a Texas heart beat.  Those were the best days of my learning photography years.  From there, it just got more complicated, harder, and more depressing.  Moving to New York essentially took all the romance out of what I though photography was.  At the community newspaper, I was in a dream world.  I thought this last Sun’s assignment would get me into the doors of National Geographic.  I really did.  And who’s to say it wasn’t going to happen? A youngster can dream, no?

So when George Lee comes knocking on your door to shoot a Pulse assignment, you might want to reconsider his offer.  You just never know…

"We dodged a bullet…"

Friday night in Hawaii turned out to be pretty intense. Well, more than intense. Around 10:30pm that evening, George called me to tell me of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake that rattled Chile. We quickly discussed a possible tsunami which turned out to be a reality and fears abounded. I started charging batteries and getting camera gear ready as I knew work would start quicker than I imagined.

Sure enough, around 12am, Jaymes, the local AP chief, sent out a text putting local AP staff and contractors on red alert as the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center released a tsunami warning for the State of Hawaii based on the massive quake across the Pacific. I couldn’t help but to think about the tragedy experienced in Banda Aceh in 2004 and feared, for good measure, the same might fall upon Hawaii.

The shot above is from my 2005 series of work from Banda Aceh a week after the Asian tsunami destroyed many coastal cities around the globe. Amazing the power of water and the destruction it can do.

Jaymes sent me out to shoot the PTWC and the operations monitoring the tsunami waves traveling across the Pacific. Before I went out to work, I made sure to fill up with gas, purchase bottled water and a few cans of soup as I knew once dawn broke, the citizens of the state would be on the go and would make a run on supplies. As expected, as I was entering Ewa, I saw how insane the lines were at the gas stations and how people were flooding the 24 hour grocery stores. Hundreds of cars lined the roads at gas stations stocking up on gas in the event a disaster hit.

I got to the PTWC, got my shots, transmitted, got confusing orders to get on a plane to Hilo but glad I didn’t as the Hilo airport shut down around 6. Got back home, shot a few shoppers at the grocery store and waited for dawn. Heard the tsunami sirens blow at 6AM. I was shaken by hearing that wail break the silence of the dawn. I knew at from the sirens, as canny as this sounds, it was no drill. We were up for the real deal at this point.

I ran back out to the Waianae to shoot the homeless being pulled off the beach. That was tough. Many of those people have no where to go, no way to get there, and in most cases, faced loosing all they owned if a wave were to wash away their tent camping sights. Star Bulletin photographer Jamm was brought to tears after spending some time with a homeless guy on a wheelchair. The homeless man refused to leave the beach and his makeshift tent because he was afraid other homeless would come and steal his canned food and small possessions from his home on the beach. Jamm felt, by leaving this man, he was leaving this half blind, chair bound man to his fate on a beautiful beach in Makaha.

The homeless fascinated me as so many of them felt they were being pushed off the beach and wouldn’t be allowed to return. Many ignored the sirens and bullhorns announced evacuations from the beach. Strangely one woman told me she didn’t believe the state, and as she raised her hands to the heavens, she said if God wants to take me, I can’t stop him. I’ll leave when God wants me to. Fatalism echoed deeply in her words and it became apparent many of the homeless mirrored her feelings. Being homeless and owning nothing seems to makes one believe in nothing other than the hand of God. Another man and his family waved off the idea their tents would be lost if the waves came. He said, “what do we own? Nothing we can’t replace.” My materialism was questioned. Yet, having some sort of desire to live or better your situation might be a higher goal to achieve than waiting for the God to deal you a better hand.

After a bit of time in the Waianae, I rushed off to Ala Moana Beach park and captured empty beaches and quiet streets. I ran into into a lone Japanese family sunning on the beach and I tried to warn them of the danger but they couldn’t speak a word of English. I said tsunami, pointed to the ocean, and declared “abunai!” meaning dangerous. They clearly got my message and started off for their hotels. I kinda thought they would have figured it out seeing all the police, hearing the sirens, and how empty the beach was.

As the zero hour approached, I rushed off to the balcony of the Illikai Hotel where I waited for something to happen. I planned ahead before I left the house as I put my bike in the back of the car to make sure I could get around if things got sticky. I parked on the second floor of Don Quixote grocery store and rode down to Waikiki. I surely feared for myself if waves really were to wash up as they did in Banda Aceh. I can only guess that I might not have been as safe as I thought exposed on that balcony if waves and debris has washed up that close…or for that matter, that high. I was only feet away from loads of boats in the Hobron harbor.

I linked a video put together of the Banda Aceh tsunami waves washing through the city. I feared we were destined to the same fate.

Video here.

I really feared a situation where all of the beach were to suck out and push in with me on a bike and the world lapping at my feet. I didn’t take my situation lightly as I had to weigh what I was doing…am I a journalist or a citizen? Several professionals rushed out of the danger zones fearing the worst. No story is worth your life but as Mark Niesse said, as journalists its our job to be in the middle of it all. He rented a ocean front room in a top hotel and awaited the waves. He surprised me at his dedication and audacity to push it to the limits. Phone in hand, he was ready to report to the world all he saw. Well, its really not a surprise as he seems to always be at the ready.

At the last second before the waves hit, I got pulled out of the danger zone and was sent to the Civil Defense bunker at Diamond Head in the event of massive damage to the state. I was chosen to fly out with Governor Lingle on a Blackhawk helicopter as she would fly out to assess the damage. Luckily, it didn’t happen.

Around 2pm, the state called off the warning signaling an all clear. We did experience some inundation of waves in some areas but there was no reported damage or loss of life. The TV news broadcast from Hilo showed water ebbing in and out of the harbor giving viewers a sinking feeling a rush of water was next…but it just didn’t happen.

As much as we were in a complete danger zone, we, as a scientist from the PTWC stated, dodged a bullet. A bullet I am glad to see not hit us. The damage would have left scars for years to come.

I do have to note my joy in waking up on Sunday morning from a deep sleep (imagine, I worked roughly a 15 hour day with no sleep on Friday) and seeing my shot on the front page of the Honolulu Star Bulletin. As luck has it with me and my camera, the surfer just so happen to be walking on the beach just below me from the Diamond Head lookout. I had just left the bunker after the all-clear was issued. I needed a shot to show life was back in order, at least life back in order, Hawaiian-style.