Windmills of South Point

South Point in Hawaii is a pretty barren place.  I’m not gonna say “no man’s land” because it’s gorgeous, pastoral, and picturesque.  But when I posted the boat hoists, I did mention the wind – you’re not gonna miss the wind.  Most of the pictures of my wife involve her cupping her hands around her eyes to keep the blowing dust out.  Clearly, this wasn’t lost on some people:

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On the 12 mile road from belt road to the point, you pass several banks of windmills.  These are some of the older and smaller ones.  The missing blades and patina of rust makes it pretty clear that these aren’t newly installed as some recent jump to green energy.  These have been here.  There are some newer windmills you can’t get as close to.  They’re larger and look more modern.  These had more character.

Interestingly enough, I took a few HDRs of these.  When I was editing the pictures I put them together and really didn’t think they gained much from it.  A good note on HDR is that unless you have really dynamic lighting that has a lot of bright and dark spots in the same photograph, you don’t gain as much from it.  These shots do have some shadows and blown out spots, but I like this effect just as much.

The other important thing to point out is one item you just can’t do without in Hawaii, or anywhere else where you shoot a lot of sky and water – a polarizing filter.  In this modern world of digital cameras and Photoshop, most on-camera filters have fallen by the wayside.  You can do many things after the fact, but polarizing the image isn’t one of them.  A polarizing filter removes reflections from shiny objects, like metal and water.  This means if you want to see the fish in the water, you can.  It also means you can remove reflections of people from building windows.  At the same time, it can turn your blue sky into a much more intense blue.  The downside is that they eat some amount of your light, so I only use them in bright and sunny places.  When I go to Hawaii, the polarizer goes on and rarely comes off.  The blue sky in this picture really pops from the filter, not from what I did after the fact.

South Point Boat Hoists

South Point on the Big Island of Hawaii is a wind-blasted expanse of farmlands, windfarms, and dirt giving way to cliffs and ocean.  The southernmost point in the US, it was until recently one of two places on the island your rental car coverage wouldn’t allow you to go.  The road is fine now – I’m not sure if the rules have changed.  I have heard that the locals that fish from the cliffs may take some liberties with the possessions people leave in their cars when they hike to the beach, so we stayed close.  Against the backdrop of wind and waves, there are a bunch of these creaky old boat hoists.  I think the premise is that this is the shortest route from road to water, but you’d have to be pretty nuts to actually use one.  I wouldn’t put it past some of the folks hanging out down there.

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