Aloha for the ‘Āina: A Curated Collection by Our Photographers In Honor of Earth Month
2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and we want to honor and celebrate our aloha for our ‘āina and home. We asked our photographers, Aaron K. Yoshino and David Croxford, to curate a collection of their work in tribute of Earth Month.
This article was originally published on April 30, 2020 for Earth Month. It was updated on June 15, 2021 for Nature Photography Day.
Aaron K. Yoshino
Lightning storm over downtown Honolulu, 2018. We are just guests on this ‘āina. Images like this remind me of that.
The last Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. sugar cane burning and harvest on Maui, 2016. The end of an era in Hawai‘i, and a sign of changing attitudes about the value of our natural resources.
SEE ALSO: The End of an Era: Hawai‘i’s Last Sugar Mill Closes Forever
Waimea, Hawai‘i Island.
Queen’s Beach during a king tide, 2017. If you know this beach, you know how weird this photo is. The king tides give us a preview of what the everyday effects of sea level rise might look like. The longboarder on a knee-high wave on the left is where the water line would normally be, and there is normally about 30 feet of sand between the sidewalk and the water.
SEE ALSO: Photo Gallery: Hawai‘i During the Pandemic in 2020
Hālona Beach at moonrise, 2 a.m.
This isn’t the nicest photo ever but it is one of the last images taken of an Achatinella apexfulva; this one is known as Lonesome George. George was a snail endemic to O‘ahu and the last known surviving member of his species. He was being kept alive at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Snail Extinction Program laboratory. Invasive predatory snails, rodents and of course human encroachment have impacted the more than 750 different species of snails that once lived here.
SEE ALSO: A Snail’s Tale: Can Rare Hawaiian Land Snails Be Saved from Extinction?
This past month’s supermoon.
Mokoli‘i. I grew up on the East Side of O‘ahu and have many memories of camping along this coastline as a child.
Waimea Canyon, Kaua‘i.
This was an incredible moment. In 2014 I was at Halema‘uma‘u Crater on Hawai‘i Island to photograph the moonrise over the crater. Soon after moonrise, a huge bank of fog rolled in and enveloped everything. The sky transformed from almost perfectly clear to this, in minutes. It was otherworldly.
SEE ALSO: Photo Gallery: See Some of Honolulu’s Exceptional Trees
The last time the Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational ran, 2016. The Eddie surf contest needs waves with 40 feet faces for a continuous eight hours pumping into famed Waimea Bay on the North Shore. It is a rare sight and typically in excess of 100,000 people trek to the bay to watch the event. It was on my bucket list when I arrived on O‘ahu in 2000 and I’ve been blessed to observe it twice.
Sunset at the entrance to Honolulu Harbor. No matter where you are in the world, sunsets represent another day coming to an end. But few places in the world end their days like these beautiful Islands.
Lo‘i Rainbow, Wai‘anae Mountains in background. There’s a program that reintroduces Hawaiians to their remarkable heritage, and I was assigned to document it. This image was captured while telling that story. In Christian writings the rainbow is a godly promise found in Genesis 9:16. It seemed a perfect start to my shooting day.
Presunrise over Ali‘i Fishpond on Moloka‘i. I was privileged to meet Raiatea Helm’s family on Moloka‘i and hunted with her cousin above Ali‘i Fishpond. While waiting for the light to arrive, the darkness turned to the soft purple predawn light in this image. I was able to capture the silence in the moment of color.
SEE ALSO: Hawai‘i’s Endangered Nēnē Photo Gallery
Simple patterns in nature. I’m struck by the symmetry we see in nature; it’s often overlooked as we hurry from one place to the next. If anything, this shutdown has reminded me to take time to observe, not just rush to complete what I’m doing.
Another from the last time the Eddie ran, 2016.
Evidence of human presence. Simple footprints in the sand. Just ask sometime, what do I see here … who was he/she? What was he/she doing? What do you see?
Sunrise in Kailua, Moku Nui (left), Moku Iki. While on the longer assignments we often attempt to cover all hours of the day and night, especially if the assignment is trying to show the typical day in the life of a community. This image and several others came about from such an assignment. Sunrises and sunsets are always special times for Hawaiians and those of us who call the Islands home.
Sailing wa‘a in Kāne‘ohe Bay. A canoe builder lives on Kāne‘ohe Bay and tests his builds on the bay. We were there to document one of his test runs. I was told to watch my step on the boat ramp; I did, but still I fell. Like a good PJ, though, I saved the camera and housing—but ended up with a small fracture of my wrist that took about two weeks to come back together. I shot this image with an ice pack strapped around the wrist and camera housing.
Low tide below Mokoli‘i. On the way back from Lā‘ie midmorning a few years back, I glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw this serenity. I remember physically sucking air in as I saw the scene. Immediately I found a turnaround and caught the serenity here. Just plain beauty, given to us to see.
Tag your favorite Island photos that show us your love for Mother Earth #alohaainaforhi.