Some scenes are worth interrupting your drive and pulling over to the side of the road for a photo. This was one of them.
The image below utilized 7 individual shots which were over and underexposed, then combined into a single high dynamic range (HDR) image. I highly recommend clicking on the image and viewing a larger version on the flickr page.
I’ve been in Hawai’i for the past couple weeks, first working with a collaborator on my thesis project, then my Uncle’s wedding, and now a week of vacation on the Big Island. Though the last part of the trip hasn’t gone as planned, I am still enjoying seeing the sights and exploring the island.
I’ve taken a lot of photos, and it will take me some time to sort through them. But here is one of a rock arch in Volcanoes National Park:
More photos coming soon!
Earlier this week I was on an observing run at one of the 10m Keck Telescopes. The telescopes are located on the summit of the 4205m high Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawai’i, but we have been observing from a control room in the town of Waimea.
A typical bedtime when observing is shortly after sunrise. I will usually sleep for 6-8 hours and wake up in the afternoon to prepare for the night’s observations. If time allows I usually try to go hiking or running on the mountain.
Before traveling to the Waimea, a collaborator had sent me information on a hike in the area. A little research by my friend David suggested the morning was the best time to go, before the clouds move in and block the views. So rather than sleep before hiking, it was hike before sleeping.
Shortly after we closed up the telescope (and as my fellow observers were heading to bed), I got in touch with David and we arranged to meet soon after sunrise. David, incidentally is a fellow grad student at UVa. In a fortuitous coincidence our stays in Waimea overlapped so we resolved to do some hiking.
Our goal for the Sunday morning hike was in the Kohala Forest Preserve. Right after we got out of our car the clouds cleared and we were treated with a view of the summit of Mauna Kea, almost 3000m above us. Despite its distance (at least 30km horizontal) the domes of several telescopes were clearly visible — my first view of the Keck telescope!
The past few weeks have been very productive for my research on merging galaxies. I have had the great opportunity to work with Josh Barnes on matching simulations to galaxy mergers with the Identikit technique. While here in Hawaii, I devoted my weekdays to exploring the field of computer simulations of galaxy mergers (more on that in another post!). But, since we know what happens when it’s all work and no play, I took the weekends to explore the island with my Uncle George.
In the 4 weekend days available (plus a Friday evening) we packed in 5 hikes and three surf sessions. The hiking here is excellent and its character is different from what I’ve experienced in Idaho or on the East coast. The geologic youth and volcanic nature of the islands means there are an abundance of narrow, exposed ridges. The tropical nature of the island means this is frequently accompanied by dense flora. Very impressive scenery for hiking:
This past Sunday was a travel day: Charlottesville to Honolulu. All told it was about 18 hours door-to-door. The flight from Washington, D.C. to San Fransisco took us over some great scenery, including a nice view of the desert and Yosemite Valley:
The last leg, to Honolulu, also featured some good scenery. Sunset was just before we started the final descent. Unfortunately I was unable to get a good sunset shot. But the views from 34k ft were quite stunning: