Thursday, March 28, 2013

Polulu Valley overlook

Its nice to switch it up and visit the west side of Hawaii island for a change of pace. After an assignment in Kona, I wanted to drive out to Hawi and hike down Polulu valley to the black sand beach, and with any luck catch an amazing sunset which I've never experienced at Polulu.

Unfortunately, it seems like whenever I visit Polulu, its always socked in with clouds, stormy skies, and no sunsets - a little disapppointing considering the drive.

Oh well, here's the scene from the lookout point to the rugged coastlines on this grey, grey day.

The light was flat with even clouds creating a washed out atmosphere to the usually dramatic landscape. Walking back to the car, I did notice some beautiful wildflowers all over the roadway which I've never noticed before, and they were blooming everywhere. Its always amazing how inspiration can change instantly when you keep your eyes open and observe things differently in the landscape.

In this lighting, photographing plants and flowers is very flattering, framing the view with texture and color to create a pleasing image.

Inspiration comes back into view:

Beautiful white wildflowers frame this entire field creating a sweeping panorama with a gorgeous wild flower foreground below.

I'm loving this image that I converted to a black and white, the wildflowers just seem to pop out drammatically against the dark green hillsides. Even though this didn't turn out well for a sunset opportunity, I was able to find something just as interesting wih the wildflowers and creating a different mood to Polulu, definitely worth the drive.

©Noel Morata, All rights reserved

Come and visit my photography website at


Monday, March 25, 2013

Big Island Chocolate Festival 2013

The Big Island Chocolate Festival was a chocoholic fantasy dream come true at the Fairmont Orchid in Hawaii. This three day celebration of everything centering around chocolate included chocolate demonstrations, chocolate farm tours, chocolate competions and of course an ample opportunity to see and savor chocolate at its best.

Student participation from the culinary schools around Hawaii brought out the best in group collaborations and imaginative creations. The attention to detail and focused concentration of the students to make nothing but the best shows the anticipation and excitement to the culinary events.
Ah, it was so hard to just pick one as a favorite dessert or savory presentation an the gala night presentation. Chocolate preparations were all on display from chocolate confectioners, bean to bar creators, chefs and chocolatiers were all putting on an amazing show.

Fortunately, a judging panel chose sweet and savory winners with the culinary team at the Fairmont Orchid receiving both sweet and savory award. They also won the people's choice award for the delicious sample below,cocoa dusted spicy ahi cone with truffle orange vinagrette and chocolate nibs.

Here's a sample of other sweet and savory dishes and chocolate inspirations from the gala evening event.

You get a delicous bite with this chocolate infused Kau pork belly from the Hilton Waikoloa, made with 72% Waialua chocolate from Oahu, pickled daikon and carrots and chile cilantro in a chocolate char siu sauce


Executive chef Donald Wressel from Guittard chocolate was busy working on a floral chocolate fantasy masterpiece. It was amazing, but I'm wondering who got away with this forty pounder at the end of the event, wish I had a big enough bag to haul this puppy away!

The beautiful floral details to this chocolate sculpture.


A very odd and yet delicious mixture of sensations presented was the Big Island Hog Balls made with all local ingredients including nice big chunks of Hawaiian bacon, I think I polished off a good third of this platter alone!

The sold out event at the Fairmont Orchid was truly a chocolate connoisseur's tasting experience, and it also raised funding for equipment at a local Hawaiian culinary school and a community amphitheature at a charter school at Kaleakekua.

Its always great to support and sample locally made ingredients and finished products like Hawaiian grown chocolate and the Kona chocolate association and their supporters are making great efforts to promoting Hawaiian products and events so that more people can appreciate these products.

To see more images of the three day event, please visit my flickr page.


Monday, March 18, 2013

No GMO demonstration in Hawaii

Hawaiian rallies and marches are always very colorful and filled with beautiful imagery and passion. Here, a recent protest and rally in Hilo against Monsanto and GMO tested produce grown on the Hawaiian islands are galvanizing many diverse groups of supports to pressure government to start labeling GMO produced products and drive out Monsanto interests on all the islands.

Prior to the rally starting a new planting bed was created in front of Hilo's historic Kamehameha statue and people started to plant Taro or Kalo as it is called in Hawaii - a food staple on the islands.

You cannot help to smile with creative and humorous signage that adds a human dimension

to this type of protest.

Personal signage give a more intimate story of the relevance of the rally and appeal for local government to consider their constituent's priorities.

The hands show what its all about....

A'ole GMO means No GMO

Even the oldest march and create insightful written dialog.

The weird and funny always grabs attention and sense of humor along the parade route.

A very large turnout supports and galvanizes local community to act and be heard, hopefully spurring action and changes within government.

Strength in numbers and positive reinforcement of words and local support inspire marchers along with onlookers. Hopefully this march has created some impact and thought, along with a very colorful display of Hawaiian culture.

For more images of the rally and march, please visit the flickr link below.

©Noel Morata, All rights reserved

Come and visit my photography website at
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