The Ko'olau Collection
The Ko'olau collection was inspired by a year-long quest to cross an elusive Hawaiian mountain range with my friend Helene Dumais. In turn, we realized just how powerful the mountains were, and how dearly we rely on them for resources. A portion of print proceeds from this collection goes to support the conservation work of the Ko’olau Mountains Watershed Partnership, which actively works to maintain the resiliency of our native forests. Each images is personally signed and delivered with a certificate of authenticity.
In the early morning sun, the majestic peaks of the Ko'olau mountains rise over the tranquil waters of a neighboring fish pond. From afar, one can see where the ridgeline dips between the towering peaks of Lanihuli and Kahuauli, creating a narrow and treacherous climb. Lanihuli, or the swirling heavens, is mentioned in many ancient Hawaiian songs, and fluffy clouds attest to the name, pausing to kiss the peak as they float by.
The native Hawaiian Manono tree rises above the golden ridge lines of the Ko'olau Mountains. Manono was also the name of a female Hawaiian chiefess, who died fighting to preserve the native religion. Today, her strong spirit is exemplified by the commanding presence of the Manono tree. While relatively small in comparison to the expansive mountain range surrounding her, it is her roots that give strength to the ridges, protecting from erosion and holding them together.
Heavenly rays extend over the H-3 highway and the Ko'olau mountains. Towards the bottom, a small line of stairs can be seen winding along the edge of one of the thin ridges. Stairway to Heaven, almost 4,000 metal steps winding up to the summit, has gained fame for it's treacherous climb, and breathtaking views. Below, the tunnel of the H-3 emerges from the town of Honolulu, guiding drivers through the lush mountain views of Kaneohe.
Purple Mountain Majesty
Evening light illuminates the vog draped outlines of the Ko'olau mountains, as the Waianae Mountain range looms in the distance. Vog, a type of ashy cloud comprised of debris from the fiery volcanos on the Big Island, is carried across the ocean when the southerly Kona winds blow. Here, this mystical haze drapes the land once seen as a solid mass of hills, highlighting every intricate edge, and bringing an entire field of diversity to light.
A wellspring of fresh mountain water sweeps over moss cloaked stones. Along the sides, vibrant ferns wave gently in the morning breeze, soaking in the abundance. The Hawaiian word for water is Wai, and the Hawaiian word for wealth is Waiwai. Native Hawaiians recognized water as a great source of value, vital to growing food. Precious water is captured by the Ko'olau mountains, and carries life towards the farms and homes below.