The east coast of Hawaii's Big Island is often cloud-covered and rain is very common. Lush rainforests with tropical plants and flowers are the result. Kalopa State Park sits at ~2000 ft elevation a few miles inland, and is not so well known among visitors. It's a shame, as this park is a fabulous example of indigenous plant preservation and restoration. I like to call it the "Muir Woods" of Hawaii. The trees are dense and the light is almost always very flat and dim due to the cloud cover.
The park was set aside decades ago at a time when all the surrounding hills were being planted with sugarcane. Ironically, the sugarcane is now gone and the same surrounding hills are now densely planted with very non-indigenous Eucalyptus trees. A small buffer of meadow separates the "Euc" groves from the park forest of palms and tropical plants.
While hiking in the near-darkness of the park one morning, I saw this view of the Euc grove through the trees and across the adjacent meadow. It struck me as a beautiful but exceedingly un-Hawaiian scene, more like something I might find in northern California. The flat light worked to advantage, providing just enough illumination to give some definition and shape to the various tones in the trees and grasses while preserving detail deep into the grove itself.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor