First Sunrise & Full Moon of 2018

First Sunrise of 2018

First Sunrise of 2018

2018 started off with a spectacular full moon (a rarity for the first day of the year) and sunrise as captured in these images taken from Diamond Head Lookout in Honolulu on the island of Oahu. Sunrise viewers had to get up early to catch the sunrise which occurred slightly after 7:08 a.m. in the morning.

The hour leading up to sunrise was filled with a starlit sky that gradually became the first morning on the new year, as the sun’s light slowly turned night into day.

It is hoped that with the dawn of a new day as well as a new year, that 2018 will be a year filled with peace, love and prosperity. Here’s wishing all of our readers the best in the new year.

First Sunrise of 2018

The sun rises in the east between the island of Maui and Lanai (above and below). Photos taken by Mel on January 1, 2018.

First Sunrise of 2018

First Day Sunrise Viewers

Spectators take in the sight of the new day in the new year of 2018.

Dawn’s Early Light

First Full Moon of 2018

The full moon which made an appearance on this first day of the new year of 2018, slowly left Hawaii as it moved on to Eastern Asia. Early risers were treated to the rare sight of a new year’s full moon setting about a half hour before sunrise. These two photos show the moon setting behind the bulk of Diamond Head mountain on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

First Full Moon of 2018

More photos can be found on the Hawaii Files Flickr page. Images and text by Melvin Ah Ching.

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The Last Sunrise of 2017

The Last Sunrise of 2017And so it came to pass, the year that was, yielding to the year to be. May good luck and a bright future shine upon you in 2018.

Here are some of the last photos shot this year for the Hawaii Files Blog, most of which can be viewed at our Flickr site. First off, the last sunrise of 2017, shot today (December 31) at Magic Island / Ala Moana Park. This location as well as Diamond Head Lookout, Waikiki Beach and Kahala are some of the our favorite locations to shoot sunrise pictures and sunsets.

Last Sunrise of 2017

Last Sunrise of 2017One of the major public events of 2017 was the arrival of Polynesian Society’s sailing canoe Hokule’a which completed a three year around-the-world trip in June. Thousands of people turned out for the vessel’s arrival on Magic Island and the open house event held at the Hawaii State Convention Center.

HŌKŪLEʻA - Mālama Honua Educational Exhibits & Hōkūleʻa Canoe Tours

Hokule'a Returns to HawaiiThe total solar eclipse of August 21 was a huge naturally occurring spectacle that dazzled many on the U.S. mainland. Here in Hawaii rain clouds almost cancelled out the partial eclipse that early morning viewers caught in various places around Hawaii. The photos below were shot from Kahala Beach Park.

Today's Solare EclipseThe First Hawaiian Auto Show that occurred in March 2017 never fails to attract thousands of people to check out the latest model cars as well as unforgettable classics. The Hawaii Files was there to capture some images.

2017 First Hawaiian Auto Show

2017 First Hawaiian Auto ShowAttractions on Hawaii’s beaches are plentiful. A seal coming ashore to rest or nurse a pup always brings out photographers and beachgoers to observe these rare and mostly elusive animals. Kaiwi shown below spent a morning at Waikiki much to the delight of observers who were kept at a distance.

Kaiwi, Hawaiian Monk SealYou can view all of our Hawaii Files Photos, many of which are not covered in this blog on our Flickr website.

Have a great 2018.

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Hawaii’s Glimpse at the Great American Solar Eclipse

2017 Hawaii Solar Eclipse

Today's Solar Eclipse

By Melvin Ah Ching, Editor & Publisher, The Hawaii Files Blog

As solar eclipses go, yesterday’s partial one in Honolulu was adequately good. The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 was a huge phenomena and event throughout the continental United States as the path of totality traveled eastward in a narrow 70 mile wide band from the Oregon coast to the tip of South Carolina. Much of the continent had a good partial eclipse that covered most of the sun.

In a solar eclipse, the moon’s shadow blots out the sunlight as it passes between the sun and the Earth. During totality that shadow blocks out nearly all sunlight except for a narrow band around the perimeter that creates a remarkable and unforgettable view. Solar eclipses are rare occurrences that track within small and varied regions of Earth’s surface. Within the eclipse’s band, many areas get a partial eclipse while totality only occurs within a smaller zone.

Millions of people on the U.S. continent witnessed and captured images of the eclipse going into and out of totality including the 2 minute long phase of full shadowed coverage.

In Honolulu, my friend Lisa Davidson and I awoke early and trekked to the Waialae Kahala Beach Park an hour before sunrise to secure a good viewing spot that I scoped out the day before. Anticipating the eclipse, which started near Hawaii, Lisa and I both photographed the changing light around us as night receded into the new day. The rising sun was going to be in the eclipse process. I had to be prepared for that.

I had three cameras with me including my Canon 600D SLR with a 300mm lens set up on a tripod, Fujifilm HS10 EVF with a wide to long built in zoom lens, and a Samsung smart phone that can also do pictures. Lisa had her trusty little Samsung that she used to catch the “feel” of the moments. We both had protective eclipse viewers that I got last year from Bishop Museum. I used the 58mm screw on sun filter for the cameras to get eclipse images.

We were set. We waited. Talked. Photographed. The sunrise was pretty, but the clouds were getting in the way. I was wondering if the clouds would pre-empt my eclipse view.

Eclipse times for Hawaii from

Sunrise in Honolulu was at 6:11 am. Moonrise was 2 minutes earlier at 6:09am. The eclipse began at 5:50am before the sun rose. Everything was in motion for a good eclipse except for the clouds.

It was not until 7:16 am that I caught my first fleeting glimpse of the sun poking through the clouds. I fired the Canon for a continuous burst of images as the clouds slowly broke and the sun revealed its new face for a few moments. And then the clouds rolled back in.

I got a few images but I wanted more. My wish came true as the clouds slowly blew away and the eclipsed sun appeared again as I fired more frames off with the camera. I got my 20% or probably a little less than that. It was better than nothing and certainly better than the 10% that I got during last year’s eclipse from Magic Island.

I snapped more photos in the next 15 minutes of the waning spectacle.

Lisa was thrilled as she was able to see the eclipse through my camera’s LCD screen and the protective filters that allowed us to view the show with our own eyes. She was very thankful that I shared these moments with her.

One of Lisa’s most mystical experiences was viewing a total solar eclipse when she was nine, living in New Hampshire. “The intense darkness in the middle of the day fueled my fascination with astronomy and science fiction. I’ll never forget how all the birds suddenly went silent.”

By 7:30 in the morning the Hawaii eclipse was over. The sun was out, the day was bright and life would continue as it always does.

It turns out that this year’s solar eclipse is the last one to be visible in Hawaii until April 8, 2024, when another total eclipse will be viewable in the continental United States. The next total solar eclipse occurs in the southeastern Pacific Ocean and over the South American countries of Chile and Argentina on July 2, 2019.

Photos by Mel unless indicated.

Today's Solare EclipseThis is one of the best shots I got of yesterday’s solar eclipse. Investing in a screw on solar lens filter is worth the money!

Sunlit Clouds Over Koko HeadThe beautiful but sunlight blocking clouds over Koko Head

What To Watch
Catching a live video stream while waiting for clouds to depart.

Monday Morning SunriseThe beautiful Hawaiian sunrise and clouds blocked the sun for nearly 40 minutes after the eclipse began.

Streaming From OregonWatching a live stream from Oregon as we waited out the clouds.

Today's Solar EclipseYou can get a decent shot out of your cell phone camera if you put one of those protective eye safety filters in front of your camera lens. Lisa did that and it got her this picture with the tiny sun chopped slightly to the bottom left.

Eclipse 2017 - 1Solar eclipse view from Ontario, Canada. Keith Watson Photography.

2017 Aug. 21 ~ The Diamond Ring - total solar eclipseTotality, August 21, 2017 – Kansas, United States. Michael Watson, photographer.

2017 Total Solar Eclipse - ISS TransitInternational Space Station in transit ahead of the moon. NASA. You can also see sunspots in this excellent photo.

KHON TV’s McKenna Maduli reports on the eclipse from Waialae Kahala Beach park not too far away from where we were. There are 3 clips embedded in this video composite.

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Kaiwi the Hawaiian Monk Seal Came In For a Snooze

Kaiwi, the Hawaiian Monk Seal

This is Kaiwi, a Hawaiian Monk Seal who took time out this morning to rest on the shoreline of Queen’s Beach in Waikiki. She is known to NOAA animal officials who monitor the endangered species. The seal was born  in 2016 at the Ka Iwi area of Oahu island.

Hawaiian Monk Seals are an endangered species and are protected bynow protected by the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Kaiwi has frequented the Waikiki area in the past, most recently in July during the time that another female monk seal named “Rocky” gave birth and nutured her pup on Kaimana Beach near the Waikiki Natatorium.

People are reminded to keep their distance away from the Hawaiian Monk Seal. It is a violation of several federal laws to go near or harass a monk seal.

Needless to say the seals do attract a crowd as they did this morning. NOAA officials were quickly dispatched to the scene to establish a secure zone around the seal. Many people including I hung around for a while to get pictures. The photos accompanying this piece were shot between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. in the morning.

More photos are on the Hawaii Files Flickr page.

People can report Hawaiian Monk Seal sightings to the NOAA. There is also a Facebook page.

Kaiwi the Hawaiian Monk SealHere’s looking at you kid.

Keep Your Distance from the SealKeep your distance from the seal. Do not approach. Seal sleeping.

Kaiwi just wants to sleepAll Kaiwi came to the beach to do is sleep. She gets first class treatment in the heart of Waikiki with her own beach zone.

More photos on Flickr.

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Sunset From Waikiki

Waikiki Afternoon Sunset

One of the best things about living or visiting Hawaii is to take time out to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the daily sunset. My friend Lisa and I took a short walk along the Queen’s Beach promenade in Waikiki. We snapped pictures and chatted about it in our latest edition of The Hawaii Files Podcast. Listen to it while you watch the pretty pictures scroll by below. It takes a little more than a minute.

Lisa uploaded her beautiful pictures to her YouTube channel and you can view them here:

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The Hawaii Files
The Hawaii Files Channel on YouTube


Tropical Toes
Laha Lele on Tumblr
Laha Lele on YouTube

A few more photos:

Hawaii Files Podcast 003The podcast cover.

Waikiki Afternoon SunsetWide angle shot.

Stream or download the audio of The Hawaii Files Podcast MP3 here.

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