Sunday, October 23, 2011


The view from the top of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Looks like it could be Mars maybe. This was at the end of the day. I shot time-lapse, frame by frame with my Bolex, hitting the trigger button by hand every 30 seconds. It got freezing cold up here as the sun went down and I wasn't dressed for it. There were a few chunks of ice and snow scattered around where I was. I lasted for 30 minutes, and by the end of shooting this, I could barely feel my fingers enough to hit the trigger button.

I made the drive up in a rented "all wheel drive" mini SUV. I don't think I had the budget for 4WD, and well, all wheel drive is nothing close to 4WD, I'll say that. There is a really good reason the road up there is marked 4WD only, and there's a good reason the rental car companies don't want you driving there. It is steep, loose rock and gravel, and treacherous. The drive up is pretty intense.

The drive back down as darkness fell was frightening. I remember looking down on the clouds as I coasted down, riding the break on and off just enough to stay in control, yet not lose them. I'd never think of doing it again without 4WD. Later on I heard that three Japanese tourists had died in a 4WD vehicle on the way back down, a couple weeks prior.

Chuck Corbett told me a story of how he made the drive up here in the early 80's in a beater of an old station wagon. The last third of the way up he had to drive in reverse because it was the only gear that could make it.