Lens-Artists Challenge #245 – Environments

Honolulu Hawaii.

This week’s host, Tina, writes in her challenge post, “City, country, suburb, small town – whatever your preference(s) this is your chance to highlight the environments you’ve experienced and enjoyed (or not!) We hope you’ll join us to share your thoughts and images.” You can read her entire challenge post here.

Since the pandemic started to wane, my wonderful wife, Lynn, and I have redoubled our efforts to visit new places and new environments. In the last year, we made our first trip to Europe and down the eastern coast of South America. For this challenge response, however, I am going to focus on our two trips to the 50th state. One of the facts about those trips (in 2007 and 2013) that I misremembered related to Hawaii’s unusually varied environment. Never mind the mistake, Hawaii Magazine provided me with the correct information here. In short, the Big Island, Hawaii, hosts 10 of the world’s 14 microclimates. Many of the other islands feature subsets of these ten microclimates.

In 2007, we cruised around the islands leaving from Honolulu, so I felt it fitting to open with a view of the city with the iconic Diamondhead in the background. I took this photo from one of the upper decks of our ship.

Hawaii Volcanoes NP-1
Volcanoes National Park

We learned the hard way that Volcanoes National Park has four months of quite cool weather. Our light jackets were barely adequate and our hands were cold. We warmed them occasionally from the steam rising from fissures in the volcanic rock.

Hawaii Waterfall-1
Rainbow Falls in the Hilo Rainforest

There are many types of rainforests on multiple islands. This one is on The Big Island. I will dispense with attempting to sort out each of the Koppen Classification System of climate types shown in my images. I don’t have the expertise to describe with any accuracy the five main types and 14 subtypes in the study published in 1884.

Hilo Rainforest-1
Hilo Rainforest

Our excursion on the Big Island covered many locations and we were able to hike a short distance in the rainforest.

McBryde Botanical Garden

On the island of Kauai, the botanical garden is in a rainforest area, and on the day we visited, we were not disappointed in finding rain. This area is famous for the location shooting of the Jurassic Park film franchise.

Poipu Beach-1
Poipu Beach, Kauai.

Probably the largest area of the subcategory of Arid and Semi-Arid Climates includes Hawaii’s many beaches. This beautiful beach on Kauai also features a large sheltered cove that is suitable for the youngest of beach-goers.

Mount Wai’ale’ale

Mount Wai’ale’ale on the island of Kauai is one of the wettest places on planet Earth. Luckily the day we were there, we were blessed with a beautiful view of the lush tropical plants and a glimpse of the rugged Na’ Pali Coast.

Waimea Canyon-1
Waimea Canyon

Only a short walk from here is Waimea Canyon State Park and the beautiful chasm that is often called The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. So, what microclimates won’t you find on these islands? Well, some of the highest peaks foreshadow the arctic climates with snow on occasion, but the terrain is clearly tundra on the highest mountains. Though some times of the year, it falls out of the category, Mauna Kea’s 13,796-foot (4,205 m) summit can be considered Periglacial. Of course, maybe on our next trip to the 50th state, we can visit some of the other microclimates on this wonderful island state.

For this challenge, I completely reprocessed all of the images shared here, and you can view them in HD on my Flickr site here. Mahalo (thanks) to Tina for creating a challenge that allowed me to consider reprocessing some photos from a decade or more ago. I improved upon most of them using Luminar’s fantastic tools.

Thanks also to guest host Siobhan for last week’s Glowing Moments challenge. Next week, Patti leads. If you’d like to participate in the challenges, you can find more information here. Aloha!

John Steiner


  1. The Honolulu skyline with iconic Diamond Head is the epitome of Hawaii. We loved our two trips to the BI in 2018 and 2019. My hubby has property on the Hilo side he wants to sell soon. Volcanoes NP is not to miss and those many climate zones are amazing. But Kaui is an island I’d love to explore sooner than later. Beautiful images, John!

  2. Hi John – having some internet issues here and just lost my entire comment 😩. Excellent choice for the challenge. Love Hawaii but must admit I’d never thought about their many climates and microclimates. Just know as you’ve shown that it’s gloriously beautiful and has the best fresh fruit I’ve ever had LOL. Wonderful post and images.

  3. What an amazingly diverse place! When thinking of Hawaii I always think of the tropical forests and beaches, it didn’t even cross my mind that there could be places where it’s cooler and even cold!

  4. Wonderful tour of Hawaii! It must be amazing to visit. Your photos are always incredible, John. We visited a volcano in Costa Rica and it was chilly.

  5. Looks a wonderful place, John – and your photography is excellent as usual. The last but one is my favourite among all beauties you have!

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