3 Versions of Wrapped Heiau Rocks

These images came about in an early morning shoot on Oahu’s north shore.  I’ve always liked the heiau’s in Hawaii- I assume they were religious sites from the ancient Hawaiians, and they always have a nice, quiet, reverential feeling to them.  Most of Hawaii has that feeling to me, I guess… places of beauty, guarded by gods that I don’t quite understand.  I’ve often driven past the Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau on Pupukea Road, but only rarely driven up to the heiau.  Mostly that is a fear of dangerous people- a fear that may or may not be grounded in fact.  But here I was, driving up alone in a nice rental car, with a good camera no less.  I was just asking to be rolled!

But the heiau was empty, except for one other car with a sleeping occupant.  Quietly I got out and walked around, enjoying the site.  At many places in Hawaii you will find these wrapped rocks… I assume offerings to the gods, or to the spirit of the place.  I’m not sure exactly why people do it, as there is a sign at this heiau clearly stating that this is kapu and to please not disturb or wrap the rocks at the heiau. Kapu, or taboo, is a pretty strong statement in Hawaii.  You don’t mess with things that are kapu.  Didn’t you ever see when the Brady Bunch visited Hawaii?  Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.

I’ve always tried to take the rock offerings in the spirit that they were given, and not see an offense to the land.  In fact, I decided to walk around and find many of these offerings and photograph them.  This I did, and the best images are above.

The top image, in color, is an HDR, processed using Photomatix, then transferred to Photoshop and adjusted there with some saturation masking to brighten up the color of the leaf, some sharpening to really enjoy the raindrops, and some Topaz Adjust to get the texture of the rock detail correct.  Or perhaps it was Topaz Detail- that sounds right.  Anyways, I tried Noiseware Pro on it as well, to smooth the background, then felt finished with that photo.  The second is an HDR as well, processed in roughly the same way but desaturated completely to get the black and white effect.  I love the look of the old leaf on the rock, but I really love the lichen growing next to it!  The final image was an HDR but one of the exposures had slipped slightly, and was blurry.  It threw off the entire HDR.  So I took the best exposure and adjusted it mightily.  I increased the contrast and desaturated it to black and white, then played in Photoshop with a mix of textures to apply over the image.  I ended up with this very ancient looking, sepia-toned photo.  I then sharpened it with one of the Topaz Adjust settings.  It really brought out some detail in the picture.

All of these are located in my Hawaii collection, at www.kelleybard.com/hawaii.  I hope that you will visit there and enjoy the photos throughout the site.

I will be posting more Hawaii images in the next week, probably not tomorrow (change is good in a photo blog!) but regularily as I process them up.  Have fun checking back to see what has caught my eye that day!


About Kelley B.

I am a Durango, CO photographer who specializes in portraiture and wedding photography. My business is Kelley Bard Photography. You can find me around town, gardening, or on my website at www.kelleybard.com. View all posts by Kelley B.

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