Photo Essay: Celebrating Earth Day 2020

The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is one of the most visited sites on Oahu, with about 3,000 visitors a day. Since mid-March, it has been closed and scientists hope that the unexpected closure will be an opportunity for the preserve to recover from any effects of human activity. Photograph by Jarin Ashimine ('20)

This year on April 22, most of us in the United States will be celebrating Earth Day at home.

The COVID-19 stay-at-home order in Hawaii, which began at the end March, has halted all non-essential activities both indoors and outdoors. As we logged more and more hours staying-at-home, many of us have come to realize how much we enjoy being outside in nature and how we miss everyday activities immensely. In Hawaii, not being able to enjoy the outdoors as we have done before feels especially costly. Most recently, the state even banned walking or running on beaches.

This Earth Day, even if we can’t be outside celebrating the wonders of Hawaii’s natural world, we can still do it through photographs and videos or simply by going out to your backyard to take in the outdoors. I encourage everyone to take some time today or this week to look around and appreciate the beautiful world we live in. Here are a few photographs that I have taken over the years. I hope that as you view these images, your mind will be transported outside the confines of your home, knowing that we can still celebrate Earth Day together, even if we’re physically apart.


Hanauma Bay

The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is one of the most visited sites on Oahu, with about 3,000 visitors a day. Since mid-March, it has been closed and scientists hope that the current unexpected closure will be an opportunity for the preserve to recover from any effects of human activity. Photograph by Jarin Ashimine (’20)

Makapu’u Beach Park

Viewed from trails above Makapu’u Beach, a magnificent sunrise casts perfect soft lighting on the water as locals and visitors start to arrive on this popular beach. From the beach, you can see the Makapu’u Lighthouse, which stands as a beacon on the tip of the rocky mountains off to the righthand side. Currently, all beaches are closed but people are still allowed to cross the beach to get into the water. Photograph by Jarin Ashimine (’20)

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

The Waimea Canyon on the island of Kauai is a spectacular sight to take in with beautiful mountains, rivers, waterfalls, clouds and sometimes rainbows. Also known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” the immense landscape makes you feel like you aren’t in Hawaii anymore. Currently, all national parks and state parks have been temporarily closed until further notice. But the next time you are able to travel to Kauai, I would definitely recommend you put this on your itinerary. Photograph by Jarin Ashimine (’20)

Mauanawili Falls

The Maunawili Falls Trail is one of the most popular waterfall hikes on the island of Oahu. This trail features a short hike up the Maunawili Stream that eventually leads to the magnificent falls. The rocks surrounding the falls allows those who are brave enough to jump into the pool below. I would highly recommend this hike to anyone looking for that waterfall adventure. Photograph by Jarin Ashimine (’20)

Lightning Storm on Oahu

This image was captured at my home in Aina Haina during a short and unexpected lightning storm last year. Through long exposure photography, I was able to capture the bolt of lighting that stuck across the sky during the beautiful colors of sunset. There are moments in life that are very unexpected and we must face those moments in order to embrace the best of them. Situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic can help us to learn how to deal with and overcome struggles in life.

Waikiki Friday Night Fireworks

The Hilton Hawaiian Village’s fireworks show has been a weekly tradition in Waikiki for more than 30 years. The show attracts many tourists and locals every Friday after dusk. It can be seen from the beaches around the hotel and across the water at Ala Moana Beach Park where some set up their chairs early to reserve a spot for the spectacular show. At this time, the show has been suspended until further notice but then it does restart, there will be so many reasons to get out there to celebrate with a fireworks show. Photograph by Jarin Ashimine (’20)

Light Trails by Stars

This is another image that I was able to capture right in my backyard. The star trails seen in the photograph were captured through a series of images stacked together to show the motion of the stars and clouds over a period of time. Although we currently do not have the luxury of going to places outside of our homes, we can still head out to our backyards to look up and see all of the stars. There is something soothing about gazing at all of the stars and connecting the constellations across the night sky. Photograph by Jarin Ashimine (’20)
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