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Photographer offers up Hawaiian aerial show

 

 

Hilo Wharf and Kuhio Bay as seen from above. (Photo courtesy of Brian Powers/www.hawaiianimages.net)

Hilo Wharf and Kuhio Bay as seen from above. (Photo courtesy of Brian Powers/www.hawaiianimages.net)

 

 

Karin Stanton/Hawaii247.com Contributing Editor

Ever seen Punaluu’s black sands from above? What about Captain Cook? Or even Molokini?

Just check out Brian Powers Web site. The Kona photographer and videographer has spent the better part of five years shooting aerial photos of the state’s coastline and posting more than 10,000 of them online.

Powers started the project as a cool marketing tool for his business, but it turned into a one-of-a-kind mission to show off Hawaii’s famed scenery – beaches, cliffs, rocky reefs, shoreline developments, harbors, wharfs and some awesome whale photos, too.

“As far as I know, this is the first time this has been done in Hawaii,” Powers said. “I am quite proud to have not only created a permanent detailed visual record of the entire coastline of the Hawaiian Islands as it now exists, but to have also made this record available for anyone anywhere in the world to freely see.”

After spending hours above the Big Island flying his plane with one hand and holding his camera out window with the other, Powers figured he might need some help with the rest of the state.

“Although I shot all the Hawaii Island photos alone while simultaneously flying the aircraft, I felt that it would be wiser to illicit the help of another pilot,” Power said.

Powers enlisted Capt. Jeff McConnell, a friend from California. McConnell flew the single engine Piper while Powers used his Nikon D200 to record the coastal views.

“Jeff and I began by flying from Kona to Kahoolawe, the first island on our list,” he said. “Three hundred and thirty-six photographs later we had completed Kahoolawe and banked to the north to capture Molokini followed by a low-level race to Lanai to shoot the 411 photos.” 

After about 24 hours in air and covering more than 2,000 miles, Powers ended up with more than 100,000 photos of the shorelines of the major Hawaiian Islands and a handful of smaller ones.

“I have lived in Hawaii for almost 30 years and have never met anyone who could tell me what the island of Niihau was like,” he said. “Now, anyone can fly around this secret island and see its beautiful beaches, cliffs and the small town of Puuwai, which seemed to be the only sign of humanity on the island.” 

Powers then called on Web designer David Cook, who created a program to read the GPS data embedded in each photo and automatically place them on the maps. 

Powers, single father of three, said the hours and hours he spent putting the pictorial puzzle together were worth it.

“Now anyone anywhere in the world can sit at a computer and look down at every inch of Hawaii’s coastline as if they were flying above and beside it at 500 feet,” he said.

“I’ve received messages from all over the world. Expatriated Hawaiians living in the mainland told me of how excited they were to see the house on a cliff in Ninole where their tutu lived,” he said. “Others told of how much they enjoyed showing to friends the beaches they played at as kids.”

In addition to being a fun gimmick and interesting way to spend some time on the Internet, Powers said his work is proving useful to marine researchers, wedding planners, and divers and fisherman. 

— Find out more:

Hawaiian Images: www.hawaiianimages.net

 

The black sands of Punaluu Beach Park are seen from above. (Photo courtesy of Brian Powers/www.hawaiianimages.net)

The black sands of Punaluu Beach Park are seen from above. (Photo courtesy of Brian Powers/www.hawaiianimages.net)

 

A whale is captured in mid-launch from above. (Photo courtesy of Brian Powers/www.hawaiianimages.net)

A whale is captured in mid-launch from above. (Photo courtesy of Brian Powers/www.hawaiianimages.net)

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