Hawaii Dreamscapes Revealed: Big Island Hardcover – Nov 1 2006
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I went to Oahu a few years ago and was completely blown away by the beaches, the mountains, the ocean. It is one of the few places that not only lives up to the photographs but actually surpasses them in many ways. Paul Theroux, the international best-selling author of "The Mosquito Coast" and some of the greatest travel narratives of all time, moved to Hawaii after kayaking around the islands for his book, "The Happy Isles of Oceana"--and this was a guy who has literally been EVERYWHERE. (He went on to write "Hotel Honolulu" as well). So obviously these are enchanting islands that can get under your skin and draw you back.
I expected great photography of the beaches and lava in HAWAII DREAMSCAPES REVEALED but I was also blown away by other unexpected scenes: an empty black beach covered by so many white pieces of coral that it looks like patches of snow, a cattle ranch beneath a range of mountains that HAS snow on its peaks (in Hawaii!), a high-altitude terrain above the clouds that looks like the surface of Mars. There's one wild shot of lava cooling in smooth orbs on the ground (I expected the liquid-metal Terminator to stand up out of them).
The shots of lush forests and waterfalls and reefs are also striking and well-chosen.
I will definitely be getting the Oahu volume since I'd like to see what this photography couple have done with an island I've seen.
From what they've shown me of the Big Island, I will try to go back someday soon.
The Big Island is the youngest, and the one where volcanism is still shaping the island. It is also dominated by two towering peaks (Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea) not yet eroded by time and weather. So you can go from snow to lava in a matter of hours. While there are lush areas on the island, there are also stark landscapes.
The pictures are generally well done, but give a sense of "I could have taken that picture if I was in the right place at the right time". (In fact, I've taken some pictures as good or better on the islands, but few people will have the opportunity to spend the time it takes to cover a whole island with enough revisits to get cooperative light and weather everywhere.) There are very few breathtaking, "I couldn't have done that" shots in the book. In fact, some of the pictures are not very interesting, or have technical flaws. The book could probably have been 20-30% shorter while being better from an overall photographic standpoint. Doughty's captions are short and serviceable, but having his guidebook for context will help if your interest goes beyond looking at attractive landscapes.
If you like picture books and want either something to remind you of the Big Island or to help plan a trip, this is a decent book. I was careful to order when Amazon had it at the lower end of the price yo-yo they seem to like to put it through.