Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sunrise in East Hawaii

Sunrises are so amazing in Hawaii when you make a little effort to greet each morning in paradise.

Everyday and each sunrise is quite different.



     Each with a new story and colorful start of the day to experience in person.

Most people are still asleep when this happens, but when you physically there -  it's magical!

Another morning in paradise....its so sweet seeing this and greeting the new day.

Don't you agree?


Saturday, August 31, 2013

A sweet art garden in Mendocino town.

A quirky and fun garden in Mendocino
A colorful mosaic with local wildlife


A sweet art garden In Mendocino

I love being surprised just happening into someplace unusual or quirky, it really makes discovering a new place a wonderful experience. So when I walked into this fun and creative art garden in Mendocino, it totally put a smile on my face. The garden is located on the grounds of the Mendocino arts center in downtown Mendocino. You'll have a wonderful time walking around the garden and discovering all the surprising little bits and garden art hidden throughout the property and so cleverly infused into the landscape.

To continue the rest of the story on Travel Photo Discovery click link below

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Volcano Garden Arts, a garden tour

A garden tour in Volcano

When I'm visiting up in Volcano village on Hawaii Island, I love stopping by my favorite art gallery/café with this whimsical garden. Open to the public everyday, the Volcano Garden Arts center is a fun place to see beautiful art work and crafts, and also explore the colorful garden surrounding the gallery. Filled with sculpture, art objects and other art inspired vignettes sprinkled around the garden walks, its a fun and place to walk around. Eclectic tropical plantings and quirky garden art here and there creates interesting spaces to explore and soak in the tropical ambience in this center.

The owner, an artist and collector of sculpture including these large porcelain ceramic pieces were placed in various places along the grassy areas facing the café. (maybe to illicit tea time or grabbing a bite to eat). They are interesting objects to admire while viewing the various elements in the garden from the café views.

While hidden behind some giant alocasia plants another hidden porcelain warrior is standing guard.
There are many small water features like this little fountain with fresh tropical flowers placed below the water to break up the fall into the pottery. In the entryway to the gallery, it is a warm symbol of aloha before entering the building.

Also around the walk up entry lanai are beautiful potted geraniums and this begonia filled with pink blossoms.

 There are many giant hapu'u or tree ferns close-by, most of them planted with bromeliads which love attaching to the limbs and getting its nutrients directly from the outdoor elements.

On this hapuu fern a shocking red miltonia orchid is blooming with new spikes just starting to unfurl its petals.

 I love this half sunk Thai Buddha submerged in this water garden.

And another garden feature with a sweet smiling boy admiring the tropical flowers.


 Here's a collection of succulents I found in a partially covered gazebo, I love the whimsy of the last two pottery and plant vignettes with the oriental statues.

The garden is even popular with locals who like to visit the café or just hang out in the gardens where its nice and quiet, a great spot to relax and read a book like this guy below.

Another whimsical detail with these little mosaic birdhouses, who wants to take one home with them?

There was a ceramicist giving a pottery demonstration in one of the pavilions, here she is showing how to create an opening hole for the tea spigot with this tea pot. Below is one of her colorful teapots on display, aren't they so wonderfully detailed?


Nearby is the meditation garden, which has these tall pine trees that are formed in a large rectangular space with nothing in the middle except for pine needles and a tall column filled with tropical flowers....very zen wouldn't you say?

Close to the entry of the zen garden sits a small Buddha . I love when the bromeliad plants and buddha are almost buried in weeds and overgrown areas, like something neglected and disappearing back into nature and adding a nice old patina to this section.

One last Buddha, greets us on the way back to the parking lot with another flower offering on his folded hands.


Well there were quite a lot of treasures and sculptures to be found in the garden. Next time your here in Volcano, do drop by and also see the beautiful artwork for sale in the gallery. Here's some more information on the Volcano Garden Arts center for you to visit.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Black and White Study



Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. -Albert Einstein


Saturday, June 22, 2013

A gorgeous garden in Barcelona

I just wanted to share an excerpt of my new blog called Travel Photo Discovery, hope you take a look..

Montjuic Park (27)

Mossen Costa i Llobera gardens

I love discovering unusual or quirky things while visiting a new city and Barcelona does offer exciting and appealing sites to see. Some of these places grabbing my attention early on was when I visited Montjuic and the beautiful gardens that I saw in between the myriad of amazing museums.  My favorite garden to visit in Montjuic was this expansive desert garden, Mossen Costa i Lobera (named after famous poet Miguel Costa i Llobera) on the slopes of Montjuic overlooking the Miramar area with its scenic bayfront and beaches.
Unlike any other urban garden I’ve been to, the Mossen Costa i Llobera garden hosts an extensive collection of cactus, succulents, mediterranean, tropical and sub-tropical plants to create an exotic garden in the midst of this urban jungle. In fact, it is one of the most important cactus and succulent collections in the entire plant world. Surprisingly, there were only a few people visiting this magnificent garden when I visited and that’s probably due to the fact that it is not on every guidebooks top ten list of things to see in Barcelona. Personally, I consider this garden tour and the luxury of having the garden mostly to myself an absolute treasure. It’s worth spending some time here to enjoy the mature garden and take your time with your photography without a mass of tourists clamoring to be in the same spot.

Continue reading below on my new travel site

Sunday, June 16, 2013

A private estate and botanical garden along the Hamakua coastline.

The earlier post I write about with the private garden and waterfall is part of this estate and lilly farm owned by the Trotter family along the Hamakua coastline on the Big Island. A very lush and beautiful estate, its almost a botanical garden in its own right.

The owners, long retired from a regular farming and nursery business now enjoy the property on their own and allow small local groups to come and photograph their amazing garden. You will be able to see almost every type of exotic plant, flower and fruit tree on this property which the owners have lavishly maintained for decades.

This is part one of two posts on this amazing estate, stay tune for some of the more
of their gardens especially their amazing collection of tropical rhododendron or vireyas, its a very extensive and award winning collection.
If you would like to visit more photos of this estate, come and vist my flickr page here

©Noel Morata, All rights reserved

Come and visit my photography website at

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Hike to a waterfall along the Hamakua coastline

Its always been on my bucket list to follow a waterfall to where it ends in the ocean, I don't know why.  Its strange after living in Hawaii for quite some time, I've always been fascinated by this type of  hike but have never had the opportunity. So when the occasion came up recently to visit a private garden in the Hamakua with a waterfall and trail that eventually falls into the ocean, I was excited.

When I arrived at the property, I talked with the other guests and everyone seemed to be distracted with the beautiful and expansive garden which in itself was worth spending most of one's time enjoying. Since no-one was ready to hike, I started down the precarious staircase leading down to the waterfall. The paths were tricky but nicely planted with colorful anthuriums and other shade loving plants.

Then I noticed after a taking few pictures, I was totally being eaten up by mosquitoes (no wonder the guests were not interested in coming down) I was now the feast for all the mosquitoes that morning and they were hungry. Needless to say I didn't stay idle in one spot for a very long time.

I could hear the sounds of waterfalls directly ahead and in no time arrived at this sweet waterfall opening framed with lush greens of every color. It was beautiful, and I had the whole scene to enjoy on my own. Quickly, I followed the stream bed down a worn path dotted with palms and coconut tree along with many large leafed plants. I make it finally to the edge with of the cliffs which were framed with these huge ironwood trees supporting the cliff sides - quite an idyllic spot to relax. The little breezes fortunately keeping the mosquitoes at bay and allowing me to linger awhile longer.

I hear the waters loudly as they cascade down the cliffs into the ocean. It was a little tricky trying to get a good view of the waterfall into the rocks below, all I could really see was the rushing water from the top view, but the coastline views from the edge was spectacular and the waters were various shades of aqua to deep, deep blue along the horizon.

It was an enjoyable moment even though I couldn't see the waterfalls cascading directly to the bottom of the ocean. Wonderful breezes kept those pesky mosquitoes at bay for the moment. Now, it was time to make that arduous hike back up those 100 plus steps to the main house, well at least if I go quickly I won't be harassed by the mosquitoes on the way back uphill. All done, so glad I finally got that out of my bucket list of hikes to do and I actually enjoyed the challenge and rewards all to myself.

©Noel Morata, All rights reserved

Come and visit my photography website at

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii.

May day is also called Lei day in Hawaii, its a popular and fun way to cherish someone you love and care for with a beautiful hand-made lei.

The origins of lei making started with the early Polynesians and settlers to the Hawaiian islands to honor their gods by twining greens into wreaths and making these as offerings. They also used the wreaths and flowered lei made of fragrant ginger blooms to decorate and adorn their bodies. Other fragrant greens used included maile and hala leaves which were used extensively to celebrate various rites, special occasions and daily wear.

This concept of giving a lei to someone special was then popularized with the influx of tourism throughout the Hawaiian islands around the 19th and 20th century. Presenting a lei during the arrival or departure of a love one was shared and communicated as a sign of affection and aloha and still is still used currently as a symbol of affection and aloha.

Leis are now made with many different and aromatic flowers to include tropical plumeria, jasmine, ginger, roses, gardenias, tuba rose and scented orchid blooms to create aromatic and beautiful displays. Every flower and color combination is available and sold through different wholesale and retail outlets. Leis are also made with with many types of organic materials including seeds, shells, fabric and ribbon along with a variety of greenery to create different looks and texture and patterns.

(A gorgeous tutu or grandmother wears and elaborate collection yellow, orange and red flowered leis at a hula performance in Hawaii)

Green material used for the leis above include aromatic maile leaves, ferns and seeds pods, along with the very popular plumeria well loved for its wonderful aroma. Fresh leis are made and worn as adornment for each and every hula performances like the dancer above performing at the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo.

Even elaborate large leis are made to adorn horses in many of the annual parades throughout the islands. Here leis elaborate leis are created for the horse and pau rider for the annual Merrie Monarch parade in Hlo, Hawaii.

Lei day celebrations today in East Hawaii are marked with lei and craft demonstrations, live music and performances and other festivities celebrating this well loved tradition. It seems so appropriate for the first day of May to celebrate spring and a beautiful day by making a lei and giving to someone special in your life..

©Noel Morata, All rights reserved

Come and visit my photography website at
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