Foundations of Change

March 19th, 2014


In the aftermath of the horrible events of Sept 11, 2001 I had found myself faced with a crossroads of sort which was quite unexpected.

On one hand was the road to being immersed in the disaster and shooting that. On the other was quite a different tack. That of leveraging the change which I would like to see in the world. I was unaware of the consequences of the choices before me as I settled in to create some imagery in the week after the event for Sygma News service through my agent, Corbis Images.

I found myself shooting through tears a lot that week. But it was not due to covering the death and destruction of the day, it was in documenting the beauty of a people drawn close together for the express end of the creation of hope, comfort and healing as a united people.

Since that time I have made it a steady effort to sow beauty into the world with my work.

Here is a quirky but beautiful piece done to my son Josh’s music that I put together as an entry for the Olympus Pro Photographer Showdown. It is called Obsessed.

Here is another one done to the Music of Matt Jennings, made while I was down with the flu recently entitled “The Forgotten Ones”.

This floored me when I ran across 2 Cellos after my friend and colleague Charlie Witmer introduced their work yesterday online. Benedictus as I have never heard it before. Beauty exists in many dimensions. Artists bring it back home.

All of this of course is really intended to inspire Gratitude. Here is a wonderful lesson on it from the Daily Good.

The Value of Story: Mavericks

January 31st, 2014

I am just back from witnessing the spectacle which is the Mavericks Invitational big wave event at Pillar Point, Half Moon Bay, Ca.

There are a huge number of stories surrounding this event, and I must select a few, and share those in Editorial. I worked this event with Deniece Watkins Smith who is a budding Photographer, sage Silicon Valley Real Estate Agent and wife to Cary Smith of the Pillar Point Harbor Patrol. We shot the event together. It was a lot of fun, challenge, and rich with story!

Here is a great piece on the value of Story.

Here is Go Pro’s take from 2013.

Keep in mind that 2014 was almost double the size and Go Pro was ready for it.

Story is everything. Pictures help. Here are a few from Mavericks. The first two are Deniece’s. She was great to work with on this. The shot of Ian getting wrecked on his SUP in the intermission is priceless. The one of Twiggy emoting behind Jeff Clark on hearing of the win is Photojournalism golden.

Click on the images for a larger view.


_MG_1738 _MG_1865 IMG_6934 IMG_6960 IMG_6995 IMG_7000 IMG_7033 IMG_7065 IMG_7144 IMG_7158 IMG_7196 IMG_7205 IMG_7224-3

The image below is what I saw when I got home from Mavericks. Ventura, Ca. I was immediately away again. This is proving to be a rather Historic season for me in terms of quality and volume of work produced. I am still shooting on the Canon 5DM2 system and it continues to allow me to set a bar for imaging that is quite high.


Ode to Resolution

January 12th, 2014
Nuclear Surreality

Nuclear Surreality

My wife slipped into my office this morning as I was experiencing this piece. She said what I was thinking:

“That is the soundtrack to Fukushima.”

Here is a remarkable performance of The Dark Knight – Hans Zimmer /James Newton Howard -LIVE by the Bucharest Symphony Orchestra and Choir, a part of the Masterpiece show. I would like to re-name it though:¬† “Dark Night, An Ode to Resolution”.

As is rarely so obvious a circumstance, we have a fantastic opportunity to evolve as a species as a result of what has gone on unabated for almost three years now at the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Electric Power Generating Station.

This is because we can now comprehend what the true fruit of the dark thinking expounded upon during the Cold War era has wrought for the world. It’s terminus has been the expensive and deleterious impact on the ecosystem of a hemisphere. It was an unwise choice, to say the least. But really, we are quite fortunate, if we simply take this as a lesson, and think better-choose well, in moving forward.

This is a great film sent along through a network of people engaging in remediation of the disaster at Fukushima. It is called the “Atomic States of America”. Essential viewing,¬† as it is both educational and inspiring.

Here is a highly informative interview of Dr Michio Kaku, a physicist. It is titled “The End of Humanity”.¬† The message in it is anything but being about that.

Here is an informative videoblog from former Nuclear Industry Executive and Engineer, Arnie Gundersen, of Fairewinds Energy Education. It is titled West Coast Radiation Exposure: What are the risks?

My hope is that a higher level of information begins to develop within the public sector, and that Humanity begins to take it’s leadership to task regarding errant choices that have continually sent us down the dark road of war, suffering and unsustainability.

We can do better. In order to, we must be better than what we as members of our separate Nations have been in the past, where people were divided and apportioned as assets in a machine which has neither compassion or common sense.

Under Nuclear Skies

Under Nuclear Skies


Blue Statute

Blue Statute



Critical Thought, and Creating Change

January 7th, 2014


The other day I got an e mail note from a newer member of a group which I participate in with this piece related to Global Warming-Climate Change and the global push which attempts to reside beneath the subject heading of Sustainable Development, a subject which I know a great deal about and generally refrain from discussion of. Here is the piece I was sent.

Here was my reply.

“Great article.
However the reality may actually be the inverse of what we are being led to believe, and is possibly scripted by business interests setting up profit bases for future generation commodification.
I am sure all of you are aware of this program. Both links explain it well.
The patent reality, is that lack of real desire to create true sustainability and a mandate to reap short term profit, has created massive civil rights changes in US Federal Law. This is why some Political Scientists feel the US may have suffered a “silent Coup D Etat” in Governance, with Corporately held business interests holding the reins in the decision making processes of Legislative, Executive and even possibly Judicial branches, rather than the civil populace.

I am sure that many of you have seen some of the prime examples of this . Here is one.


The reality is that the world will go to 8 Billion people. But to do it sustainably, and in a just, humane manner, we will need to ask the right questions and agree to pursue correct answers to them.


One of the prime indicators of Socio-Cultural demise historically, has been the development of over centralization of systems of support. You see this illustrated down through the ages, most glaringly notorious, in Rome, which took quite a long time to Fall.
Our modus and time frame today, is quite different due to the connection culture and our application of¬† “web 2.0″ as it were. Like an ocean swell which rises quite rapidly, but due to physical law, is highly likely to recede in a related tempo, that is likely our lot if left to natural process and entropic order (disorder).
Today we stand on a precipice. On one side lies unspeakable darkness and loss and suffering. On the other is the light of sound reason, architecture, love and abundance.
I remain informed and skeptical. Three images are attached. The last one is a pal and colleague of mine, someone who I respect deeply. He works in the machine. (Same images that line this blog)
¬†Aloha nui loa.”

The response was understandably aggressive. I get that. This was what I sent back. A linear look at Critical Thinking.

Critical thinking is a great place to begin in examining a problem. It serves as a safety net of sorts. Although not frequently delivering those bright and flashy solutions which sometimes are the hallmark of true lateral thinking genius, critical thought is a great and wonderful byproduct of an educated and civilized culture.

Would that our system rewarded people for it a little more religiously. LOL.


 Man vs Machine

Man vs Machine


One of the other bright lights in our group sent back a thoughtful response. I have included it on an image here below in summation of the thrust of this blogpost.

Progress' Plight

Progress’ Plight





Holy Water: A Christmas History

December 25th, 2013



Christmas began for me around  6 am on Dec 25th in 1955, when I was born.

My Mother had been on her way to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in Milwaukee Wisconsin. She had stumbled on the steps leading up to the church and labor began. I like to think it was me who pushed her. That somehow, I knew Christmas and I, we would need to become acquainted.

“Let me out!” I can imagine the look on my Mom’s face as she realized she would not be in church that day, Catholicism being what it was at that time in History.

I was to be the first born of six children. My  Hawaiian Father was attending Marquette University on a GI Bill program, and had met my Yugoslavian Mother. The rest sorta makes me smile. (I know how Hawaiians are about women)

So… A lifetime of Christmas-Birthdays later, and it seriously is my favorite time of year. But not for reasons one might suspect.

My Mother always made a huge to do about Christmas. My parents were generous to a fault. It is all that I remember, the fantasy of it and the generosity.

But what really made Christmas special had nothing to do with gift wrapping, Christmas Trees or Santa, much as I relished it all and loved it. What made the day unique to me, occurred one Fall day, as I was walking to Parochial school. I believe I was in third grade.

I used to make the rather long walk solo, and recall a particular day well. I had made my way from our split level 1950′s house,¬† three blocks through the housing tract, then along the railroad tracks which stretched through a mile long vacant field. Beautiful bright blue Fall day.

Toodling along, and somewhat bored by the length of the walk, and really looking forward to my day at school, which would begin with First Friday Mass, I was suddenly conscious of not being alone. It was as if I was looking at the scene before me through a wavy piece of glass, and I then met someone in  a way that was unique and new to me. That person was a man who spoke with me and showed me my life ahead.

I can only describe the conversation as exemplifying the tenet described in scripture of knowing as we are known. It was like being wrapped up in the most complete understanding consciousness that ever was. It is difficult to put into words, really. But I knew who this was. He walked with me. It was a comfortable feeling. As a Father now, I know what this was. Paternal Love being bestowed on me.

I never spoke of this to anyone. In fact, this is the first time I have written of it. I have reasons for that.

So many times I have seen people stress about Religion or Godliness, even over Christmas. But that day, Jesus showed me what He meant, and why, as well as how I was to be as a man. I understood  in the moment: that God so loved the world that He sent his only Son, His living Word, to be with us. And my response was simple. I accepted what he had to say, and said thank you. Fifteen minutes later I was standing outside the church.

It was then that I understood what the Church really was. It was me. And you. And Christmas became  special that year in a new way.

A rule developed in my parent’s house regarding Birthdays. With six kids, the best and most affordable gift in a single income household, typical of that era, was to allow each sibling to do whatever they wanted, on their Birthday.

So I recall quite clearly when at the age of eleven, now living in Goleta Ca. my mother asking me what I wanted to do for my Birthday. My answer was short and to the point. “Surf, Mom. I want to be at the beach”

So for every Christmas from that day forward, the Ocean was a gift to me from my parents.

And guess what? That same voice was there always, moving across the waters.

This is what Christmas is to me.  Time with my Lord, and best friend. I find it wonderful that I get to share his pleasure through my life and work.





Here is a great story about Apollo 8 and Christmas Eve and Photography, sent along by Artist Dan Levin. This was the project my Father had been working on as I was a  child.

Here is a beautiful rendition of Leonard Cohen’s piece Hallelujah done by Cloverton.

The images in this blog were shot yesterday, Dec 24th, Christmas eve. If you are reading this Christmas morning, I am off celebrating a birthday in the water somewhere.

Merry Christmas indeed.

Aloha Oe.



Blue on Blue

Blue on Blue


© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.