Capturing the Beauty of Molokai

Rachel Breitweser ’03

May 15, 2017

Molokai was the destination for a group of Academy photography students and accompanying faculty chaperones in April. The group traveled to the “Friendly Isle” to learn about its special features while practicing photographic techniques. The adventure was the 16th annual photography trip to the neighbor islands for advanced photography and Academy art students. Last year, students ventured to Hawai‘i Island.

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“Students had the opportunity to explore and discover the people, culture, environment, history and spirit of our neighbor island through creative photography and videography,” said Alex Selarque, video and photography teacher, and the lead organizer of the trip.

The group stayed at Puʻu O Hoku Ranch Lodge and visited Kapuaiwa Royal Coconut Grove, Kalaupapa Overlook, Old Kamalo Wharf, Moʻomomi Beach Reserve, Hui Hoʻolana Retreat and Halawa Valley. At the Hui Hoʻolana, they met five masters of photography: Dewitt Jones (NatGeo and Outdoor Magazine photographer), Jack Davis (“Photoshop WOW!” author), Jonathan Kingston (NatGeo photographer), Theresa Airey and Rikki Cooke.

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Lizzie ’17 was the first student since the inception of the trips in 2001 to have participated in her freshman, sophomore, junior and now senior year. “I have experienced Lanai, Kauai, Hawai‘i Island and now Molokai, and am so thankful for each experience as they have each been unique,” she said. “While we fit in so many places to see each trip, there is also a nice calm that gives plenty of time to enjoy the space we’re visiting and to take photos. Molokai has definitely become a special place for me,” she commented.

Chaperone and Academy art teacher Ralph Pascucci, having been to the island during a previous Punahou photography trip in 2005, was happy to see that the island’s charms hadn’t changed. One night, he was “treated to a spectacular moonrise which through intermittent clouds looked like a giant camp fire on the horizon.” On both trips to Moloka‘i he was impressed with how welcoming and friendly everyone he encountered was. “There is so much aloha there,” he said, noting how he’s still connected to the students he traveled with 12 years ago. “Three days in a vehicle is a great way to bond,” he shared.

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The memories of the wonderful trip will be live on in a 40-plus page photo book created by Selarque that includes the photographs of nearly all 16 students and four chaperones who went on the trip.

Photographs by students and faculty of Punahou School. (Subject to copyright by the individual artist.)

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