Words and Pics


California- Beer and wine

No trip to California is complete without a trip to wine country. I had never been to Sonoma or Napa despite my many trips. After a detour on Money Lane (or rather getting lost on it) we landed at the stop. As someone who is involved with invasive species control, it was nice to hear a success story let alone a success story that was driven by the industry. What was amazing was how perfect the fruit and all the challenges a wine grower is faced with-- everything from water (obvious), labor (again obvious but maybe not the complexities of the labor issue), to trespassing and people walking through and eating the crop. What's amazing is how the system works together so efficiently. 


We stopped at hops next. The guys we met with are not just growing hops they are brewing their own beers and are trying to recreate the industry of beer that, at one point, Sacramento played such a big part of before big beer and prohibition. One of the more interesting things they are pushing is the how influential hop is to the flavor of beer. Not being a big beer or wine person this was surprising. I just figured hops was known as a powerful part of the flavor profile of beer. 



California Grown Pineapple

California Grown Pineapple

I’m catching up on pictures that I have for a while. I came across this giant pineapple grown in San Diego California. The Californians I work woth, well one, always brags about how awesome the Great State of California’s agriculture is. Well, this goes to show me, we have no pineapples this big… of course this is a palm not a pineapple!

Ant Swarm

It’s been blazing hot today but I found myself wishing there were even less wind. While I was in the yard, I noticed what appeare dto be ants on the move. Upon closer inspection, it wasn’t just ants on the move, they were ants that appeared to be getting ready to mate. I have gotten to used to mirrorless cameras or my phone so using my SLR with my macro lens was problematic. This was, by far, the smallest insects I’ve ever tried to take pictures of but using my macro still showed me some amazing stuff. First, the number of females were so low compare to the number of males. Second, the number of females that actually make it to fly are incredibly low. There was a brown anole that just gobbled them. The other interesting thing is they all followed a trail. Males lined the whole trail, but everything moved back and forth...


Southern Caifornia- San Diego Nurseries

One thing California has which is amazing: a multitude of growing environments. Of course this has been ruined because of droughts, but the nursery industry is not afraid to do some basic investment in their business. 


Southern California- Disney Land Botanical Tour

We started really a little later on our second day, yes, 1 hour later (5 AM) is started later. The security at Disney was amazing and we couldn’t take very much pictures for fear of spoiling the “magic”. It was amazing what the horticulturalists have to do at Disney. They mostly work afterhours to create the plant life, deal with pests, and make each area look just right. I thought the limitations they faced were tough, but I was going to be proven wrong later in the trip! 


Southern California Tour- Produce and Flower Market

When you’re a small state, especially a small agricultural state like Hawaii, collaboration is a key to success. As such, we formed a partnership with California and Florida, two states we have a history of sharing invasive pest species. We have just the right of amount of overlapping climate and just the right amount of similar agricultural crops that if one pest shows up in one state, the other states will get it. In a time with budgets getting increasingly tight, workng together has become even more critical. Southern California was the first of our collaborative effort to share what issues we have— and the solutions we have developed. More importantly, we will have the ability to combine efforts to pusue long term, meaningful solutions together.

We started off early— really early. It was marvelous. Los Angeles is literally one of the primary hubs for food in the world. We saw produce and cut flowers from all parts of the world, all in need of inspection. It was amazing to see the diversity, quantity and quality of the produce presented and to talk to the people that handle the inspections. 


Diamond Head from Kahanamoku Park

Diamond Head from Kahanamoku Park

I did a shoot for a family’s Christmas card. This was before my subjects got there… Sepia tone version. 

Juno Dunes


My hotel was very close to Juno Dunes Natural Area. I took advantage and wandered around in it. Most of my best pics came in the morning and then again in the afternoon. In the middle of the day, it was just too hot for everythng else and me! One of the first vertebrates I found, I learned was the curled tailed lizard from Cuba. 

Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge

I was fortunate enough to be taken on a tour of the Everglades. It was my first time on an airboat and I was taken to the Loxahatcheee National Wildlife Refuge. It was an incredible experience. My new friend, Rolf, told me a bit about the threats and pressures faced by the Everglades. Invasive species impacts and conservation often have complicated politics surrounding them, which, as in Hawaii, the Everglades reflects and captures. There are issues with water, land management, conflicts with agriculture and development, pollution and climate change. One of the more obvious changes to the Everglades, very visible as we went deeper into Loxahatchee was the impact of pollution, in this case, the presence of higher than normal concentrations of phosphorus. 

At the end of the day, it was a tremendous trip. It was a great work day. I learned a lot, I got to experience some new things, I saw a marsh deer in the wild… One of those days that I truly feel I have a cool job. I’ll have to go back there but, again, the politics of conversation may mean there will be totally different in the future than it is now. 


Loggerhead Marinelife Center


A small non-profit, this place was pretty amazing to me. It was well put together and seemed to be executing their mission in incredible fashion: restoring the health of sick and injured sea turtles. Each turtle being made healthy and whole again, was in a tank. They each had their own story which told what happened to them in the wild that brought them to the Center and what their current status was. I never thought of using freshwater to get rid of ectoparasites. Some of the treatments were amazing. Cold laser treatments, honey on wounds (not that amazing), negative pressure to draw out fluids… The causes were varied but there were Encounters With Boats (propellors or hulls), hyopthermia, and fish hooks. The whole thing was pretty amazing and even though it’s small, for a $5 donation, it’s a good investment. 


© Darcy Oishi 2017