Senior health science major Ariel Florendo was not expecting to go to the Hawaiian island Oahu but was pleasantly surprised by the adventure he found there. Every day he took a different hike up the jungle-covered mountains that stretch along the archipelago and unearthed a history filled with timeless stories still passed down generations through hula dance.
Through his photography, Ariel wants to share the environment that shaped the culture of Hawaii, often defined by its geographic features.
Ariel said, “The first step to try and learn about their culture is to explore inside their country.”
Hawaiian culture is naturally influenced by its environment. The untamed Pacific Ocean surrounds the islands and the towns are situated between steep mountains that Ariel and his family hiked up. Ariel took pictures on the hike up and took videos on the way down but felt his pictures were not capturing the breathtaking colossuses before him. He decided to use a drone to capture the sheer size and steepness of the mountains. In some photos, the drone was utilized to capture the perfect angle of the ragged ridges and bird’s-eye views.
Every hike Ariel took ended at a concrete bunker initially built along the cliff side during World War II to defend against invasion. They have long since been abandoned and painted by Hawaiians but stand firm as a reminder of our history.
Ariel recommends putting yourself in another person’s shoes and take a hike. You never know what you will discover about their culture and history. Ariel was only able to capture a fraction of what Hawaii has to offer but hopes to convey some of what encompasses a part of our country, another world away.