Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Shirt and Shoes

Following, is my first conversion with that girl on our final day on the Big Island.  The conversation took place while I was sitting at the kitchen peninsula counter in our rented condominium.  I sat sipping coffee when that girl emerged from our nearby bedroom.

Mitch: Good morning!
That girl (rubbing eyes): Yep.
Mitch: How’d you sleep?
That girl: Pretty good (pauses, squints at me).  Your shirt is inside-out.
Mitch (without looking at shirt): Well…you know me.  I dressed in the dark so that I wouldn’t wake you.  That’s why I woke you by knocking shit over in the bathroom.
Following is a conversation that took place an hour or so later.  That girl called me into the bedroom.  She had ducked into the bedroom to pack her clothes for our return to Montana.  I found her standing near the closet.

That girl (hands behind her back, grinning): I have something to show you.
Mitch (taking a single step back): Am I in trouble?
That girl: Nope.  Not you.
Mitch: Okay.  Let me see what you have.
That girl (swings a “pair” of sandals out in front of herself): Check these out.  I brought them all the way here to Hawaii.
Mitch: Nobody will out-dress us, baby!

--Mitchell Hegman
NOTE: The photograph of the “pair” of sandals was captured with my smarter-than-me-cellphone.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

No News is Good News

I have not read, watched, or listened to the news for eight days.  Instead, I have watched sunsets, poked at bright flowers, snorkeled in the ocean, and listened to birds calling from palm trees.

I know that such a life is not realistic in the long term.  At some point soon, I need to know what Donald Trump’s hair is up to these days.  I will need to hear about another grim mass shooting or perhaps some new dread disease that is being imported to North America by way of a vector such as the common housefly.

Late this evening, that girl and I will climb aboard a jet and fly back home again.  Back to the news.  Back to 40 pounds of unappreciative housecat.

For now, no news is good news…

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, February 26, 2016

Captured: The Green Flash

We experienced another handsome sunset last evening.  On this occasion, I made sure to watch the sun until it completely withdrew below the ocean. 
I captured the green flash.

Posted today is the requisite photograph of a friend (Larry) holding the setting sun, a sensible “pretty shot,” and the green flash.  The flash lasted for little more than a second.  Though not a great photograph, the green flash is clearly evident.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Green Flash

The green flash is real.  We thought our neighbor here at Na Hale O Keauhou was trying to send us on one of those proverbial “snipe hunts.”   Especially, since we are pale mainlanders from the snowbound north.
You know what a snipe hunt is, right?

A fool’s errand.

Somebody sends you out searching for a made-up creature or some mad-up thing.  You might be told that you need to carry a burlap bag or wear bright colored clothing or any number of such things.  The idea, in the end, is to embarrass you.

Our neighbor—for several days—has urged us to watch the sun sinking into the ocean.  “Sometimes,” he said, “you will see a green flash just as the sun sets into the ocean.”
Last night, six of us sat outside watching the sunset, chatting.  I am naturally poor at concentrating on a single task and, therefore took my eyes off the sun for a bit.  That’s when most of our group exclaimed that they saw the green flash.

Assured by everyone that they were not joking, I searched online for information about a green flash during ocean sunsets.  The green flash is not so much a flash as a momentary change of colors.  This change of color is simply a refractive phenomenon created by the atmosphere, which acts like a prism, and splits the final light from the sun into different colors.

Take a look at the video I have posted below.

If the video fails to launch, please click on this link:

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


More photographs of big waves finding shore near at Kona.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Big Waves

Large swells arrived on the shores of Hawaii yesterday, producing a massive surf.  The power of such waves are as beautiful as they are absolute.  Such waves offer a complete sensory experience.  Aquamarine curls breaking into ephemeral white waterfalls.  Explosions of stark white spray against rock.   The dense sound of water crushing the shore.  The moist feel and scent of ocean mist.  These exclude all other inputs as you draw near the shore.

Big waves beckon in the same way a mountaintop does.

Something compels you to stop and stare, to remain there for a while just looking.

On several occasions yesterday, we stopped to watch waves rising and collapsing against the island.  Posted are photographs I captured.  In the last photograph, you can see that some beaches were closed due to the danger posed by the incoming swells.

--Mitchell Hegman    

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sunset Observations

The sun dies quickly against the ocean.  The sunsets here are, for lack of a better word, earnest.

I am accustomed to seeing the sun sinking into the various Chevron of the Rocky Mountains.  This is often followed by an upsurge of fruit-basket colors that splay up from the far side of the mountains.  That is followed by a long period of dusky light.

Here, the ocean swallows the sun quickly—as if it were a bitter pill.  And you can look directly at the sun as it swiftly drops against the perfectly straight horizon, dying along with its fire colors.  Dusk does not linger here.  Here there is day and there is night.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, February 21, 2016

To Stop Pushing Against and, Instead, to Go With

Yesterday, for only a minute or two, I stopped pushing against the current.  I simply pulled my arms to my side, extended my legs, and let the ocean current pull me slowly across the reef.  I was not so much snorkeling as floating in the water.

Below me, Christmas ornament fish drifted by; some gathered into dart and run schools that exploded like silent fireworks as I neared them.  Just as I wafted over a slightly deeper shelf, I noticed my friend Larry beside me.  And then I noticed the sea turtle.

The turtle slowly drifted right up to us.  Either of us could have reached out to touch the turtle.  At one point, I lifted Larry’s diving fin so that the two of them would not touch.  For a minute or two more, the turtle and I drifted along together across the reef.  The sunlight shimmered in the water around us as schools of fish sifted through.

For that brief time, I was without weight, without fully composed thought.  I was going with…

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory

First, it’s really not a factory.  It’s more like a cluster of trees on the slopes of Hualalai (which is unpronounceable in Mitchspeak).  Secondly, the factory is more like a super-clean shed.  According to the owner of the place, the technician that flew to Hawaii from Italy to set-up a centrifuge machine said, upon seeing the place (while drinking beer for breakfast), “That, is not a factory.”

Another thing; chocolate is not as easy to make as you might think.  At Original Hawaiian Chocolate, they start with fruit from the trees and process all the way through to finished bars of fine chocolate.   This process obviously involves growing the cacao trees, which are finicky about where they grow.  Starting at four years of age, the smallish tropical trees will produce fruit on their trunks.  This must occur within a nine-day window.  The beans from which chocolate is produced is grown inside a placenta within the fruit.

Following the harvest of the fruit, the fruits are cut open to reveal the placenta and beans.  This entire mess must be fermented to remove the placenta and flavor the beans.   The exposed beans are then dried in the sun for twenty-two days.  After drying, the thin shell is removed from the chocolate “nib” inside.  This is done mechanically in a tumbler.  The shells are vacuumed away.

We are close to chocolate bars now.

To finally reach the chocolate bar, the nibs are processed with heat and stirring.  A bunch of sugar is added—those of you squeamish about that sort of thing likely don’t want to know how much.  The processed chocolate is then pumped away and poured into chocolate goodies.

You can purchase goodies at the gift shop!

Posted is a photo of the cacao fruits, a gecko lizard licking at the placenta from a freshly opened fruit, and (just because I can) last night’s sunset from where we are staying on the island.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, February 19, 2016

On Hawaii

Leaving Montana yesterday, we experienced a bit of what the airline steward predicted would be a bit of “bumpy air.”  Bumpy, indeed.  At one point, our plane made such a sharp drop, the magazine cradled loosely in my hands flew up and nearly smacked my face.  Everyone on the plane hushed for a moment, then laughed nervously.

Thankfully, the turbulence did not last long.

After a connection in Seattle and another six hours of flying, we arrived on the Big Island at about 11:00 PM, local time.  Three hours earlier than home.

This morning, I am out of sorts.  My internal clock is three hours off.  I have not even stepped outside yet.  But I do see Hawaii out the window!

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Off to Hawaii

Today, that girl and I are flying off the Hawaii for ten days.  I intend to continue posting from “The Big Island” with application of the following two notes:

1.  My problems linking to Facebook from my blog have reached new levels of difficulty.  In fact—as of yesterday—Facebook is blocking my links entirely.  At present, I can only post by copying my blog’s address into Facebook.  I realize that I could simply paste my entire blog to Facebook, but I want traffic to be directed through my blogsite for a variety of reasons.

2.  My blogs will likely appear at least four hours later than normal due to the time change.

As always, thanks to all my regular readers.

--Mitchell Hegman 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Cooking Directions for Eighteen-Year-Old Boys


My friend, X, was by no means an idiot, but he was (for the period of a single year) an eighteen-year-old boy.  The age of eighteen is particularly troublesome for boys.  At eighteen, most boys strike out on their own—feeling as though they have thrown free shackles.  They flirt with girls.  They drive fast.  They stay out all night.  Life is a party.

And then they realize that they need to eat.

Eating drives boys to do crazy things.

I was eighteen, and freshly sharing an apartment with a buddy, when the thought of purchasing an actual can opener overwhelmed me.  If I had a can opener, I reasoned, I could purchase cans filled with food and then open them.  In something closely related to a stupor, I drove to a store and put forth my own hard-earned money for an electric can opener.

That day still haunts me.
My friend, X, shared an apartment with another friend.  X had it bad.  He liked to eat.  He even thought he could prepare his own food.  More than once, X left his apartment while foodstuffs were baking in the oven, only to return home, many hours later, to an apartment filled with blue smoke and charred remains in the oven.  Another time, he tried to boil hot dogs in a standard glass bowl.  Naturally, the bowl shattered when the burner climbed to full temperature—spewing hot dogs across the stove and floor.  X mostly abandoned his cooking craze after we started stuffing the grim remains from his attempts between the sheets of his bed.

“Buy food,” we advised him.

Today, I am offering what I think might be a practical set of cooking directions for eighteen-year-old boys.

Boiling stuff:
1.  Bring water to a boil in a pot.
2.  Dump stuff you want to boil in water.
3.  Boil until stuff turns a weird color or gets soft.
4.  Never attempt to hard-boil eggs.

Frying stuff:
1.  Put stuff in a pan with either butter or bacon grease.
2.  Place pan on a burner turned to medium.
3.  When stuff starts to sizzle, regularly stir and turn stuff.
4.  Stuff should be done by the time half of the pan’s contents are scattered across the stovetop.

Microwaving stuff:
1.  Poke holes in stuff.
2.  Place stuff in the microwave.
3.  Microwave stuff in one-minute increments.
4.  Stop microwaving when stuff pops our bubbles out of container.
5.  Try to remember that thing about metal in a microwave.

Baking stuff:
1.  Baking is complicated—avoid baking stuff.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


You are officially getting old when you can claim to having known the people that buildings and city parks have been named for.

--Mitchell Hegman

Monday, February 15, 2016

For Less

I read in our local newspaper that the state agreed to pay a Department of Livestock official $204,000 to resign his position.  Apparently, the resignation stems from some kind of budgetary disputes within the department.

Here is my issue: I would have resigned for half as much money.  

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Angry Wiring

In the electrical industry—particularly the construction side—we talk much about “workmanship” or “craftsmanship.”  To people working outside the industry, this concept might seem a bit nitpicky, if not esoteric.  I recall, for example, taking my wife and daughter to visit some of the buildings I had worked on shortly before the buildings were occupied.  On several such occasions, we toured mechanical and electrical areas where the electricians had created beautiful racks of electrical conduits.  These racks flowed like shining rivers from electrical distribution equipment and then branched out into smooth streams that fed power to every corner.

“What do you think?” I proudly asked my wife on one such occasion.

“Looks like a bunch of pipes,” she said.

Obviously, she did not see the craftsmanship, the hours of labor, as I did.

Yesterday, I taught a class on electrical transformer theory and National Electrical Code rules governing transformer installation.  At the close of the class, participants worked in pairs to wire (and properly “ground”) a mock transformer.  I captured images of two of these boards with my twice-as-smart-as-me-phone.

See if you can identify the board completed by craftsmen.

--Mitchell Hegman

NOTE: The “angry” wiring was done partially as a joke, but I assure you that such differences exist in wiring systems all around you.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Box Store Shopping Report

Five men of various ages purchasing flowers for Valentine’s Day.  One young woman freshly poured into her clothing (with ample overflow at several buttons).  No carts with wobbling or squeaking wheels witnessed during this visit.  Potato chips successfully avoided.

End of report.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, February 12, 2016

Classic Vinyl

I woke this morning feeling ill-rested.  My right foot hurts.  I don’t feel like shaving.  Instead of watching the news, I rolled my television programming to Classic Vinyl on Sirius.  Now, at the very least, my funk is guitar-driven.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Mirror Inside the Toilet Tank

The other day, while cleaning the bathroom, that girl dropped a cleaning tablet inside the tank of the toilet in our main bathroom.  Later in the day, she handed me a small mirror.  The mirror looked like the top from a small makeup compact. “I found this in the toilet tank,” she said.  “Does this belong in there?”

“Well, not exactly,” I responded.  “I can explain it, though.  Uyen put it inside there many years ago.”

The mirror at the bottom of the toilet tank was part of an overall feng shui scheme.  This scheme saw Uyen dangling crystals in windows, hiding scissors, hanging Chinese coins above doors, placing wood in certain room, and facing beds in the proper direction.  Mirrors appeared throughout the house.  Uyen wanted to ensure better luck in her ever faltering health and she wanted a grandchild from our daughter.  The feng shui was all about facilitating that.

I had forgotten about the mirror in the toilet tank.  The exact reason for placing the mirror there now escapes me.  Seeing the mirror, I thought back to the stretch of time when Uyen was busy rearranging our house and placing lucky talismans in conspicuous or hidden places.  Every day, for a few weeks in time, I came home to something new or different about the house.

I liked most of the feng shui arrangements and they made Uyen happy.

Today, I am posting a photograph of the mirror that once rested face-up in our toilet tank.

You cannot deny the strong energy of this mirror.

--Mitchell Hegman

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Odds Have It

For no immediately apparent reason, number crunchers have calculated the odds that you will be struck by a meteorite in your lifetime.  Those odds are 1 in 700,000.  The odds that lightning will strike you—by way of comparison—are 1 in 10,000.

Now this:

Last Saturday, a man in India was killed by a meteorite that crashed down onto a college campus there.  This is thought to be the first human fatality caused by such an event in all recorded history.

People in the region reported hearing a “big noise” at the time of the incident.  The meteorite impact produced a crater on the campus grounds and shattered windows on nearby buildings and buses.  The man killed by the meteorite was walking outside when the meteorite struck the campus grounds.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sources: Wall Street Journal, HowStuffWorks, Time

Monday, February 8, 2016

Ten Minutes of Summer, Spider Included

Yesterday, we experienced sunshine and temperatures reaching into the forties.  In other words: summer.  Seeing my front porch aglow with sunshine, I stepped outside and sat on the concrete steps.  Though, all around me, snow remained on the ground in Dalmatian patches; the sun quickly warmed me.

We are still in full winter around here.

I had not been sitting there for more than a couple minutes before a dark motion caught my attention.  Glancing in that direction, I saw a spider on the brick veneer beside me.  A large, hairy number, the spider legged up the side of the house and then clung there amid a patch of sunlight only an arm’s reach away.

“Hey, buddy,” I said to him, “If you are looking for lunch, I saw a fly of some kind twirling around on the deck out back when it got warm the other day.”  I scowled at him, “If you don’t get any closer, we can hang out together here.  Just keep your distance.”

I don’t like spiders much, but the sun had already filled me with warmth and serenity.   So we sat there together—me and a really ugly spider.  Ten minutes of summer brings out the soft in all of us.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, February 7, 2016


All ling fishermen have stories.  Horror stories, that is.

Let’s start by explaining what a ling is.  According to an article I read in Montana Outdoors, ling are the only freshwater member of the cod family.  They are mostly known as burbot.  Burbot are found throughout the world in a circumpolar distribution—thriving in the cold waters of the northern latitudes.

Ling are voracious predators.  They tend to hunker along the bottoms of lakes and rivers; waiting to ambush anything smaller that happens by.  Ling are most active at night.  They spawn in early February, gathering into living, writhing globs under the ice.  Hundreds of ling might gather together in this uneasy, squirming ritual of reproduction.
Now, about the horror stories.

First, ling don’t look like your regular off-the-shelf variety of fish.  They look more like an eel and act like a snake.  When you try to remove the hook from a ling, they will likely wrap themselves around your arm.

Ling don’t die easy.  They are the zombies of Fishworld.

Any experienced wintertime ling fisherman will tell you stories of tossing ling onto the ice while fishing, then later hauling them home—seemingly frozen solid—only to have them come alive in the sink, or in a bucket, a dozen hours later.

Cleaning ling is not for the squeamish.  They never stop writhing.  Worse, beheading, removing vitals, and skinning ling does not always seem to fully dispatch them.  Their chunked and eviscerated forms may continue twisting like the white, headless ghosts of themselves for several minutes.
Fortunately, ling are pretty good eating.

This time of year, we catch ling here at the lake.   Posted is a photograph of a ling freshly pulled up through the ice on Friday last.  That girl, Kevin, and I were present at the time.  We released the ling back in the hole again.  None of us had the courage to process the fish.

--Mitchell Hegman

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Another True Life Misadventure

Nothing is more startling than reaching out in the darkness for what you think is your clothes (so you can dress for the day) only to find your hand reaching into a plastic bag filled with sweet potatoes.

--Mitchell Hegman

Friday, February 5, 2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Into the Night

Posted is a photograph I captured in December of 2010.  The manner in which the falling snow defines the washes of light from the parking lot poles caught my eye.  The contrast between light and dark is extreme.  I titled this photograph “Into the Night” because my eye always drifts from the lighted left side of the photograph to the heavy darkness on the right side.
What is out there?

--Mitchell Hegman

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ode to That Girl (Richard Brautigan Style)

Let me love you
like seven mule deer in the sage.
Walking by,
the deer mend the broken morning light
and sew lazy tracks in fresh snow.
With warm noses,
the deer kiss every bush,
grassy tuft,
and upright flag of not-snow they pass.

I won’t love you any less
than that.

--Mitchell Hegman