Before I was mesmerized by the Rainbow Eucalyptus trees at the Keahua Arboretum in Wailua’s highlands, I walked through the forest paths to get a feel for the area. There was one spot near the stream that divides the park where Hibiscus blossoms were spread across the ground below the trees they had fallen from. This flower was tucked into a curve in a tree root. With the humidity, I don’t know whether the flower had just fallen or had been on the ground for a few days. Either way it was beautiful and fun to photograph.
I went upland to the Keahua Arboretum in Wailua yesterday hunting for a native species that I wanted to shoot. Of course by shoot I mean photograph and the target species was a type of tree. The Rainbow Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus deglupta, is one of the most incredible trees I have ever seen. The bark is made of multicolored hues ranging across bright green, red and deep purple. The trees are tall and slender with branches only starting about 40′ up. The patterns in the tree trunks are beautiful and I spent a couple of hours alternating between composing images and ducking under shelter from the intermittent rain showers.
The gnarled roots share the distinctive colors and seem to provide a shelter for new growth at the base of the trees. These micro landscapes presented interesting elements to work with.
The stand of trees are clustered around a grassy slope that is part of the 30 acre forest park. The park is divided by the Keahua stream with the stand of eucalyptus being on the far side. You can drive across but I didn’t want to take chances with my rental car so I walked across the foot deep water. A very small price to pay to see these amazing trees.
The trees can be found alone or in small groves around the island but I enjoyed heading up to this retreat in highlands at the base of Mount Wai’ale’ale. Aside from the rainbows, there are mango and monkeypod trees that stand out from the verdant forest. The arboretum is a special place with an appeal that stems not just from the trees but also the solitude and peacefulness that you can find there. When the sunlight broke through the clouds and filtered down it created great spot lighting on the trees which kept me there a while longer.