My interest in photography and quest to find new and interesting subjects to photograph led me farther and farther afield. Along the way, I learned that the island of Maui is actually made up of nine entirely separate ecosystem including Coastal Reef, Dry Land Shrub Forest, Alpine Desert, and Rainforest. I spent many days discovering and photographing subjects unique to each of these regions. It was during these explorations that I developed an interest in Hawaii’s native species, specifically insects.
Then, beginning in the summer of 2014, I was given an opportunity to photograph in the Waikamoi Preserve on Maui. Managed by The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii (TNC), Waikamoi is the largest private nature preserve in the state of Hawaii. On the lower slopes of Haleakala, it consists of nearly 9,000 acres of stunning and remote rainforest and alpine shrub land. There is an abundance of native plants that exist here, many of which are rare. Koa and ‘ohi’a trees are found here as well as the beautiful lobelia plant. The preserve is also home to native birds, several endangered. These include the ‘I’iwi, apapane, amakihi as well as the rare akohkohe and the kiwikiu (Maui Parrotbill) And, lastly, Waikamoi is home to a large variety of very interesting native insects.
My goal was to document native species, including those considered rare and endangered, and then exhibit them as a way to emphasize the importance of preservation and conservation.