I used to take pictures as far back as when I was in my teens and twenties.  I took pictures of flowers, of valleys, of trees, of bark, of animals, water, people, anything.  I still have some of those photos that we developed from film.  I remember dropping off the film at Longs Drugs and having have to wait so many days for it to be developed and ready for pickup.  I remember the anticipation of looking at them for the first time to relive the moments and to see how they came out.  You have to laugh now at all of the junk shots that were taken, but we still kept 'em all.  Now, with digital photography the entire ball game of taking pictures has changed.  You get immediate feedback from the photos without waiting, and you just press "delete" to all the junk ones you took.

I stopped taking pictures for a long time.  I think I was very idealistic back then, and not when I just dropped the whole camera thing.  I have picked it up again in the last five years or so, but not for idealistic reasons.   It does many things for me today.  One,  I record every R & D thing I do,  I capture all of our team's moments.  Our elevator and restaurants are filled with some of the photos.  Some appeared in my newest cookbook, The Blue Tomato.  We use them for promotional things.  Most of all, it does two very important things:  One, it really helps my eyes, as a cook who plates food. It makes me look at food through the lens' eyes, which pays attention to every detail.  The photo does not lie, which in turn, helps me plate food that is a little more pleasing to the eyes than not.  Two, what I find most satisfying is that it makes me pause, to stop, to look for the simple things in life, like this shot of a small taro patch in the rain.  I was driving in a Gator, a four wheeler for the farm, alone, in the rain, on a farm at UH Hilo in Panaewa,  while visiting our bee hives.  Without my camera, looking for a "shot",  I probably would have just drove on by and not saw what I saw.  It might not look like much, just a taro leaf collecting water in the rain.

If you ever received a reply or email that came from my ipad, on the bottom it reads, "don’t forget to smell the pineapples!"  This is exactly what that means.  We all need to find and have that moment in time, when all is centered, all is good, all is still, so that we get refreshed and reenergized, so that we can now move forward after that moment.

So,  thanks for reading and keeping up with the blog.  Don’t forget to smell the pineapples gang!  Live life to da max!

~ AW