Most of these images owe their look to an antique lens: a Nikon 55-millimeter Micro-Nikkor, fully manual, probably manufactured in about 1980. This is a macro lens; that is, the image it projects on the camera's sensor is almost as large as the object being photographed. In other words, the Micro-Nikkor was designed for small objects and extreme closeups.
I bought that lens with Rober Capa's famous dictum in mind: "If your picture isn't good enough, you're not close enough." Capa was a practical photographer, but I like to read his words as a general principle of seeing. At any rate, something like a desire to bring the eye as close as possible to a loved object seems to me to have motivated the two photographers whose work I've tried hardest to learn from. From Edward Weston I've tried to learn the modes that form assumes in space, and from Bill Brandt I've tried to learn what it is to be dark.
And Hawai`i has been a good match for my equipment. When Ansel Adams visited the islands he complained that their humidity kept him from creating his kind of pictures, those shard-sharp images of rock and rainless sky. In Hawai`i my camera is smaller than Adams's and it accompanies me under the flowers where I lie on my back and wait for Hawai`i's light to diffuse down toward me through leaves and rain-softened air. It sometimes comes, too, and sometimes I've been there to see it.