Category Archives: Travel

silver pen… a journey to transformation

Silver Pen

She caught a long train gone
There wasn’t nothin to it
In the red red dawn
She just had to do it
Heard that lonesome song
And she could sing
Right through it
She caught a long train gone

She found a change of heart
In the changing light
Whatever made her start
Could not have been more right
She took her namesake’s part
In the dead of night
She found a change of heart

She found a new home town
And she moved right in
And the freeway sound
It didn’t come again
And in some drawer she found
Another silver pen
In her new home town
In her new home town
She’s in her new home town



thoughts on townes – “to live is to fly”

“As I stumble and reel to my bed
All that I done, All that I said
Means nothin to me I’d soon as be dead
And all of this world be forgotton…”
– Townes Van Zandt

townes van zandt

I can’t even remember when or how I first became aware of Townes Van Zandt (TVZ). His apparition to me in my music world was perhaps not unlike the way he lived his own life, seemingly appearing then disappearing then showing up again in your most private and personal reflections on the way the world appears and then disappears in front of you. Townes was something of a bright shadow to me since he first appeared…and disappeared.

I even met him once, in what turned out to be the last year of his life. He performed at the old Palms Playhouse in Davis, CA, an old broken-down-enough-to-be-authentic theater out at the edges of Davis. I went alone to see him perform solo on acoustic. He stood in front of the audience and stumbled and reeled through a life’s history of songs and sorrow and gladness and stories of lives he’d led, sometimes stopping in the middle of his singing just to talk to everyone. A storyteller. A reluctant saint in dungarees. A long long lost compadre.

When I watched him from a wooden seat in that theater I had the distinct feeling that his wiring was misfiring (to quote JT). It didn’t matter in the artistic realm he was creating for everyone. None of it mattered but it was all sacred and beautiful nonetheless.

After the show I wandered out to the back of the theater. It was a country setting with fields and a small house and other buildings standing in the dark. Townes was outside there with his cigarette. I went up to him to say thank you however I came out with those words. He asked me if I wanted to come in the house there and gave me a chance to stand face to face with him in the yellow light inside and talked about music and travelling and the tree he saw way back when in Okemah, Oklahoma with Woody Guthrie’s name carved in it. But the house was gone. A story within a story. It was 1996. Townes died on New Year’s Day 1997.

I created my first CD “Lost in the Green” as a homemade DIY product in 1995. It was a barebones acoustic coffeehouse type of record, not all that popular of a style in the mid-90’s but I wanted to restart my acoustic roots in the brand new digital recording and Internet Age.

On it I included two songs by TVZ, “Dollar Bill Blues” and “Nothin'”. I put those songs on there as my recognition of *all* of the music I had been blessed with by everyone I had listened to live and on recordings my whole life. The list of names and influences is very long — endless really.

But I put those two Townes songs on my first CD as my way of summing up my thank you’s to all the songwriters and travelling musicians I’d listened to or met and talked with over the years.

Townes was that living symbol to me of what it was to write for yourself and then share it with others.

Thank you Townes…

near red mountain in new mexico

it’s all october…new mexico in b/w

I have traveled a lot by myself in all different ways. Maybe you have too. I probably started travelling when I was a young boy investigating a large woods and creek behind all the houses where we lived in Ohio. There wasn’t any development beyond that boundary and so the woods and creek had their places undisturbed as long as I lived there which was until 16.


Beyond the woods was farmland. As far as I know none of that has changed but believe me when I say I’m not in a huge hurry to go back and find out. I like it the way it “is”. There were easy adventures to make from there since the boundary was as far as I knew and believed limitless. In my teen years it was even possible on good winter spells to cross-country ski back there. And we did.


So travelling alone was really an adventure in nature to me then and remained that way until this very day. It doesn’t have to be far and it doesn’t have to have any particular route or destination. It’s an adventure after all. Not remembering exactly where I’d been or how to get back there was half the thrill. it still is.


In these ways I often learned about places in sensory ways. I didn’t care much about maps and never used a compass and just didn’t pay attention to external descriptions of where I was moving through. Instead I would create these catalogs of internal information about how things responded to me being there. This rarely included running into other people. It was very much about the space and how it received me being there.


One of my all time favorite songwriters and arrangers as well as singers is Neil Finn from Crowded House fame. But his solo records that began quite awhile back after Crowded House faded away are out of this world.  Anyway, one of his songs says “Birds talk to me. Birds talk to me”. That is very much how I’ve felt many times in the right place on a nature adventure, even if it doesn’t have anything to do with birds, though it might.


So I got in my car one late December day in California up in the SF Bay Area and headed south to LA so I could turn East and go back to Joshua Tree. Or somewhere like that. It turned out I ended up driving 2500 miles all the way out to northern and southern central parts of New Mexico, between Hwy 40 and Hwy 10, stopping in Arizona and the Grand Canyon on the way.


I remember that when I got to the intersection of Hwy 25 that runs straight up into and through Colorado I found out that the entire highway had been closed in the state of Colorado. There was so much snow up there that year at that very time I was travelling that I think they stopped delivering mail in Boulder for a couple days at least. Isn’t that not supposed to ever happen? Life is like the weather. Neil Finn sings “Everywhere you go, always take the weather with you, everywhere you go always take the weather.” Go Neil.


So I found a lot of very quiet, snowy, icy, sunny, cold, spotless, rockfull, watery, frosted, thawing, running, frozen, squeaky, silent, spacious, sacred, resting, sighing, bowing, crawling, ancient, memorial, shadowy, brilliant places to walk through, sometimes sleep in, often sit still in, and sometimes photograph. I don’t recall the trail and have only one photo of one sign reminding me that it was Red Mountain I was around that day or two.


So Christmas Day came and went through the mostly silent patience of some very beautiful roads and country. I felt like I was taking care of something by paying attention to the right things. I didn’t meet up with or speak to many people overall. It was a silent journey. But a lot was being said to me.


I have a song called “It’s All October” that became a video using shots from that same journey.  All the B/W photos were taken in digital B/W on a small 1M Canon Powershot. Instead of converting color frames to B/W later, I feel that setting the camera to B/W (mono) is the only way to see things right when I’m shooting. I also have this tech-suspicion that light and exposure might be handled differently by the digital camera based on the different settings between B/W (mono) and color. Just a feeling.


“It’s All October” is something of a journey in itself back to those days I was investigating the edges of woods and farmlands in unknown parts of the south boundary of the town I grew up in. I was learning how to pay attention to space. In writing the song, I was also learning how to live with less.

It’s All October

Set my boot on the ice under frozen fields
Took my breath right away
Watched the rings of those vapors fade from the real
It’s all October today
It’s all October today

I looked around to see where all the leaves had gone
But a few left to stay
There to remind me that nothing was really wrong
It’s all October today
It’s all October today

As I fall on those clear and cold autumn blues
Where some part of me stays
I still live through those colors that came with you
On those October Days
It’s all October today
It’s all October today

Set my boot on the ice under frozen fields
Took my breath straight away
I’m still living through those colors we came to believe
On those October days
In those October days
It’s all October today

photography – an old friend


I have been taking photographs as long as anything I do that is artistic. I usually have music at the forefront of my publicized art world, but photographs have been important to me for just as long as music, since I was a kid, first using an old Kodak camera with a bellows and large film, then the ubiquitous instamatic, then buying my first Nikon (Nikkormat FT2) at the age of 14.

I took that Nikon with me on all adventures in nature for many years that turned into decades. I first learned to develop film and print black and white at the age of 16 while living in Norway and attending a Gymnas in Telemark. That same Nikon is still in use by a very energetic and artistic young man who prefers film and negatives to flash memory in our digital age.

I bought my first digital camera in 1999 or 2000. It was at a time when 640×480 VGA had been the standard for digital photo resolution and it looked crappy to me. So I had said to myself that when they came out with a digital camera that fit in my shirt pocket and was at least 1M pixels (3 times better quality) I would buy it and try it.

That camera was the early Canon Powershot Elph. I forget the model (maybe 440?) but it had a burnished metal/aluminum body and 3x optical zoom and could manage 1600x1200p shots with some good software to catalog and even stitch the panoramic shots. I became very interested in how it captured light and colors and how developing the photo digitally was possible using just basic controls of that light and color.

I rediscovered photography through that camera which is also still in use by a friend in California. I have bought and used the Nikon D60 since moving to Hawaii but have also used the iPhone 3G and 3GS camera a lot. I always feel that it is interesting to work with the media I am sometimes forced to use to create something I like.

Carrying around a large SLR camera has both advantages and disadvantages. It can do a superb job within the right setting but sometimes seems to lose the immediacy or intimacy of a moment.

If there’s a Heisenberg Principle of photography, then I have been unconsciously aware of it for a long time. That is, the more equipment and sophistication you bring to try to capture a natural setting in a photograph, the more unlikely you will be allowed to achieve that goal.

The portable camera in my shirt pocket often makes taking photographs more spontaneous and less intrusive for me. I like lo-fi audio recordings sometimes for similar reasons. By lo-fi I usually mean a very basic setup of one mic (mono or stereo) used to capture the ambient setting whether that be just me sitting at the kitchen table playing guitar and singing, or a small to large band setup somewhere. A bit of mastering is usually done to adjust the levels, but not much else.

I have also made complete videos using just the iPhone camera still shots and its Voice Memo recorder for the music soundtrack. They have a personalized character of their own that I am comfortable with.

Photography is an old friend of mine, but I’ve only begun sharing my still photography and music combined into the form of video in the past few years. My videos are currently being demonstrated on my linked blog at davideliashawaii and on YouTube. My original works are all composed using my still photography and music sources.

All comments and any story you might have triggered by these images are welcome and much appreciated! If you’d rather not post your comments feel free to contact me using this form at the bottom of the photographs.

Aloha! – DE

mauna kea observatories

observatories at the top of mauna kea (“white mountain”) on the big island, hawaii

telemark boathouse

an idyllic vision in a land of northern natural beauty in telemark, norway

san mateo coast - hwy 1

a favorite stretch of beauty between san francisco and santa cruz…

humboldt sunset

a sunset through two windows in the hinter-regions of humboldt county, calif.

san mateo hills, calif.

an old comfortable walking grounds in the hills between palo alto and the coast

mythological fish trio, keaukaha, hilo

mythological fish trio, keaukaha, hilo



"fishtail" sunrise from annapurna sanctuary, nepal

“fishtail” sunrise from annapurna sanctuary, nepal



surf buddies - montara, calif.

surf buddies – montara, calif.

kathmandu, nepal


sea lettuce at laupahoehoe, hawaii

sea lettuce at laupahoehoe, hawaii

lawai fern, hawaii

lawai fern, hawaii

snow print, new mexico

snow print, new mexico

near red mountain, new mexico

near red mountain, new mexico

fractal coast near pescadero, calif

fractal coast near pescadero, calif

firerock, water, air - laupahoehoe, hawaii

firerock, water, air – laupahoehoe, hawaii



active halema'uma'u caldera, kilaeau volcano, hawaii

halema’uma’u caldera, kilaeau volcano, hawaii

solo thistle, san mateo hills, calif

solo thistle, san mateo hills, calif

hamakua coast, big island, hawaii

hamakua coast, big island, hawaii

earth and sky, san mateo hills, calif

earth and sky, san mateo hills, calif

swordfern survival, kilauea volcano, hawaii

swordfern survival, kilauea volcano, hawaii

cracked lava boulder - kau desert, hawaii

cracked lava boulder – kau desert, hawaii

pele's halema'uma'u

pele’s halema’uma’u

self portrait