AUGUST 2014 TRIP TO FIJI

 

I've taken two trips to Fiji this year to start building on my property there. It really is an amazing place that I haven't even scratched the surface of yet. As with all landscape photography you have to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right lighting... which doesn't always line-up with my trip schedule, but it has so much potential for undiscovered locations that I'm excited for all the possibilities...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"SHELTER"

 

The South Pacific is a beautiful and interesting place. Exploring different cultures and ways-of-life is an eye-opening experience to say the least. One day as I was checking out different surf spots when I came across this old, bamboo shelter at the top of these sand dunes. It didn't look like anyone was living there... just a hangout spot during the day for shade from the sun or a night time drinking location to get away from everyone. The clouds were beautiful this day and along with the sand dunes made the shelter come to life and give this image a feeling of a day at the beach... with no one around.

 

On my way back to the airport I passed by this location and found the bamboo shelter was gone. A friend told me that it was blown away by a bad storm. I hope the next time I return to this spot the shack will have been rebuild and standing proud on the top of those dunes overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"COMMISERATE"

 

This old pier and bay is quite famous but most people would never know. This is the location of the very first resort in Fiji... The Korolevu Beach Hotel. Constructed in 1948, the small, self-contained units were believed to be the first of their type in the world, setting the standard for resort developments everywhere by imitating indigenous architecture. They recreate a typical Fijian village setting for international tourists and hence the construction of the bure designed to look like Fijian wood and thatched huts. In the decades which followed, they acknowledged that the Fijian word bure originally referred to a temple or similar official building and that the individual units should really have been called valevakaviti, which translates as "Fijian-style houses."

 

However, they rightly reasoned that tourists could never get their tongues around the name valevakaviti, and so bure came into common usage.

 

This is all that remains from a major hurricane in 1983 that destroyed the regions infrastructure and soon after a lease-holding dispute at the Korolevu Beach Resort saw all furnishings and fittings disappear one night, leaving the once effervescent hotel stripped of its charm and character.

 

Faced with a massive reinvestment to get the venue up and running again, its owners, who were close to personal retirement, decided to shut down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"BACKCOUNTRY"

 

Exploring new places is one of the great aspects of landscape photography. It forces you to search out new scenery and travel down roads you might not otherwise travel. Taking this particular shot was interesting because I was photographing these dunes and trying to get unique angles toward the ocean. My back was facing the "Backcountry" as I was focused on just the dunes themselves. Once I got to the top of the dunes to take a break I turned 360 degrees to examine the view. The clouds were billowy and the contrast between the white sand, green forest and blue sky was stunning. There were two surfers walking down a dirt road below me that I didn't even notice till after I pulled up the image on the computer. I only shot one frame but that's all I needed. It's a great, classic photograph of "Backcountry" Fiji that you rarely see in any brochure or website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"MAROONED"

 

One day as I was checking out different surf spots when I came across this old, bamboo shelter at the top of these sand dunes. It didn't look like anyone was living there... just a hangout spot during the day for shade from the sun or a night time drinking location to get away from everyone. The clouds were beautiful this day and along with the sand dunes made the shelter come to life and give this image a feeling of a day at the beach... with no one around.

 

On my way back to the airport I passed by this location and found the bamboo shelter was gone. A friend told me that it was blown away by a bad storm. I hope the next time I return to this spot the shack will have been rebuild and standing proud on the top of those dunes overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"GATHERING"

 

This is another one of my images in a series I took of these dunes in Fiji... and I wanted to shoot them from many different angles so as I walked around I came upon all this ground cover. The flowers blooming at the edge of the dunes were very unique and had interesting colors. So I set up my composition and waited for a compelling formation of clouds to form overhead. As the day heated up the clouds started moving around and developing into various outlines. As the light softened I took a few exposures and "Gathering" was created. The different colors of the foliage and flowers next to the dunes with the blue clouds really makes this a dynamic image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"DESERTED"

 

The Korolevu Beach Hotel is steeped in the history of Fijian tourism trade. Constructed in the 1950s, the small, self-contained units were believed to be the first of their type in the world, setting the standard for resort developments everywhere by imitating indigenous architecture.

 

Original proprietor Bill Clark once confided to a friend it was economics that prompted his design choice for the individual accommodation units, since local villagers could build them for a fraction of the cost of building Western-style buildings.

 

He also wanted to recreate a typical Fijian village setting for international tourists and hence the construction of the bures designed to look like Fijian wood and thatched huts.

 

In the decades which followed, Clark acknowledged that the Fijian word bure originally referred to a temple or similar official building and that the individual units should really have been called valevakaviti, which translates as "Fijian-style houses". However, Clark rightly reasoned that tourists could never get their tongues around the name valevakaviti, and so bure came into common usage.

 

Clark got much of his inspiration for Korolevu after travelling to Honolulu and seeing how indigenous tourism was rapidly evolving on the island. He brought back such innovations as a lounge bar, building accommodation blocks facing out to sea views and landscaped natural vegetation around the bures.

 

Clark also featured Fijian-themed entertainment and feasts every night and introduced cultural shows to educate guests about "local" ways of life.

 

In their heyday during the 1950s and 60s and even into the 1970s, Korolevu Beach Resort and Paradise Point Hotel were known as "Fiji's Riviera". Colonial expatriates from the UK, Australia and New Zealand flocked to the resorts from their bases in Nadi and Suva.

 

"Martinis flowed like water, the parties were wild and families also enjoyed the wide, open expanse of land and safe swimming beaches," Toogood says.

 

The partying colonials were joined by large numbers of American tourists flown in by Pan American Airlines whose planes flying across the Pacific had to stop at Fiji to refuel before heading on to Auckland or Sydney. Added to the customer mix were the air crews from Pan Am, BOAC, Qantas, and Air New Zealand who helped to make the hotel renowned for its lively atmosphere.

 

Sadly, two unrelated events saw both the Korolevu Beach Resort and Paradise Point Hotel close down in 1983.

 

A major hurricane that year destroyed power lines around the Coral Coast and caused substantial damage to the region's infrastructure. Many months after the storm struck, the power lines had still not been restored, and without electricity the Paradise Point Hotel could not cater for guests, forcing its closure.

 

Soon after, a lease-holding dispute at the Korolevu Beach Resort saw all furnishings and fittings disappear one night, leaving the once effervescent hotel stripped of its charm and character. Faced with a massive reinvestment to get the venue up and running again, its owners, who were close to personal retirement, decided to shut down.

 

They eventually sold the site in 1991 to its current owners who, at the time, had major plans to re-establish a tourism operation on the headland and adjoining hillsides.

 

Toogood says many potential buyers have visions of restoring the birthplace of Fiji's tourism industry.

 

"The land is suited to villa, commercial resort and commercial development. It is regarded by many as one of Fiji's finest resort and residential sites because of its all-tide pristine beach and surrounding lush vegetation.

 

"The vendor's decision to sell offers a great opportunity to secure one of the best beachfront sites on the Coral Coast, with a curving foreshore, a white sandy beach, a good deepwater anchorage and safe swimming waters."

 

Toogood says it is rare for such a large amount of freehold land, which comprises the bulk of the property, to come up for sale in such a prime coastal location. Less than 10 per cent of land in Fiji is in freehold title.

 

He says the site fronts both the lengthy beach and adjacent river mouth, offering several water frontage options. There is good access to and from the property through a break in a spectacular reef that is close to the beach.

 

Magnificent, mature trees - once part of the resorts' splendid gardens - dominate the property. The elevated area overlooking the balance of the land gives magnificent views over beach, bay, reef and beyond to the island of Vatulele.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"UPRISING"

 

This is another one of my images in a series I took of these dunes in Fiji... and I wanted to shoot them from many different angles so as I walked around I came upon what looked like animal horns sticking out of the ground. On closer review I discovered it was old driftwood. It had such an unusual shape... as if it was coming right out of the earth, protecting these dunes from predators. It truly resembles a scene from another planet and would make a great location for a movie set.

The Fine Art Landscape Photography of Jaysun McMillin