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Hogzilla
17 June 2007

Trees

Pigs here in Kona don't get quite as large as the infamous Hogzilla, but that doesn't make them any less of a challenge.  The local pigs are not native to the island and can cause considerable damage.  Even the Sierra club approves of hunting pigs in Hawaii.  Hunting is challenging enough but for an even bigger challenge try shooting the pigs... with a camera.

I've tried on many, many occasions to get a good picture of the wild pigs.  It is amazingly difficult.  The pigs seem to have some sort of ESP and only show themselves when I don't have my camera with me.  At 2:30am when I'm sound asleep then the pigs have wild parties all over the farm but on Friday evenings when I'm ready with my camera the pigs are nowhere to be found.

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I have occasionally managed to drag my butt out of bed at 2:30am.  I have even managed to sneak up close enough to the pigs that I could almost pet them.  But photographing wild pigs in the dark has proven to be beyond my abilities.  I usually end up with nothing but a bunch of dark pictures with fuzzy dark blobs in the middle.  One time, trying to be clever, I mounted the camera on a tripod and left the shutter open for 15 seconds.  It was still way too dark and the camera's flash didn't help so I tried using my flashlight, swinging it back and forth to illuminate the entire area.  That worked great for getting a picture of the trees but the pigs wouldn't hold still for 15 seconds so they're not visible in the picture.  I was left with a picture of invisible black pigs at night.

I have a whole collection of black pictures with fuzzy blobs in the middle.  Some of them even show fuzzy glowing eyes.  If someone points out the fuzzy blob and you really use your imagination, then you can kind of make out a pig-like shape.  Mostly though, they're just more pictures of invisible pigs.

As you can see below, I have finally managed to get some pictures of pigs.  It was 5am and just starting to get light.  I could hear the all-night pig party starting to wind down so I forced myself out of bed and grabbed my camera.  It was a large heard of pigs with a couple boars, some sows and several piglets.  I'm sure they knew I was there but I moved slowly and quietly enough that they didn't spook.  When I got close enough I started taking pictures.  Hand holding the camera wasn't working, all the pictures were super fuzzy because it was dark enough that the shutter speed was way slow.  I tried propping the camera against a tree to steady it, that helped some.  The obvious solution is to bring a tripod but sneaking up on the pigs is difficult enough without having to carry and set up a clunky tripid.  If you think you can do better then by all means, come by for a visit and bring your camera.  Pigs rarely bite and the big boars almost always run away from humans when the heard gets spooked.

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Update:  Apparently, the last time my sister visited us, she managed to get a picture of the pigs having a party in the back yard.  She sent me this picture of the Pig Party.  I'm not sure, but I think this picture might be a fake.
Party




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