The first day Kevin Ebi, a nature photographer who lives in Lynnwood, went to the top of Maui’s Mount Haleakala, he was just trying to scout out a good place to take a photo of the next day’s sunrise – but as he ascended the mountain, a heavy storm came in.
“The higher I would climb, the less I could see,” Ebi said.
It was a photo from that first day, however, that the United States Postal Service selected to feature on a stamp celebrating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary.
Once he braved the storm and made it to the top of Mount Haleakala in November 2008, Ebi ducked into the visitor’s center. It took about an hour, maybe longer, to drive up the mountain, so he did not want to waste the day. He thought he would wait it out. Then there was a brief break in the storm and a rainbow fell near the crater.
Ebi said he noticed an array of color on the stones in the crater.
“Then I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great to get the rainbow to fall on those stones?’” Ebi said. “I knew if this works out, it will be a truly incredible shot. So I waited it out.”
Over the next 90 minutes, about five minutes worth of rainbows descended on the crater. Just one landed directly over the center, barely long enough for Ebi to take one photo.
“This was a magical moment,” Ebi said. “I’m just so honored that this is the photo the postal service chose.”
Meanwhile, he said his wife was in the car under some blankets, waiting for him to get his photo.
He did go back up Mount Haleakala the next two mornings to get the sunrise shot. A few of those shots have been used in magazines and guidebooks, but the upcoming Haleakala stamp will be the widest spread use of the photo showing the rainbow over the crater.
“Sometimes it takes a while for things to get appreciated,” Ebi said. “That was always my favorite (photo) of the batch.”
The collection of 16 forever stamps honoring the National Parks Service includes shots from Acadia National Park in Maine, Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida and Mississippi, Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico and Mount Rainier National Park in Washington, among several others, to feature the variety of National Parks in the United States. The first-day-of-issue ceremony for the National Parks forever stamps pane will be on June 2.
–By Natalie Covate