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Photograph the USA

Anclote River & Anclote Key

On SundayApril 27, the West Pasco Camera Club had an early evening outing to photograph the inner-coastal area of Tarpon Springs and Anclote Key, Florida.  There were approximately 20 members of the club that participated.  The cost for the photography shoot was $20/person.  The transportation for the photography shoot was conducted by Island Paradise Charter Tours. Our captain was captain Bob. The boat used was a 40′ catamaran pontoon boat.

The Island Paradise Tours are located at the Magnuson Hotel (formally the Ramada Inn Bayside Marina and Resort) on the southbound side of RT 19 in New Port Richey.  Their website is www.islandparadisecharters.com.

We began by exiting through a channel to the inner-coastal waterway.  There were several opportunities to photograph mangroves, as well as wild life, in this area.  Once we entered the inner-coastal, there were several opportunities to photograph the ospreys, pelicans and other seabird that make this area their home.

Since both my assistant and I went on the photography excursion, I took both the Canon EOS 5D as well as the Sony NEX 7.  I brought along a couple of lenses for the Canon but ended up only using the 24 to 70 millimeter equipped with image stabilization as the other one I brought along, the Canon long lens 70 to 200, did not have image stabilization.  I am usually very good at holding steady but with the motion of the water and the vibration of the boat, every photograph I took with this lens was blurry.  So the lesson learned here is if you are going to do hand held photography from a boat make sure you have a camera or a lens with image stabilization.  The Sony camera had image stabilization built into the camera and not the lens, so the images taken with that camera turned out well.  However, I did brace myself against a part of the super structure of the boat.   All of the photographs taken with the Canon 5D had minimum amount of blur when taken with an image stabilized lens.

From my point of view, some of the best photographic opportunities occurred during the next phase of the trip as we traveled up the Anclote River to Tarpon Springs.  Once we reached the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks we turned around and went back out to the inner coastal waterway. then back out to the inner-coastal.  There were great opportunities to shoot both landscape, as well as nature, photography.  We passed by several Osprey nests and sea birds such as Pelicans, Herons and Egrets were in abundance.  There were also large areas of mangroves, pines and palmetto palms.  I took several photographs that I liked during this phase of the photography shoot.

Anclote River Landscape 1

Anclote River Landscape 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anclote River Landscape 2

Anclote River Landscape 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anclote River Landscape 3

Anclote River Landscape 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anclote River Landscape 4

Anclote River Landscape 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anclote River Landscape 5

Anclote River Landscape 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anclote River Landscape 6

Anclote River Number 26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shooting Anclote Key Lighthouse at sunset was next on the agenda.  This was the reason we had chosen this particular excursion.  We arrived just as the sun was beginning to set.  I would have liked for us to stay until it got completely dark but I was not in charge. In truth, the images would have probably gotten very blurry if we had stayed much longer.

Anclote Key, North Anclote Bar, South Anclote Bar and Three Rooker Island are the areas that make up the Anclote Key State Park.  Located three miles off the coast of Tarpon Springs, Anclote Key Preserve State Park is accessible only by private boat or ferry service. The 403-acre park is home to at least 43 species of birds, including the American oystercatcher, bald eagle and piping plover. A picturesque 1887 lighthouse stands as a sentinel on the southern end of the island. Visitors can swim and sunbathe at the beach, fire up a grill and enjoy a picnic, or pitch a tent and enjoy a night of primitive camping under the stars. There are no provisions offered on the island, so be prepared to bring your own water and supplies.  Ferry service to the island is offered by Sun Line Cruises(727) 944-4468 and Sponge-O-Rama (727) 943-2164. These ferries both leave from Tarpon Springs’ historic Sponge Docks. Ferry services do not drop visitors off for overnight camping. You must have your own transportation to stay overnight. Dogs are allowed only on North Anclote Bar.   Island Paradise Charters (877-774-0589) and Windsong Charters Windsong Charters (727)859-0213) both run charters from Pasco County.

Anclote Key Light

Anclote Key Light

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Lupe - Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

Miss Lupe – Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the photographs presented as a part of this Blog have been processed in Adobe Photoshop Light room.

 

Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian Islands

Oahu, Maui, Hawaii, Kauai

 

Planning

The photographing of Hawaii was a tall order for us.  There are seven main Islands and we wanted to photograph as much of Hawaii as possible since we don’t know when, or if, we will ever get back to this part of the earth. Also, the 18 hours travel time was another reason for us to photograph as much as possible while we were there.  Our plan was to spend most of our time in Oahu, then island hop to other islands.  We started our planning for this trip a year in advance, taking into consideration the advice we received from other sources and our own investigations.

Hawaii is a great place to photograph.  It has mountains, waterfalls, rainforests, and beautiful  flora.  There is also white, black, and even green sand on the beaches and lava fields.  However, as the seasons change so do the photographic opportunities.  For example, flora is more abundant during the spring and the summer.  So, just as it is here on the mainland, the seasons will have an impact on what is available to for your shoot.  We scheduled our trip at the end of January and the beginning of February.  Our goal was to photograph the waterfalls, rain forest and, if we were lucky, to get a photo of a whale as our journey coincided with the whale mating season.  During mating season from December to May, there is supposed to be a lot of whale activity in the waters surrounding the islands.  We did see a whale actually come completely out of the water however I was not quick enough to photograph it.  It is amazing that these mammal weighing several tons can launch themselves straight up in the air and raise their massive bodies completely out of the ocean.  The reality is even more amazing and simply breathtaking.  We also chose this time of the year since there would be a minimum amount of flora around the water falls and the rocks in the rain forests.

I took my Sony NEX-7 on the whale watching trip.  It is much smaller and lighter than the Canon 5D. I like using this camera when performing hand held photography.  However, the 5D is my camera of choice for landscapes and cityscapes.

I would also like to mention here that when taking landscape photographs here in Hawaii, with few exceptions, I used a circular polarizer. I found it really makes the water and the greenery pop.

We are not sports enthusiasts and did not know we had scheduled our photography expedition during the Pro-Bowl.   As a result, the costs associated with the trip could have been excessive had we not made our reservations well in advance.  So make sure you are aware of what is happening in and around the area you are going to photograph.  Hotel rates, rental cars, etc. can be affected by other events in the area.

We chose to take a cruise ship around the islands.  It reduced travel time and the expense worked out to be the same as if we flew between the islands and stayed in hotels.  We spent one week in Oahu and one week visiting the other islands.  The trouble with island hopping is that there is a lot of time lost packing, unpacking, traveling to the airport (especially with the need of being there 2 hours before the flight).  It can result in the loss of an entire days.  Because of the closeness of the islands the cruise ship left port in the evenings and we were in the next port by morning, thus minimizing lost shooting time.

 

Leaf On Lava Rock
Leaf On Lava Rock

Oahu

We arrived at Tampa airport at 5 AM to begin our journey to Oahu, Hawaii. It took us 10 flying hours (actual hours in the air) to get to Oahu from Tampa Florida. However, with the time difference and layovers etc. we were up for 26 hours before collapsing in our hotel.  So if you are traveling to Hawaii remember to give yourself a day or two to get into the Hawaii timezone, especially if you are traveling from the east coast of the U.S.  Unfortunately, I was ill upon arrival so I struggled all through this trip.  Because we were flying with time, we arrived in Hawaii at approximately 2pm.  Upon arrival on the island we spent the rest of the day renting a car, checking into the hotel and just getting the lay of the land around our hotel.

22 Jan 2014 (Wednesday)

High swells all around the island (biggest since 1998) accompanied by rain and high winds around Waikiki made our planned trip to Diamond Head untenable today. So we went to “plan b” and took a drive along the Kalanianaole Hwy, from Waikiki toward Makapu’u Lighthouse.  We dodged rain showers for most of the day and didn’t make it that far but made several stops along the way for photo opportunities.  At Koko Head Crater there is a roadside pull over where one can get great shots of the crater rim.  The pull over is on the Kalanianaole Hwy. It comes up quickly and you might miss it if you are not paying attention.  If you obtain a detailed map of the area it is clearly marked.  There is also a hiking trail up to the crater top.  The hiking trail cannot be reached from the pullover.  One needs to take Lunalilo Home Rd to Anapalau St which turns into Koko Head Crater Park Rd.  There is a parking lot at the trail head.  The trail can be slippery when wet and the views are better in good weather.  At the top of the crater there are overlooks and a place to rest before heading back down.  If you decide to hike up the side of the crater be sure to wear hiking boots or good athletic shoes. Also bring water. That’s a must.  I used handheld for taking photos here.  Just a few feet further on the Kalanianaole Hwy and on the other side of the road is the entrance to Hanauma Bay Park.  There is a large parking lot with a minimum fee.  It was no more than $ 5.  Right off of the parking lot there is a walkway around the rim of a cliff overlooking the bay.  A great place for photography.  It is paved with very easy access.  There is also a visitor’s center and rest rooms.  If you like you can also spend some time soaking up sun on this very lovely beach.  I used a tripod for taking photographs hereMy preference for taking landscapes is the lowest ASA the camera will allow and a very small f-stop.  This reduces noise and provides the greatest possible depth of field.

Koko Crater 1
Koko Crater 1
Koko Crater 2
Koko Crater 2
 

23 Jan 2014 (Thursday)

The weather was clear this morning so we headed to Diamond Head. We could have walked to the park from our hotel as it was only about two miles.  However, I was not feeling well so we chose to drive to the park.  The park is actually inside the crater. There is a $ 5.00 fee to park inside the confines of the park.  There is also public transportation that can be taken to the park.  If you take public transportation, or choose to walk there is a $ 1.00 fee for walk-ins.  The idea is to get here early before the sun gets high in the sky.  Also bring water.  But don’t worry if you forget the water as there are bottles of water available in drink machines.  The cost is $ 1.50/bottle. So bring change for the machines.  Once you enter the trail head there are no restrooms so be sure you make use of them before you begin the assent.  The hike takes you on a well worn trail to the top of the crater rim where there are great views of Waikiki, Koko Crater, and beautiful ocean vistas. Make sure you have hiking boots or good athletic/walking shoes because the trail can become messy and slippery.  There are photo opportunities all along the trail.  The trail can be very crowded with tourists.    However, during our trek everyone was very courteous and waited for me to take my photographs.  Because there can be a lot of human traffic and the trail can become narrow, a tripod is not a good idea but a monopod will work just fine.  The trek up the crater does require physical exertion.  When you near the top of the crater there is a tunnel. The tunnel is lit but it is narrow and low. So it is probably not for those that have claustrophobia. After the tunnel the trail splits. Going to the right requires ascending a 99 step stairway, a spiral staircase, finishing with a cramped climb out of on old lookout post.  Going to the left is the less strenuous route of about 80 steps with landings on which one can rest.

 

Hanauma Bay
Hanauma Bay

It is best to arrive at the park early in the morning before the sun gets overhead or if one goes later it should be on a bright but cloudy day.  Once the sun gets overhead the shadows get very deep and dark and it becomes hard to get any definition in the shadows, not to mention the exhaustion when making the trek in the heat of the day.

Diamond Head Artillery Battery
Diamond Head Artillery Battery

It took us approximately 4 hours to travel to the park, hike up to the rim of the crater, then return to the trailhead.  There is food and refreshments at the trailhead and we took advantage of them when we returned from our hike.

Diamond Head Crater Lookout  - taken from inside the crater
Diamond Head Crater Lookout – taken from inside the crater

Jan 24 2014 (Friday)

We set out to shoot the Arizona Memorial and Battleship U.S.S. Missouri.  We decided to sign up for a group based on information we had gotten from other folks.  This tour is a must for anyone visiting Oahu.  It is an especially moving experience for me since I spent four years in the Navy.  It also provides great photographic subject matter.  I got very excited when I was able to capture the two main turrets of the Battle Ship Missouri overlooking the Arizona Memorial.  They are the bookends of World War II in the Pacific.  World War II started with the attack on Pearl Harbor and of course the sinking of the U.S.S. Arizona and ended with Japan’s unconditional surrender aboard the U.S.S. Missouri.  The Arizona National Memorial is open from 8am to 5pm so, barring rain clouds on the horizon, outdoor shooting will be done in full sun.  I brought my Sony NEX-7 along on this trip since most of the shooting would be handheld.  I used a circular polarizer and my 18 to 200mm lens.  Many of the photographs were taken in program mode because of the constantly changing lighting conditions but some were also taken in aperture priority. The photograph of the Turrets of the Missouri along with the Arizona in the background was taken from the Missouri.

 

Bookends of WW II.  The USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri
Bookends of WW II. The USS Arizona Memorial and the USS Missouri

 

Jan 25 (Saturday)

Boarded the cruise ship today so other than a few “selfies”, it was a day if rest from photography.

 

Jan 26 2014 (Sunday)

We got underway last night, cruised through the night and arrived in Maui this morning.  We will be in Maui for 2 days.  Based on the input from several people, my assistant and I took the road to Hana tour.  We heard a lot about the tour and wanted to take the trip to see how photographic the area was.  We left on the tour at approximately 8 am and returned about 6 pm. Although there was beautiful weather for most of the day, it did turn a little cloudy and overcast towards the end of the trip and by the time we returned to the ship, it had begun to rain.  The road to Hana is actually a road around Haleakala Crater.  It was originally a dirt road that was etched out of the flora by the Chinese workers building irrigation ditches. Some of these ditches are still visible from the road.   The road is very twisty and winding all the way to Hana.  After Hana,  the road does get a little straighter but it turns into a one lane road and it is not paved in spots.  There are frequent pull over areas and places to take photographs of the landscape and the waterfalls.  There are also beautiful ocean vistas;  almost everything that an avid,  landscape photographer could envision.  So if you want to get the most of your photography experience on Maui, I would say the road to Hana is a must. We had limited time on this island and we took a standard tour.  The tour bus stopped at about 7 locations on the trip.

Road to Hana - Where the Seven Pools meet the sea
Road to Hana – Where the Seven Pools meet the sea

The problem with shooting the road to Hana is that it is soooooo twisty and winding that by the time you see something that looks interesting you are past it and there is no backing up. My suggestion is that if you want to go it alone, take the canned tour and bring a GPS point and shoot the areas the tour guide points out.  Then go to your room and review the pictures and locations. After deciding where you want to go, rent a car and a (GPS if you don’t already have one) and go back and shoot the road to Hana.  Another option would be to contact one of the many tour companies and arrange for a personal tour.  I would also schedule a minimum of two days to shoot the road to Hana; or  4 or 5 days if you are a serious landscape photographer.   Let me also mention that there are a lot of people on this road taking pictures but few actual photographers.  So be patient and let the picture takers come and go but keep focused on your art.

Flower on the Road to Hana
Flower on the Road to Hana

Because we would have a minimum amount of time to capture images during the bus stops, I carried the Sony NEX– 7.  I brought along the 18 to 50mm lens, as well as, the 18 to 200mm lens, and the circular polarizer.  I tried shooting some images from the bus but that did not work well.  Only those taken during the stops turned out well.  We are already discussing a return trip to Maui to spend a week shooting this island.

Road to Hana - A bay on the Road to Hana
Road to Hana – A bay on the Road to Hana

Jan 27 2014 (Monday)

Spent the day on the ship.  Raining cats and dogs out there and both ML and I still have pretty bad colds. It’s a good down day for us and maybe the rest will speed up our recovery.  We get underway tonight and head for Hilo on the island of Hawaii. Hopefully the weather will be better tomorrow.  We have a 4 mile hike planned.  We hope to get some great shots.

Road to Hana - A Landscape
Road to Hana – A Landscape 

Jan 28 2014 (Tuesday)

Hawaii (Hilo)

Volcanoes National Park – Crater Hike

Hilo is on the rainy side of the island of Hawaii so it is not surprising that it rained all day.  As a matter of fact, we were told this is one of the rainiest places on earth.  This area gets several hundred inches of rain annually.  I like to photograph just after a rain or when it is misty.  But it was a pretty heavy rain so it did not look like a good day for photography.  The literature we read during our trip planning stated we should be prepared for windy and wet conditions.  That should have been a clue to prepare for the worst.  Luckily my assistant did heed and brought ponchos.  It was not a good day for Photography but we decided to go and give it our best shot.  I would suggest always packing plastic bags or a camera sleeve to protect your camera in case of inclement weather because it is not always possible to return to an area to capture images.  So you must take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves.

Akak Falls State Park
Akak Falls State Park

We took the 4 mile Kilauea lki trail which starts at the rain forest on the craters rim.  The trail descends 400 feet through the rain forest to the crater floor. Overhead native birds fill the air with their raucous voices.  The trail then crosses the still steaming crater floor and passes the gaping throat of the vent that built Pu’u Pau’I cinder cone.  It is important to have good hiking shoes since the trail can be very muddy and slippery.  Water is also a must on this hike and there are no restrooms on the trail. Admission to the park is $ 10/Vehicle or $ 5/person pedestrian traffic.

Kilauea lki Trail - Lava Rock
Kilauea lki Trail – Lava Rock

We spent most of the day taking photographs as we hiked along the rain forest and the crater surface. Conditions were not good for photography because the visibility was limited due to the heavy rain and mist. I took the Sony NEX-7 because it is lighter and smaller than the Canon 5D.  I brought along the 18 to 55 mm lenses as well as the 18 to 200 mm lens. I also brought along the circular polarizer to help cut through the mist.  It was very overcast so I was in and out of program mode for most of the day. Due to the dank and dark conditions, it was impossible to take a landscape photograph here without a tripod. I carry the Manfroto 290. It is very compact, light and strong and is advertised to hold up to 8 lbs. There were several areas that provided enough room to place a tripod and obtain good views of the lava fields at the bottom of the crater.  The crater filed provided some interesting photographic opportunities.  Especially the areas were the crust had cracked and dropped.

Kilauea lki trail - Plant  Attempting to Grow in the Lava Rock
Kilauea lki trail – Plant Attempting to Grow in the Lava Rock

Akaka Falls State Park

Admission $ 5/car or $ 1/person for pedestrian traffic. This is a self-guided tour along a paved path.  There are restrooms and a visitor’s center.  We were here to capture the lush vegetation and, of course, the waterfall.  There is a paved area which is a 4/10ths of a mile loop.  There are photo opportunities everywhere along the loop. The waterfall is a 442 Ft drop into an eroded gorge. There is an overlook with an excellent view of the falls.  There are also several areas where the water rushing through the gorge can be viewed. It was raining and windy when we visited this location as well. So most of the vegetation was moving and it was very difficult for me to get the depth of field I like.

Flower Growing Near in the State Park
Flower Growing Near in the State Park

 

Bird of Paradise
Bird of Paradise

Jan 29 (Wednesday)

Hawaii (Kona)

Did whale watching every day we were onboard the ship. We were able to get a few photographs but nothing like we wanted.  We also took a catamaran out of Kona with the hope of getting some better opportunities. In one bay there was a mother whale with her calf.  We were not able to get very close.  The captain was concerned because we were between them and the open sea.  We then cruised off the coast of Kona for a few hours and saw several whales. I would definitely recommend a whale watching trip out of Kona. Here again I knew I would be doing a lot of hand held photography so I chose the Sony NEX-7 with the 18 to 200mm and the circular polarizer. I tried using aperture priority but ended up using program mode because of the blurring.

Whale Tail
Whale Tail
Whale Broaching the Surface
Whale Broaching the Surface

Jan 30 2014 (Thursday)

Kauai (Port Allen).

We heard a lot about the Waimea Canyon so while in Kauai we made a journey to there to see if we could capture a few good images.  We took the Sony NEX-7 and the Canon 5D.  While it was technically a sunny day, it was also very hazy so we used the polarizer to try to cut through the haze.  The Waimea Canyon is considered the Grand Canyon of the Pacific and there are beautiful vistas.  The canyon is 14 miles long, 1 mile wide and 3,600 miles deep.  There is an overlook in the state park which provides beautiful views of the canyon.  There is a visitor’s center, a large parking lot, and restrooms.  The overlook area is paved and provides great photographic opportunities.  A few tour buses stopped by while we were there and things got a little crowded but we waited and they soon left and we were able to move freely about.  To capture some of the more distant areas here, as well as during the whale watching trips, I needed a longer lens than I own.  Note to self to look onto that issue.

Harbor Light House
Harbor Light House

 

Cliffs photographed from the ship
Cliffs photographed from the ship

 

Waimea Canyon
Waimea Canyon

 

Waterfall at Waimea Canyon
Waterfall at Waimea Canyon

Jan 31 2014 (Friday)

Note from assistant:  today was our 5th wedding anniversary so I “suggested” that we take the day off.

 

Feb 01 2014 (Saturday)

Arrived back in Oahu.  Spend the day disembarking, renting a car, and checking into the hotel.  Also explored the area around the hotel for street photography opportunities.

 

Feb 02 2014 (Sunday)

We went to Church early Sunday morning.  Fortunately our hotel was right across the street from a church.  After church and breakfast we went across the street to walk along the park and the beach.  This is a great place for street photography.  There are a lot of homeless people and locals that frequent this area.  I had not prepared myself for street photography during this trip.  However, if you are a street photographer, the parks in Waikiki are a great source of material.  We also got a few photographs of Diamond Head and the beach and some great photographs of Waikiki from the balcony of the hotel room.  Hotels on Waikiki beach are quite expensive.  The hotel in which we first stayed was expensive but inexpensive when compared with the hotels along the beach.  The second hotel at which we stayed was across the street from the beach and we had excellent views from our balcony.  I used both the Canon and the Sony when taking photos from the balcony.

Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach
St. Augustine By The Sea Church
St. Augustine By The Sea Church

Feb 03 Monday

Continued our journey along the Kalanianaole Hwy.  Just passed Hanauma Bay was the Halona Blow Hole.  The Blow Hole is just a hole in the ledge rock.  Over the years the motion of the sea has undercut the rock under the hole. Now as waves roll in from the sea, and the tide is right, the water shoots out of the hole.  Sort of like a mini “Old Faithful”. The area between Hanauma Bay and the Blow Hole is very photographic.  There were folks climbing on the rocky ledges, fishing and diving into the water.  The rocks looked very slippery to me so, even though I had on good hiking shoes, I decided not to climb around on the rock ledges and moved on to the Blow Hole.  There is a free parking lot at the Blow Hole.  The area is paved and there is an overlook. This is a major tourist stop and several buses of tourists came by while we were there.  However, if you wait for the crowds to thin out you can capture some good images in that area.  The Blow Hole was not really blowing when we were there.  I think we must have been there at the wrong tide.  The views were great though and I did get a few “keepers”.

W
W

Right down the road from the Blow Hole is a Japanese fishing shrine. From what I read and heard, there was a carving of a Japanese guardian god that was said to preside over fishermen and the dangerous waterways. My understanding is that over the years the Japanese shrine was replaced by a Vietnamese god.  It was interesting to see and photograph.  It was obvious that the shrine is still cared for very nicely but even though the tide was low when we were there with a background of high seas I could not get a good photograph of the Japanese Fishing Shrine.

Makapuu Light House
Makapuu Light House

Just a little further up the road from the Blow Hole was a park with plenty of parking.  At the far end of the park away from the swimmers is a field of black volcanic rock that extends out into the surf.  It is a great place for capturing the interplay of the foam and surf with the black rocks. Here you will need a polarizer and, depending on the lighting and the time of the day, you may need a few zero density filters. To catch the interplay you may choose long exposer times.  If you do, a tripod is a must.  If you intend to get right down close to the rocks make sure your tripod has the ability to get low.

Sandy Beach Park
Sandy Beach Park

 

Volcanos National Park - Fern Growing in the volcanic rock
Volcanos National Park – Fern Growing in the volcanic rock

Then just past Sandy Beach Park is the Koko Crater Botanical Gardens. There is a plethora of flora and a great view of the Koko Crater. For getting up close to the flora and some of the beautiful plants a good macro lenses would be something handy to have in your camera bag.

Feb 03 2014 (Monday)

Earlier in our trip we had signed up for a tour that included the national cemetery at Punchbowl Crater but the bus just drove through and we were not allowed to get out and spend time.  (Please be sure when signing up for tours to get explicit details on what is going to happen on the tour.)  So, today we returned to the Punch Bowl via our rental car and spent several hours there.  Visiting the Punch Bowl Crater was the most moving and visually gratifying experience of the whole trip. The Punch Bowl Crater is a national cemetery that contains the remains of thousands of service-men and others that gave their lives for the defense of the freedoms we sometimes take for granted.  Having served in the Navy and in Vietnam not only the Punch Bowl Crater but also all national cemeteries are very special to me.  When I am in one I feel I am in communion with my fallen comrades.  The Punch Bowl Crater is unique in that not only are there great photo opportunities within the Crater, but there are also panoramic views of Waikiki, Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, and Diamond Head.   The Crater is positioned in such a way that, if one travels up to the left behind the statue of Columbia to the overlook area there is an excellent views of Waikiki, Diamond Head, the seaport, and Pearl Harbor.   For photographing within the Crater I used an 18 to 105mm zoom.  For shooting from the rim of the Crater I used a 75 to 300 mm zoom.  It was raining during our visit (SURPRISE!), so I was using a polarizer and most of my photographs taken at the Crater were taken using a tripod.

The Punch Bowl Crater National Cemetery
The Punch Bowl Crater National Cemetery

 

Waikiki and Diamond Head from The Punch Bowl Overlook
Waikiki and Diamond Head from The Punch Bowl Overlook

 

Pali  & Manoa

Feb 04 2014 (Tuesday)

We heard that the Niuuanu Pali on the island of Oahu has great views and vistas.  So it was on our to-do list while we were on the island of Oahu.   We originally thought about taking a tour of the Pali however after our experience with the Punch Bowl Crater we decided to do this on our own. We were not disappointed at the beautiful views.  It had rained earlier in the day and it was very hazy during our visit.  It seemed to rain a lot during our visit to Hawaii.  As a matter of fact, there was rain and/or heavy mist on most days so my advice is to be VERY flexible and have two or three alternate plans lined up for every planned shoot.   We did take several photographs here.  My camera of choice here was the Canon D5 and my lens of choice was the 24 to 105mm with lens with a polarizer.  I had expected a big crowd here but I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived to see only a few cars and no Buses.

Manoa Falls
Manoa Falls

 

Pali Lookout
Pali Lookout

After photographing the Pali, we drove over to the Manoa Area to photograph the Manoa Falls.  Manoa Falls is located near Waikiki at the end of Manoa Road.  There was a parking lot at the trailhead and there is a minimum parking fee (I think it as $ 5.00). You can also park on the residential streets and walk in about 1/4 a mile. You can also take the public transportation bus #5 which stops just before the entrance.  There is also a gift shop, a snack shop, and restrooms at the trailhead.  There is a short hike up to the falls itself.  Initially the trail to the falls is paved.  Then it becomes a gravel trail. The gravel path ends and it becomes a dirt trail. This part of the trail was very muddy and slippery during our visit.  Also the part of the trail right before the falls was very rocky wet and slippery.  So it is important to wear good hiking boots or athletic shoes.  I was not able to get as close to the falls as I would like because there was a fence around the base of the falls. I used my Canon 5D with my 24 to 70mm lens. Unfortunately, I had left my tripod in the car so I had to rely on using myself or resting my camera against a fixed item such as a rock or a tree.  There are several spots along the trail that provide good photographic opportunities.

Fern - Manoa Falls
Fern – Manoa Falls

 

Road to Hana - Stream
Road to Hana – Stream

Traveled Home

Feb 05 2014 (Wednesday)

Overall, I would say if you are planning a photography trip to Hawaii, each of the Islands has something different to offer the photographer.  However, Oahu has the most diverse subject matter. There are greater street scenes, beaches, forests, waterfalls, and flora.  So, if your time is limited, I would photograph Oahu first.  However, if you are mainly interested in landscape photography, then Maui or The Big Island (Hawaii) would be the place for you to begin your adventure.