Friday, February 13, 2009

Some photographic highlights from Hawaii

As written earlier, we spent around two weeks end of 2008 and early 2009 on the Hawaiian Islands. Four days on the Big Island, eleven days on Maui and two days on Kauai.

Some of the photographic highlights were: Lava on the Big Island, whale watching and the road to Hana on Maui and a helicopter flight in Kauai.

Lava on the Big Island
South-east outside the Volcano National Park the recent lava stream meets the Ocean. The county keeps a street with parking lots towards the lava fields. The parking lot opens every afternoon weather permitting. You actually cross several times newer lava streams. A marked trail leads from the parking lot over lava fields to a spot were you can observe how the lava meets the ocean. When we were there the trail was about 300 meters (my guess). Tip: to go there you should wear some closed shoes and bring flash lights if you got there at dawn.
During the day you see a huge cloud of steam arising, sometimes some rocks that are hurtled in the air. And some times little tornados leave the clouds.
During dawn and night you can see glowing rocks and lava spraying in the air. The explosions happen when the lava is getting hard by the contact with the water but is not building slid structures. With new lava adding the fresh structures break.
I used my Sigma 70-300 mm lens, a high ISO and a tripod for the pictures at dawn and night.

The Hawaiian Lava Daily-Blog of Leigh Hilbert might be useful for planing you trip to see some glowing lava.

Where lava meets the ocean, steam arises...

...and glowing rocks fly through the air

Whale watching on Maui
From December through March numerous humpback whales visit the sea between Maui, Molokai und Lanai. Pregnant female whale come here to give birth, while the other whales come for mating. We could watch whales almost every day from the Maui coast, none the less a whale watching tour brings you really close to those giants of the ocean. We did a tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation starting from Lahaina. Impressive was the hydrophone they put into the sea to listen to the whales during the tour.
I did most of the pictures of the whales with a focal length from 200 to 300 mm, again using my Sigma 70-300 mm lens. Be careful with exposure times, although the whales are moving relatively slow, they are still moving and the boat is a bit shaky.

Whales of Maui

Road to Hana on Maui
Rumors say the road to Hana has more than 400 turns, I didn’t count them! The road passes waterfalls, jungle, wild coast and lots of beautiful viewpoints. Start early and take your time to make plenty stops.

Road to Hana with plenty of beautiful places

Helicopter flight in Kauai
The impressive Waimea Canyon, Na Pali Coast and other Kauai sights are a fantastic surrounding for a helicopter flight. We did the flight with Blue Hawaiian.
If you are into photography during a helicopter flight you might want to consider the following points:
The windows of the helicopter produces reflexions and flares, there are several possibilities to avoid them. The easiest: take a doors-off flight (we didn’t). If you take the more convenient flight with doors, wear dark clothes (reflections usually come from light coloured things in the helicopter e.g. the people inside the helicopter) and use a polarizer filter, although it has a negative effect of rising the exposure time!
The recommended focal length is 15 to 70 mm. Use exposure times higher than 1/250 second, the helicopter is sometimes moving fast and you have some vibrations from the engine and the air.
The seating in the helicopter is based on the weight; lighter people are seated in the front or on the windows, while the heavier ones sit on the back middle seats.

Waimea Canyon

Na Pali Coast

I prepared a slideshow with more pictures from Hawaii that includes more waterfalls, orchids, Haleakala Mountain, sea turtles and many other impressions from this beautiful islands.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tokyo and Hawaii Galeries

I created two galleries with a collection of pictures from my recent trip to Tokyo and Hawaii.
The photos were taken with the Pentax K100D and the following lenses
Pentax SMC-DA 1:3,5-5,6 18-55 mm AL,
Sigma 1:4-5,6 DL 70-300 mm,
Sigma 1:2,8 105mm EX Macro.