The photographic opportunities in Maui aren’t always limited to beautiful beaches and verdant rain forests. They can also include relatively mundane subjects like condominiums.
We were staying at a condo in South Maui and I made it a point to try and capture some shapes, colors and graphical elements on the property. Here are some of the photos. Proof positive that interesting photos can be made just about anywhere.
I’ve had a lot of questions over the last couple of months regarding the “best” aperture to use for scenics and landscapes. Tradition holds that you should use the smallest lens aperture for your scenic and landscape photos. The purpose of using small apertures like f/22 is to maximize your depth. In other words, you want everything from the foreground to the background to appear in sharp focus.
However, there is one important thing to remember about your lens. They are sharpest (i.e. resolve the most information) between an aperture of about f/8 to f/11. When you use smaller apertures such as f/22 or f/32, then the image quality of your lens tends to degrade ever so slightly due to light diffraction. It isn’t a huge amount of degradation, but sometimes it can be enough to make you think twice.
So, what’s a photographer who wants the highest image quality to do? Some photographers say that the depth of field you lose at f/11 is not such a big deal because the sharpness you lose from diffraction at f/22 is worse. My recommendation and my general practice is to shoot landscapes between f/11 and f/16 as a way to get the best of both worlds. Good depth of field with minimal diffraction.
However, try experimenting with other apertures as well. For every rule, there is a photo that shows how/why it can be broken. Take the above photo for example. I shot it at f2.8 with the purpose of bringing more attention to the small foot bridge in the foreground. Although the “best” or “sharpest” image would have been made at f/11 – f/16, I think f2.8 brings a different dimension to the image.
This is the quintessential Road to Hana photograph. I’ve seen it in hundreds of advertisements, tour books, TV commercials and websites. Quite literally, there is a single spot where everyone stands to take this shot. How does a photographer bring something new and different to a photograph that has been taken by tens of thousands of people?
In my case, I brought along an IR camera to see if the shot might come alive in a different way. I don’t recall seeing any photographs of this spot that were taken with an Infrared (IR) camera, so I gave it the ol’ college try.
That’s what I love about photography. Just because someone else has taken the shot before, doesn’t mean that you can’t put your own twist on it.
Always keep exploring. Always keep trying. Always keep experimenting.
Here’s another version without color in the sky.
A few days ago we took at trip to Hana, Maui. I had been looking for a way to use my IR camera for some visually compelling photographs, and the road to Hana is a perfect location. When you take images with an IR camera, green foliage turns almost pure white. This means that images of rain forests come out looking like snow covered mountains.
The truth is that too much foliage in an image can work against you, since everything comes out white. I took a number of pictures of the mountains and valleys along the way to Hana, but everything was simply washed in white!
This image was taken at one of the many hiking trails along the road. I mounted my Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens on my Nikon D70 which has been converted to IR via the Life Pixel method. I brought this image into Nikon Capture NX 2 and added a light blue cast to the overall photograph with a Photo Effects step. Then, I used a Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 filter called Vignette Blur to soften the edges.
It was a great day of photography!
I’ve been having a blast shooting under water photographs here in Hawaii. Before I left for this trip, I purchased an UW housing for my Canon G9 point and shoot camera. So far, I’ve been extremely impressed with the robustness and the operation of the housing. Each day after shooting, I spend about 20 minutes washing the housing by cleaning out the sand and rinsing it with fresh water. After that, I lubricate the rubber o-ring with silicone grease, and put the whole contraption back together.
Here are a few photos from today’s excursion.
It isn’t quite the right title for a new Jimmy Buffet song, but the title “Chameleon in Paradise” will do for this post. I was taking photos of pretty Plumeria flowers (below) yesterday in Kepaniwai Park on Maui and found this little guy sauntering across the landscape. He wasn’t moving very fast, so I was able to lay down on my belly in the dirt to get some eye level photographs. This also helped me move the background farther away from the chameleon for a nice soft backdrop. I used my Nikon 70-200 f2.8 to also enhance the narrow depth of field.
The most common thing to photograph in Iao Vally, Maui is Iao Needle (below). However, if you go to the valley at sunrise, and point your camera down the valley, you’ll be rewarded with a beautiful view. This image was taken yesterday morning just as the sun peeked around Mt. Haleakala and struck the opening of the valley. The contrast was intense, so it required a number of different exposures to capture all the detail. In this case, I used 9 stops to capture everything from the clouds to the valley walls.
Iao Valley is frequently shrouded in clouds because of its location on Maui. It is also one of the wettest regions on the island. Because of this, I recommend shooting early so you can capture the early morning sunshine. If you wait, then you are likely going to be photographing the rest of the day with overcast skies like the photo below.
In South Maui, there is a little known area called La Perouse Bay that is absolutely beautiful. A lava flow from 1790 touches the beautiful Pacific Ocean as waves crash against the rugged landscape. This area has fast become one of my favorite spots for photography on Maui. If you are patient, you can sometimes see spinner dolphins resting in the bay just beyond where this photo was taken.
I photographed this image yesterday with a Nikon D700 and a 14-24mm f2.8 lens. I processed it in Nikon Capture NX 2 using a Nik Filter called Tonal Contrast which helped me bring out the clouds in the sky.
Went out for an evening shoot tonight in La Perouse Bay, Maui. This photo was taken about 20 minutes after sunset. Nikon D700, 14-24mm f2.8.