Hawai'i & Pearl Harbor - Alden Skeie

Hawai'i & Pearl Harbor

This year we decided to go to Hawai'i. Normally I like to go on vacation and do travel photography in places I've never been to get that first impression and captivation that inspires good photography, but the last time I was here I was in High School. Due to this, it was a fairly fresh experience.

On this trip I wanted to get more into macro photography and capture more unique compositions. I knew that Hawai'i would be over-saturated with photographers from both the US and Asian locations, and I didn’t want to get the shots everyone has already seen time and time again. Overall the macrophotography went ok, but I am still learning a lot. The potentially amazing shots I was in the vicinity of ended up only good, but not great. The hardest stuggle I had was getting the DoF and focus correct. I have had practice in a studio environment focus-stacking to get a huge DoF, but out in the live world I was limited to only one shot. I primarily used the macro tubes extending my 24-105mm L series canon lens. I also used one of those ring flashes attached to the end of the lens as well. Even with full flash power the tiny DoF was very hard to nail. I was shooting caterpillars and butterflies, and the range really only was the length of one of their antennas! I tried to opt for a mix of facial hair and eye focus and got maybe 10 good out of ~300 shots. I chose a few of those to display here (below). In retrospect I should have shot a lot more then 300 and also maybe with a tripod + live view zoomed in to manually get the focus needed.


Here are a few non-macro shots, including one shot I think might go in the portfolio. Like previously mentioned, I came to get non-cliché photos that I hoped were not reproduced yearly by all the tourism the place gets. With that being said, this was the first trip I’ve taken where I decided to not bring my tripod. I did this in order to force myself into compositions and locations that would make me evolve and adapt how I would shoot specific long exposures. In one of the hotels I stayed at, I was lucky enough to not only get a top floor room, but a corner room facing downtown. I took this shot in sunset, midday, sunrise, blue hour, and night time to see the difference in lighting. I might make a different post on this if there is interest. Needless to say I liked the blue hour shot the best. I didn’t have a tripod, and I didn’t want to shoot through a window, so I adapted. I opened the window a bit and braced the camera into the outside ledge of the building, 29 stories up. This was a painful 30 second exposure, but did a really nice job of smoothing out both the traffic and the waterway. Using f18 I was able to make the city lights become really spread out and “star-like”, I forget the word for that.


These last few photos were at Pearl Harbor. I knew I had a challenge going here in mid-day lighting at one of the biggest tourist destinations in the state. The likelihood of not getting a shot already done by thousands of other photographers that was halfway decent (in mid-day lighting) was daunting. I put a few extra shots I got there in here, but the only ones I really think were great are the submarine ones. They not only tell a story, but also have amazing texture and great lighting. The composition lines up nicely, and I felt it was unique enough that not a lot of people would have gotten the shots. Especially since it was kind of dark in there and required a high end DSLR that could handle that high ISO, high noise, wide aperture environment. I really wanted the shot that says torpedo to work, because even out of context someone could guess that it was in a submarine, but I couldn’t get it to look as good as the other two.


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