Well, it’s winter time and what better time to post some photos from some nice warm beaches? Toward the end of last summer I had the chance to take a trip to Hawaii and just realized that I never posted my photos from the trip. So I figured I’d post ’em now, and give everyone living in a cold place some warm thoughts to think of 🙂

The Gear
I tried to travel as light as I could. I have my main Canon landscape kit which consists of 1 body and the best 3-lens trio I know of. Besides some neutral density filters, that’s all I brought along in a small backpack.

• Camera Body: Canon 5D Mark III
• Lenses: Canon 16-35mm, Canon 24-70mm, and the magical Canon 70-200mm.
• Filters: Tiffen 2, 3, and 4 stop screw on filters as well as my 6-stop Lee Little Stopper
• Tripod/Ballhead: Really Right Stuff TVC-33 and the BH-55 ballhead

I did most of my research on 500px.com. That’s pretty much where I start every trip I take. I knew I was going to Oahu, so that’s what I started with as a search term. I found lots of inspiration and once I found a photo it usually had some good info about where it was taken. Some didn’t though but I actually emailed a couple of people (based on their 500px contact info), and they told me the locations they were at. Great community and I can’t say enough good things about it.

First Stop – China Walls
This was my first excursion. I had seen some great photos and loved the way the water cascades off the walls. There were surfers there too. Even though it’s quite a ways away from the shore, they jump in the water here, catch some of the waves toward shore (which still break far away from shore), then paddle back. The surf wasn’t crazy big, but there were definitely some huge waves at times. I was standing behind a wall I climbed up to and it was pretty intimidating to wait there to get a wave big enough to make this shot look good with water all around. I was protected by the wall, but it was still hard to stand there and watch this huge wave come up.

(click to see the photos larger)



(Taken with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 24-70mm lens)

Meeting Up With a Photo Group
I met up with a photo group there that I got in contact with on Facebook (“dA Crazies”). They were awesome! It was a blast to meet all of them and go shooting. It started out with just a Saturday morning shoot they do every week. But they were so welcoming and we ended up going shooting a few more times that week as well.


Sandy’s Beach
Sandy’s Beach was next one morning. I had actually brought my kids there to try to boogey board, but much to their dismay the waves were way too big. There was absolutely no way I was letting them in the water. Even the life guard came up and showed some concern that we may go in, but I had already told ’em “not a chance in your life” before that ever happened 😉

Great location though. You could go there every day and get different photos. The waves, tides, rocks and everything just made every direction look different.


(Taken with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 16-35mm lens)

Makapuʻu Beach
This was a lot like Sandy’s above, but just different rock formations. Again, it’s the kind of place you could go to all the time and I’m sure it would be way different. It did have this nice arched rock which I spent some time making some photos near.




(Taken with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 24-70mm lens)

A Quick Note About Sharpness
I’ve had a few people ask me how the photos are so sharp, and how I get that kind of detail. A lot of questions I saw asked what kind of post-processing sharpening I’m doing. The answer is not much – just Lightroom mostly. A lot of it is done in-camera with Live View to focus. I use auto-focus a lot, but I usually just start there. I manually focus using Live View all the time. And I’ve made no secret in saying that the Canon 5D III LCDs are awesome for live view. It’s like a mini-HD screen and makes it so much easier to check sharpness when you zoom in. Also, I went over a lot of this in my KelbyOne class on How to Shoot Tack Sharp Photos if you want to learn more about it.

Lanai Point
This one required a little bit of a trek to get to. You had to scatter down this rocky area which wasn’t horrible, except it was kinda wet and slippery. Again, nothing too crazy as long as you were careful and moved slow.

Sadly, once I got down and set up my camera I realized I did something really dumb. My camera was in my cold air conditioned room all night. Then I got up for a short drive and pulled the gear out in the incredibly hot and humid weather. Well, you can guess what happened. Since I hadn’t acclimated the camera and lenses ahead of time, they all got fogged up instantly. And not foggy on the outside, but on the inside elements as well. It’s the most frustrating thing in the world because there’s nothing you can do but wait. And wait I did… I watched one of the prettiest sunrises all week happen right in front of me. I did snag a few photos but they still have some of that foggy haze to them.



(Taken with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 24-70mm lens)

Shark’s Cove
One evening I met with the group at a place called Shark’s Cove. Interestingly enough, there’s not really any sharks there. But still a very cool place. It’s got this ledge that you can walk out on and the water comes in and forms little waterfalls in certain areas. The tide was pretty low, so it didn’t happen a lot, but I managed to snag a few photos of the water rolling in and out.

And it was a nice sunset with the clouds, so that ended up giving some nice reflections in the water that did pool in some of the rocky areas.






(Taken with the Canon 5D Mark III and the Canon 24-70mm or 16-35mm lens)

Post Processing
I didn’t really do that much work to these. Mostly Lightroom to start off with. Pulling out some details from the Shadows and pulling back on the highlights. I used a lot of the Graduated Filter too. Then I finished them off with onOne’s Perfect effects – mostly some Dynamic Contrast and some warming filters as well. I did replace the sky on one of the photos too, but that’s about it.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a good one!


Your Cart