Hawaii in May
My wife is taking some vacation in May this year and wants to go to Honolulu for a week. My questions are, is this a good time of year, the airfares are good, and would an RB67 be better than a 4x5?
I've been all over the Far East but never Hawaii, I would be interested in photographing leaves and plants so the RB seems the better choice. Am I whistling Dixie or should I leave the cameras home and just relax?
Any suggestions would be welcome,
Everytime I find a film or paper that I like, they discontinue it. - Paul Strand - Aperture monograph on Strand
GO TO THE BIG ISLAND!! Lots more "leaves and plants"
get out of Honolulu in any case. Honolulu is MAD/AVE Hawai`i.
The RB would be a good choice, 35mm would be OK too. A week is just not enough time for LF because tourists get in the way!
You will return, so keep the LF in mind for the next trip.
... Hmmm..., f5.13 @ 1/23 should do it.
Leaves and plants are all over the islands...but really lush stuff is on Kauai (hence the name "The Garden Isle"). My first visit to the islands was one of those 3-days-on-Oahu-and-4-days-on-Kauai packages. I've never been back to Oahu except to catch a transfer flight. Kauai is gorgeous and lush (remember "Jurassic Park"...that's Kauai). The Big Island of Hawaii is very diverse (volcanoes, cattle ranches, deserts, lush tropical foliage, and coffee to die for!).
If you leave to camera home, regardless of what island you go to, you'll regret it.
As for airfare, I think they go up around late April/early May...so book early. Also, book your rental car early. Very often those go first.
Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.
If your 4x5" holds up well to the wind and doesn't in general get in the way, then take it. My wife grew up in Honolulu, so we visit once or twice a year usually, and I've taken MF, 4x5", and 8x10", and 4x5" seems to be the sweet spot. Got some good shots with the Bronica, but I tend to print more of the LF shots, and the 8x10" Gowland occasionally turned into a box kite, but I might give it a go again at some point in the future. The 4x5" Technika gave me the advantages of sheet film with the option of going handheld and shooting press camera style for snapshots, which was necessary once when our luggage, including my tripod, was delayed in Mau'i.
If you want to go to O'ahu, you might try to stay on the North Shore away from the traffic and the tourists, and explore the island from there. If you're planning to stay for a week, you might look for a condo rental, rather than a hotel. Leaves and plants you'll find everywhere. I think one of Brett Weston's most famous Hawai'ian plant shots was taken somewhere like a parking lot behind a supermarket on Mau'i or the Big Island.
High season in Hawai'i is generally the winter, so May might not be too bad.
I wasn't born or raised in Hawaii, but I am on my sixth year being stationed there (okay one was in Afghanistan and now I'm in Iraq...I guess my wife is on her sixth year of being there). Oahu has its distractors and annoying parts (traffic, for example), but beauty and photographic subjects abound. Plenty of plants and leaves, even in the downtown area. My wife is an artist, and I've watched her take countless workshops and classes where an instructor says to meet on some small street downtown. I usually cannot imagine what could be there, but, when she returns, there is always an interesting watercolor or pastel or oil canvas. My usual reaction is to ask for the street name again, so I can make my way there with a MF camera or my Crown Graphic. My usual kit is somewhat similar to yours, and I've carried a Domke bag or messenger bag all over Oahu, always enjoying it. Even after living there for a few years, I always find something else to photograph.
Reference leaves and plants - I absolutely love the trees in Hawaii. I have photographed them on the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu. To be honest, my favorites are from Oahu, some as simple as Plumeria blooms off of trees in our backyard, others as complicated as the massive roots of the centuries-old Banyan trees near the Iolani Palace. It is never too hot on Oahu, but the trees in Hawaii provide excellent shade.
There will be a lot of people, no matter when you go. Get a nice rental car, enjoy Hawaiian music while you drive, and look for those trees (and ignore the bad drivers). Walk where you can. I might disagree a little with Mr. Goldfarb above - in my opinion, staying on the North Shore no longer means avoiding the traffic and tourists, especially on the weekends. If the swells are up on the North Shore, add plenty of cars parked on the sides of the one road that runs along the North Shore. Having said that, great ocean and sunset shots, surfer action shots, and more leaves and plants shots are up on the North Shore.
Carry all the film you think you need. It seems fewer and fewer camera stores are in Hawaii. The ones that are there cater to tourists and do not have much more than digital kit, with little, if any, stockage in 120, sheet, or instant pack film. I usually have to order all my film online from B&H and send my Velvia out to A&I Labs, in CA, for development. I do my own B&W, so I'm not sure if anyone is still doing any commercially. My usual experience at Oahu and Maui films stores, before we deployed last November, was that I would ask what 120 film they had, and they would pull some dusty tupperware container out from under the counter and start rummaging through an odd lot assortment of film (my wife always asks afterwards why I even asked, when I knew the answer...). My uncle used to say that everyone needed a hobby, so that they would have something to do when they went to a new place. Don't bother looking for the camera shops, on Oahu.
Take care and enjoy the Hawaiian islands. Best regards, Dan
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My sister lives there and Honolulu isn't as bad as the above poster makes it out to be. Once you get off the strip and start down the Kamehameha Hwy there is tons to explore, including crumbling colonial-era stone structures and huge vertical volcanic mountain faces. If you're in to nature macros, then make sure to go to Waimea Falls, where they have an extremely diverse botanical garden.
The last time I went to visit her I brought 35mm gear. It was fine, but I kept coming across scenes that I wished I had brought my 4x5 along to shoot. Next time (probably next year) I'm definitely dragging along my LF stuff. But then, having access to a car and not being stuck with a tour makes a difference on what you can carry.
Ok... so is there really ever a bad time to go to Hawaii??? First find out what your wife has in mind. She's chosen Honolulu over many of other Hawaiian destinations... why?
Originally Posted by Curt
I have to say that when I was there (Hawaii...the state), there were many areas where I had to keep a tight grip on my sturdy tripod and the Hassy. But whatever camera you take, be prepared to make it your carry on luggage, and make the tripod part of your 'weight allowance' for checked luggage.
Whatever you do, and wherever you go absolutely do NOT leave your camera home! You will regret it!
Have a great time & we'll be looking forward to your pics!
Dan Larsen is right that tourism on the North Shore is up in general, but I'd still rather be up there than Waikiki.
If you want to buy film locally, the last place to carry medium and large format with some degree of reliability is Imageworks on Waialae Ave. in Kaimuki, but call before you leave to be sure they'll have what you want in stock--808-735-0755. They've positioned themselves as the main supplier to the educational market, where they're still teaching some film photography. There's also Kaimuki Camera about a block from Imageworks, but they don't stock as much film.
Check out Bishop Gardens in Honolulu for an excellent collection of tropicals, especially tropical trees. There are some good photo opportunities there. You might find this reference useful as well: http://www2.bishopmuseum.org/HBS/bot...plants/?pg=ref
By denying the facts, any paradox can be sustained--Galileo
There's also an arboretum in Koko Crater. No admission and no problem using a tripod.
Some of the best plant photos I've gotten on O'ahu are at the heiau behind the YMCA in Kaneohe, which is really a beautiful place that few tourists venture to see. This is a historic Hawai'ian temple dedicated to the healing arts, so there are some unusual plants there, and there is a functioning taro patch, which is something you don't find too often on O'ahu these days. It's never been crowded when I've been there, and there is no admission fee, and no problem using a tripod.