Monday, April 9, 2012

Hawaii, The big island: The first two days of vacation

I have been to the Hawaiian Islands many times, but this is my first trip to the big island of Hawaii. The first thing that struck me, was how completely different this island is from Maui and Kuai. As you drive out from the airport and head North (which is the only direction we have been so far), all you see is black lava, and I mean endless miles of this stuff.

We drove North for 20 miles as we headed for the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel, but since we could not check in until 3pm, and it was still hours before that time, we thought that we would explore a little. We decided to drive over to the Hilton Waikoloa to check it out since we had heard so much about this hotel and their dolphin pool.

For those of you who know me, you know that I love dolphins, so even though these guys were not in the wild, I had to shoot some images. As my family and I watched people being escorted into the pool where they could interact with the dolphins (for some ungodly sum of money I am sure), we could not help but think back to our amazing encounter with a pod of wild dolphins two years ago as we snorkeled in Maui. So much better to see the real thing!

As we walked around the grounds of the Hilton, as beautiful as it is, we were really happy that we were not staying there. First of all, there is no beach at this hotel, just endless lava and coral along the edges of the water, so everyone hangs out by the pools. My family likes the beach and would much rather be hanging out on a real beach, especially in Hawaii. The Hilton seemed more like Disneyland, than a Hawaiian hotel. They had boats going through the lobby area, large pools with rented pedal boats, the dolphin swim area. Not our style!

After driving around for a while, we arrived at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel which turned out to be perfect for us. It is a really nice place which is located right on the Hapuna Beach. This beach is rated one of the best in the world, and is all white sand and very relaxing. This area does get the occasional high winds, but is still great for relaxing, swimming, snorkeling... All good! They also have a nice pool, but nothing over the top.

When we first pulled up to our hotel, I saw this wild turkey, and before I could even hand the luggage off to the bellman, I grabbed my camera and took some shots of this guy. All I could think of, was my family thinking "yikes, we just got here and there goes dad shooting again." :)

And you thought you had bad hair days!

I took this photo on our first day here, but decided to go out and shoot some more images of the flowers on day 2. This time, I connected my Canon 500D close up filter to my 100-400 lens. (Photographer's note: For those of you who have never heard of this filter, it is a little known filter made by Canon that will convert any long lens into a macro lens. Normally, with the Canon 100-400 lens, I can not focus on anything that is less than 3 feet from me, but with the 500D attached, I can focus very close up to my subject. I love having the 500D with me, because it lets me take macro shots without carrying another lens.)

This was taken from the balcony of our hotel room. I just leaned over really close to the flowers and shot this. This just goes to show that, when shooting close up images, you can take them anywhere.

More great flowers in front of the hotel.

This image of an orchid was taken with the same 500D lens attachment, allowing me to get inside the flower to see new details. I was intrigued by the part of the orchid that looks like a bird's head. Do you see it?

As my son and I started walking back to our room, after shooting photos for an hour, I stopped to shoot some close up pictures of water drops on some leaves. As I was doing so, I looked to my left and saw this tiny little gecko watching me. He was probably thinking "Ooooh. He has a 5D Mark III, very cool! I need a new Facebook picture."

Before he scooted away, he cruised around to a couple of different leaves and I shot images of him along the way. I really like this one, because you can see his face in perfect focus and also the shadow of his body in the leaf.

Did I mention that this hotel has a beach?

Before leaving on this trip, I asked Canon if they could send me a G12 camera with an underwater housing. This has proven to be very fun indeed.

My daughter and I decided that it would be fun to try to shoot images of her body surfing.

 Friends of ours, who live on the big island and came to visit us, having some fun in the ocean.

The snorkeling at the hotel is not bad, so I decided to take the camera out for a spin along the reef. I will be using this rig a lot more in the days to come to see what else I can capture under the waves. Aloha for now!

1 comment:

Love for Food and Photography said...

Aloha Jeff, thank you for bringing us some pieces of Hawaii! very beautiful images!
The small lizard and the shadow I also like so much!!