Manoa Falls on the island of Oahu Photo Walk.
From tropical rain forest type jungles with bamboo to raging rivers and waterfalls, Manoa Falls has an amazing arrangement of photo opportunities.
MANOA FALLS PHOTO WALK
We had an amazing photo walk and hike at Manoa Falls! The walk started in the Manoa Falls parking lot where we greeted each other with brief introductions and stories about our photography experiences. I then went over a few basic settings that would work best in a jungle type environment such as Manoa Falls. With large amounts of shade but really bright tree openings, this place challenged each of us and made for difficult shooting situations.
MANOA FALLS PHOTO WALK BEGIN
After our quick class on the basic camera settings we headed out in full manual mode. Everyone was decked out in hiking attire knowing that it would be a little muddy due to the previous storms in the area. We had DSLR’s, iPhone’s, and even a 1974 Kodak film camera. Our friend Josh is kind of old-school. He screams vintage and when you see the pictures below you will know exactly what I am talking about. His 1962 wooden tripod is also part of his arsenal. Check it out!
Our first stop along the Manoa Falls trail was a group shot. These are a lot of fun because everyone gets a copy upon request. The backdrop looked like something out of Jurassic Park. Super big trees, amazing looking ferns, and a jeep trail that looked like a movie set.
Our second quick lesson showed up on the fly. We set our cameras on a low F-stop (F-1.8 to F-4) which reduced the depth of field. All cameras were focused on a spiral looking fern plant called the Hapuu fiddleheads. Our intent was to focus on the plant while the background was blurred out. This is called a shallow depth of field. Super easy to do in manual mode. You can also set your camera to portrait/auto mode where it can also be accomplished. While in manual mode you should lower your F-stop to its lowest settings and zoom in slightly to maximize the effect. This will make your subject “pop” out from the background. Everyone had a good time shooting the Hapuu fiddleheads. We later used similar settings while capturing a crazy looking snail.
Our next stop was under the bamboo section. This is where we captured our second group shot. Everyone was amazed at the height and thickness of these trees. If you can capture these bamboo trees with a wide angle lens there is a good chance your image will look amazing. TIP: Put someone or something in your frame to help give a sense of depth and size to the scene. Without a reference there is no telling how big or small the forest really is. I did this by capturing a few photographers at the base of my frame. The ground was a little boring and my highlight was on the bamboo so I rotated my camera to the sky and snapped a few images. Capturing the base of the bamboo is also important!
The last demonstration was to capture the small waterfalls with a longer shutter speed. We sent Nick and Janice down river to acquire a few images and they came back with some really cool shots. They were awesome! I discussed the importance of a high F-stop and low ISO which forces a longer shutter speed. A neutral density filter can also help the settings because it appears darker within the camera. Try this while at the beach next time. TIP: High F-stop (F-22), low ISO (100), and slow shutter speed (1/15 or less) will give you the much desired foggy waterfall effect. Make sure you meter to |____ O ____| once the settings have been adjusted.
By the time we reached our finish point which was the actual waterfall it was 2 hours in duration. Perfect amount of time to snap a few more shots and head back down. The day was hot and everyone was getting hungry for lunch.
We ended the day at Varsity’s for pizza. Thanks for reading and please join us for the next Free Photo Walk!