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Photography Lessons on Oahu

April’s Oahu Photography Workshop was a success! We had the pleasure to host 6 photographers on an exciting journey around Oahu. Each photographer walked away with hundreds of beautiful images and lots of good stories.

One of the highlights was watching a Brazilian daredevil as he plummeted off a 60 foot cliff into the pacific ocean. Check out the exciting story and images below!

First Stop

The morning started at 6am as we set-up and photographed a Waikiki sunrise on the beach.

It was a beautiful sunrise in Waikiki and everyone learned the best settings for their camera. We set-up on tripods to allow a lower ISO and higher F-stop.

The go-to setting for our sunrise was AV mode, F-11, ISO 100, which gave us an average shutter speed of 1/15. We were able to achieve high quality shots because we used tripods, a shutter release and/or the 2 second timer option in our camera.

The lagoon was also a great spot to capture reflections of palm trees, buildings, and birds.

Best Places for a Sunrise in Waikiki Oahu Hawaii

Second Stop

Our next lesson was how to trick the camera into taking great photos while aiming directly at the sun. The best way to accomplish this was using the camera’s manual mode. Adjusting the settings to a quick shutter speed helps darken the photo.

Honestly; I did not like this spot in the morning. At our next workshop we will plan this stop for later in the day. If we concentrated on capturing palm trees, surfers, or beach walkers it would have been fine, but landscape pictures facing towards Diamond Head was not a good idea.

Oahu Photography Lessons in the Field-3000

Third Stop

The much anticipated Diamond Head beach and lighthouse was on everyone’s mind all morning. Something about lighthouses always sparks an interest with photographers. This one is extra special. We drove by hundreds of fitness runners and walkers on the way up to Diamond Head. A quick spark of motivation to exercise crossed my mind. LoL.

It was super easy to park and descend the trail down towards the beach. Once we got there everyone took a right and headed towards Diamond Head Lighthouse. The sun was to our back which made a nice golden glow to the building and surrounding palms. With the beach, reef, trees, and glowing lighthouse, everyone was in awe of the beauty. So we began photographing at multiple angles. The same landscape setting as before: AV mode, F-11, ISO 100, and a given shutter speed of 1/500 on average.

This is where I like to provide a brief 20 minute tutorial on shallow depth of field and the rule of thirds. We set-up a stack of rocks and captured a few shots at our lowest F-stop. Some had the capability to shoot at F-2.8 and others were at F-4. We then aligned the stack of rocks to the left side of our frame and zoomed in. This created a shallow depth of field, blurring out the background.

I instructed everyone to switch back and forth from a low F-stop to a high F-stop and see the difference. Everyone appeared to like this tutorial and it will be something we offer regularly.

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Fourth Stop

There are plenty of observation points on Oahu but this one is easily on the top 5. My favorite part about Tantalus is the ease of access as you can park a quick 30 steps away from this magical place. Break out the wide angle because the panoramic views from here must be captured in depth.

We took our group photo from here. I will let the pictures tell our story of Tantalus. Enjoy!

Oahu Photography Lessons in the Field April Class

Fifth Stop

The fifth stop was our lunch break at Kona Brewing Co. There was a nice breeze flowing over the bay as we ate our yummy food.

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Sixth Stop

Immediately after lunch we zoomed over to spitting caves in hopes of capturing crashing waves. We lucked out bigtime because there was a Brazilian guy launching himself off the top. It was a lot of fun to witness such an accomplishment, but it was even better to photograph. Lots of fun! We got to practice a few lessons that the group learned earlier. I asked everyone, “what settings do you need to freeze the jumper” and everyone yelled out, “fast shutter speed and low F-stop”! it was nice to hear the excitement!

This place is amazing. Sign-up for our next Oahu photography workshop and we could visit this location.

Oahu Photography Lessons at Spitting Caves

Seventh Stop

Lanai lookout is a great spot to take pictures. There is plenty to see and explore on this piece of land sticking out from the road. There are awesome spots to set-up and capture the amazing force of mother natures crashing waves.

This was a good location to practice freezing the crashing waves. For best results this requires a fast shutter speed and a steady camera. My setting was on AV mode, F-5.6 and ISO 200. This gave me a shutter speed of 1/1000 which is plenty fast enough to freeze water.

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Last Stop

The last stop was at the famous Makapu’u lookout. On a clear day this place is extremely vibrant with rich blues and greens. We arrived with the weather partially gloomy but had random pockets of sunshine which created awesome dynamic photos. On occasion you can catch the paragliders flying overhead.

This was a perfect spot to discuss and practice panoramic shots. Everyone needed at least three “left to right” consecutive shots which would eventually form the panoramic image. Photo processing software such as Photoshop is required to properly stitch the photos together.

We knew this was our last stop and everyone started sharing stories from the day.

It was a great day of photography and I look forward to the next all day Oahu Photography Workshop.

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We partnered with the makers of Photomatix and they awarded our photographers a 15% coupon code. Only $85 for a highly recommended software program. Use coupon code “KAIUMI” at check-out: HERE


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Chris Rose
My name is Chris and this is my super cool job. We set-up & facilitate photography tours, workshops, and free photo walks for residents and visitors to Hawaii.
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