Photo of the Week 69
The Big Island of Hawaii was a whirlwind of crazy animal encounters, long drives in a bright red Jeep, and living in the shadow of the most active volcanoes on Earth. My friend Heather joined me, and let me tell you — having a professional photographer as a travel companion is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because she has so much knowledge to share and it’s inspiring to be around creative people, and a curse because sometimes I got lazy and barely bothered to shoot because I just told myself Heather would get better pictures anyway!
I can’t believe I used to narrow Photo of the Week down to just one photo! These days I’m more indecisive than ever. I need your votes to help me pick!
This week was like a non-stop episode from Animal Planet. We basked with sea turtles on a black sand beach, sailed through blue waters with dolphins playing aside our boat, hung out with a zebra (seriously), and went diving with all kinds of crazy sea creatures. Heather has been encouraging me to experiment with using my camera flash underwater. Loving the results!
Speaking of Animal Planet experiences, this was the big one. We came to The Big Island with one major goal — to dive with manta rays. More than twenty came out to play with us, and it was one of the top experiences of my life. I can’t wait to share more!
Renting a Jeep was a necessity on the Big Island, where public transit is lacking and distances are massive. But it was also great fun, allowing us to take tons of photo stops and explore hidden areas of the island.
The two highlights of my Big Island trip took place at altitude — the manta dive, deep below the sea, and the helicopter ride I took above an active volcano! It was my first time riding in a helicopter and my first time seeing bubbling lava. Another unbelievable moment I can’t wait to tell you more about.
Some of the byproducts of all the volcanic activity on The Big Island are the fantastic black lava fields and black sand beaches. I’ve never seen anything like it!
These photos are classic Hawaii to me — surfboards, palm trees, and Polynesian imagery.
Traveling with a professional photographer definitely challenges me to experiment more technically. At this waterfall I tried playing with long exposures, and loved the results.
I generally avoid photos of sunsets and flowers, which can be cheesy and overplayed. But when I saw the heart dangling above me on this tree I couldn’t help but snap away.
Which photo is your favorite, readers? See you next week for photos from Maui!
I like photo E, it’s so cool to see the igneous rock up close like that. And I wish I knew how to do what you did in Photo G, that’s also a gorgeous picture! I decidedly need to learn a lot more about my camera.
If you have manual controls on your camera, start by playing with aperture priority and shutter speed priority. I shot this by keeping the shutter open longer. Not easy without a tripod, but I think this one came out okay!
Photo D – and I don’t know why, I just do, Gram E
If you look really closely I realized you can see another helicopter in the background 🙂
Photo G and F amazing prints……..
I think F would be really cool prints on a wall! Thanks Sajith!
From a first class selection, Photo A stands out for me. Amusing and unusual.
Thanks for voting! Definitely the best eel photo I’ve ever taken!
Loving these photos Alex! Looks like the Big Island has a lot to offer. Did you do any hiking near the lava?
I went hiking all over the lava! However, it was very much cold 🙂 To get near hot lava is pretty much impossible these days without shelling out the big bucks for a private tour. Luckily I got to see it from the air with my heli ride!
I love them all but A really captured me as I’m not a diver. Seems to me photography has a Huge learning curve.
Gaelyn, so funny that you went to Downer’s Grove South — I’ve been to DG many times as my very close cousin grew up there! Such a small world.
A B G and H—–All fabulous! How can one decide???????
Thanks Gram! I’m glad it’s hard for you, that’s a good sign 🙂 I hear you are coming for Thankgiving… YAY!!!
I really like the jeep photo in C. Colors, angle, composition and shiny leaves and jeep. Also, can’t wait to hear more about diving with manta rays!! I would stare at them forever at the Georgia Aquarium so to also get to dive with them some day would be amazing.
It was absolutely one of the top experiences of my life. I can’t wait to write about it!
Really hard to decide! Initially, I liked A the best because it can be so hard to get an underwater shot. The colors are so vibrant! But, I also really like D and E. Such talent!!
Thanks Alexa! I agree, I’m always prouder of my underwater shots because they are much harder won.
Manta Ray. Hands down. One of my all time favorite dives. Love these creatures!
Ah, so you’ve been here and done it too? I agree, one of the top dives of my life!
This is way too hard! Photo F or H or A. I love them all. In January 2014 I will be going to the Big Island for the first time, so I’m very excited to read your stories and see your photos. I have been to Maui and Kauai and loved both.
Do you think it’s best to rent a vehicle like a Jeep versus a smaller cheaper compact car? I don’t want to miss anything but would prefer a cheaper rental vehicle.
On the other islands you can totally get away with a small compact car, but on Big Island a Jeep is really best. To get to the top of Mauna Kea you’ll definitely need 4WD!
I am genetically wired to vote for mantas. But then i scrolled down to H. Absolutely fantastic shots.
Thanks Wes! You’ve got to got to got to get to the Big Island to do this dive. One of the top dives of my life.
I love the colours and angles in photo H!
Thanks Molly! It was one of my more creative shots this week 🙂
If you come back again, you’ve got to do the helicopter ride. It was unbelievable.
B is the coolest from a subject matter point of view, and H is the prettiest, in my opinion. Though I also love D. Some great pictures here!
I like when its tough to choose — it means I was doing something right!
Not choosing they are ALL amazing!!!!!
Haha, I love your refusal to vote 🙂
Photo A scares me, Photo E is much more up my alley!
Yeah, Photo A is a little scary! I’ve been a little leery of eels every since watching The Little Mermaid.
I love long exposures–Scott and I are a fan of the technique (+ using filters).
I say either the waterfall, the moray or the volcano! Hey, at least I narrowed it down for you, even if I won’t choose, right? =)
What kind of filters do you guys use? Yeah, playing with long exposures is fun but kind of tricky since I’m too lazy to travel with a tripod! 🙂
We have several different ones but love the ND the most. Though you absolutely have to have a tripod for that one (meaning we don’t use it that often as we hardly ever haul around our tripod!).
I want to go back, and we were just there:)
We just had someone else tell us that the manta ray experience is killer.
Did you guys hit up the Big Island too or just Maui? I’m so in love with Hawaii… I just cancelled my return ticket home!
Photo A definitely. Just because I think I’m gonna have nightmares about it. 🙂
They aren’t actually as menacing as they look… they breath by opening and closing their mouths like that 🙂
I LOVE flower pictures (when it comes to small details).
You know, I stopped taking them for a long time because I was bored with them… now I try to look for something fresh like this! Not always easy!
I am partial to A!! But the flower photos rock, too. I also love that played with long exposure.
Thanks Abby! Got to keep competing with myself for these Photo of the Weeks 🙂
The manta ray gets my vote; I choose B! But honestly, all of these make a gorgeous photo essay of the Big Island! You did an amazing job keeping up with your friend!
Aw, thanks so much Jen! I appreciate it.