Hawaii Trip

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I'm going to the big island of Hawaii in June for a short week (vacation) with my family. I intend to bring along my Sinar F with a couple of lenses, some readyloads plus the usual LF stuff. Any suggestions on what else to bring or where to go? I live in the deset and know about hats, long sleeved shirts, water etc. Any information or tips on hauling this stuff on the airplane would most helpful also. Thanks for all your help.

-- John Miller (vwbus1967@earthlink.net), May 17, 2000


John ; the Hawaiian shield volcanoes are unique and the Volcano national park is unlike anywhere else that I have ever been. There is a very interesting drive around the crater rim, which you can do in both directions, and you can hike down into the main crater. If you branch off this road you can head down to the sea, on a road cutting through various massive flows of previous years. If you are lucky, there will be a large lava flow pouring out into the sea, and not too far from where this road ends (cut off by an earlier flow). If you are not so lucky, you may be looking at a walk of a few kilometres across lava to get to the outpouring, and if you fall, you can gash or graze your skin quite badly. The sight of red hot lava oozing down the mountain, and pouring out into the sea in clouds of superheated steam, is sublime and unforgettable, but it is worth remembering that as the steam blowing from the sea contains hydrochloric acid and other noxious gases, and small shards of glass. You will need a decent carrying case or backpack to get an F2 with necessary paraphernalia across the lava. I had to leave my Toyo in the car, as I needed to take care of my two children as we did the walk, so I ended up just using a Fuji disposable - such are the responsibilities of parenthood, but at least I can remind my wife of the sacrifice I made in Hawaii every time she complains about the time it takes to complete a photograph!

Given that the sky is bright, and the lava is dark, with shiny highlights, you need to think carefully about exposure. With slides, I found a graduated grey filter helpful to keep the brightness range manageable, and I was mainly using N-1 or N-2 with TMax100.

I would recommend that you book accomodation in the Volcano village if you want to make the most of the park, and the superb rain forest plant life in that part of the island. I also enjoyed driving along the saddle road (which is normally forbidden by the car hire companies), as the views between the two massive volcanoes making up the island are spectacular.

If you can also make it to Maui, the Haleakala crater is truly unforgettable. Where else could you drive from sea level to 10,000+ feet in less than two hours?

-- fw (finneganswake@altavista.net), May 17, 2000.

Pack all photo equiptment for carry-on. I've lost luggage(big hard to lose things like surfboards) on almost every annual visit there! Once you arrive in Kona, rent a car and get out as soon as possible. Head north.You may want to drive up to the Keck Telescopes near the summit of Mauna Kea (16,000ft!). The view is truely surreal. Move slowly- thin oxygen, but worth it. The Thurston Lava Tubes near the volcanoes make for good time exposures. Rent a cabin in the park, not at the hotel, and pack something warm for the Volcanoe nights as it can get very cold. There is a stark white lighthouse up at the north end of the island near Hawi that is hard to get to but good images can be made there. The road from Hawi to Waimea is spectacular, you'd think you were in Ireland, rolling green lush meadows and tons of cows. Waimea is horse country with snow capped mountains in the background. DO eat at Hula Lula's in Hawi, tell Robin Ted Davis sent you. Bring a disposable underwater camera, lots to see and shoot. One of my favorite spots on earth.

-- Ted Davis (teddavis@exactphoto.com), May 18, 2000.

Look for a book called Hidden Hawaii by Ray Riegert. It's an excellent guide book to the islands.

In addition to the volcano, visit the state parks north of Hilo to see some nice waterfalls, a botanical garden in Hilo, and ruins of early Hawaiian villages, both south of Kona and on the NW corner of the island. There's a green sand (olivine) beach on the south shore near the southwest end of the island. It used to be a bit of a hike.

Another place to stay near Hawaii Volcanoes NP is My Island Bed and Breakfast, which is owned and operated by Gordon Morse and his family.

Wish I could come along!


-- Bruce M. Herman (bherman@gci.net), May 20, 2000.

Here's a tip...if you must check your gear through as baggage, avoid Aloha Airlines. They have, without fail, lost or damaged at least one camera or cargo case every time I have flown with them. Once, on a flight to the Big Island from Maui, my tripod/stand case ended up in Alaska.

-- Tony Novak-Clifford (photoho@mauigateway.com), May 20, 2000.

A follow up: I'll be headed to Hawai'i toward the end of the summer and am considering whether to buy a flight case for my tripod or to rent one out there. Can anyone recommend a place to rent a tripod in Honolulu?

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), May 20, 2000.

Bring with you all the photo equipment that you will need...in Honolulu, there is film, polaroid, and a few other things available. There is virtualy no rental equipment available in the state. Once you leave the island of Oahu, there is nothing available except amatuer film and products

-- Tony Novak-Clifford (photoho@mauigateway.com), May 21, 2000.

Thanks for the info!

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), May 21, 2000.

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