Text & photos by Bob Bangerter
Camera technology has gotten a lot easier, but it still takes time and experimenting to understand how light, composition, and your own creativity work with your camera. Add to that equation any unfamiliar conditions — salt spray, sand, the quality of local light — and you could spend your whole vacation trying to capture that perfect shot.
Here are a few pointers — the first being, have fun!
1. Head to the beach or up the mountain for the best sunset vantages. While you’re there, think about composition; don’t always put the sun in the center of your frame. If your camera doesn’t have a “sunset” setting, try the program (or “P”) mode found on most cameras. When photographing people at sunset at the beach, use your flash to illuminate their faces; the sunset behind them will be exposed correctly on its own.
* Shot in manual mode @ 1/800th sec f/7.1 ISO 100 70-200 lens @ 115 mm
2. This is well-known local skim boarder Ian Padilla at Makena Beach. I was in water waist deep; getting close to the action gave the shot greater impact. These days, you can get a good-quality, point-and-shoot waterproof camera for a fairly reasonable price. A good water housing will protect a professional camera, but can get expensive. Either way, it’s important to clean your camera and lens often — especially at the beach, where there’s salt spray and sunscreen from your hands. I use the inside of my t-shirt; it works fine.
* Shot in manual mode @ 1/1000th sec f/7.1 ISO 125 70-200 lens @ 75 mm
3. I like cloud cover for a shot like this. It balances the light and eliminates bright-and-dark contrast issues. Use a tripod or set your camera on something stationary for a long exposure; it will slightly blur the flowing water, which can be a nice effect against the immoveable rocks and trees. I used a fill flash to throw a little light into the upper part of the tree.
* Shot in manual mode @ 1/8th sec f/10 ISO 100 16-35 lens @ 17mm
4. An orange-feathered i‘iwi perches amid yellow mamane blossoms against a clear blue sky — the color contrast gives this image real pop! It also shows how weather conditions influence your end result — taken on a cloudy day, this image would not have had nearly the same impact. That bright blue sky made all the difference.
* Shot in shutter priority @ 1/800th sec f/5.6 ISO 100 70-200 lens @ 200 5. I like to put my camera on the ground for a different point of view. These strands of grass at Kanaha Beach are only about two inches high, but with the macro lens and the low angle, it makes for an interesting perspective of something you might not otherwise notice. I also used a large aperture to blur the background. If you don’t have a macro lens, your camera may have a “macro” setting.
5. I like to put my camera on the ground for a different point of view. These strands of grass at Kanaha Beach are only about two inches high, but with the macro lens and the low angle, it makes for an interesting perspective of something you might not otherwise notice. I also used a large aperture to blur the background. If you don’t have a macro lens, your camera may have a “macro” setting.
* Shot in manual mode @ 1/2000th sec f/4.5 ISO 100 100mm Prime Macro lens
Where to Rent Equipment
Hawai‘i Photo Rental carries still and video cameras, lenses, tripods and more; daily, weekly and monthly rates. 22 Hana Hwy., Kahului; 877-3005.
Maui Dive Shop rents underwater still and video Sony digital cameras by the day. 1455 S. Kihei Rd., Kihei; 879-3388.