Sunset at Barber’s Point, Oahu, Hawai’i

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Byodo-In Temple

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Diamond Head Beach at Sunset

Diamond Head at Sunset

So I have had my 10-18mm f/4 Canon lens for a little less than a month now, and I have been taking it out periodically to see what kind of shots I can get.  I have had a few that I thought were nice, but an impromptu trip to Diamond Head at sunset got me this photograph.  I am pretty happy with the colors.

If you are interested in knowing how to do something similar, I shot at 10mm for .6 with a 77mm Hoya circular polarizer to slightly darken the sky.  Then I punched up the colors a little bit in Lightroom because I LOOOOOOVE my colors.  Nothing else has been changed from the original.

Model Shoot: Cassie

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Tip for today: Invest in a professional all-in-one reflector and use the gold during bright sunlight to make your images really pop. I purchased mine from Kaimuki Camera on Waialae. Check them out! They have a ton of great items.

Back to My Roots: Black and White Photography

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Traveling through Ko Olina yesterday had me kind of bummed.  I just could not get into any of the shots.  It felt like I had taken all the shots before.  Driving up to Waianae and sitting on the lava rocks near Makua Beach didn’t have me feeling much better either.  There were no clouds, and the sun was bright and washing out all the possible colors.

So I decided to stop trying to get gorgeous colors–which is what I typically go for–and instead switched to black and white.  I was pretty happy with the results as it seemed to make the photos more moody and evocative.  This change was gotten by switching my camera mode to Monochrome, though the edited shots came from RAW files, which retain color.  For those, I used a RAW photo editor to return the image to grayscale.

Ward Center in HDR

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This is my first “true” HDR photograph, consisting of three aligned images and some careful blending.  It is not too bad for my first try.  I have a few other photographs which I have blended using gradients, but those do not have an HDR look.  This photograph definitely does.  I am hoping to find an opportunity to do more outdoor shots of the Honolulu skyline so I can try this type of photography a bit more.  For now, this is what I got.

Ko Olina, or, Why I Use ND Filters

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If you are an aspiring landscape photographer, and you aren’t using an ND (neutral density) filter for your daytime photos, you might as well stop now.

Okay, don’t listen to me.  I am pretty sure Ansel Adams did not always use neutral density filters on his photos, if ever.  But if you are wondering how other people manage to get that soft look in their daytime photographs, it is because they are doing slow shutter work on a tripod.  And the reason they can use a slow shutter speed is because of the neutral density filter.

The photograph above of one of the lagoons at Ko Olina on Oahu, Hawai’i is a perfect example of this.  A photo like this is completely impossible without the help of a ND filter.  Great waterfall shots are impossible.  Daytime shots of models with extreme bokeh are also difficult without the added filter.  So an ND filter is a great investment.  In my case, I use the Hoya Pro 1000 ND, and I have never been disappointed with it.

A good portion of my photographs were shot using this ND filter.  Why?  Because I like the dreamy, ultra-colorful effects it can produce.  Also, it is a must if you are trying to shoot waterfalls during the daytime.  The sun is often too bright to allow you to do a slow shutter shot, and that is where having a great ND filter comes in.

If you are going to get a ND filter, do your homework and make sure you get one that is dark enough to actually work.  Some ND filters will say they are 3 stops down but be labeled with a larger sounding number.  3 stops is going to be too weak.  In order to get great soft and dreamy daytime photos, you need a very dark filter.  It should look almost completely black.  My Hoya Pro 1000 is a great option for beginning photographers, but there are also some great ones from Cokin that veteran photographers swear by.  Anything by Hoya or Tiffin should be super great though.