Photographing the island of Oahu in Seven Days.

June 18, 2017  •  Leave a Comment



On Thursday, June 22, 2017, Kathy & I fly to Honolulu, Hawaii for a much anticipated vacation  I was stationed there from 1969 through 1972 & my son David was born there.  It will be great fun returning to reacquaint myself with the island I love.  I've put together my "must take" spots to photograph while there.  Wish me luck! 


1. LANIAKEA BEACH. The North Shore of Oahu is home to a beach with plentiful bright green algae that the turtles love.  On a given afternoon, there are often as many as 20 turtles basking in the sun on the sand and in the shallows of the water.

The “Turtle Beach” as it has become known, is home to turtles year round. However, they are easier to find in the summer, spring, and fall when the waves are not as large.  In addition to shooting the turtles at this beach, also consider using the bright green algae on the rocks and the beautiful outcropping of trees on the right side of the beach as a location for a sunset shoot!


2. SUNSET BEACH. Sunset Beach is the most dangerous beach on Oahu–by a long shot!  It is home to towering and powerful waves year round, but especially in the winter.  Only the strongest and most experienced swimmers should venture into the water when the waves are up, but if you're aware of that warning then you should also know that it is an excellent location for photography.

For landscape photographers, look for the lookout areas surrounding this beach where you can shoot the sunrise as the light hits the rocks below.  For sports photographers, you'll find some of the most exciting and adventurous surfing scenes in the world.


3. HANAUMA BAY. Hanauma Bay is hands down, the best snorkeling location on the planet.  This is primarily a location for underwater photos, but also the view of the bay from the top of the hill is spectacular!


4. PALI LOOKOUT. The Pali Lookout is well known among locals but is not yet a major tourist destination.  The Pali is an amazing overlook over the island.  It can be difficult to take good landscape photos at an overlook because there is nothing in the foreground to allow for scale or depth in the photo, but this view is so fantastic that any photographer would have a difficult time not bringing out a camera for a gorgeous panoramic shot of the island from here.


5. HALEIWA STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. Picture a bunch of hippie surfers from around the world congregating in just one city, and you understand Haleiwa.  During the winter months, this is the surfer capital of the world, and it makes for fantastic street photography.


6. VALLEY OF THE TEMPLES. This is a terrific location for architectural and landscape photography.  The most famous temple in the valley is the Byodo-In Temple, a Buddhist temple modeled after a 900-year-old temple in Japan.  This location provides gorgeous buildings to photograph in manicured gardens.


7. NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY AT TANTALUS/ROUND TOP. The Tantalus/Round Top area is an awesome location for shooting from an overlook to see the entire city. At night, this is a fantastic spot for shooting the lights in the city below, the clouds close above you, and the ocean in the distance.  It makes for a fantastic shot and one that most tourists would never think of taking.


8. SUNRISE AT LANIKAI BEACH. No, this is not a repeat of #1.  That's Laniakea Beach, and this is Lanikai Beach.  Lanikai Beach is a favorite spot for local photographers to shoot the morning sunrise.

Lanikai beach is a great place for photography because it offers palm trees close to the water, the Mokulua islands in the bay, and other natural features that add a lot of needed interest to a beach landscape photo.  You can also rent a kayak here and take it out to the islands in the water for a view of undisturbed Hawaii.


9. KAENA POINT. Kaena Point is a mile-long strip of beach on the western-most tip of the Island of Oahu.  What makes this a great photography location is that it is under very little tourist pressure and offers sweeping views of the ocean bordered by a beautiful beach and the rugged Waianae Mountains.

The undiscovered nature of Kaena Point also makes it a great spot to find wildlife.  If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal on the beach!



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