Tag Archives: Wailua Falls

How to Photograph the Hana Highway

The Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii

(Click on each image for a larger view)

Running 42 miles from Paia to Hana, the Hana Highway is considered one of the top scenic byways in America. But I think that’s misleading. It’s not really a highway, and “scenic” doesn’t do it justice.

Frequently, two lanes become one, and for several stretches, 15 miles an hour seems too fast. Blind curves segue into fleeting waterfall views, and for nearly its whole stretch, dense tropical forest enshrouds the steep hills. In fact, I’d bet that if the Hawaii Department of Transportation left the highway alone for a month, the forest would swallow the pavement. From start to finish, its wild, unkempt, and wonderfully free of everything that defines the rest of Maui.

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Kauai Through a Tilt-Shift Lens

Hanalei Valley Lookout, Kauai, Hawaii (tilt-shift)Hanalei Valley Lookout; Canon 45mm TS-E, ISO 400, 1/3200 sec, f2.8

I’d hesitate to say I’m “into gear.” I’d rather read a personal finance blog than the Digital Photography Magazine Buyer’s Guide. In writing, gear is just not interesting.

Where things get interesting for me is when gear enables new techniques. Last year, I used BorrowLenses.com to rent a 200mm prime lens and a 24mm tilt-shift for Holy Week in Mexico. To have two new weapons in my bag made the week’s imagery 100% better. The 200mm allowed for more intimate candid shots during the processions, while the tilt-shift opened up hundreds of doors of creativity for my cityscape and architecture. It was like shooting in a third and fourth dimension.

For Kauai, I once again rented two lenses: this time, a 24mm–105mm zoom lens (a must for the helicopter tour) and a 45mm tilt-shift lens. Once again, the tilt-shift rocked.

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