This is the last part in a 3-part series of images from my trip to Hawaii. You can see the previous two here: Walking on Stars (Maui), and Pele’s Playground (Hawaii Volcanoes NP).

The volcanic soils of the Hawaiian Islands are incredibly rich in nutrients, which when combined with ample rainfall makes for fantastically lush forests. While trying to escape some of the crowds of tourists one day in Volcanoes National Park, my parents and I found ourselves in a beautiful forest of ferns. For several miles we walked under the emerald green fronds of towering tree-ferns, the native Hapu’u. While spectacular to experience, this forest was incredibly difficult to photograph – more so than the Hoh Rainforest I’ve visited a few times earlier this year. I did find one spot that seemed to come together compositionally, though it took a return trip the following day and a two hour wait for just the right cloud to get it as I wanted.

click for larger view!

Fern Forest Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

"Forest of Ferns" ~ Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii
The Tech: Canon 5D2, 24-105mm, tripod
Exposure: iso 200, f/16, 0.4 sec
Notes: this image required a significant amount of light balancing in post processing to even out the exposure and to guide the eye.

One of the most iconic scenes in Hawaii are the coconut trees that line the many beaches. They seem so at home there that many people probably don’t realize that these trees are not in fact native to the islands, or most of the Pacific for that matter. They were brought by the Polynesians about 1,500 years ago when it is believe they first settled Hawaii. By now the coconut trees have integrated so well with the rest of the environment that they have become part of the quintessential Hawaii beach experience. On one of my last mornings I met up with local lava photographers Bruce Omori and Tom Kualii to shoot the famous coconut tree lined black sand beach, Punalu’u. We were incredibly fortunate to have one of the most beautiful predawn light shows I’ve ever seen, complete with pink and red clouds, twinkling stars, and sparkling moon.

click for larger view!

Palm Trees on Black Sand Beach Punalu'u

"A Night in Paradise" ~ Punaluu, Hawaii
The Tech: Canon 5D2, Nikon 14-24, Canon 16-35mm mkII, tripod
Exposure (primary): iso 200, f/2.8, 20 sec
Exposure (moon): iso 1600, f/16, 30 sec
Notes: I used my Nikon 14-24 at 14mm for the primary exposure, and the 16-35mm at 16mm for the moon. The 16-35mm creates a much more pleasant diffraction pattern, hence the lens change.

You can now view all of my Hawaii images in my new Hawaii gallery (from the previous posts, as well as this one), here: Hawaii’s Art in Nature

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5 Comments to “Island Paradise : Hawaii”

  1. Jose says:

    Floris, great shots to close this report from your Hawaii trip. Congratulations!

  2. These pictures look too beautiful to be real. What a lovely place to be.

  3. Jim says:

    Floris, Your Hawaiian images make me want to book the next flight to Hawaii. Well, same goes for your Washington shots, your California shots, etc. Your patience certainly paid off. Great images that I enjoy very much. I have a Canon 24-105mm but would like a wider-angle lens, particularly with a 7D. Do you have any thoughts on the 16-35 mm vs. the Canon 14 mm f/2.8? Thanks, Jim

  4. Thanks Jose and Jim!

    Jim – I have not used the Canon 14mm, but it does great reviews. It is, however, a rather limiting lens since it’s not a zoom. Also, on the 7D’s crop body those ‘wide angles’ really aren’t that wide. If you want a real wide angle you’ll need to get one of the 10mm lenses designed for the crop body.

  5. Excellent imagery Floris. Loved the “Forest of Ferns” a lot. Great eye and execution, as usual. Cheers.