Approaching Waipiʻo Valley From A Different Angle

Waipi'o Valley, Big Island

Before I visit somewhere new I always try to spend some time researching shooting locations, so I knew I wanted to get something a little different to the common shots I’d seen of Waipiʻo Valley on the Big Island. Since we’d decided not to hike down to the black sand beach I had to get creative with some foliage around the lookout point.

Fortunately I found these trees which provided a fantastic frame for the beautiful coastline. It might not be the grand vista you can see with no obstruction just out of shot, but I always think putting something in the foreground that’s almost close enough to touch helps draw you into an image.

Whilst I enjoy scouting a place before I’ve been there, I love to see other photographers’ work of somewhere I’ve visited myself even more! It’s so interesting to compare and contrast the composition, the light and the weather when you’ve been standing in the very spot that a photo was taken from.

Short of taking a full on tour with a professional, I actually think it’s one of the best ways to learn and improve your photography. I’ve been on the lookout for photos of Hawaii ever since we got back, so if you have any of your own or have some favourites bookmarked please get in touch!

Driving Chain Of Craters Road On The Big Island

Chain Of Craters Road, Hawaii

There’s no question that Hawaii’s Big Island is an amazing location for a road trip, and one of its most famous drives is Chain of Craters Road. Winding through the black lava fields created by many volcanic eruptions over the years was a humbling experience.

As we descended 3700 feet from the smoking Kilauea Caldera to sea level I was on the lookout for good spots to capture this barren, surreal landscape. The road has been covered several times by lava flow, so for me this shot represents the enduring battle that is so present here between humanity and nature.

The roads throughout the Big Island were fantastic for the most part, as smooth as they were scenic and fairly clear of any traffic. At times the low speed limits were a little frustrating, but for the most part I was just happy to be forced to slow down and enjoy the view. After all that’s what Hawaii is all about!

Admiring The Cascade De Trainant

Cascade de Trainant, French Alps

Towards the end of the ascent to the Refuge de Sales is this incredible waterfall – the Cascade de Trainant. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the end of the hike because I’d spent way too much time at each of the waterfalls along the way. This was the last one I had the privilege of seeing on the incredible journey.

At this point I was very glad I’d made the effort to carry my tripod uphill for two hours. If there’s a hike on which you should definitely take a tripod then this is it. And if you’re a fan of waterfalls then it’s like a dream! If you ignore some of the uphill hiking.

I always hate to leave places like this. I would quite happily sit for hours just listening to the water and watching as it works its way down the mountain. Next time I’ll be sure to start the hike a little earlier!

A Helicopter Ride Above The Na Pali Coast

Na Pali, Kauai

Inaccessible by road there are really only three ways to see the Na Pali coast of Kauai – by helicopter, by boat or on foot. I wanted to see this unbelievable place from every possible angle! So during our five days on the island we tried all three, even if my stomach didn’t appreciate the helicopter ride all that much.

The practical nature of the safety briefing was quite refreshing, its clear and consistent message being simply “just get out of the damn helicopter!” Despite reassuring words from our pilot I was still a little nervous about our flight before take-off.

But as soon as we were in the air I was focussed on only one thing – capturing magical Kauai as best I could. As we flew along the Na Pail coast I could barely believe my eyes. Surely this is the most incredible coastline in the world?

Have you ever been on a helicopter tour? Maybe you’ve seen the Na Pali coast too? I’d love to hear from you!

Another Planet At The Mauna Kea Summit

Another Planet, Mauna Kea, Big Island

Being at the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island is the most otherworldly experience I’ve had. It didn’t matter which direction I looked, it felt like another planet. This is the creatively named Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, leaving little to the imagination.

Other partners include Brazil, Taiwan and China, who will also have scheduled time with the telescope. There is actually nobody in these things! They are all controlled remotely and we were told you can view delayed imaging online, although I can’t remember where.

I used Topaz DeNoise to reduce the noise in this image, shot handheld at ISO 1600. The rest of the processing was done in Lightroom. I was going for the “Mars” effect, which is really how I felt looking out at this scene. A most incredible place!

Where’s the most otherworldly place you’ve been? Maybe you know more about these telescopes?! I’d love to hear from you.

Following The Torrent De Sales

Running Water, French Alps

I passed waterfall after waterfall tumbling down the valley carved by the Torrent de Sales. Following the river upstream en route to the Refuge de Sales was an incredible experience. It must be up there as one of the most rewarding hikes in the French Alps.

Over the course of the two hour journey from the Chalet de Lignon there are five or six stunning waterfalls waiting to greet you, each seemingly more impressive than the last. I almost couldn’t believe my eyes! It was a pretty exciting place to be with a camera.

These narrow falls can be found descending the valley walls toward the end of the hike. I was really happy about the cloudy skies on this trip, they created a fantastic mood and made shooting the waterfalls so much easier.

One Last Sunset On Maui

Sunset, Mokapu Beach Park, Maui

After three weeks in Hawaii, this was the perfect way to say goodbye. Whilst our time on the south shore of Maui was short, I was hopeful we’d get to see one last sunset over the ocean before it was time to leave.

Unfortunately our last day on the islands was plagued by an unusual amount of rain which kept us inside for most of the day. But the bad weather lifted just before 6:30pm. I rushed out from our hotel to the ocean at Mokapu Beach Park so I could shoot the sunset.

It didn’t take long for me to find some interesting foreground on the shores of Hawaii. There were fantastic lava rock formations almost everywhere we went. It was at this moment I realised how much I was going to miss the ocean once we returned to Switzerland, but also how lucky I was to even be there at all.