View Full Version : Hawaii.....Equipment & locations

Gary Smith
13-Mar-2006, 17:20

I searched the archives, but did not find the exact answer I was looking for, so I was hoping somebody here would have an advice about equipment, and locations.

My wife & I are going to Hawaii for the first time for 1 week in several weeks. We will be spending most our time in/around Honolulu. I was wondering what gear/film I should bring along. I am currently thinking about taking my Toyo 45AII, 72mm, 90mm, 150mm 210mm lens, along with a 6x9 roll film holder, and assorted accessories (filters, meters). Also I was planning on taking my Mamiya 645, with two backs, 45, 80, and 210mm lens. My color film will be Velvia 100 and Asita. For BW, I am debating between Ilford FP4, and Acros 100. (Also have TXP in the freezer as well) I would like to standardize on one film. I have never been to the tropics before, and not sure which film would be the best under the circumstances.

We are planning to do the general tourist stuff, Pearl Harbor, etc. If any one has any suggestions about locations (especially waterfalls, scenic beaches, etc) or about my equipment load please let me know. Part of me is debating if I should leave the Toyo or the Mamiya behind and stick with only one system.

As always any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Niigata, Japan

David A. Goldfarb
13-Mar-2006, 17:47
You should be just fine with that setup. My wife grew up in Honolulu, so we go there relatively frequently to visit family. Wind can be a serious issue in many places (the ultralight 8x10" Gowland box-kite stays home now, and I bring my 4x5" Tech V usually), but a folding 4x5" like the Toyo should be fine. Robert Teague, who frequents APUG.org and acutance.net lives on 'O'ahu and also shoots a Toyo 4x5".

Make sure you get away from Waikiki and the touristy spots. Visit the North shore beaches and the plantations in the interior of the island. We like Ka'ena Point and the Halona Blowhole near Sandy Beach. One trip we visited all the accessible Heiaus (traditional Hawai'ian temples) on 'O'ahu.

If you want to pick up LF or MF film in Honolulu, call ahead to Image Works Photographic Supplies, 3408 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, at 808-735-0755, and they can get it for you. They're nice folks, and often have interesting used equipment on consignment in the shop that isn't getting sold on eBay.

Shoot whatever film you're comfortable with. You don't want to be experimenting with a new film on a trip you may only make once.

M Brian Mills
13-Mar-2006, 17:58
I second that you need to get away from Waikiki. Since you are "stuck" on Oahu (I'm just not a fan of that island versus others) I would agree that you should get up to the north shore area.
Also, some of the best scenery I can remember (it's been a while) is off the Like Like (pronounced Lee-Kee Lee-Kee) highway.
I don't recall much of note on the west shore, but someone might have a great insight to something over there.

I lived in Kailua on the east shore and loved it.

Otherwise there is not much that would call for much larger than medium format--in my opinion.

Wilbur Wong
13-Mar-2006, 18:16
Robert Teague is a great resource for shooting in Hawaii. He shoots a Toyo and uses Velvia - he is very familiar with all of their films. Check him out in archives here and on other forums.

Abe Slamowitz
13-Mar-2006, 19:09
Gary: A week in Hawaii doesn't give you much time in paradise. But, the more equipment you carry, the less you'll be photographing. I just returned from Oahu and beleive me, The less equipment you carry, the more you'll enjoy it. Although I had the equipment, I found it easier to work with one set up. Then, of course, you might regret not bringing more equipment to photograph such a beautiful place. So, the best I could say to you is to carry your most used equipment and you and your wife enjoy yourselves. Wakiki is just to crazy to shoot. No parking, Lots of people, but beautiful non the less. I found it the best to go to the north shore and just stop at about every beach along the way and photograph. It took several days, but it was well worth it. Enjoy! You can see some of my hawaii photos at my web site httt://www.greatlab.com.

Paul Metcalf
13-Mar-2006, 19:16
At great risk of getting slammed, I might suggest leaving your equipment at home and enjoying the Island with your wife. Unless of course you need to make money (but there are a lot of pictures of Hawaii in the market-place already).

Bob Fowler
14-Mar-2006, 04:57
"At great risk of getting slammed, I might suggest leaving your equipment at home and enjoying the Island with your wife. Unless of course you need to make money (but there are a lot of pictures of Hawaii in the market-place already)."

This is the best advice yet. Unless your wife is a photographer who is looking for a "tropical photographic experience", just take a 35mm camera and enjoy the scenery. They call it vacation for a reason...

Pat Kearns
14-Mar-2006, 13:13
Gary, as others have mentioned get away from Wakiki and to the other areas previously mentioned. The Pearl Harbour tour gets very crowded so my advice is to get there very early in the morning as soon as they open. Otherwise, there may be a waiting times over an hour or more. There is a Byodan (Spelling ?) temple at a memorial garden that is a definite stop, Punch Bowl National Cemetery, and North Shore are nice areas. About 15 years ago I was at Punch Bowl and there a couple of funerals for former veterans including an Honor Guard. I spoke to the Honor Guard between funerals about posing for me and they graciously formed up and march down to an area that gave me some good shots. My father was a Marine in WWII and always made it a point to go there to pay respects to fellow Marines that had fallen in battle. The Polynesian Cultural Center is a tourist spot that will offer some pretty nice photo-ops but there is and admission charge which used to include a meal and show. I would advise travel light with your MF gear and enjoy the vacation with your wife. Have fun.

Gary Smith
15-Mar-2006, 06:01
I want to thank everyone for the helpful advice. It has given me alot to think about. My wife is actually the one who is telling me to take the cameras. Says it a good chance for me. I will do a little more research, but we are definately going to rent a car and explore the North Shore.

Again thank you!


15-Mar-2006, 10:10
Be prepared for rain, like a short, serious downpour every day. Often you can just wait it out, as the storms can blow through pretty quickly. And check out Pipeline.

John Kasaian
15-Mar-2006, 22:00
I was in Hawaii for a short period of time and stuck in Honolulu/Waikiki. I actually had a petty good time shooting---I took a handheld Crown Graphic, got up very early and prowled around looking for remnants of 1950s and earlier architecture with that shabby tropical look old buildings get on the islands. They were restoring the cool natatorium by the zoo when I was there last. It should be done by now---check it out.

Have a nice trip!

David A. Goldfarb
16-Mar-2006, 05:08
There's a lot of that great 1950s architecture in Kaimuki, right around Image Works, which is the last place to stock sheet film in the islands.