What To Look For In Hawaiian Landscape Photos
Most people think of the picturesque beaches and coastlines when they think of Hawaiian landscapes - and for good reason, they're gorgeous. But there is so much more to Hawaii than just the beaches, like the mountains, forests and waterfalls. Here's what I look for in a Hawaii landscape scene:
Natural Beauty: Lush greenery, vibrant colors and the blend of natural hues give forests and mountains an inherently pleasing look.
Tranquility & Serenity: There's a solace and peacefulness to the Hawaiian landscapes that provide a nice contrast to the everyday hustle and bustle.
Sense Of Space: The scale of a mountain or panoramic forest photo that makes you feel connected with the larger space they occupy.
Wildlife & Biodiversity: There are so many angles of mountains and the diversity of forest life provides some of the best variety of subjects you can get.
Feel Of Adventure: The nature you can see out of your window is great, but they don't inspire the same sense of adventure a remote mountain or forest photograph can.
Best Mountains For Nature Photography In Hawaii
Some of my best photos have come from the amazing mountain-scapes in Hawaii. These are the top mountains I can look to and why for great photos.
- Mauna Kea: Standing at 13,796 feet (4,205 meters) on the Big Island, it's known for its observatories and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
- Haleakala: On Maui, Haleakala is around 10,023 feet (3,055 meters) and offers panoramic views of the volcanic crater, rock formations, and sunrises.
- Kauai's NÄ Pali Coast: Not technically a mountain, but the coastal ridge and tower cliffs offer the same stunning looks as mountains on Hawaii.
- Wai'ale'ale: On Kauai, Wai'ale'ale has steep cliffs that make deep valleys often shrouded in mist and clouds.
- Ko'olau Range: Featuring dramatic ridgelines, tall waterfalls and dense rainforest scenery make it a jewel of the islands.
- Mauna Loa: The summit isn't accessible but the panoramic views on or surrounding the volcano on the Big Island are glorious and it's part of a national park.
Best Forests For Nature Photography In Hawaii
There are no bad forests for nature photos in Hawaii. You can find a jaw-dropping picture all over the islands, but here are some of my favorite forests to visit and shoot photos.
- Waipio Valley Forest, Big Island: Known for it's dense tropical forests, waterfalls and streams.
- Akaka Falls State Park, Big Island: A state park on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island is famous for its towering Akaka Falls and rainforest.
- Ho'olawa Valley, Maui: Located on the eastern coast of Maui, Ho'olawa Valley is a hidden gem with many remote and untouched areas.
- Pololu Valley, Big Island: Situated on the northern coast of the Big Island, Pololu Valley has a black sand beach and rugged coastline to go with green forested cliffs.
- Pu'u O Kila Lookout, Kauai: Located in Koke'e State Park, Pu'u O Kila Lookout offers views of the Kalalau Valley and the majestic Na Pali Coast.
- Manoa Falls, Oahu: Situated just outside of Honolulu, Manoa Falls is a tropical rainforest with a diverse ecosystem with towering trees, ferns, bamboo and fauna.
Best Waterfalls For Nature Photography In Hawaii
You'll probably recognize these waterfalls from photos or TV & film as they've been featured many times for their stunning beauty. There are many great waterfalls to visit, but these four are the most popular:
- Akaka Falls, Big Island: Akaka Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in Hawaii located in the Akaka Falls State Park.
- Wailua Falls, Kauai: Along the Wailua River State Park on the eastern side of Kauai, Wailua Falls is a twin waterfall cascading down an impressive 80 feet (24 meters).
- Manoa Falls, Oahu: Located in the Manoa Valley just outside of Honolulu, Manoa Falls is a picturesque waterfall that stands at approximately 150 feet (46 meters) tall.
- Rainbow Falls, Big Island: Situated just a few miles outside of Hilo it's known for its stunning rainbow formations that can sometimes be seen in the mist.