I am a scientist by training (Eckerd College, BSc; Caltech, Ph.D.). I worked for 27 years as a Chemist in the Pharmaceutical Industry developing processes to manufacture medicines for human and animal health. I now spend my time as a photographer and world traveler. My interests include the natural world, wildlife, landscapes, sky, and seascapes, travel, and astrophotography. I look for unique ways of viewing the world and presenting my images. I have traveled to over 55 countries in six continents, often on Semester at Sea voyages. While at home in New Jersey, I spend time on home renovation and expansion of a wildflower garden/meadow.
Gone to See Hawaii. Big Island Photography Workshop with Thom Hogan. Day 6: Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.
We stopped at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens on our last day of the workshop. The Garden is located about 7 miles north of Hilo along the Old Mamalahoa Highway overlooking Onomea bay. This was a target rich environment. I do recommend mosquito repellent and possibly an umbrella. The hike down the trail from the gift center to Onomea bay takes a couple of hours, and is about a 500 foot elevation drop. Just remember you have to walk back up (although there is a golf cart for the physically challenged to take you back up). Thom spent some time helping me get the focus right for the image of the yellow orchid. I learned that Varilux glasses can be a problem when trying to get accurate/critical focus through the viewfinder.
Gone to See Hawaii. Big Island Photography Workshop with Thom Hogan. Day 6: Kona.
The workshop team stopped at Lighthaus Camera in Kona before being dropped off at the Kona airport. This was “Black Friday” — the infamous shopping day after Thanksgiving. We noticed a pile of just delivered Nikon D300 cameras behind the counter, but assumed that they were all preordered by local camera enthusiasts. After some discussions, we found out that they were available for purchase and with a 5% discount as part of their “Black Friday” sales event. At least three of us walked out with a new D300 camera body that day. I wasn’t planning of getting a D300, and had to pay cash since they didn’t accept AMEX. In his D300 review, Thom did comment that he was the last of us to get a D300. I took a few pictures with the new camera while waiting for my plane back to the mainland at the Kona airport, and had many hours to read the manual.
Gone to See Hawaii. Big Island Photography Workshop with Thom Hogan. Day 5: Volcano National Park.
Early Thanksgiving morning we went to see the sun rise over the Kilauea volcano crater. There was no activity in the caldera, but the black and orange clouds looked like lava. While returning to the lodge we noticed a Nene. A Hawaiian goose. It looks a lot like Canada geese, but it does not migrate. The Nene almost went extinct, and are now protected. You can see the tags on its legs. Before lunch we spent more time on composition. I worked on the clump of ferns. I then worked on some macro images of a stone with green Peridot Crystals (Pele’s Tears). That afternoon we were treated to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner as well as local specialties.
Gone to See Hawaii. Big Island Photography Workshop with Thom Hogan. Day 4: Kona and Volcano National Park.
I woke up early, and walked to the harbor where I saw a group rowing a Hawaiian outrigger canoe with a cruise ship in the background. I liked the juxtaposition of historical and modern. We then checked out of the hotel and traveled to Volcano National Park. After checking into the lodge, we went for a photo-walk down a tropical rain forest trail. The lessons here included using a flash, how to manually focus a macro lens, how to adjust the focus for camera viewfinder, and always thinking about the composition.
Gone to See Hawaii. Big Island Photography Workshop with Thom Hogan. Day 3: Beach at Waipi’o Valley.
Waipi’o Valley is located along the Hamakua Coast on the northeastern coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. We hiked down to the beach, and Thom spent time with each of us working on technique and composition. One lesson was that images with wide-angle lenses should have close, middle, and distant subject. Also, having a human figure in the image helps the viewer get an idea of scale.