Travel

What to photograph at Waikiki Beach?

Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular tourist areas in Hawaii.  It is also the most crowded.  Even though Waikiki Beach has the most tourists in Hawaii, don’t overlook it as a photography destination.

Diamond Head Crater from a Sunset Cruise

Diamond Head Crater from a Sunset Cruise

In this blog, I’ll tell you about some of my favorite photo opportunities on Waikiki Beach.  You can also arrange for tours of other areas of Oahu from the hotel concierge including:  helicopter tours (highly recommended), sunset dinner cruises, and Pearl Harbor.

Diamond Head

Diamond Head is a huge crater and landmark for Waikiki.  You can hike up Diamond Head to get a view of the Ocean and Waikiki Beach.  There is also a great view of Diamond Head from Kapiolani Park.  If your have jet lag and up before the sun comes up, hike down to Kapiolani Park.  The sun rises from behind the far end of Diamond Head.

Diamond Head Crater from Kapiolani Park

Diamond Head Crater from Kapiolani Park

Also try a sunset cruise.  We took a sunset dinner cruise and got great light on the hotels on Waikiki Beach and on Diamond Head.  But don’t wait until the end of dinner to go out on deck and take Photographs.  You may miss the best light.

Also try walking to the Beach on the eastern part of Waikiki Beach and getting compositions of Diamond Head with surfers in the foreground.  We walked out to the beach in front of the Sheraton.

Waikiki Beach with swimmers in the Foreground

Waikiki Beach with Swimmers in the Foreground

The Beach and Waikiki Skyline

My favorite location to photograph the Waikiki Beach skyline (except for from the sunset cruise), is from the walkway behind the Aquarium.  The walkway continues down the beach for about a 1/2 mile providing good compositions of the beach and skyline.  Also try taking minimalistic compositions of the waves crashing on the sea wall.

Waves Crashing Over the Waikiki Beach Seawall

Waves Crashing Over the Waikiki Beach Seawall

Street Photography

Waikiki Beach is full of people from around the world making it a terrific place for street photography.  Some of my favorite subjects are surfers and surf boards lined up along the alleys.

Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is location on the eastern side of Waikiki Beach.  There are many types of tropical birds at the zoo but they are in wire enclosures.  You may be able to put your lens close to the wire to get focus on the birds,

There are several types of land tortoises, a Komodo Dragon, and elephants that make their own crushed ice.

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Komodo Dragon at the Honolulu Zoo

A Luau

There is a Luau located at the aquarium called the Diamond Head Luau.  The food gave a good sampling of Hawaiian cuisine including:  Poke, Kailua Pork, Lomilomi Salmon, and Poi.

The afternoon light was not good for photographing at the mostly outdoor aquarium.  They do have some Hawaiian activities at the beginning of the luau including lei making and ukaleli playing the can provide photo ops.

To me, The Hawaiian dance show provides the best photo ops.  The entertainers performed dances of the different pacific islands.  For the best views of the stage, you’ll want to pay for the VIP dinner.  The show starts pretty late so a camera that handles high ISO well with a fast lens is necessary for the later parts of the show.

Written by Martin Belan

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