The Big Island of Hawaii

Hawaii’s Big Island is one of the most photographically interesting and strangely beautiful locations on Earth. Situated across the Pacific Ocean in the most remote and isolated archipelago in the world, this young volcanic island teems with life and beckons to be explored. Hawaii Island is an ecological wonder with life zones varying from lush rainforests, warm pacific beaches to snow-capped mountain peaks over 13,000 feet in elevation. The micro-climates as well as the sheer volume of rare flora and fauna species of this place are staggering – it’s hard to put down the camera!

We run our Hawaii Volcanoes, Wildlife & Waterfalls workshop in the winter months when temperatures are slightly cooler and Humpback whales arrive in the islands to breed. Russ has extensive experience guiding, hiking and photographing the Big Island including having lived there for an entire year.

Our Big Island Photographic Workshop will take you to the fiery slopes of Mauna Loa and Volcanoes National Park. If conditions permit and lava is visible we’ll have the opportunity to photograph lava as it enters the ocean. Kilauea Volcanoe is one of the world’s most active Volcanoes – it’s been erupting continuously since 1983 creating new land on the Big Island and even the beginnings of a young Hawaiian Island, Lo’ihi still far below the ocean surface.

We’ll photograph lush jungle waterfalls such as Akaka & Rainbow Falls as well as the rugged & rural tropical coastlines of Hamakua and Waipio Valley. The beaches on Big Island are small oasis between hardened black lava flows but they are spectacular! We’re photograph sunsets at some of Hawaii’s most stunning stretches of sand including a Black Sand Beach known as a Sea Turtle nesting ground.

One of the highlights of this excursion will be a journey to the summit of Mauna Kea to view and photograph the powerful sunset on Hawaii’s highest peak – usually snow covered in the winter months. The views from Mauna Kea out over the Pacific Ocean and above the clouds are otherworldly – as are the opportunities to photograph the Milky Way from its lofty summit.

Join us this year for our annual Photographic Tour of Hawaii’s Big Island! Our itinerary will show you the best Hawaii has to offer and you’ll leave with a stunning collection of new photographs for your portfolio. Need a vacation? Why not tack on a few extra nights after the trip and relax by the island’s world class beaches?

Highlights

  • Visit the Big Island of Hawaii
  • Photograph Humpback Whales, Dolphins & Green Sea Turtles
  • Breathtaking Waterfalls, Tropical Hikes and World-Class Beaches
  • Photograph Kilauea the world’s most active volcano.
  • Small Groups
  • Cozy Island-Style Lodging
  • All-Inclusive Trip, including top-notch local meals
  • Learn from & shoot alongside a seasoned pro

The Big Island of Hawaii

6 Days

$3450

Deposit: $1500

+$800 Single Occupancy

Fly-In: Kailua-Kona, Hawaii


*trip difficulty ratings

2018 Departures

Dates Difficulty Availability
January 14th to 19th, 2018 1-2 2 Spots Left

2019 Departures

Dates Difficulty Availability
January 27th to February 1st, 2019 1-2 Open

Trip Leaders

Russ Nordstrand

Read Russ’ Bio

Crystal Nordstrand

Read Crystal’s Bio

Physical Requirements
All participants must be in good physical condition and have the ability to hike with a daypack.

Group Size
We keep groups small to maximize your one on one time with the guide / instructor.

Accommodation
We will be staying in comfortable lodging on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Meals

All meals are included during the trip dates and we typically eat at lodges in the evening as well as a hand picked local restaurants. We often do snacks on the trail and then return for a late breakfast during photography trips as we are often out early to capture the morning light.

Weather
The weather in Hawaii is variable but arguably pretty fantastic most of the time! The lower elevations of the Island are tropical & balmy. Volcanoes National Park at 4000 feet can be chilly and at the Summit of Mauna Kea it will be winter – as in you will need a down jacket, hat and gloves! There is no such thing as bad weather just poor layering and gear choices – please plan accordingly!

Price Includes
Meals, private chartered boats, ground transportation, accommodation during the trip dates, professional photography instruction, medically certified wilderness guide.

Price Does Not Include
Airfare, alcoholic beverages, accommodations before or after the trip dates, guide & staff gratuities

Travel Details
Departure city is Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Day 1

Arrive in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii and check into our hotel. We’ll have orientation and group dinner.

Day 2

Our morning shoot will take us out on a private charter to look for and photograph Humpback Wales along the Northern Kohala Coast. Humpbacks winter in Hawaii and our experienced captain will take us right to them! We’ll spend the morning and early afternoon photographing the whales as they breach, fin slap and play in the warm Hawaiian waters. We’ll also have the opportunity to photograph other marine life such as dolphins and green sea turtles.

This evening we will photograph the fabled Kona Sunset along a golden beach as it dips into the aquamarine waters of the warm Pacific Ocean.

Day 3

This morning we will photograph a stunning sunrise along the Kohalo Coast. After a locally-inspired breakfast we’ll head around the island with our goal being to reach Volcanoes National Park in the evening. Tonight we’re staying in the quaint, mountain village of Volcano right outside the park. We’ll check into to our jungle retreat and then head to a warm, black-sand beach in hope of photographing Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles!

Day 4

We’ll be up early to catch the rising sun over Halemaumau Crater. We’ll spend the morning hiking and exploring Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We’ll photograph native Hawaiian bird & tree species as we walk though forests of Ohia and check out the strange and otherworldly lava tubes.

This afternoon we will check into our hotel in Hilo for some rest & relaxation. This evening we’ll make our way up to the summit of Mauna Kea – Hawaii’s highest peak at 13,796 feet. The sunset from Mauna Kea’s lofty summit is otherwordly. Often in winter there is snow on the ground at this elevation. We’ll photograph the spectacular sunset, maybe even glimpse Maui in the distance.

Day 5

If the lava is flowing into the ocean our private charter will take us down the coast at sunrise to photograph the flowing lava is it pours into the ocean.

Later today it’s all about waterfalls on the North Coast. We’ll also explore historic Hilo Town and get some great local food.

Tonight we’ll head out into the tropical warmth and trek along the Puna Coast to where the Lava from Kilauea Volcano enters the Ocean. This is an incredible experience to be out in the steamy, lava-covered jungles in the evening! Awesome photo opportunities abound.

Day 6

We’ll do one last sunrise shoot as a group in Hilo before saying goodbye. Flights home can be booked anytime after 2pm. You can fly out of Hilo or we will shuttle you back around the island to Kona.

“Russ knows the island like the back of his hand. Having spent an entire year living on the Big Island he has a deep understanding of it’s intricacies. A very well though-out and put together trip. We got some incredible images of Humpback Wales!”

Russ MasonGalveston, Texas
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