EJ Peiker • Photographing the Islands of Hawaii Part I

Hawaii is a collection of islands – all beautiful and complex, not to mention ripe for fruitful photography trips. Here, EJ Peiker breaks down some island history and discusses how you can capture the imagery you want

The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight primary islands and many atolls that extend for 1,600 miles in the central Pacific Ocean. The larger and inhabited islands are what we commonly refer to as Hawaii, the 50th state of the United States of America. The main islands, from east to west, are comprised of the Island of Hawaii (also known as the Big Island), Maui, Kahoolawe, Molokai, Lanai, Oahu, Kauai and Niihau. Beyond Niihau to the west lie the atolls beginning with Kaula and extending to Kure Atoll in the east. Kure Atoll is the last place on Earth to change days and ring in the new year. The islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii (Big Island) are the most visited and developed with infrastructure equivalent to much of the civilized world. Molokai and Lanai have very limited accommodation options and infrastructure and have far fewer people. All six of these islands offer an abundance of photographic possibilities. Kahoolawe and Niihau are essentially off-limits. Kahoolawe was a Navy bombing range until recent years and has lots of unexploded ordinance. It is possible to go there as part of a restoration mission but one cannot go there as a photo destination. Niihau is reserved for the very few people of 100% Hawaiian origin and cannot be visited for photography if at all. Neither have any infrastructure. Kahoolawe is photographable from a distance from the southern shores of Maui and Niihau can be ...

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