Mele Kalikimaka


Mr. Claus knows the Shaka ๐Ÿ˜‰

As I was strolling through Waikiki on my day on my own on the island, I had the opportunity to see this lovely sand sculpture being finished in the Sheraton Waikiki


Underwater friends

This photo has been edited


I don’t know exactly what this is, but I think it may be either a sea urchin or a sponge. I’m not quite sure ๐Ÿ˜‰

What I am sure of is that this photo was taken with my iPhone in the lagoon at Magic Island. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, on the left, the thumbnail is of the original photo before I edited it in the Preview program on my Mac.

Peek-a-boo, I see you

nz2As I was departing from Honolulu International Airport, I had plenty of time to do some plane spotting (which is made so much easier as the terminal is open-air ๐Ÿ™‚ ), including this Boeing 767-300, which was boarding on its trip back to Auckland operating as Air New Zealand Flight 9.

Incidentally, the flight did arrive early – it was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday 11/13 at 5:35, but arrived at 4:53 AM. ๐Ÿ™‚



Rainbow Tower, Take 2

Hilton Hawaiian Village's Rainbow Tower during rehabilitation

Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Rainbow Tower during rehabilitation

While we were in Hawaii, Beedoo shared a picture of the Rainbow Tower at the Hilton Hawaiian Village that she took on her last trip. When she took the original picture, signs of age were definitely showing on the tower even then.

As mentioned, the tower is undergoing renovations, and this is what the tower looked like while we were there. Here’s hoping that it will look awesome again ๐Ÿ™‚


Picture it: you have an iPhone 5 (or 5S or 4/4S), and you see something you’d like to photograph. It takes pretty decent pictures on its own, especially when you deploy the HDR function, like this one that was taken at the Pali lookout.

If you want to zoom, you certainly can, as the iPhone’s camera does have a digital zoom function built into it. But what happens if you’re too close to get everything into the frame?

One option that you have is to take a panoramic photo (available on the 4S and later) which is something that makes awesome photos, such as this one at Makapu’u Lookout.

20131208-104049.jpgBut a panorama is only useful in certain situations, such as the view from a lookout, or if what you’re looking at is a longer area, like the scene when the panorama was introduced – a long line of kids.

Another option is to take a bunch of photos and stitch them together, but as I can attest to, having done it in the past, this is a pain in the neck, and you just cannot get the photos to all line up correctly.

The good news is that there is a third option – one that will require a small investment (about $60), but one that will go a long way to giving you many different options to take photos with your phone. That option is to use the Olloclip.


Beedoo turned me onto the Olloclip via a blog post that she found – The Husband Gifts me With Photographs – which introduced the item via a set of photos that were taken with the writer’s husband’s iPhone. My response was as follows –

That. Is. Awesome.

So, about a month later, I found myself at Best Buy and walked out of there with the Olloclip in hand – and no money out of pocket, thanks to gift cards that I had accumulated and Best Buy gift certificates that I got from buying my new iPhone from them ๐Ÿ™‚

When I had bought the Olloclip, they only had the 3-in-1 option available. Now, there are a variety of options, including a telephoto lens, which allows you to zoom optically instead of digitally, allowing you to retain the overall quality of the photo.

In my case, the lens that I use the most is the fisheye lens (the large one on the left above). It creates a different perspective on everything, as you can see here, when you catch a glimpse of the wall of gems visible at Sedona in Ward Centre –


Oh, and that’s just one wall of gemstones. There’s a whole display that was behind me, which held a whole lot more gems and stones, including one that I did wind up buying, but that will be a story for a different time ๐Ÿ˜‰

On the other side of the housing is the dual wide-angle (which I don’t seem to have used at all during my trip) and macro lenses. In order to use the macro, you have to unscrew the wide-angle off of the housing. The macro lens that I have on my Olloclip is great when you can get within 1cm of what you are photographing, which can give you this result, as I also took in Sedona –


This is simply a photo that you can not take with the original lens that is included with your iPhone. The only caution that you need to be aware of is to be sure that the flash is turned off. While you can see the flash firing, the Olloclip covers most of it, causing uneven lighting on your photos. Also, if you use a cover for your phone (as I do), you do need to remove it each time that you use the Olloclip, as it is designed to fit right over the phone unencumbered by covers.

If you have an iPhone, the Olloclip is a great investment to make if you’re into photography. Prices start at $69.99, and you canย order online here, where you can also purchase covers for your phone that allow a quick access for the Olloclip without having to remove the cover altogether.

If you’re travelling, you can also buy the Olloclip at most Best Buy stores, and even more conveniently, at Best Buy Express kiosks located in most major airports including Honolulu, where there are 4! There are also kiosks in the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Sheraton Waikiki. What’s more awesome about the kiosks is that the price you pay there? It’s the same price you pay at the store, with no “airport markup” that causes you to pay $7 for a 6-inch sub ๐Ÿ˜‰

Arizona Memorial

Exterior of the Arizona Memorial

Exterior of the Arizona Memorial

To the memory of the gallant men here entombed and their shipmates who gave their lives in action on December 7, 1941 on the U.S.S. Arizona.

To the memory of the gallant men here entombed and their shipmates who gave their lives in action on December 7, 1941 on the U.S.S. Arizona.

Fittingly, as this is the 7th of December, we take time to pause and reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. In the second photo, of special note are the smaller displays. Listed on these markers are the names of men who survived the initial attack while on the Arizona who later were interred within the ship many years later.


Early Morning on Ala Moana

Looking out over Ala Moana Blvd. just before sunrise.

Looking out over Ala Moana Blvd. just before sunrise.

I’ve shown the view that I had a bit after this photo was taken, when the first of many multitudes of rainbows came to me as a surprise, however I had been up for a while prior to that, and I had a chance to take this photo when most people were still asleep. ๐Ÿ™‚


Once you learn how to use your camera, you can get much better photos. The photos you see below are raw from the camera, the only thing I did was resize them so they were not 6.8mb each. ๐Ÿ™‚

I truly wish we had done our photography tour with Alex from Oahu Photography Tours much earlier in our trip. I now call time Pre-Alex, and After-Alex.


Above you see the last photo I took Pre-Alex. The next photo below is After-Alex. These photos were taken one minute apart.


You see how the colours pop out? How the sky is suddenly filled with clouds catching the light? How the lights in the sky now reflect in the ocean? How the rocks are darker and more moody? All Alex did was show me how to change a couple of settings in the camera – most importantly, how to change the exposure to -2.

For the rest of the trip, whenever I took a photo, I would be all “Oh MAN” because my photos always came out looking even better than what I was seeing with my own eyes.

I don’t have an expensive camera. This is just a little point and shoot Panasonic Lumix, less than $300. It does not matter what kind of camera you have, you can get better photos by knowing how to use it. ๐Ÿ™‚ And one of the best places in the world to learn to take photos better than you currently do is the extremely photogenic Hawaii.

If you get the chance to take any of the tours Alex offers not only will you have a great time but you will learn how to take even better photos, and you will learn some true nuggets of photography wisdom.

You will probably get tired of us talking about this tour and showing you our pics but we had such a great time – following rainbows, chasing waterfalls, finding turtles.