The island of Maui is simply spectacular! This small island in the middle of the Pacific ocean holds some of the most diverse landscapes I have ever seen. Maui has two defining peaks that make up the island, the smaller peak (West Maui Mountains) is bursting with flora and fauna and teeming with waterfalls, whereas Haleakala the second volcanic peak is barren and lifeless, apart from a unique plant and swarms of tourists. Haleakala forms more than 75% of Maui, it is 3,055 m (10,023 ft) high and the huge crater that is pictured below is almost 800m (2,600 ft) deep. It is unbelievable how deep it is, I just imagine the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, standing in the depression, but then again that doesn’t help comprehend it either!
This photograph is not just one but many, a total of nine portrait orientated photos are stitched together. With most large vistas I almost always opt for a large panorama to capture the scene I see and experience. I guess I wasn’t going for anything in particular – just getting the shear size of it for all to see! Top tip for shooting panoramas: remember to remove your polariser before commencing your panorama. Otherwise you will ruin the sky with dark blue patches, as shown below!
The majestic ‘Iolani Palace is situated in the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu, Oahu. ‘Iolani was once home to Hawaii’s monarchy, however only two monarchs, King Kal?kaua and Queen Lili?uokalani lived in the palace before the monarchy was overthrown in 1893. Since 1978 it has been a museum showcasing Hawaii’s royal heritage, but for decades it has been a magnificent monument of unique Hawaiian (American Florentine) architecture. Fantastic to photograph!
For this composition I was trying hard to find the right angle, one which would include both the Hawaiian flag and the lamp post. Preferably, I wanted the flag to be perfectly stretched out in the wind, and to feature the lamp post without too much obstruction of the House. It took a minute or two just to capture the flag in a “full state”, because the wind was gusty. Additionally, as many of you might know holding that awkward stance to get your camera as steady as possible is quite strenuous! I bumped up the ISO to 400, and had my camera set to aperture priority mode at f4 to help with the low light. Ultimately this increased the shutter speed, which concealed much of my unsteady hand!
My top tip for shooting after sunset, and when you are likely fatigued from the day’s adventures, bring your ever-stable tripod.
The festive season is fast approaching us all, with Christmas decorations quickly popping up over night it seems Christmas comes earlier each year! To get you in the festive spirit I’ve made a short Photoshop tutorial on how to create your own trendy Christmas design, perfect for your desktop wallpaper, cards and letters.
Photoshop, along with other image editing software like GIMP and Paint Shop Pro, comes with a basic set of brushes but you’re not limited to the presets. To exercise your creative muscles, you can find free brush sets online to enhance your Photoshop work. Brush sets are available in every theme, pattern, and object imaginable.