Picturesque sights dot the landscape throughout Honolulu, Hawaii, making for some superb photo opportunities. Honolulu literally contains hundreds of places to see with backdrops of sunny skies, trade-wind breezes and lush natural fauna and flora. A bicycle, bus, car, taxi or trolley ride takes one all over the city to snap photographs of vivid images. Some locations host thousands of visitors per day and other less-traveled areas show only one or two footprints of human existence. The city provides a multitude of diversity for both residents and visitors to enjoy.
1. The Romantic Photo: Beaches on MaunaluaBay
MaunaluaBay borders Honolulu on the southeast side of the city. The beaches along the shore provide romantic ocean side sanctuaries for lounging, wading, talking and kissing. When the sun sets, colors appear in the sky, the reflecting rays shoot through the clouds and outrigger canoers paddle by, all creating a soothing milieu to photograph. The seashore remains open every day of the year.
Humpback whales annually appear in the waters on the eastern and southeastern waters of Honolulu, making for a good photo opportunity. The whales migrate through the ocean around Hawaii from November to May of every year. The recollection of a whale spouting water and flapping his tail in MaunaluaBay remains etched in my memory.
Dr. William Hillebrand, a botanist and the first physician at the hospital founded in 1859, brought the trees to the medical center from places around the world. The original land plot on Punchbowl Street, where the Queen's MedicalCenter is still located, contained no plants or trees in 1859. Dr. Hillebrand brought the Baobab tree from Africa, the Bombax and Nawa from India and the Kapok, which is found around the world. The Bombax tree produces flowers from January to March every year and thus those months are the best time of the year to see and photograph the trees.
3. The Fun Family Photo: AlaMoanaBeachPark
If you're looking for family photo opportunities, Honolulu's Ala Moana Beach Park is a favorite family-oriented beach open year round to residents and visitors to Honolulu. An artificial reef encloses the swimming area, provides a calm ocean and creates a safe haven for water activities. Lifeguards are active on the beach for the safety and protection of the beach-park users. The park is open every day of the year.
A large picnic area borders the beach. As a Honolulu resident for many years, my family held picnics every summer in the park. My large extended family numbered over 50 men, women and children. The family picnic included game activities of potato-bag races, two-legged races, water-balloon tossing, along with many other games. A picnic lunch followed the games and then the younger crowd went to play in the ocean until sunset. The memories remain in photographs taken every year; your family, too, will find many wonderful moments to commemorate here, while enjoying the fun in the sun.
4. The Scenic Photo: Diamond Head Crater
Diamond Head State Monument overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is located at the east end of WaikikiBeach in Honolulu. Diamond Head is one of the most famous scenic volcanic craters in the world, with millions of tourists photographing the site every year.
The access road to the crater is actually a tunnel, Kahala Tunnel, located at the back of the crater. You and your family can walk the 0.8-mile hiking trail inside the crater for a truly unique experience. Since trade winds blow more in the winter months, November to February provide cooler days to make the trek on the Diamond Head hiking trail; it can get hot on the trail in summer months, so make sure to bring plenty of water along with your cameras. Late afternoon provides the best time for photographs as the sun goes down and provides an awe-inspiring sunset view of Waikiki.
The park opens at every day (including holidays) and closes at . The park charges a $1 for walking visitors and $5 for visitors with vehicles.
5. The Classic Photo: NationalMemorialCemetery of the Pacific
Nothing epitomizes Memorial Day like the display of leis, flowers and U.S. flags on the graves at the NationalMemorialCemetery of the Pacific, locally known as PunchbowlNationalCemetery, located in the center of Honolulu. This classic site honors those who served in the United States military and first opened in 1949. The serenity at the site reminds every American about the price of freedom paid by our family members and loved ones. The graveyard lies in an extinct volcano crater that gives the site a mystical presence.
The images of the flat graves and memorial buildings caught in photos at daybreak capture the essence of something otherworldly. The best day to snap pictures is always on Memorial Day at the end of May, because of the full decorations of flags and flowers at the grave sites. Since the Punchbowl crater sits next to the mountains in Honolulu, a scenic lookout on the ocean side allows visitors the ability to view the city from Diamond Head Crater to Pearl Harbor. To reach the cemetery, take either the H1 Freeway or the Pali Highway and follow the signs. The cemetery is located off of Puowaina Drive.