Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Glamour, Beauty & The Nude 2013 Maui Workshop Part II - to Hana and back

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II iso 200 1/1600 @ f2.8

Day 2 - Got up at 4:00 am.  Being the only workshop attendee that was from Maui, I chose to go home each night instead of getting a hotel room in Kaanapali.  It saved money, but because I live in Central Maui, that meant an hour drive to get to West Maui in the morning, and another hour drive at night to get home everyday after the workshop.

Shoot, who needs sleep? ;-)

Made the Starbucks coffee run for the models and makeup artist and met up with everyone in the main suite at 6am.

We started off on our trip to Hana, making a brief stop in Kahului for breakfast and bio-breaks at McDonalds and Jamba Juice.

Even though I live on Maui, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to Hana. The last time I was there was at Rolando's workshop many years ago. So I was still relatively unfamiliar as to exactly where everything was. ;-)

We stopped briefly at the Halfway to Hana point for a bio-break and to pick up snacks.

Finally arrived at Waianapanapa State Park to shoot at the Black Sand Beach.  As we got our gear set up, Stephanie went right to work putting the finishing touches on the model's makeup.

We started down a trail to the left of the parking lot intending to get down to the beach, but ended up by the caves instead (oops, sorry Art). So we had to follow the trail as it looped around back uphill to the parking lot.  As we got back to the parking lot, our model noticed a small sign next to the trail we had just gone down on - "Loop Trail"


Like I said, I haven't been to Hana in a while...

Returning to the parking lot, we then headed down the correct trail to get to the beach.

Finally down on the Black Sand Beach, we started shooting with our model. At this point, it was about 10:30 am, and the sun was pretty high up in the sky.  Plus the sun kept going in and out of the clouds which made getting a deep blue sky behind the model quite challenging.

Canon 5D mkII 85mm f1.8 iso 200 1/2000 @ f2.0

Canon 5D mkII 85mm f1.8 iso 200 1/4000 @ f1.8

Andrew helped us out by holding a mini California Sunbounce reflector.

I really like the quality of light you get from the California Sunbounce reflectors.  Rolando mentioned that you can think of the different sizes of Sunbounces as equivalent softbox sizes -  a Micro Sunbounce would be a medium softbox, a Mini would be a large, and the Pro would be your extra large, full length softbox.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II iso 200 1/1600 @ f2.8

On the right hand side of this behind the scenes shot, there is a small cave that you can go into.  

We mainly used this as a changing room for the models, but it would make a nice shooting location as well. Need to think of something interesting to shoot in there for next time.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II iso 200 1/1600 @ f2.8

During our shoot, the model pointed out a spot with some waves crashing on some rocks further down the coast that she thought would make for a nice shot with a custom made dress that she had brought.

So we hiked along a trail to the left of the bay until we reached the location which was far away from the Black Sand Beach.  Didn't realize how far we had walked until I turned around.

At this point, the little voice in my head was going "You do realize - when we are done, we have to hike all the way BACK there....."

Oh boy.

Once we had our model balanced safely on the rocks, Andrew climbed out to the edge of the water to hold our fill light - 2 Canon 580ex flashes on a lightstand triggered with Phottix Odins.

In retrospect, using a more powerful studio strobe like the Hensels would have made it easier to overpower the sun, but because Andrew was balancing himself on some rocks to hold the light high enough for the angle we needed, it was better (and safer) to go with the 580s instead.  Not a good idea to risk dropping thousands of dollars of lighting gear into the ocean - especially when it's not your own.

An additional benefit of using the relatively lightweight light stand with two 580 flash units on it was that it also made it easier to position Andrew out of the frame to the right and hold the lightstand horizontally over his head to push the light in closer to the model. This made it much easier in post production as I just had to Photoshop out a light stand agains the sky as opposed to a whole person against the sky, water and rocks.

Used the High Speed Sync function of the 580s to allow shooting at 1/500 to help lower the exposure of the sky. While it wasn't enough to overpower the sun completely, it did give us enough color in the sky that could be enhanced later in post.

Canon 5D mkII 24-70mm f2.8L iso 200 1/500 @ f8

Just as we had completed this one shot, it was already time to rejoin the group at the parking lot.

By the time we hiked back to the parking lot, we were totally exhausted (the uphill climb to get to the parking lot was the worst, especially carrying a backpack full of photo gear) - another reason for using the small Canon 580s instead of the heavier power pack and studio flash.

We had lunch at Hana Ranch Restaurant, then drove to Oheo Gulch (what the tourists call "Seven Sacred Pools).

Our assigned model for the afternoon session was Devon. At first we tried hiking up the trail to get up to Waimoku Falls, but due to the time constraints (it is a 4 mile round trip hike after all) we decided to go down to the lower pools and coastline instead.

Stopped for a bit along the trail as the light was pretty nice for shooting.  Natural light with the sun backlighting her hair - used a flash on-camera at the lowest eTTL setting to add just a bit of sparkle to her eyes.

Canon 5D mkII 85mm f1.8 iso 400 1/200 @ f1.8

The lower pools were pretty crowded with tourists, so we picked out a spot overlooking the ocean and worked on some shots with the sarong flying in the wind.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II  iso 400 1/1000 @ f4.0

Because it was very windy at this spot, didn't want to chance using a Sunbounce reflector and have it flying off into the ocean (and possibly taking one of us along with it).  Instead for our fill light we again used 2 Canon 580ex flashes triggered with Phottix Odins.

Always great to have a VAL (Voice Activated Lightstand) on location shoots.  Still trying to think of a good caption for this one, Art. ;-)

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II  iso 400 1/6400 @ f2.8

Really liked the color of the sarong against the blue sky and greenery.

Canon 5D mkII 70-200mm f2.8L IS II  iso 400 1/1000 @ f8

Once everyone gathered in the parking lot again, it was time to head back. Rolando and Heather were a little delayed since they were brave enough to make it all the way up to Waimoku Falls to get their shot.   Maybe next time I'll attempt it. ;-)

Now whenever I've gone to Hana, I've always returned home via the same road I came in on.  You can return to Central Maui that way, or you can continue along on the road through Hana, which continues around the southeastern part of Maui until you end up in Kula, on the slopes of Haleakala. From there you can follow the highway back down to Central Maui, then back to Lahaina.

Going in this direction meant not having to deal with all the twists and turns that you face driving in on the road to Hana.  However, it also meant driving over miles and miles of unpaved road.  I drive a Toyota Prius, which is NOT the best car to be driving on those roads (everyone else had 4 wheel drive) especially when having 3 other passengers in the car.  Got pretty dicey at some points, but thankfully we made it.  We even had time to stop for a group shot.

Back on paved road again - whew!

We got back to Kahului, stopped at Burger King to pick up a quick bite, and made the trip back to Kaanapali.  Everyone was pretty fried at this point and by the time I got back home, I realized I'd probably only be able to have about 2-3 hours of sleep until the start of Day 3.

Might have to rethink getting a hotel room in Kaanapali next year....

Stay tuned for Day 3 - The Wardrobe Malfunction.

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