Destination: Hawaii - The Big Island

Workshop with Don Messec and Jim Hamstra

Hawaii – The Big Island

Fall TBA, 2021

If applicable Covid restrictions will be published sometime this summer.
Limited to 4 to maintain a sense of seriousness and personal connection to place.

The Hawaiian Islands, so many to choose from, but the Big Island is the youngest, biggest and most diverse. Yes, warm breezes, beautiful beaches, palm trees are all there, but that’s not why we come here. Sure, photographers like Bret Weston had 2 houses, one on the dry side, one on the wet, so he could extensively photograph here, but that’s not why either. The Big Island is simply visually aspirational, diverse and amazing. We may visit a tsunami-damaged, jungle overgrown abandoned resort, black or green sand beaches, lava fields and volcano craters, a mountain summit above the clouds, grasslands, jungle, cactuses, inlets, vistas, trees, flowers, bamboo, birds, cliffs, ancient walls, old churches… The Big Island is a photo-rich environment. And shooting is the most important thing you will want to do while here.

Your concept of photography is welcome. iPhone welcome. Large format welcome. DSLR welcome. Hell, pinhole welcome – might even bring all of these myself. You are not limited with me. I’m not one to limit my photographic thinking, that’s what Jim is for. 😉 And he is always changing his mind, too. Don’t worry if all you want to do is shoot, that is welcome, too. Maybe prefered.

Every day starts with shooting, new location and some repeats for best light. If walking a lot is a concern, let Brett Weston’s thought alieviate your concern, “if it’s more than 30 paces from the vehicle it’s no longer photogenic!” For those of us who need to wander, that works, too.

The Islands I have spent time shooting have all become intimate friends. Once home the process of image workflow and printing always teaches me something I wish I had learned while there, which is one reason I keep going back.

I love sharing places I shoot and to be outdoors with other photographers. Love cooking, eating, walking, flee marketing, coffee, coffee, coffee and just hanging out watching the light change. Destination workshops are a favorite of mine.

The workshop will include heading out early to get into interesting shooting locations with good light. The first day we will go together and get the lay of the land. There will be enough room for every photographer and gear each day. If you brought a companion (a plus) or prefer to travel alone at times, you can use your own vehicle to follow us or explore at your own, repeat a location, whatever will fufill your experience. Typically, all the photographers end up with me, and parters head to the beaches. Some days we may take a reprieve from shooting to get lunch, discuss digital workflow, platinum-palladium negative making, Piezography inks and other interesting conversations, returning to shoot during evening light.

If you can make it, there is a welcoming-orientation dinner Sunday night before we get started where we will meet and greet, and lay out the week. Spouses and partners are most welcome, the fee is small to tag along. My photo buddy Jim Hamstra will join us. He too has extensive field experience on the Big Island as well as places like Syria, Turkey, Australia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. We both live in the Southwestern and travel together to shoot in the great Southwest, too.

There will be a combination of group and personal instruction as seems appropriate. I son’t feel I have to influence your shooting, only help solve problems if there are any. The quiet moment of seeing and composing, deciding when or if to click the shutter  is important interpersonal time to close off the sounds in our heads and connect with these special places. Group shoots will be a matter of selected sites that promote, wandering off for personal shot selection. At the end of the workshop, your biggest whine will be “why can’t we stay!?” Whose knows, maybe we can!

Gallery of Hawaii Big Island images.

Don Messec Direct – Big Island Images

What’s Included

Welcome and orientation dinner.

Transportation for photographers, tag alongs and gear.

Destination selections and outright exploration.

Awe and more awe.

What you provide

  • Lodging. there are several ways to stay in the Hilo-Volcano area of Hawaii. Recommendations on sidebar.
  • Meals except for Welcome dinner. Plan on snacks, lunches and lots of water for long days of shooting.
  • Digital camera if you have one. There are no processing labs close enough to shoot film and get it processed during the workshop. All forms of cameras welcome.
  • A thumb drive or other portable read/write media, backup drive.
  • Laptop if you have one. Especially if it has Photoshop and/or Lightroom or ON1 RAW.

That’s it! Any questions about supplies, please feel free to contact us.

Workshop Itinerary

  • Sunday night we will gather for dinner, drinks, orientation, introductions and socializing. Time and place we be sent to every registrant.
  • Monday morning gather y’all up and hit the photons. This will likely be early, morning light is worth loss of sleep!
  • The remaining daily schedule will be set according to weather, where we are, and what looks good.
  • Bring a lunch every day. If it works out that we are in a town during lunch or dinner let’s haunt few cafes.
  • This workshop is mostly if not entirely dedicated to shooting.

Reserve your place!

No deposit required during Covid-19
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More information and tips in our Hilo Workshop Guide

Flying? look at Hilo or Kona

Housing? We are recommending the Volcano Inn or look at HomeAway and VRBO near the small town of Volcano.