Day Eight: “Treasure” — Zoom In

Objects, places, people, moments — we all cherish something or someone. Anything deeply meaningful to you can be a treasure.

A treasure can be grand, like a precious heirloom, or teeny-tiny, like the first plump blackberry of spring atop a tart:

Or perhaps it’s the vintage coat passed down from your grandmother, your once-in-a-lifetime trip through the Himalayas, a quiet space in the woods, or your children. What’s your treasure?

Today’s Tip: Get close to your subject. Use the zoom function in your camera, or physically move closer to it. Often, our goal is to capture as much of a scene as we can. This time, zoom in on your subject or a particular detail to tell a more interesting story.

Day Eight: “Treasure” — Zoom In

So far, we’ve focused on establishing shots, horizontal and vertical images, and getting comfortable with moving around and experimenting with point of view. Today, get close to your subject.

Dragonfly resting on a branch in Ubud, Bali. Photo by Brie Anne Demkiw.
Dragonfly resting on a branch in Ubud, Bali. Photo by Brie Anne Demkiw.

As you photograph your treasure, consider photographer Brie Anne Demkiw’s tips on macro photography:

  • You may need special equipment to get a great close-up shot — not every camera can do macro photography. Simple point-and-shoots and iPhones are limited to how close you can get.
  • Try going abstract. Play around with how shapes, colors, and textures change as you get closer to your subject.
  • Experiment with shooting objects outdoors — shoot on a cloudy day for better lighting. Shooting outside on a cloudy day may impede your exposure a bit, but, for the real close shots, I recommend a tripod.

If you want to get real close, you will obviously need either close-up filters, or extension tubes for cameras. (click on those links). Or, if you have a camera that will take interchangeable lenses, a macro lenses will do the job very nicely.


brown mountains
Photo by Roberto Nickson on

Hawaii is a U.S. state in the Western United States, in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. It is the only state outside North America, the only state comprised entirely of islands, and the only state in the tropics.

people surfing on sea waves
Photo by Jess Vide on
aerial photography of forest
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on


Beneath the breathtaking natural wonder and exotic beauty unique to each of the Hawaiian Islands, there are vital roots. These are the stories of the people who tend to them. Who cultivate ancient ways of living in harmony with the environment and embrace local and Hawaiian culture with equal parts aloha and responsibility. For the next generation. And for Hawaii to stay rooted. 

green grass field under blue sky
Photo by Lukas Rodriguez on
white and blue bus near green palm tree under blue sky
Photo by Jess Vide on

Keoni Kaholoaa

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Interpretive Ranger At first, the southern edge of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park appears otherworldly. Wind-whipped black rock stretches from the cliffs to the deep blue waters of the Puna coast, a vast expanse of lava, frozen mid-flow into long smooth ropes called pahoehoe and sharp, jagged sections called aa. 

As native Hawaiian Keoni Kaholoaa hikes down the lava flow from Holei Pali, camera in hand, the brittle lava crunches under his boots, shattering like fragile glass. It’s surprisingly delicate. At a glance, the landscape seems barren. But there’s life everywhere.   

As he photographs the plants he finds, Keoni thinks about the Park’s visitor center and how lush it is there. Just like it is across the entire windward side of the island of Hawaii. These green islands were born of fiery lava, and the teeming plant and wildlife they now support all started in this way. 

It’s a perspective not lost on the Interpretive Ranger, who shares with visitors tales of his ancestor, Pele, the creator deity associated with the volcano, on whose land they walk.

volcano erupting at night under starry sky
Photo by Clive Kim on

What is an Interpretive Ranger?

My duties here include sharing the culture with the visitors, to lead them on hikes and talk about the native wildlife. But my main purpose as an interpretive ranger is to leave a sense of belonging with visitors so that they can take that home with them.

How do you do that?

Letting visitors know that, hey, you know, these things are real. Pele is a force. We need both respect and humility to live in and around Pele.

erupting lava during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on
building beside shore
Photo by Tyler Lastovich on

The respect has to be there because as humans, as Hawaiians, as Kanaka Maoli, we are visitors just like anybody else. You know, this is not our land. The land belongs to Pele and the land belongs to the different elements.

You need the land so that the native plants can grow and flourish. And the native birds and insects and wildlife. I am connected to the land. Our responsibility is to protect the land, is to care for the land, is to cherish what we have, the water, the elements. It’s all connected.

And that mentality should be true no matter where you’re from. If you think about it, any tribal people of old, they were really connected to the land and the surroundings. And as humans progress, you know, we’re getting further and further away from that. And so, any opportunity that I or anyone else can share that, I think, is important. And working for the Park is a great way to do that.

sky sunset beach vacation
Photo by Recal Media on
landscape photography of mountain
Photo by Roberto Nickson on

What is the best time of year to go to Hawaii?

The best time to visit Hawaii is between March and September. This is when the islands see the highest temperatures and the lowest amount of rain. It’s the perfect time to enjoy the beach or the water.

high rise buildings near beach
Photo by Jess Vide on

Why is Hawaii so dangerous?

Since Hawaii is located in the middle of a vast ocean and the ocean bottom drops off quickly, the waves and currents can be very big and powerful. Certain beaches are hazardous year-round while others are dangerous at certain times of the year.

photo of lake surrounded by trees during golden hour
Photo by Matthew DeVries on
ocean waves crashing on rocks during sunset
Photo by James Wheeler on
palm tree near body of water
Photo by Jess Vide on

Is it good to live in Hawaii?

Living in Hawaii will probably make your life a lot more fun. … If you want your days to be less dreary and have better weather, and be able to enjoy the outdoors all year round, then move to Hawaii. I actually do surf and golf almost every week. start your Move to Paradise!


Photo by Matthew DeVries on

Hawaiian Customs and Traditions

Native Hawaiians navigated to the Hawaiian Islands, where they lived and flourished for centuries, carrying on the cultural traditions they brought with them and innovating new ones. With the influx of a diverse group of people to the islands, including the missionaries who converted many Hawaiians to Christianity and immigrant laborers who worked the sugar cane plantations, some Native Hawaiian traditions were widely adopted and evolved in the same pattern of assimilation, adaptation and innovation that affected the culture of newcomers, creating a shared culture of diverse influences commonly referred to simply as “local.” However, many Native Hawaiian customs have been protected and perpetuated and are still practiced today.

Photo by Fiona Smallwood on Unsplash
Photo by Marc Szeglat on Unsplash

At the time in Hawaii’s history when the sugar industry grew and plantations multiplied, immigrant laborers were brought largely from China, Portugal, Japan, Korea, Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands. This diverse group of people living together in close-knit communities created a melting pot of cultures, which produced a unique blend of customs that have roots from many areas of the globe that are collectively referred to as “local.”

Photo by Paola Galimberti on Unsplash

Have you ever tried hawaiin food? Most of it is amazing. Here is a chance to try some by going here: hawaiin food.

Photo by Satty Singh on Unsplash

Everyone who has been to Hawaii or wants to go to Hawaii, will undoubtedly get a shirt or hat. Get a head start by clicking here: hawaiin hats and shirts

Photo by Glenn Tan on Unsplash
I hope you have enjoyed this pictorial of Hawaii. Sometimes it is hard to experience it with photos, but, in person, it will be an experience you will never forget.

DAY 7 – LEARNING BASIC PHOTO SKILLS: “BIG” and “A Point of view”

woman and man walking in park in front of eiffel tower
Photo by Dimitri Kuliuk on

Day Seven: “Big” — A Point of View

Today, let’s go big. Photograph something of massive size, inside or outside. Get creative with your shot: Capture all or just part of the subject. Place it in the foreground so it takes up the entire frame. Or shoot it from afar so it appears smaller — yet still prominent.

Below, the Pyramids of Giza stand in the background, behind a pile of rocks in the foreground:

Present something big through your eyes!

Today’s Tip: Once you’ve chosen your subject, experiment with your POV, or point of view. Earlier in this course, you’ve moved forward and backward, and perhaps climbed to a higher level to capture an image. Today, snap a photo from an unexpected angle.

Day Seven: “Big” — A Point of View

Not sure how to capture a shot from an unexpected angle? When you’re at a scene with your camera, move around. Study your setting. If you’re photographing a popular landmark, for instance, stand in a spot away from other people; discover uncommon vantage points. Point your camera at your subject from different angles and positions — swiveling LCD screens are perfect for this!

Consider these approaches:

  • Walk around your subject, if you can, to examine every possible perspective.
  • Crouch, squat, or kneel. Does this adjustment make your shot better?
  • Use something natural (window, tree, wall of a building, etc.) to frame your shot.
  • Get low, or better yet, lie on the ground — this is great for capturing skyscrapers.
  • Focus on a specific part of a person, object, or structure (instead of all of it) — or intentionally cut off a part of your subject or scene.
  • Place something in between you and your subject/scene.
  • Look over or through something — how does your view change?
Photo of the Eiffel Tower, from underneath, by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.
Photo of the Eiffel Tower, from underneath, by Cheri Lucas Rowlands.

Remember, also, that point of view is about more than just your physical perspective:

For me, point of view isn’t just determined by our physical surroundings. It’s also the creative stance you take when you shoot. Developing your own point of view means looking at the world through different lenses — maybe literally, and certainly figuratively. Investigate the world, think about what you find beautiful, and don’t allow convention to dictate an answer.

— Photographer Lynn Wohlers

Wanderings, observations, and visual treats — that’s the essence of what I try to provide on my blog. I’m a visual person and I’ve had a camera handy most of my life, using it to document my observations as well as experimenting with it as an artistic tool.

Investigate the world, think about what you find beautiful, and don’t allow convention to dictate an answer.

Nature is my favorite subject, and since I’m new to the Pacific Northwest, my eyes are fresh, so you may see that sense of wonder in my work. I tend to look at the world from a different perspective, and I’m happiest when my work causes someone to see the world differently, providing a moment of awe and inspiration.

Point of view in photography refers to the angle or place from which you shoot. That encompasses more than you might imagine — there may be as many photographic points of view as there are moments to capture. We can point our cameras up or down, and we can place them on the ground or from above.

But there’s more. Think about where you point and focus — when you take a photo of a building above you, for example, are you sure it’s best to always focus at the top?

Or how about obscuring your point of view — putting a scrim of leaves or smoke (or whatever you might come up with) between you and your subject? How does that change the point of view?

Getting down on the ground and looking straight ahead will change the scale of the scene, creating a new point of view. I was thrilled when I bought a camera with a swiveling LCD screen (a screen that’s not fixed and can change its position), as it got me shooting really low. You can find them on both point-and-shoot cameras and DSLRs — they’re one of my favorite features.

Framing your point of view with whatever is at hand is another way to offer a fresh angle on a common subject. Seattle’s famous Space Needle looks quite different when viewed through an Alexander Liberman sculpture, doesn’t it?

Try to approach your subject from an indirect point of view. In the image below, a California poppy dropped petals onto the paper I’d placed under a vase, and sunlight cast shadows of the flower across the fallen petals. Here, I focused on the shadows instead of the flower itself.

For me, point of view isn’t just determined by our physical surroundings. It’s also the creative stance you take when you shoot. Developing your own point of view means looking at the world through different lenses — maybe literally, and certainly figuratively. Investigate the world, think about what you find beautiful, and don’t allow convention to dictate an answer.

One cold winter day in a field, I noticed weeds poking through the snow, creating calligraphic strokes. That drew me in, and being curious and keeping an open mind, I found more. A torn piece of plastic packing material had blown into the weeds. Graffiti on the back of a building next to the field completed the picture — not a conventionally pretty image, but one that interested me and that I felt was worth my careful attention.

On the same day, plastic safety fencing tied to a chain-link fence caught my eye. Shot close up, the image is boiled down to repeating shapes, turning mundane materials into a graphic study. (Editor’s note: we’ll look for shapes, lines, textures, and patterns in our images in the next post.)

To increase the possibilities for different points of view, challenge yourself to rethink your ideas about what subjects are appropriate, and then challenge yourself again to find an unusual perspective on your subject.

Challenge yourself to rethink your ideas about what subjects are appropriate…

Winter frost caught my eye one day and led me into a field where someone had abandoned a goose they shot. Usually the birds we photograph are alive, and at eye level or above us. This one, though dead, was still very beautiful. Looking down at the patterns the feathers made against the grass provided a different point of view.

What strikes you about a scene? Stop and ask yourself what drew you in, and then find a way to exaggerate that element. In the following image, the vintage truck and its friendly owner both captivated me, but focusing on the truck’s grille created a stronger image than if I gave equal weight to everything in the scene.

Another way I’ve played with point of view is by breaking the rules when using my camera. I’ve moved my lens in and out while shooting, and I’ve even walked slowly around my subject while keeping the lens open (using a longer exposure in manual mode). I wanted to capture the spiky shapes of the palm leaves below, but a steady breeze prevented me from shooting them normally. So, I just went with the movement and watched what happened.

Point of view is all about having fresh eyes and being willing to experiment. If you’d like to practice shooting with a different point of view, take one of the ideas above and apply it in your own way. Show us a point of view you’ve never tried before.

Challenges to sharpen your POV:

Take a photo with something between you and your subject: a scrim, leaves, smoke, a fence, a plastic sheet, a veil, etc. while thinking about what you’re focusing on. Draw the viewer’s attention to where you want it to be. Do you want more emphasis on what’s between you and the subject, on the subject itself, or an equal emphasis on both?

Select a particular part of a subject — preferably not the most obvious part — and figure out how to emphasize that. Think about the truck grille shot above — how did I call attention to it within the photograph?

Snap a picture of a frequently photographed subject, like a flower or a person’s face, from an unusual point of view. Consider the images above of the petals and shadows, or the blurry palm frond. How can you create a shot that’s out-of-the-ordinary?

With the interest in close-up photography, take a look at macro lenses (click on the link in red).

Also, the other option is close-up filters. This is an inexpensive way to do close-ups on your dslr camera.

If you would like to become a master at adobe photoshop, then click here.