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Onomea Fall, Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Posted by
Gary Hart (California, United States) on 30 September 2010 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

Continuing with the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, here's an image of the garden's Onomea Fall. My wife and I circumnavigated the grounds in a more or less counterclockwise direction, making the fall just about the last thing we saw before leaving. Since we were already pretty overwhelmed by the lush beauty of the garden, adding a waterfall seemed almost unfair.

In this composition I excluded the top half of the fall because it was too hot (patches of direct sunlight) to photograph without losing the shadows that are so important to this scene. Given the amount of rain this area receives, I suspect that sunlight here is more the exception than the rule, but it was just my misfortune to be there on a fairly sunny afternoon. If the garden hadn't been about to close I'd have waited for the inevitable shadows; instead I just made do with what I had (no HDR for me, thank you very much). Nevertheless, waiting for the light to cooperate allowed me to connect with the scene and find a composition I might have otherwise missed. Instead of making the image all about the fall, I decided to move back and emphasize the tropical setting with a vertical composition that features the verdant jungle foliage, placing the fall more in the background.

This might be a good opportunity to remind everybody that while many photographers feel obligated to include the entire fall (or tree, or whatever), there is no rule that says "shoot the waterfall from top-to-bottom." Sometimes the most effective images highlight the most compelling aspect of a scene, leaving the rest to the imagination. (I wrote about this in a recent post featuring Akaka Fall.)

If you think the green is intense in this image, try to imagine being there in person. In California we have vivid green hills in the winter and spring, and pockets of year-round ubiquitous green (I'm thinking about our coastal redwood forests, like Muir Woods). But in a rainforest, like so much of the Big Island is, the green is both acute and relentless, and always seems to have been turned up a notch beyond what you believe possible.

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Thanks for visiting. Even if I don't respond, your comments are always read and appreciated.

Tamara from Aarschot, Belgium

Very beautiful long exposure, I love these different tones of greens also... it gives a great feeling of freshness.
Have a nice day Gary :)

30 Sep 2010 8:36am

Olivier from Manage, Belgium

Superb capture...

30 Sep 2010 10:05am

69mil from On the road, Argentina

This image is for the calendar, beautiful

Good day

30 Sep 2010 10:44am

Daniel from Kenmare, United States

very lush.

30 Sep 2010 2:10pm

Tracy from La Selva Beach, United States

What a wonderful composition! I love the intense green in the foreground so much~ It really gives the feeling of the lush tropical setting you were in!

30 Sep 2010 2:11pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

Wow Gary I know you are busy right now but thank you for this. What a great composition job here... you did a fantasticjob "moving" the main falls out of the scene just enough (without elimindating them altogether) therby allowing our focus to fall, as you intended, away from them and onto the beautiful smaller falls about that kind of intent. I also love and totally agree with you about HDR...I have seen some of it used quite tastefully and well done but for the miost part, I think some users tend to take the "natural" out of each their own, I guess. Good luck on the east side - I sure miss my Bristlecone Pines!!

30 Sep 2010 3:32pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

Boy I butchered my comment- sorry

30 Sep 2010 3:44pm

Elora from Genoa, Italy

How wonderful, such a relaxing scene. I like this shot very much!

30 Sep 2010 7:32pm

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

superb work and i see what you meant about emphasising the tropical setting - i really like the extra greens and especially the bright green plants in the foreground! very well balanced exposure as well!

1 Oct 2010 3:30am


wow 5 *

1 Oct 2010 4:49pm

Julie from Easton, United States

Wonderfully taken!!!!

4 Oct 2010 3:40am

Pat from Tracy, Ca, United States

Beautiful!! Onomea Bay is one of my favorite places on the Big Island but I have always bypassed the Tropical Garden. Will make it a must see next time. Your composition is fantastic, thanks for the explanation of the how and why!!

4 Oct 2010 9:08pm