Hawaii Humpback Whales with Tom Mace

When people think of Hawaii; they think of summer vacation, beaches, and relaxation.  What many people overlook are the warm winters, lush tropical landscapes, and spectacular wildlife Maui has to offer. February is one of the best times to visit.  Over 10,000 Humpback whales return to give birth, mate and nurse their young.  Hawaii is the only state in the US where birthing and mating occurs. Why do whales choose Hawaii? Some of the same reasons we do; warm clear water, shallow depths, and lack of predators.  Maui is the premier photography location as the depths in the Maui channel do not exceed 200 ft.  In February, we witnessed over 100 breaches from our hotel Lanai.  You learn quickly there is a big difference between seeing and “experiencing” these majestic mammals when you are on a boat, within 100 yards of a breach, camera in hand.

We round out this itinerary with other incredible photography opportunities. We experience a spiritual Haleakala sunrise, travel and photograph along the historic 64 mi. Hana Highway, and spend time in a unique lava field landscape. Our objectives are to give photographers a chance to scratch items off their bucket list while we work with you to improve your nature photography skills.  Your hosts for this trip have been fortunate enough to visit Maui 5 times and understand the island culture, best locations to stay, and where to put photographers in position to capture all the beauty and mystery this island has to offer.
We leverage our partners on Maui to keep costs down. When you consider what is included; high end resort on the beach with ocean views, experienced guides, photography expertise, meals, excursions, all ground transportation, even a Luau. There are not many companies who can bundle this same trip at these prices.

Included in this Trip:
-4 Boat excursions to get up close and photograph Humpback Whales, including one sunset dinner cruise.
-1 guided trip to the summit of Haleakala Crater to photograph a sunrise, weather permitting.
-1 trip to Hana and Back, capturing Seascapes, Waterfalls, and Rainforest along the way
-1 trip to the Wailea Lava Fields
-1 Luau, VIP seating
-Multiple Sunrise and Sunset opportunities
-All Meals, minus one dinner.  We want you to experience Kaanapali or Lahaina with your partner.
-High end beachfront resort in Kaanapali steeped in Hawaiian culture and tradition
-Built in downtime for exploring, hanging out at the beach.  Also a good time to review post processing with anyone in need of assistance.

Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona – URGENT NOTE

Ed. Note:  Shortly after posting Jerry Ginsberg’s wonderful post on Pearl Harbor last week, we learned that the Memorial is going to be closed indefinitely for repairs. I decided that the best way to communicate this is to republish the post, along with a note from Jerry compiled from the NPS news:

The National Park Service announced on May 28 that tours to the USS Arizona Memorial will be suspended until further notice due to structural defects in the boat dock and visitor loading ramp. Engineers are working to devise long-term repairs.  The National Park Service deserves our respect and gratitude for the great work that they do, but as they presently struggle under a maintenance backlog exceeding $10 Billion, any expectation that we will see these repairs completed in the near future may well be overly optimistic.


Forward gun turret on the USS Missouri. As one of four New Jersey class battleships commissioned in 1943, the “Mighty Mo”was one of the very last of her kind ever built. © Jerry Ginsberg

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Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona


Forward gun turret on the USS Missouri. As one of four New Jersey class battleships commissioned in 1943, the “Mighty Mo”was one of the very last of her kind ever built. © Jerry Ginsberg

Story & Photography by Jerry Ginsberg

Hawaii boasts two fabulous National Parks; Haleakala on Maui (Sept. 2015) and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Hawaii, “the big island” (April 2014). At this writing, giant Kilauea volcano in Hawaii Volcano National Park is threatening to blow its top.  This may be the long-expected “big one.” Even after about 4.5 billion years, our dynamic little planet continues to evolve.

In addition, Molokai has the singular Kalaupapa National Historical Park commemorating Father Damien and the safe place that he made for those suffering from leprosy. Besides these very precious federal lands, the island of Kauai, “the Garden Isle,” has some absolutely gorgeous natural areas including the NaPali Coast and Waimea Canyon, the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”

After all of these wonderful places, there remains yet another extraordinarily special place in our 50th State that is a must-see for everyone; Pearl Harbor.

On December 7, 1941, the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack, bombing the U.S. Naval Base near Honolulu, killing over 2,200 Americans and plunging the United States headlong into World War II. Among the capital ships sunk and damaged that day was the mighty battleship USS Arizona. Japanese bombs struck its powder magazines and broke its back. It lies today right where it sank, permanently entombing 1177 American boys, their young lives cut tragically short.

USS Arizona Memorial. With her flag proudly waving in the tropical breeze, the USS Arizona Memorial welcomes visitors almost every day of the year. When visiting this emotion-filled memorial, visitors are considered to actually be aboard the fallen warship, sunk below them on December 7, 1941. © Jerry Ginsberg

Two decades later, an elegant and somber memorial, erected directly over the fallen ship was dedicated. No visit to Oahu is complete without a visit to this hallowed place.

While Pearl Harbor itself continues as an active naval base, the USS Arizona Memorial is a unit of the National Park Service and is open to the public daily. There are three aspects to your visit. Upon entering the visitor center, get your free tickets for the short ferry ride to the memorial. Rather than taking the first available boat, give yourself about 90 minutes to tour the visitor center. First, go through the museum, home to many fascinating and important historic artifacts. Then watch the short film, guaranteed to leave you with goosebumps.

After that, stroll onto the rear veranda for an opportunity to take it all in. On my very first visit here many years ago, there were still several Pearl Harbor survivors and WWII veterans out there holding forth with mesmerizing stories of their experiences. There are now so very few left.

Leaving the Memorial.  Their brief time aboard over, visitors return to their waiting motor launch. © Jerry Ginsberg

When your scheduled boarding time arrives, climb aboard the launch for the short ride out to the grave of the fabled USS Arizona. Once there, you will have about 15-20 minutes to explore the memorial and gaze down on the sunken ship right below you. Walk all through the structure past the many poetic openings to the back wall. There you will see the names of all of those lost on that fateful day cut into the marble wall. Alongside is the curving sculpture known as “The Tree of Life.”  By the time you leave the memorial to reboard your boat, you will certainly be imbued with the ethereal spirit of this place. It is a very deeply moving experience.

For some memorable photography at the Arizona memorial, try to be first off the boat when arriving. You will need to shoot handheld, so have your camera set accordingly and use your stabilization technology.

USS Missouri, the “Mighty Mo.”  World War II ended on the decks of this big battlewagon when Japan surrendered aboard her on September 2, 1945. © Jerry Ginsberg

After your visit to the Arizona, make sure to take the tour of the historic battleship USS Missouri, the “Mighty Mo,” just five minutes away. You will marvel at the massive 15-inch guns that were used to hurl one-ton artillery shells at targets many miles away. Make sure to take in the Missouri’s Surrender Deck where World War II finally ended in Tokyo Bay.

Leave your hotel for Pearl Harbor very early in the morning for the best ferry selection and in order to get a parking space.


Jerry Ginsberg is a freelance photographer whose landscape and travel images have graced the pages and covers of hundreds of books, magazines and travel catalogs. He is the only person to have photographed each and every one of America’s National Parks with medium format cameras.
His works have been exhibited from coast to coast and have received numerous awards in competition.
Jerry’s photographic archive spans virtually all of both North and South America as well as many other fascinating sites around the world.

More of Ginsberg’s images are on display at www.JerryGinsberg.com
Or e-mail him at jerry@jerryginsberg.com


NATIONAL PARKS: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park by Jerry Ginsberg

Hale Maumau Crater before dawn, Kiluea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes, National park. © Jerry Ginsberg

Hale Maumau Crater before dawn, Kiluea Volcano, Hawaii Volcanoes, National park.
© Jerry Ginsberg

Story and photograph by Jerry Ginsberg ©

Hawaii. Just saying the name conjures up visions of a tropical paradise–palm trees, trade winds, sunsets and hula dancers gyrating to the rhythms of the eight major islands that make up the archipelago. Our fiftieth state boasts two national parks. There’s mighty Haleakala on the island of Maui and, the subject of this article, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island.

Did you know that all of the Hawaiian Islands were formed from volcanoes over millions of years? Molten lava bubbling up through vents of a well-known hot spot on the floor of the Pacific Ocean is responsible for their creation. As the entire archipelago moves northwest in conveyor belt fashion, Hawaii is presently the island directly over the hot spot. Continue reading