Take Your Best Shot: Hawaii

From a Waikiki rainbow to a wedding on Waimanalo Beach, here are some of our favorite Hawaii shots from the Travel Channel community.

Photos

There are only three ways to get onto the Kalaupapa National Historic Park on the Kalaupapa Peninsula: by mule ride, a hiking tour or a small commuter airplane. This scenic area was once home to Belgian missionary Saint Damien, the selfless priest who devoted his life to caring for exiled victims of Hansen disease. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

As you look toward the north coast of Molokai, you can see the Kalaupapa Peninsula in the distance. The peninsula is isolated by towering cliffs that stand up to 3,600 feet high and are the tallest sea cliffs in the world. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Hike into Molokai's East End's classic cathedral valley to see Hawaii back in time. It's believed that ancient Polynesians settled in the lush Halawa Valley as early as 650 A.D. Roughly two miles up the trail is the impressive double-tiered 250-foot Mooula Falls. The one and a half hour drive to the valley from the airport is an adventure in itself, with ancient fishponds, Kumimi Beach and Kaluaaha Church along the way. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Only 38 miles long and 10 miles wide, Molokai has more than enough land to explore by foot, bike or car. Follow the roads along Molokai's rugged coastline and you'll see far more birds than cars, and probably even less people. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Western Molokai features some of Hawaii's largest and least visited beaches. Papohaku Beach Park is three miles long and one mile wide, a perfect crescent of shimmering sand. Kapukahelu Beach is a small sheltered cove. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

From the Kalaupapa Peninsula, the North Coast of Molokai presents a stunning vista. 10 years ago we would have reminded you to bring enough film to capture all the gorgeous scenery. Now it's memory cards, which seems a little ironic considering Molokai is the kind of place that makes you happy to escape your electronics. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Kepuhi Point

Kepuhi Point

On Kepuhi Point off Papohaku Beach you can occasionally catch a wave in front of the Kaluakoi Resort. Although Molokai isn’t known for surfing, you’d be surprised how good it can get. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Avid and novice cyclists alike will enjoy Molokai's lack of traffic. From one end of the island to the other, just follow the roads. But don't look for a convenience store on any corner, because we're proud to say there aren't any. So, bring water, snacks, and a supply of sunscreen to protect your ear-to-ear grin. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

It's quiet as you ride on your mule along the 2.9-mile trail to Kalaupapa Peninsula. You'd be speechless too if you were descending from 1,700 feet with steep drops and the Pacific before you. Three miles, 26 switchbacks and 90 minutes of magnificent views later and you're back to sea level in the historic town of Kalaupapa. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

As you approach the Halawa Valley, Halawa Beach offers a secluded bay that is great for swimming. However exercise caution during high surf and winter months. If you think it looks picture perfect, that's because it is. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Art in Motion

Art in Motion

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Getting the Shot

Getting the Shot

Croman, a competitive bodysurfer, explains that there is a lot that goes into getting the shot in big wave photography, including strong swimming skills and a lot of patience. Croman also advises wave photographers to have a solid understanding of the ocean: “How it breaks, where it breaks. The tides, the rips, the undertow. It’s dangerous, but knowledge is key.” 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Waimea Shore Break

Waimea Shore Break

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Kenji Croman  

Glassy Wave in Slow Motion

Glassy Wave in Slow Motion

How does Croman capture waves in slow motion? “I used a slow shutter speed for this image, the sun was positioned in a way that made the wave look very illuminated, plus the motion of the wave all came together for this photo,” he explains. 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Diamond Head Sunset

Diamond Head Sunset

Croman recalls the happenstance of some of his photos: “I thought the camera’s focus looked really cool in this shot. I didn’t alter or do any tilt shift effect for this photo. It was accidentally taken this way and I liked it.” 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Duck Diving a Passing Wave

Duck Diving a Passing Wave

“I saw a bodyboarder ducking through a wave when I captured this shot. The colors looked very refreshing,” says Croman. 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Green Wave North Shore

Green Wave North Shore

As the sun was setting, Croman captured this mesmerizing green wave at Keiki Beach on Oahu’s famed North Shore during a very big swell. 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Keiki Beach in Slow Motion

Keiki Beach in Slow Motion

One of Croman’s favorite beaches on Oahu is Keiki Beach. “This was taken after the sun set behind the mountains. I used a slow shutter to create the movements of the man walking and the waves.” 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Milky Wave Beach

Milky Wave Beach

Croman remembers another instance when patience (and a bit of luck) paid off: “I made so many attempts over the years to photograph the Milky Way here in Oahu, but found it very challenging since there’s not too many very dark places that do not have a lot of cloud coverings. I got very lucky on this clear night.” 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Pipeline Breaking

Pipeline Breaking

Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Pipeline is considered one of the most famous and dangerous surf breaks in world. “This shot was taken in April when ‘Pipe’ was going off. This was a big set that rolled in that I happened to snap while in the water,” Croman remembers. “This was the same day, just hours earlier, where the famous whale surfing photos at Pipeline went viral.” 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Swimming With Sharks

Swimming With Sharks

“I took this shot while free diving with sharks on the North Shore,” recalls Croman. “Amazing experience swimming with dozens of sharks with no protection.” 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Flying Turtles

Flying Turtles

A less daunting animal to swim alongside than a skark? A “honu,” which means “turtle” in the Hawaiian language. “These beautiful creatures look like they are flying under water. They’re very graceful,” expresses Croman. 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Underwater Vortex

Underwater Vortex

“I love this photo,” shares Croman. “ I took it while the sun was in a perfect position above me and it just really lit the wave up well. You can see the vortex bands in the wave. Not many people know they exist, and if you don’t have goggles on you won’t see it either.” 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

The Spit Effect

The Spit Effect

“Spit, that’s what surfers call it,” explains Croman. “When the wave is so big and the wind that follows it passes you, it creates this effect.” 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Wave Falls

Wave Falls

Croman captions this shot: “A wave crumbling to create a waterfall effect; the sun was positioned perfectly to illuminate the wave and the falls.” 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Maui Dolphins

Maui Dolphins

Another instance when Croman says patience paid off for him: “I made so many attempts to catch this school of dolphins when I lived in Maui. I would wake up early so many mornings to try and catch the school of dolphins. The morning I moved back to Oahu, I gave it one last attempt. I was successful and swam with the dolphins for a few hours. A great experience.” 960 1280

Kenji Croman  

Artist Peggy Hopper is known for her distinctive paintings of island women, with soft tones and gentle shapes that welcome you like a warm embrace. Her gallery is just one of many you will discover on Oahu. The Honolulu Academy of Arts and The Contemporary Museum feature enviable collections from around the world. On the First Friday of every month, the Chinatown district of Honolulu explodes into an urban block party with niche galleries and art shows practically on every corner. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

What's a pink Spanish-Moorish hotel doing in Waikiki? The answer: stealing your breath away. The Royal Hawaiian opened in1927 when the era of luxury travel to Hawaii was just beginning. After a five-day sea voyage, passengers would move into the 'Pink Palace of the Pacific,' bringing with them steamer trunks, servants, and even their Rolls Royce vehicles. In 2008, this classic gem underwent an extensive restoration to become the Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort. Gorgeous. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

A trip to Pearl Harbor will fill you with pride and also humility. The Arizona Memorial is dedicated to the USS Arizona's 1,102 sailors who were killed when Japanese Imperial forces attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Nearby, the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial honors the battleship where Japan's Emperor Hirohito surrendered to end World War II. A bit of trivia: the Missouri's bow is placed to convey that the battleship now watches over the Arizona so that her sailors may rest in peace. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Oahu is a shopaholic's paradise. Where else can you find Hawaiian-style coffee mugs in a big box store, hand-carved tikis made by those who understand the meaning of each groove, the latest designer brands, warehouse outlets with summer styles 365 days a year, plus, swap meets and farmer markets that offer foods and gifts you might not find anywhere else? 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

What's the best place to surf on Waikiki Beach? Just ask the 'Duke.' Duke Paoa Kahanamoku was Waikiki's best known beach boy, the 'Ambassador of Aloha' who introduced surfing to the world, and always, the consummate gentleman. He was also an Olympic champion who won three gold, two silver and one bronze medals. Today, residents and visitors alike drape leis on his statue as a gesture of aloha. And if you're searching for Waikiki's most perfect waves, Duke marks the spot. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

There's an indescribable something special about Waikiki Beach when the sun goes down. It's an energy, an undercurrent of nightlife that's about to unfold. Sophisticated nightspots. Island music scenes. Mai tais with flavors like lychee, li hing and mango. This is Waikiki Beach--the one and only. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

If you can stand on two feet, you can surf. Perhaps not well at first, but that's half the fun. Waikiki beach boys will show you what you how. You'll start with a lesson on the sand followed by a gentle push in the waves, and off you go. If you're serious, start early in the morning before the crowd shows up. After your lesson, you can rent a board and keep practicing. Watch out. It's addicting. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Haleiwa Town on Oahu's North Shore is part country, part chic, and all fun. It started as a beach town on the outskirts of the cane and pineapple fields and has retained its rustic roots. It's a must-stop for shaved ice, shopping, art galleries and crafts, and of course, good eats. It's also the perfect excuse to move a little slower and linger a little longer. Whether you're on your way to Pipeline and Waimea, or heading back to your hotel, Haleiwa is a 'no hurry, no worry' kind of place. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

'One paddle, two paddle, three paddle. Four to take me home.' These famous song lyrics are synonymous with outrigger canoes and paddling on Waikiki Beach. Hop in and you'll feel the thrill as your canoe glides out to sea. The best part of the ride is when you turn back toward shore and ride the waves in. It's like surfing while sitting down. In paddling there are two words you won't want to mix up: 'hui' means to switch paddling to the other side, while 'huli' means to turn over. Fun, but wet. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

Ask anyone who lives on Oahu's Windward side where the best beach is located, and they'll say 'Kailua.' It's a thriving beach town where you can wear your pareo (wrap around) into the grocery store and flip flops (we call them 'slippers') are the only locally-approved footwear. And the beach, let's just say that it's the second-most photographed stretch of sand on the island. Kailua has several kayak rental and surf stores. If you're into kite boarding, this is also the beach of choice. 960 1280

The Hawaiian Islands  

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