Five winners of the #BeAlphaChallenge had the unique opportunity to journey to the Hawaiian Islands with members of the Alpha Imaging Collective. They explored the islands from below the surface of the ocean to the skies above the mountains. They came back with more than just memories. They came back with experiences. We reached out to the photographers who went on the trip to find out more about what they saw and how they photographed it.
Erin Sullivan – @erinoutdoors
“I enjoyed shooting at the lookouts over Waimea Canyon. The weather was constantly changing, which made for some fun experimentation with compositions. It went from sunny, to stormy, to rainbows in a matter of minutes, which was pretty special. I love the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM and enjoyed using it on this trip to capture different perspectives, apart from the obvious landscapes. With the longer lens I was able to compress scenes to create more abstract images or just get closer to details.
“I always find it interesting to see how photographers can see the same scene in a unique and different way. That was definitely the case here, and it was cool to see each scene through different creators' eyes.”
Nakul Bhatnagar – @nakulbphotog
“One of many moments that made this trip unforgettable, was when we were shooting astro. I joined Erin and Stevin as they were trying to shine a light on a tree and have the Milky Way in the background. It was great working with them on composing and capturing the shot, which become one of my favorite photos of that trip.”
“The 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master was amazing for shooting during the day and it was amazing to shoot astro with. The range is perfect for a travel photographer like myself.”
Jess Santos – @missjessbess
“I ended up using the Sony α7R III with the 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master lens for most of the trip, and this combo really covered the bases. The Kipu Ranch was just what I imagined Kauai to be like, it was straight out of the movie set of Jurassic Park, literally. I really liked seeing how each of us approaches a scene differently. Some approached it in a similar way and others completely different, so as a creative, it gives me a different eye to view the world with.”
Gregg Jaden – @gjaden
“The locations were epic. I used my α7R III along with my 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master and 12-24mm f/4 G Series for a lot of the trip. I did also get a lot of use from my 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master lens for massive reach and landscape compression. Beyond the place, what made the trip unforgettable was the camaraderie. I love working with other creators to see how they work while also collaborating on shots. Getting to meet all the contest winners and getting to know their passions and art while seeing them in action was awesome.”
Scott Kranz – @scott_kranz
“The underwater photography experience stood out to me because it was my first time shooting underwater. That shooting environment couldn't be more different than what I'm used to which is usually shooting and moving on dry land in the mountains with sweeping landscapes.”
Dylan Spitz – @dylanspitz
“Our UTV drive through Kipu Ranch was really special. I had never seen plant life like that before – so lush and containing every shade of green imaginable. The massive amount of vines made it feel like the world was inside out, with the roots of the trees dangling above our heads. It was easy to see why so many movies were filmed in the area.
“The 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master is my usual bread and butter lens, but on this trip I was also very thankful to have the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G Master with me. We were lucky to see a lot of wildlife and without that lens in my bag, I wouldn't have been able to capture images of them. It was also crucial because of the sheer scale of the island and its natural features. From shooting details of mountain peaks to emphasizing the size of wave swells, it was an invaluable tool.”
“It was great to see everyone supporting and helping each other whenever they could. In a field that can be very competitive, I felt no sense of that on this trip. It's rare to find a group of individuals with the same passion who also want to lift each other up. I feel quite lucky to have these new friends.”
Ilanit Manor – @imanor
“Spending a week with nine other landscape photographers opened my eyes to how everyone sees the same scene differently. An example was when we did a sunrise shoot and as we arrived before dawn, everyone ran off in different directions. I focused on the fog and the light, Erin ran over to the cows, Matt was posing for Greg. I also appreciated how friendly and helpful everyone was on the trip. There was also no shortage of laughs thanks to Greg!”
Stevin Tuchiwsky – @stevint
“It was fun sharing this trip with the contest winners and seeing things from their perspective. It is always just fun being surrounded with talented photographers and learning new things from shooting in general, to technical information to post-processing tricks. I think everything on the trip was special, and it was great getting to see so much in such a short time. I already want to go back, it certainly was an experience of a lifetime!”
Matthew Kimble – @matthewkimble
“I will never forget our time in Volcanoes National Park. It's quite a humbling thing to witness the galactic core in all its splendor. That was the first time I'd ever seen it, and it was breathtaking! Volcanic landscapes are a favorite in terms of landscape photography, and being able to witness the unique textures and colors of the Hawaiian landscape was incredible.”
“My go-to almost the entire trip was the α7R III and 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master lens. I've used many constant aperture telephoto lenses that don't quite hold their sharpness or color throughout the entire zoom range, and the GM blows them all out of the water. Going into this trip, I knew that Hawaii is an extremely challenging environment for personal electronics, as there are 11 different micro-climates present (of the 13 recognized scientifically). Humidity is a cruel mistress, as is the cold. The α7R III and the GM lenses weathered them without issue.”
Rachel Jones Ross – @rachel_jones_ross
“Overall, sharing the experience with other photographers was the best part of the trip. We could collaborate and share ideas. Having that community of creative souls to make memories with was the highlight for me, but there was also a particularly memorable moment. I have been visiting Volcanoes National Park every year for the last four years, and so much has changed since my first visit. The first time I visited the park, I had just bought my first Sony camera. I photographed the Milky Way rising over the lava lake. That was the first time I met John Tarson (our guide during the Be Alpha Hawaii trip). John and I became fast friends, and I have been on many adventures with him since.
“I stood there, on that last day of the trip, reflecting on how much has changed. The landscape was completely different. With the eruption of Kilauea, the lava lake drained leaving a vast steaming caldera in its wake. But I think my life has transformed even more dramatically than the landscape since my first visit four years ago. I’m still friends with John, and still shooting on a Sony camera. But now I am a member of the Sony Alpha Imaging Collective, teaching photography full time, and traveling with an amazing community of talented, supportive and creative photographers.
“I wear a locket that says ‘all things change, and we change with them.’ That was such a poignant feeling in that moment.”
See more at #BeAlphaHawaii.