Hawaii -The Big Island: Beaches, Botanicals, Volcanos, and Whales

8 Days - Hilo/Kona, HI
Feb 19 - Feb 26, 2024
Activity Level
Skill Level
All Levels


Registration deadline: January 1, 2024

Pay a deposit of $1,500.00 per item

Looking for the ultimate Hawaii photo adventure?  Look no further!  This 8-day, 7-night Big Island workshop is a photo-filled wonderland of landscapes, waterscapes, and nightscapes.  But it doesn’t stop there.  We have lined up a special helicopter tour to photograph lava flows and coastal scenes, a private whale-watching tour to photograph migrating humpbacks, an excursion to the top of Mauna Kea for sweeping views and night skies, and a photo shoot with world-renowned lava photographer Mr. Bruce Omori at one of the active island craters.


On this incredible journey, we will travel the island photographing green and black sand beaches where you will learn long exposure photography for creative beach/water/surf/wave images, green turtles coming to the beach, waterfalls using both short and long exposures, botanical treasures of Hawaii with and without flash, amazing sunrises and sunsets, and, of course, fantastic night photography.  We will also make stops to capture some of the local flair and cultural traditions.


During this Hawaiian adventure, we will stay three nights on the Hilo side of the island before transferring to the Kona side for four more nights.


If you are looking for an epic Hawaiian experience, this one is for you.


Workshop Includes:

  • Photographic instruction
  • Transportation on the Big Island
  • 7 Nights Single Occupancy Lodging*
  • Water, snacks, and a group dinner
  • All applicable entrance, park, and permit fees
  • Helicopter, whale-watching, and Mauna Kea tour fees
  • Outfitter gratituties
  • Pre-workshop webinar
  • Post-workshop critique

*A deduction for double occupancy is available for companions traveling together.

Please be aware that shooting locations stated in this itinerary may change depending on weather and lighting conditions.  We want to give you the best possible photo opportunities.


Day 1 – Monday, February 19, 2024

  • Meet in a conference room at the hotel in Hilo at 3:00 pm for introductions and orientation.
  • Following the presentation, the group will have dinner

Day 2 – Tuesday, February 20, 2024

  • We will depart early from our hotel to the airport for a sunrise helicopter ride over Kilauea Volcano to photograph the lava flow. (If the lava isn’t flowing, we will move our helicopter tour to fly out of Kona later in the week for photographing coastal views)
  • Mid-morning we will visit Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden to shoot the vast variety of tropical plants and flowers, and even a waterfall.
  • Return to the hotel for lunch, rest, and to download images.
  • In the afternoon, we will head to Akaka Falls with its lush landscape and steep waterfall.
  • On our drive back to the hotel, we will stop for dinner.

Day 3 –  Wednesday, February 21, 2024

  • Another big day on the Big Island, we will start with a sunrise shoot at Laupa’hoe’hoe Beach with its dramatic sea stacks and crashing waves. Learn about long exposures with and without neutral density filters to shoot creative images.
  • We will head back to Hilo and continue south to Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, where giant sea turtles are often seen.
  • After lunch, we will drive to Volcanoes National Park to explore Chain of Craters Road, where the eruptions over past centuries can be traced.
  • Later in the afternoon, we will be joined by Hilo-based acclaimed lava photographer, Bruce Omori, as we visit and photograph Halema’uma’u Crater, the site of the current lava flow.

Day 4Thursday, February 22, 2024

  • We will spend our last morning sunrise at Lili’uokalane Japanese Garden next to our hotel.
  • Upon returning to the hotel, we’ll have breakfast and then check out of our Hilo accommodations.
  • Next up is our drive to Kona, where we will head to the west side of the island. Along the way, we will stop to shoot at Waipio Valley and Polulu Valley Lookout.
  • Arrive in Kona and check in to our hotel.
  • Dinner and downtime.

Day 5Friday, February 23, 2024

  • Our first morning in Kona will find us on a half-day whale-watching excursion to photograph the humpback whales that winter in these waters. There will be an opportunity during our cruise to snorkel at a remote beach where we stop for lunch for those who wish.
  • Back on shore, we will enjoy a bit of downtime to rest and download images. Beth will utilize this time to meet one-on-one to review some of your images and assist with any questions.
  • Mid-afternoon we will depart for the magnificent Makalawena Beach to shoot coastal views and sunset.
  • Return to town for dinner and back to the hotel.

Day 6 – Saturday, February 24, 2024

  • We will spend a leisurely morning taking in local sights in Kona and coastal views.
  • After lunch, we will head out for an afternoon/evening tour to the summit of Mauna Kea to capture sweeping island views from 13,000 ft. as well as the full moon rising. Our tour will include a hot picnic-style dinner en route and telescope views of the celestial heavens. Warm parkas will be provided by the outfitter.
  • Return to the hotel late in the evening.

Day 7 – Sunday, February 25, 2024

  • We will start our day with breakfast first before driving to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park to photograph a variety of island birds.
  • Then in the afternoon, we will head to the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park where we will photograph the historical and cultural sacred sites of Hawaiian ancestors on this west-facing shoreline.
  • Then it is back to Kona where we will enjoy our farewell dinner and reminisce on the incredible week we experienced.

Day 8 – Monday, February 26, 2024

  • Participants depart for home or places beyond.

Physical Rating:  Moderate

This workshop involves short hikes on both maintained roads and trails and uneven terrains such as sand and lava rocks.  Most hikes will be shorter than a mile round trip.  Participants with cardiac health concerns should consult their physician regarding the Mauna Kea tour to 13,000 ft elevation.  Participants are strapped into the helicopters while flying without doors for optimal photography.

Lodging During the Workshop:


Grand Naniloa Hotel Hilo
93 Banyan Drive
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 969-3333


The first three nights of this workshop will be based in Hilo at the Grand Naniloa Hotel.  Three nights of single-occupancy lodging are included in your workshop fee.  Should you require a pre-night arrival and you did not select the pre-night option during registration, please contact AHPS to make the adjustment.


Holiday Inn Express – Kona
75-146 Sarona Rd
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
(808) 329-2599

The last four nights will be spent on the Kona side of the island where we will be at the Holiday Inn Express.   Should you wish to stay beyond the end of the workshop, you must contact the hotel directly.


Beth Ruggiero-York


There are a number of reputable companies that provide Travel Insurance.  For your convenience, we offer travel protection through TravelEx Insurance Services.  For more information on the available plans or to enroll, go to www.travelexinsurance.com or contact TravelEx Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0147.  Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. W20


CANCELATION POLICY:  All cancelations must be in writing to info@ahps.org

  • 120 days or more prior to the start of the workshop your deposit will be refunded less $250
  • 91-119 days your workshop fees will be refunded in the form of an AHPS Store Credit Voucher less the $750 cancelation fee. The remainder of the fees paid can be used toward a future workshop within 18 months of cancelation. The voucher is good for 18 months.
  • 90 days or less until departure – No refund.

If we are able to fill your seat and the workshop runs at full enrollment we will refund your workshop fees less the $250 processing fee.


NOTE:  Workshop bookings including, but are not limited to, outfitters, permit agencies, lodging, and more require firm financial commitments at 90 days.  Therefore, in order to continue to bring you to great destinations, we must strictly adhere to our cancellation policy as outlined above. We recognize cancellations can sometimes be unavoidable which is why securing a Travel Protection Plan is highly encouraged.


Arizona Highways PhotoScapes reserves the right to cancel or change any workshop if our minimum enrollment is not met or if situations beyond our control arise that may create unsafe or undesirable travel conditions.  Any cancelation or postponement as a result of situations beyond our control, AHPS does not promise any refunds or credits.  If and when feasible, we will attempt to reschedule the workshop at a later date.  Alternatively, we may decide to issue you credit for a future workshop, or issue a refund, less any non-refundable deposits we have paid to workshop providers on your behalf.


Please note that AHPS is not liable for any additional participant expenses incurred such as airfare, hotel accommodations, or any other components booked outside of the workshop.


PAYMENT TERMS:  A minimum deposit is due at registration to reserve your space.  Please refer to the specific workshop for the required deposit.  Final payments are due 90 days prior to departure.  Approximately 15 days prior to the due date you will receive a reminder email that your balance is coming due.