Author Topic: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui  (Read 11590 times)

Offline 3yummyboys

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #20 on: February 11, 2016, 06:29:02 AM »
Glad you're back! You left us with teasers on your first post :)
Great write up btw, really enjoying it

Offline IsraelGuy

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2016, 08:29:17 AM »
Wow, so easy to get side tracked!

The next morning I wanted to Haleakala, but my kids and their jet-lag woke me up about 3:30 and needless to say I wasn’t in the mood to set out on the journey, so I just decided to hang out at the hotel.

We decided we were in the mood for Starbucks (because why not) and walked next door to the Marriott which had a Starbucks on the premises.



There's a path where the beach crew hut is that curves along the water and is well paved, so we turned left and stuck out. The map makes it look like the hotels are next door, and maybe they are, but the walk it much further than we expected - looks like 2m, when in fact it took closer to 20. No big deal, but we just weren't expecting it, it was super hot, and needless to say by the time we got there we were excited to get some iced coffee, and saw this little critter:



I had a few people ask me to look for Kona coffee for them while we were there - we looked but it was about $30 / lb - which is outrageous, and we just skipped it (side note: many starbucks that carry reserve coffee in the contiguous US also carry Kona for the same price, so don't waste too much time on this). There were some other cheaper brands at Target that also claimed to be 100% Kona, but there's nothing I hate more than low quality coffee, so I wasn't interested in betting on it.

Walking back to the hotel along inland road was actually almost nicer than the beach side walk - there's a curving road with beautiful trees that provide the right amount of shade and was very pleasant to walk back to the Andaz on.




We took the kids out later to the hotel pool and to the beach. The hotel pool closest to the water was a very shallow gradient into the pool, and they had some toys also at the beach crew for our kids to play with. Even at 12 months, they loved the pool and it was a lot of fun for them being in the water. The beach was fun for them too, and although they spent more time trying to eat the sand than anything else, it was a ton of fun. Coming back from the beach however wasn't. I don't know how people usually do these things, but trying to bathe two sand-caked kids was a herculean task - there's an outdoor shower head by the beach but the water was freezing cold and we couldn't use it much to get the kids clean -  needless to say sand got everywhere in the hotel room, but at least housekeeping did a great job of helping us out cleaning it up after.

It was time to get ready for Shabbos. We were going to call down to the front desk to ask to speak to the engineering department about a few Shabbos alterations, but we actually ran into one of the workers in the hallway and they told us they would send over a crew to help us out. Now this has to be a DD effect in action here, and I had read Dan's post about the Shabbos issues the rooms face which are extensive, but the engineering crew was effectively a Shabbos-prep crew. We started to explain the issues and they started to explain to us everything they already knew about and set about getting the room ready - they were clearly already well versed in Shabbos proofing! Issues included motion sensors in the bathroom, the patio door has a sensor that cuts off the AC, and the front door they essentially just taped but it worked fine.

Shabbos was incredible and relaxing - I'll just leave it at that.

Sunday was our last day, we were leaving late in the evening - and it was my last chance for sunrise at Haleakala. I just couldn't pass it up. I tried convincing my wife to come, but I couldn't really make a good argument. I like taking pictures, I kind of wanted to see it but wasn't super gung-ho about it, and if she came that meant dragging the kids out of bed in the middle of the night, taking them on a winding road which risked making my kids roadsick, and exposing them to cruel temperatures - so yeah, that wasn't happening.

I set my alarm for some ungodly hour, and was out the door by 4:15AM (again, if you want to do this you'll probably have to valet park that night, otherwise your car will still be locked in the gate at the park). It takes about 1:30 hrs from the hotel, which would hopefully get me to the parking lot by 5:45 - a full hour before sunrise which was recommended. As you'll find out soon it still wasn't early enough, but it ended up being ok in the end, so you can be the judge.

Overall the drive was peaceful, and although I was riding solo it was nice. The first portion of the drive is relatively straightforward, but you turn at one point and it's essentially straight up on winding paths from there. All I can say is that it was a good thing it was dark, because if I could have seen the drop off immediately inches off the side of the road, I would have been a whole lot less comfortable going up. Another note about the drive, the last 45m or so there really isn't anywhere to pull over for a restroom, so don't drink too much on the ride there, I found this out the hard way.

Now everyone says it is absolutely FREEZING at the top, and to bring blankets and wear all your clothing at once. I did dress warmly, but I was there at a much milder time of year I guess, it was only about 45 F and there wasn't much wind. All-in-all with a sweatshirt and light jacket I was quite comfortable. I arrived at what I thought was the summit parking lot and was directed to park, and only realized after that the summit parking lot had already filled and I was actually in the lower parking lot. It honestly turned out fine, so I wouldn't sweat it if that happens to you, but if you absolutely need to be at the highest summit - then go earlier.

There's a nice little overlook point of the crater, and there really weren't so many people there yet so I didn't feel the need to rush and stake out a spot. Once I parked I saw a nice opportunity for a photo. Now I'm no pro - I'm at best a new new ameature, so it takes me a while to get the settings I want, I still don't usually get it to come out quite right, and it takes me forever to keep adjusting. Suffice it to say by the time I got close to the shot I wanted the viewing area was filled up.



Luckily I had read Something Fishy's TR and headed up to the gem that is White Hill. Only a few people we're up there and there was plenty of room for me to vent my frustration out on my camera for not being able to capture the shots I wanted. Either my foreground was underexposed or my skyline overexposed - I tried tons of different setting but just couldn't get it right - I didn't have a tripod so I don't know if that contributed, and I got a few shots, but overall the experience was super frustrating. I didn't have any ND filters or grads (just got now and haven't experimented yet). Anyway, if you don't have a lot of experience capturing sunrise / sunsets - I'd say try for a few minutes and otherwise just enjoy the show.

These shots are all mostly untouched. I may be able to improve them quite a bit in lightroom, but haven't had the time yet.














One hint I remembered was to take a moment or two to look around and behind you - things are beautiful there too.














I've read quite a bit about letdowns at Haleakala, and I think you need to be prepared for it. What makes the difference between a moment of awe and a moment of "I can't believe I woke up at X for this" is the clouds - if you have good cloud coverage it's apparently ethereal, if you don't have a good amount of clouds it's cool but not amazing - unfortunately I had the latter. It was still fun, and beautiful, but if I could go back in time would I do it again? Maybe. Would I do it again if I went back to Maui, almost definitely not.

After sunrise I hung around a little while, but didn't stay too long as I wanted to get back to enjoy breakfast with the family. I left a tick after 7:45 I think, and was back at the hotel by 9:15. The drive down is insane - you realize the sheer cliffs you were inches from coming up and had no idea, and the views are absolutely spectacular. I pulled over a couple of times just to stop and enjoy the view.




Back at the hotel, breakfast was great, and we had previously asked the front desk a few times over our stay about confirming late checkout (as we were diamond), so we stopped at the reception desk on our way back up to the room. We wanted to checkout at 4, hang around the hotel for a couple more hours maybe, and then be on our way, as our flight wasn't until 10PM. They informed us we'd have to be out of our room by 12pm. Needless to say I wasn't too happy, but my wife had dealt with it until now so I let her take a crack at it. I took the kids back up to the room, and two minutes later she came back. We still had to be out by 12, but we could move to a different room in the more western wing, and stay there as long as we wanted :) Was it annoying? Sure, but being able stay until 7/8pm was well worth it.

We switched rooms and relaxed for the rest of the day, snorkeling, swimming, chilling, and taking some family pictures out by the front lawn. The hotel grounds are really nice, and it's fun to just stroll around and take a peak.





As far as family photos, the Andaz offers a service but it's a small fortune outside the first picture, and there are other pro's around but we couldn't really find anyone who's style I liked that was available at a decent price, so we just went the timer and tripod route. It wasn't easy, but we got a few good shots. If I had more time it would have been worth it to get a pro though. We headed back to the hotel to finish packing, and put the kids down for a nap before the flight. Something of note about the Andaz, not all the rooms have bathtubs, and our temporary room didn't have one. It was fine for the few hours, but if you have young kids that could be important for a long stay.

Anywho we picked up our car, waved goodbye to the Andaz, and headed back to OGG. After dropping off the rental car, we made our way through the airport, and we were on our United flight headed to SFO. The flight was nothing special, but after watching the seat maps carefully and some strategic seating arrangement, I was able to net us an entire row on both sides of the aisle, which made things much more comfortable.

Well folks, that's all for now. Feel free to ask anything, I'd be happy to help if I can. Hope you've enjoyed the ride, we sure did. Overall an amazing trip, can't wait to go back to Hawaii and check out some of the other islands.

Next up will be MLE and Thailand, hopefully soon. 

Online Something Fishy

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2016, 09:50:00 AM »
So this morning, some random guy starts following me on Flickr. I have a look at his pictures... Andaz, Road to Hana, Haleakala. This has got to be a DDFer ;D.

Well well well ;D.

BTW the issue you had with te crater and the sky being too bright or too dark is a dynamic range issue - the camera's sensor could only record so many levels of darks and lights. You options are either grad NDs, HDR, or a sensor good enough to let you pull the detail back. Unfortunately, your D3300 is not one of these cameras. You could use Lightroom to bring the highlights doesn and/or the shadows up, but it may not look as good as you want.

Really nice pictures, even with all that. I especially love the island overlook shot, I regret not stopping along the way down.

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Offline benjie1305

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2016, 10:06:34 AM »
Once you mentioned that the pics were untouched I was amazed. Some stunning pics. I really need to learn and brush up big time on my photography before I start my trips..
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Offline sam28

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2016, 10:33:27 AM »
nice TR thanks.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2016, 11:58:21 AM »
Nice pictures and TR. Thanks for sharing!

Offline IsraelGuy

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2016, 11:49:19 AM »

So this morning, some random guy starts following me on Flickr. I have a look at his pictures... Andaz, Road to Hana, Haleakala. This has got to be a DDFer ;D.

Well well well ;D.
Yup, that was me  ;D I was looking at your Maui pics to see what settings you used, and figured I would subscribe for a possible sneak peak at the next trip.

BTW the issue you had with te crater and the sky being too bright or too dark is a dynamic range issue - the camera's sensor could only record so many levels of darks and lights. You options are either grad NDs, HDR, or a sensor good enough to let you pull the detail back. Unfortunately, your D3300 is not one of these cameras. You could use Lightroom to bring the highlights doesn and/or the shadows up, but it may not look as good as you want.

Really nice pictures, even with all that. I especially love the island overlook shot, I regret not stopping along the way down.

I knew the D3300 wasn't really cutting it. I stepped up to a 7200, but my understanding is that it's almost exactly the same sensor- so I guess we'll have to see. Couldn't really justify the jump to full frame unfortunately - maybe in a couple years...

I got some filters I'll experiment with next time, but then I didn't really even know they existed.

nice TR thanks.
Nice pictures and TR. Thanks for sharing!

My pleasure -glad you enjoyed!

Offline benjie1305

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Offline CS91

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Offline benjie1305

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2016, 07:24:33 PM »
Ugh. I just booked there.

You should be so busy with a full day of activities that you won't need more then a functioning bed. Which they provide.
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Offline CS91

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #30 on: March 13, 2016, 07:25:49 PM »
You should be so busy with a full day of activities that you won't need more then a functioning bed. Which they provide.
We still plan on spending some time at the hotel. We like a mix of activities and chilling.

Offline benjie1305

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #31 on: March 13, 2016, 07:27:03 PM »
We still plan on spending some time at the hotel. We like a mix of activities and chilling.

Well, not sure it'll be the same as PH Hadahaa.  :P
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Offline CS91

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2016, 07:27:38 PM »
Well, not sure it'll be the same as PH Hadahaa.  :P
Haha. I screwed myself, eh? Set the standards too high...

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2016, 07:30:14 PM »
Haha. I screwed myself, eh? Set the standards too high...

Starting at the pinnacle? Yeah, that'll do the job.
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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2016, 07:33:15 PM »
Starting at the pinnacle? Yeah, that'll do the job.
I realized on Shabbos when I bumped into my friend that it was the first time in over a week that someone called me by my first name (except DW, obviously).  ;D

Offline IsraelGuy

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2016, 07:43:23 PM »
http://viewfromthewing.boardingarea.com/2016/03/13/sad-decline-andaz-maui/?_ga=1.261522383.35426458.1457109100

This article just reminded me of this TR.

Wow- glad to see someone else felt the same way-it's a nice property-it's just closer to a cat 4 than 6 imo.

Haha. I screwed myself, eh? Set the standards too high...

My first stay was the Conrad Koh Samui, next trip was PH MLE - talk about screwed lol

But still excited for some of the other hotels out there-you just have to go in with a different perspective

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #36 on: March 13, 2016, 07:48:06 PM »
My first stay was the Conrad Koh Samui, next trip was PH MLE - talk about screwed lol

But still excited for some of the other hotels out there-you just have to go in with a different perspective
Haha wow. I'll be at CKS later in the year, but before then I have the Andaz Maui, Hyatt TST, Grand Hyatt Seoul, and Le Meridian CNX. Pretty sure I'm never gonna want to stay at anything below 5* again once this year is over lol.

But in all seriousness, of course. All about perspective.

Offline IsraelGuy

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #37 on: March 14, 2016, 02:23:21 AM »

Haha wow. I'll be at CKS later in the year, but before then I have the Andaz Maui, Hyatt TST, Grand Hyatt Seoul, and Le Meridian CNX. Pretty sure I'm never gonna want to stay at anything below 5* again once this year is over lol.

But in all seriousness, of course. All about perspective.

Wow- you're quite busy! When's the next trip

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #38 on: March 14, 2016, 07:01:15 AM »
Wow- you're quite busy! When's the next trip
Maui in 51 days.

Offline IsraelGuy

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Re: IsraelGuy's quick jaunt to Maui
« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2016, 11:12:36 AM »