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Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Hawaii Photo Retreat Based?

We are based in Volcano Village on the Big Island of Hawaii. We are 27 miles from Hilo on Highway 11 and about 100 miles from Kailua Kona. The elevation is 3700 feet. Volcano Village is in a unique upland rainforest adjacent to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a United Nations designated biosphere reserve containing the most active volcano in the world. This area also features desert, dramatic coast line, and lush rainforests.


The Village itself is quite small, with a population of 2,400, a couple of restaurants, a couple of small stores and fine art galleries. The major industries here are art, science and tourism.

What is the closest airport?

Hilo International Airport is approximately 28 miles from Volcano Village. Kona International Airport is approximately 115 miles from Volcano. We will send you detailed maps showing the way to get here upon confirmation of registration.

Where will we go?

The Big Island is one of the most ecologically diverse environments on earth. Within its 93 mile by 76 mile landmass there are beaches, rainforests, waterfalls, vast deserts, rolling grasslands, two mountains over 13,000 feet and an active volcano. During your photo tour you will have the opportunity to photograph in many of these areas. Weather here is variable so we maintain a flexible schedule to take advantage of constantly changing conditions.


With many kinds of climate, forest and tropical beauty we are certain this will be a photographic adventure you won’t soon forget!

What kind of weather is expected?

You should be prepared for rain, sun, heat and cold. The weather changes throughout the day. The island is roughly divided into a wet side and a dry side. Temperature varies with the altitude. Coastal daytime temperatures are generally in the low 80’s. Daytime temperatures in Volcano, which is at 3,700 ft. range from 65-75 degrees.


In the Volcano rainforest area there are frequent rains interspersed with glorious blue skies. Ten minutes drive from Volcano is the Kau Desert where rain is infrequent. A sunrise shoot at the Kilauea crater rim generally requires sweatshirt, long pants, and a rain jacket. In the coastal areas you will want to be in shorts, cotton shirt and sandals.

What shall I bring with me?

  1. Camera, lenses and camera bag or backpack
  2. Tripod
  3. Film or Memory cards
  4. Camera batteries and charger
  5. Polarizing Filter
  6. Camera Manual
  7. Optional – Laptop with photo editing software
  8. Lens and camera cleaning materials
  9. Camera “raincoat” to keep gear dry
  10. Closed toed hiking shoes (required gear for hiking on lava fields)
  11. Sandals
  12. Shorts
  13. Light weight rain jacket
  14. Sunscreen and mosquito repellent
  15. Long sleeve cotton shirt
  16. Light weight cotton pants
  17. Hat
  18. Flashlight
  19. Water bottle

What about transportation on the island?

Each participant is responsible for his or her own transportation. Rental cars are available at both the Hilo and Kona airports. We strongly suggest that you make a car reservation in advance of arrival.

Will I be able to purchase photographic supplies on the island?

Supplies here are limited and not close by. It is best to bring whatever items you think you will need.

How strenuous will the hiking be?

Most of our outings could be described as leisurely. Some locations may require a one-mile or so hike in. The most taxing thing can be occasional extremes of weather, hot and dry or cold and wet. Coming prepared with proper clothing, sunscreen and plenty of water will go a long way to keep you comfortable.

Are there medical facilities nearby?

The nearest emergency care is in Hilo, thirty miles away. Bring whatever medicines or special equipment you think you might need.

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