The Grandeur of the Royal Hawaiian

Royal Hawaiian, Lower Lobby

Royal Hawaiian, Lower Lobby – Honolulu, Hawaii

Royal Hawaiian Coronet Lounge

Royal Hawaiian Coronet Lounge – Honolulu, Hawaii

Back two years ago when I visited Waikiki, I noticed that the Royal Hawaiian hotel was under renovation. The hotel has a very distinctive pink exterior and during that trip it was covered with scaffolding. I was back in Waikiki this past summer and luckily the hotel was now open for business. The hotel completed a major renovation and I wanted to get some photographs of the grand, redone interior.

I woke up early to take some morning images of Waikiki Beach — during the nice, early morning light and before the crowds arrive. [Here is blog post about my early morning beach photography] Afterward I headed into the Royal Hawaiian to see if I can get some images. It was still early in the morning so the hotel was nice and quiet with one person cleaning the floors and a guest enjoying a book by the lounge.

The two photos are actually two views of the same long room that forms the lower lobby. The first image if of the center part of the room. The arches to the right open up into a large veranda that looks out to a green space and Waikiki Beach. The second image is of a lounge area that is to the right of the opening. The hotel is very large with many other areas. Someday, if I return to Hawaii, I would love to photograph the other areas of the hotel.

[View my entire Hawaii Photography Gallery]

My Thought Process

I wanted to capture the richly detailed tropical interiors. In the first image, the polished black floors reflected the light beautifully — both the reddish interior light and the more bluish exterior light. I angled the composition to capture the lush exterior view but also the beauty of the interior space. I used HDR (High Dynamic Range) techniques to capture the full spectrum of light and dark.

I wanted to take symmetrical view in the second image since the room is nearly symmetrical, especially the furniture placement as well as the artwork hanging on the far wall. The is a large space however the super-wide angle also exaggerates the distance from near to far. This image was also taken using HDR, to add a touch more detail in the brightest areas.

Image Details

The images were taken with a Canon 7D with the Sigma 10-20 lens on a tripod. I made 3 18MP JPEG images of each scene for later HDR blending, which I did with a software called Photomatix. I did additional layer blending in Pixelmator. My final sharping and color adjustments were done with Aperture 3.

Image 1: f13, 3 exposures, -2, 0, +2 exposure compensation, ISO 100 at 10mm
Image 2: f13, 3 exposures, -2, 0, +2 exposure compensation, ISO 100 at 10mm


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