Photo Essay: The Royal Hawaiian in Morning Light

Blue Vase, Royal Hawaiian - Honolulu, Hawaii

Blue Vase, Royal Hawaiian – Honolulu, Hawaii

There are two grand old hotels in Waikiki. The Moana Surfrider which is the oldest built in 1901, and this one, the Royal Hawaiian built in 1927. They are both beautiful but the Royal Hawaiian is more ambitious with generous hallways and spacious porches. Its unique exterior has earned it the nickname “Pink Palace of the Pacific”.

Morning Light, Royal Hawaiian - Honolulu, Hawaii
Comfortable Green Chairs, Royal Hawaiian - Honolulu, Hawaii

As part of my early morning photo walk, I shot with the Olympus E-PM2 on tripod and created atypical black and whites. I also used the Fujifilm X100S to shoot these handheld images of the Royal Hawaiian in the early morning light. The place was understandably quiet at 6:45am. I had fun documenting the gracious spender, a remnant of a bygone era.

Facing the Jungle, Royal Hawaiian - Honolulu, Hawaii
Left Variety, Royal Hawaiian - Honolulu, Hawaii

You can tell from the architecture that there is a seamless blending of inside and out. The temperate Hawaiian climate makes this easy and desirable. You don’t see designs like this in Austin. The occasionally chilly but mostly hot weather necessitates a strong defensive barrier from the elements.

Pink Archway, Royal Hawaiian - Honolulu, Hawaii
Textured Facade, Royal Hawaiian - Honolulu, Hawaii

This outside-in design is not confined to the Royal Hawaiian. Even the modern towers throughout Waikiki share this trait. But you can imagine that many of the post-war minimalist designs don’t have the same level of character or detailing. And no other building dares to be this bold, color wise. White is the usual color which makes this pink structure unique.

Grand Lobby, Royal Hawaiian - Honolulu, Hawaii

I shot some really nice wide-angle interior HDRs of this place back 4 years ago. I opted this time to do more freeform shooting. Different cameras and focal lengths encourage me to experiment. I find the 35mm equivalent on the X100S easy to work with, and prefer it over the classic 50mm. The extra width gives me more room to tell a story by capturing more of the environment. But unlike a super wide-angle. the 35 still pulls in details without exaggeration.

A Hallway to the Outside, Royal Hawaiian - Honolulu, Hawaii
Small Car at the Grand Entrance, Royal Hawaiian - Honolulu, Hawaii

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