Besides coming home from Hawaii with a tan, you'll want great photos too. Here are six spots where you can find different and distinctive kinds of Hawaiian backdrops, courtesy of a noted Hawaii photographer.
Aubrey Hord is known for her portraits of such celebrities as Elton John, John Legend and Bruno Mars, but her bread-and-butter work is wedding photography. She has photographed newlyweds against some of the islands' most sumptuous backdrops, many of them off the beaten path.
No marriage license required, of course, to avail yourself of these photographic opportunities. Among her choices for stunning settings
Garden of the Gods on less-visited Lanai. It's a favorite of Hord's.
"It's like walking on the surface of another planet," she said in an email. Lanai, the sixth-largest Hawaiian island and known for its rocky terrain and the bright red of its iron-oxide-rich soil, was once a huge pineapple plantation.
"The forest lulls you into complacency with the soft clattering of bamboo," she said. "At the top of the trail there is a waterfall cascading down the crescent cliff."
Koki Beach, south of Hana in east Maui. This is a favorite for Hord and just-married couples.
"It features a vibrant red iron-oxide-rich, exposed cliff at one end which provides a great backdrop," she said.
Other places Hord suggests:
--Hanalei Bay on Kauai's North Shore, part of which served as the stand-in for Bali Hai in the movie "South Pacific."
--Maui's Baldwin Beach, a long, sandy crescent about two miles from the town of Paia.
--Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island
"The entire national park is fascinating as we watch new land being created right in front of us," she said.
Hord was recently designated a Certified Professional Photographer by the Professional Photographers of America after a two-year course of study that culminated in what she described as a "grueling" exam.