Aloha Maui

We say Aloha to Maui, and Aloha to Vancouver.

It’s hard to have a website called Maui Photo Pro and not live there, but I think I’ll hang on to it for awhile. Maui will always have a place in our hearts and I’ve got images that I haven’t even edited yet.  Before we left, I finally got the family out to the beach for a portrait. Gives me a new perspective on what families go through to get a portrait taken.

My family.

Getting my own family to pose for a portrait is hard work.

We packed up our stuff, went to Hana for a few days and then came back to Kihei to relax before our trip. Our friends really came through for us in the end as we shipped our car to Seattle and checked-in for the flight. We are thankful and appreciative for their help.

Our next stop was the Vancouver airport. Everything went smoothly even with 9 checked bags. I will post a couple more times on this site, and give you all the URL of my new site. New explorations to follow. Mahalo.

Vancouver BC welcome.

Welcoming visitors to Vancouver BC.

Maui Photo Pro
160 Keonekai Rd. 15-204 KiheiHI96753 USA 
 • 808-280-9701

A Few Faves from 2013

A Few Faves from 2013

Looking back through some of my portrait sessions, looking for the “different” images, the ones that just happen and can’t be called up every session.  Usually they come after the posing is finished. I’m not the director, only the recorder.  It’s become quite common now to ask for a candid session, but it’s uncommon for someone to actually do something that rates a photograph. Here are some that did.

Oh Daddy.

A father-daughter moment.

The mother was young and pretty, the daughter was cute as could be, but it was the father’s face that drew my attention in this photo. His daughter’s arms wrapped around his neck, his face upward, strong and protective.

The Elopers

A Russian couple celebrates their marriage.

This was the first shot of the session. All I said was “hold hands and walk down the beach.” Off she went dragging him behind her. They were from Russia and there was a bit of a language barrier, but the session was memorable for the wind, rain and their smiles.

Cousins at play.

Personality shines through.

I ask people to jump all the time. It reveals a lot of personality. Even when people decline, it tells me something. I asked these girls just to hold hands and they wouldn’t stop jumping. There was one boy, but he didn’t want to do it, so I cropped him out.

Joy and Appreciation

Teenager reacts to the moment.

Teenagers can be tough. I’m reasonably cool and I level with them “If you do a good job this time, you won’t have to do it again for a couple years.” That usually gets me through the session. This girl was an only child. Her folks were well-off hippies. She gave me a lot of different looks.

Watching you watching me.

The youngest sister stares back.

There’s one in nearly every family. One that shines. Gets the looks and the personality.  This little girl was the one. I wish her a happy life.

So, a few faves to close out the past year. Wishing you all a happy 2014.

New Year, New Attitude.

new year, new attitude panoNew Year, New Attitude

2014 is here and with a new year, new attitude.  I’ll be thinking about 2013 until about March, that’s when I stop writing 2013 on my checks and deposits. Where does the time go? I’m resolved to getting more done this year. More blogging, more organization and more fitness. These are my standard three, but I’ve added a fourth, more study.

At the end of September, our old computer died, taking with it Photoshop CS2. I had all of my photos backed up elsewhere so there was no crying. The loss of CS2, which was un-upgradable meant the time had come for Creative Cloud from Adobe. Instead of shelling out 700 bucks for the box, I got a reasonable 20-dollar a month subscription. It upgrades itself, mostly to keep up with camera hardware. The first couple of edits brought some foul language on my part, when I realized that my favorite actions were unavailable. I bought a thick magazine and a thicker book and started reading. Now there’s less foul language, in fact, I’m getting a certain joy out of relearning Photoshop and looking at the camera differently.

I belong to a camera club, where the members thrill over the latest specs and gadgets. I am a professional and have a motto like Charles from MASH. “I do one thing. I learn to do it very well. Then I move on.” Well, if you stick to your motto, then you have a lot of moving on to do. So, now I’m learning to do many things very well, and then I moving on to the next “list of things” to learn to do well.

So, new year, new attitude. New work.

One of the new looks in photography is HDR. An HDR image is like a sandwich, with multiple layers. A light image, a normal image and a dark image are sandwiched together to form a super-image, which has detail in the shadows, the mid tones and highlights. Choosing how the images are combined gives us a sort of 3D, 2 dimensional image.

true sunset new year new attitude


A normal sunset, where the photographer must choose between the highlights and shadows.

HDR Sunset new year new attitude


An HDR sunset, which keeps the colorful highlights, but allows us to see into the shadows as well.

With landscapes, the moving elements can be controlled to a certain extent. Your tripod allows the three (or more) images to be placed over each other with precise accuracy. With people, the problem is movement. It’s nearly impossible for a human to remain still from one shot to the next.

Enter the “Tone Map.” The tone map filter gives us the look of HDR without numerous images. Now, we can have the HDR look and not have to worry about multiple exposures.

new year new attitude 2

My typical photo edit.

new year new attitude 3

After editing, adding HDR look.

The top image is my normal edit. A little vignette around the subject, a little eye and teeth brightening and blemish removal. The bottom image is tone-mapped to get a more 3D illustrative look. These tone-mapped images were created using Nik Collection filters.

The Nik Collection also offers a series of black and white filters. These emulate real darkroom processes and new digital processing. Any color digital image can be black and white, but the results from these are stunning.

Silver Image


An HDR plus gorgeous black and white.

black and white version 1


A sepia-toned blast from the past. The toning process has no chemical smell either!

I’ve never been one to stick with a particular style. I like exploring new looks. For years I liked the combination of strong color and sepia or brown-toned black and white. I felt it lent itself to Maui. Like any filter, they are best applied to a few shots, not the whole shoot. I don’t think people want a whole album of HDR pictures. But there are certain images on a shoot that lend themselves to a particular look. For them, it’s HDR!

Looking HDR new year new attitude

Thirty Seconds of Maui.

Thirty Seconds of Maui.

Thirty Seconds of Maui. Part 1 Sunset and waves. Shot at Ulua Beach. Designed for that mind-trip, daydream, when you still have 3 hours of work left. Take a deep breath and a short vacation and watch the video. Happy Holidays.

Thirty seconds of Maui

Still from the Thirty Seconds of Maui video.

To view the video, click on the link. Ulua Sunset from Chris Kompst on Vimeo.


Dawning of the Day

Dawning of the day.

Big Beach in the very early morning.

Dawning of the day at Big Beach.

The dawning of the day, brings memories of the Bonnie Raitt song. Seems unfair that someone should be born with such a voice, talent and looks. Me, I’ve got to get by on just my looks. Just kidding, there’s a reason most photographers stay behind the lens.

My son Zach has taken up photography quietly. I say quietly, because he wants to get good before he tells anyone that he does it. The trend in photography these days is more of the “fake it til you make it” variety.  So, it’s with more than a little pride and joy that I teach him what I know. The kid has the desire. I know this because getting him up for school is a long, irritating process. Before photography, the only thing he would get up early for was body-boarding. He rises early to take photos.

The dawning of the day, saw me perched on the cliff between Big Beach and Little Beach, with the GoPro set for time-lapse and the telephoto set on a tripod. The day brightens before you see the sun. That’s when I captured the photo above. It has sort of an abstract line of crescents running through it filled with slight color.

Meanwhile, Zach is running around taking picture after picture, trying to figure out exposure, composition and camera shake. The waves were not large, for Big Beach. They were uncountable, unpredictable and beautiful. The GoPro was working hard as well, clicking away at a frame per second, until the card filled up. One of the things I admire in business is Marketing. GoPro has it in spades, like the iPhone. They didn’t come out of nowhere, but they unleashed a self-promoting beast of guerrilla-marketing, propelled by Red-Bull and thrill seekers. This ain’t my first time-lapse, but I was pretty pleased with the results. The resulting video, A Big Beach Sunrise turned out better than previous efforts and I’m proud of it.

Zach’s photos are getting better, didn’t drop the camera in the water and when he’s ready to announce his gallery show, you’ll be the first to know.
Happy Trails.

GoPro Century

GoPro has taken the photography world by storm.

GoPro wave.

Blue-Green Big Beach Wave captured with GoPro.

A century ago, the landscape photographer lugged his gear up the face of the cliff in Yosemite, set up the camera and checked everything that could be checked, then exposed a couple of plates. One of these was the back-up, in case something happened to the original. A lot of thought went into each image. Folio. Wall Images. Art.

GoPro portrait.

Matt and Sabrina getting wet at Big Beach.

60 years ago, the 35mm camera introduced a new style, candid. While laughed at by the large-format crowd, these photographers were bringing back more images, which put together told a story. The photo-essay, Life magazine and speedy exposures. Still a lot of thought went into the planning of these sessions. Articles. Action. Grain.

GoPro landscape

The wave-action from below, one of the keys to GoPro’s success.

We come into the new century with digital leading the way. Infinity rules. Shotgun weddings with thousands of images. Quality exceeds 35mm. More mega-pixels. Much less thought goes into the images, but much more doing. First-person view of the first person. The “selfie.” I’ll shoot you with my phone or camera. So now the photographer climbs the cliff, his GoPro strapped and clicking away. Each hand-hold is recorded. He reaches the top, does a 360 and then hang-glides back down. Instagram. Facebook. Fisheye.

The size is small, photo or video. Weather-proof. Water-proof. Shock-resistant. Red Bull prop. Start it up and let it go. Get on the horse and ride. Climb the mountain. Snowboard the powder. Anyone can do it.

Give a photographer new tools and the results are immediate. We artists like to play, experiment and share information. We copy. We steal incessantly. We change with the times, or we cease to exist.

Hopefully, we still think.



Keep it simple stupid.

Sometimes, we confuse complexity with worth. Like a painter, a photographer must ask himself if any additions are necessary.  Often, the simpler we make something, the better. We don’t don’t need more lighting or more editing. We need simplicity.

Have a great weekend.

Keep It Simple Stupid.

Keep It Simple Stupid.

Hana, the cure for nearly everything.

Hana, the cure for nearly everything.

Wave upon wave at Hamoa.

Wave upon wave.

There’s something about Hana that cures nearly everything. The journey there is always memorable. The winding road, the trees, leaves, rain and waves always seem to fill us spiritually. A sunrise there is heaven. Catching a wave at Hamoa is marvelous. The views from the Pipiwai Trail top us off for another week, month or year of work. Got a broken heart, you’re probably not going to run into your ex here. Pack it in, pack it out. Or, bring it empty and leave with it full.

I found myself with 4 days off and Zach was free for two. He drove most of the way out, since he’s eager to get his license. We set up the tent, but forgot to shut the windows. A serious downpour, but it’s only water. We’re only human. Things will dry out and work out if we’re patient.

Hana campsite

All the comforts of home in Hana.

What course have we set for ourselves in life. I don’t know, but we aren’t hitting the reef at the moment.  Perhaps we need to change course, but lets do it slowly, the course we’re on is comfortable.  Let’s check out Hamoa, have a sandwich and then we’ll decide.  Sure enough, that crystal clear ocean is just what we need even though the waves aren’t large.  Perhaps I’ll sit in the shade and read. Are those Manta Rays in the wave.

Leaves are a symbol of Hana to me. Hana is built on plenty of water and good mulch. Leaf upon leaf. The forest is complete. Decomposing and recomposing, countless lives of leaves has done their job.

This is apparent in the Pipiwai trail hike we undertake in the rain. So damp, I left my camera in the car trunk and took only my phone in the Ottercase.  Good enough for this light. Bamboo, the weed that never quits. It bends and snaps back in the rain and wind. We are soaked, but keep walking. Hana needs the water as the grass is dry, for Hana. Up and back in the space of 3 hours. Plenty of people on the trail but plenty of quiet as well.

The second night was drier than the first, we have learned to close the windows. Waking at 5:30, we head over to Koki Beach and are greated by the sun. Morning Glory.

Koki Beach

Koki beach sunrise.

Son of a son of a sailor.

A sailbot comes into view off the Kapalua coast.

A sailboat comes into view off the Kapalua coast.

Young Jim jumped to his feet and bounded towards the water. “A sail, a sail. We’re going to be rescued!” he cried, much to the astonishment of the other Ritz-Carlton guests.