Develop your visual style in one of the most beautiful settings on earth

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©Elizabeth Greenberg

Meg Weston has spent over 30 years photographing Hawaii’s volcanic landscape and written about the geological forces that shaped this earth.  Elizabeth Greenberg has captured the essence of  these islands in her photography.  Together they will lead your journey, incorporating daily excursions focused on image-making, writing, reflection and the creative process.

The Kilauea Volcano has been almost continuously active since 1983, and activity in early 2014 threatened the village of Pahoa.  We don’t know what will be happening in 2019, but we know that the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele will have something to show us.  Our venues on the Big Island are planned to include these volcanic landscapes, along with dramatic ocean shorefronts, tidal pools, rainforest gardens, and Polynesian culture: sacred Hawaiian sites, hula dancers, and ukulele music.  You will find daily inspirations to develop your own personal story.

Hawaiian culture is rich with folklore and myths that relate the natural elements to tales of their gods.  These tales speak of love, birth and death, passion, and betrayal – throughout the week we’ll work with these myths and folklore as our inspirations, exploring themes of memory and imagination using the landscape and Hawaiian culture as metaphor for developing your own personal myths and stories in words and images.

Tuition includes instruction, first and last night dinner, travel on the island (the group will be traveling together in vans, however students may opt to rent their own cars – if so, the rental costs are not included.)


This is an ideal workshop to bring along a spouse, son or daughter or partner. If you are bringing a companion you may want to consider renting your own vehicle for your companion’s convenience during class, reviews, and some field trips Non-photographic companions may join the group sessions and meals but are not involved in the critique or review sessions. Companion supplement is $295.


Accommodations are not included. Meg & Elizabeth will be staying  at the Dolphin Bay Hotel, a short walk from downtown Hilo and suggest that students book there as well..  All units have full kitchens, TVs and WIFI. Coffee/tea are available each morning at 5am, followed by pastries at 6:30am and fresh fruit all day.  The grounds around the hotel are beautifully landscaped with exotic orchids, plumeria, wild ginger, bird of paradise, palm trees and native Hawaiian ferns. There are several paths behind the hotel that lead to a jungle garden.  MMW+C has rooms reserved here for our students to book for a Saturday arrival and Saturday departure.  You must book directly with Dolphin Bay to secure your room and mention that you are one of our group. February is the most popular month to visit Hawaii, so please book your room by October 15 to assure your room in Hilo.

Nearby as well, is the Castle Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

©Meg Weston
Highlights of the trip:
  • Experiencing the Aloha spirit of real Hawaii
  • Discovering distinctive tropical flowers in oceanfront garden settings
  • Photographing the glow of Halemaumau Crater at night
  • Exploring active volcanic landscapes with steaming fumeroles
  • Listening to live Hawaiian music
  • Dining on the edge of an active crater at the Volcano House hotel
  • Writing from daily prompts and learning to “talk story” Hawaiian style
What you will learn:
  • How to photograph at night and in low – light situations
  • Photographing people in the landscape
  • Creative camera settings to capture unique personal interpretation of the landscape
  • History of the Hawaiian lands and their rich cultural myths
  • Bringing writing to life by developing imagery, senses and scenes


**With the 2018 eruption, there are many changes and disruptions in the Hawaiian landscape.  Roads have been closed, the Jagger Museum is now permanently closed, and as of this summer the park roads are closed. We will see what the situation is as we get close in February, and make adjustments to the daily itinerary. It will not be the same as past years!
Excursions to Halemaumau Crater, or the Pahoa area and Puna district will be re-routed.
The newness of the earth, the changes in the land, is part of the attraction of this island.  We will plan our photographic journeys out to keep everyone safe and to see the wonders of this part of the earth. **



(Note: so that we are sure to visit spectacular locations with the best possible light, the schedule of daily field trips is subject to change due to varying weather conditions)


  • We will meet as a group in Hilo for an Aloha dinner at a local restaurant. At the welcome dinner we will begin the workshop with the Hawaiian
  • tradition of talk story, known in Hawaii as mo’olelo, the tradition of personally sharing important stories as we get to know one another.  The first assignment is for each participant to select 6 images to share with the group on Monday morning.


  • Early morning risers will enjoy exploring the hotel grounds or taking a walk into downtown Hilo.  We will meet after breakfast and begin with individual introductions and image-sharing. Meg and Elizabeth will present a slideshow to get everyone considering the elements of a good picture and to start thinking about seeing creatively.  There will also be a brief review to ensure that everyone is familiar with their basic camera functions.
  • Lunch will be in Hilo.
  • From Hilo, we will head just south of the downtown area to the Richardson Beach and Lehia park.  This enchanted location includes several inlets, coves, natural ponds, and tidepools in the lava rocks. It is the only beach in the Hilo area with black sand. Here we will explore ideas of the figure in the landscape, including making portraits, self -portraits, using figures to add dimension to our photographs. After an afternoon of photographing, the group will return to Hilo for dinner.  Everyone is on their own for dinner and may choose from a variety of restaurants in downtown Hilo.


  • Before heading out for the day’s adventures, we will meet for  a presentation on using the camera and the creative options for time exposures, the effects of stopping and blurring motion, and depth of field.  The daily assignment will be related to our planned photographic locations.
  • After the morning session, we will head out to Volcano National Park. Hawaiian’s believe that the Halemaumau Crater at Kīlauea volcano  is home to the goddess Pele, regarded for her power, passion and control of lava flows. Our first stop in the park will be the steam vents at the summit of Kīlauea volcano, followed by lunch at one of the quaint restaurants in Volcano Village.
  • The afternoon will be spent in the park, exploring the Chain of Craters road, which descends 3,700 feet in 20 miles winding through powerful and exotic lava fields, ending at magnificent cliffs overlooking the ocean.
  • Prior to the evening photo session there will be a demo on how to photograph at night with long exposures.  A tripod and cable release will be needed for those wishing to photograph at night.
  • We will return up the Chain of Crater road, and head to the Jaggar Museum and Observatory to photograph at sunset and capture the crater glow as darkness sets in.  We’ll wrap up the day with dinner at the Volcano House restaurant overlooking the crater.


  • We will head out early, picking up a light breakfast on the road.  If there are active lava flows to the ocean, the plan will be for an early morning boat ride or hike to the lava flow.  The day will be spent exploring the Kalapana lava fields, the painted church, fish- ponds, Lava Trees State Park and perhaps even a swim in the Ahalanui Hot Pond before heading to Uncle Robert’s Awa Bar and Famer’s Market, where we’ll listen to live music and enjoy a variety of foods made by locals.


  • The morning will begin informally with time for everyone to download images from the previous day’s excursions and spend some time journaling.  We will talk about light and review creative camera functions. When we set out, we’ll head to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, located several miles north of Hilo and the Hamakua Coast’s 4 Mile Scenic Drive.
  • We will continue up the Hamakua coast towards the small town of Honokaa, stopping in the historic downtown district for lunch.  As we head south on the Belt Highway we will stop at the hauntingly beautiful beach of Laupahoehoe. We’ll photograph until dusk, then make our way back to Hilo where everyone is on their own for dinner.


  • ©Elizabeth Greenberg

    This morning we will meet in the classroom.  Meg and Elizabeth will meet individually with participants to review and select images for a final slideshow of the week’s work.  Everyone will have some time to write a short story, myth or poem to go with their images.

  • For lunch, we will head into Hilo and explore the Farmer’s Market. In the early afternoon we will head over to the nearby Liliuokalani Gardens and Coconut Island for our final photography session.
  • We will meet late afternoon for wine and pupus and a slideshow of the week’s work.  The final group dinner and celebration will be at a restaurant in Hilo.


  • We will meet for an informal breakfast and final farewells.
What to bring / How to prepare:

We will be using digital cameras (only) for this workshop.  Students may work with high-end point – and – shoot cameras, but should bring a camera that allows for completely manual control.  Students are also encouraged to bring their own laptop and external hard drives for editing and backing up their work. Participants do need to be comfortable with their digital workflow and able to download their own images and prepare them for sharing with the group.  Meg and Elizabeth will be available to meet with participants daily.

Since we will be photographing at night, you will want to bring a tripod and cable release.

The weather in Hawaii is nearly idyllic and should be warm while we are there. However, when we are up in Volcano National Park, the temperature can vary greatly from the crater, to the coast so participants will want to have extra layers for warmth.  Hiking shoes, a rain jacket and a hat are also recommended.

Below: Photographs by Elizabeth Greenberg

Terms and Conditions for Travel Workshops

1. Reservations & Payments

  • A deposit as indicated on the registration page is required to confirm your reservation for the workshop.  Final payment in full is due 45 days prior  to the start date of  your workshop unless stated differently in the course description..  Maine Media Workshops + College (“Maine Media”) reserves the right to cancel a reservation if full payment has not been received by the due date.

2. Cancellations

3. Basis of Rates

  • All prices are quoted in U.S. dollars; all payments must be made in U.S. dollars.

4. Insurance

  • It is strongly advised that you purchase Trip Cancellation, Baggage, Emergency Medical Evacuation, and/or Accident and Sickness Insurance Protection. Camera equipment, computers, and baggage are carried entirely at the owner’s risk. Maine Media shall have no responsibility for any lost, damaged, or delayed property, or for an individual student’s medical needs, accidents, injuries or illnesses. You can find our travel insurance recommendations here.

5. Itinerary Changes

  • The itinerary for your workshop is subject to change without prior notification.

6.  Passports and Visas

  • A valid passport is required for all international travel. You are required to notify Maine Media as to the nationality under which your passport is registered.  Participants are responsible for obtaining their passports and visas. To participate in the workshop, you must have a passport that is valid until at least six months after the date on which your trip is scheduled to be completed.

7. Medical Issues

  • All participants must be in good health.   You must advise Maine Media of any health condition, physical condition, or emotional or mental condition that may require special attention or that may adversely impact the other participants in your workshop. All students are required to complete a “Waiver of Liability” form and submit it at the time of registration.  This document may be found on the course description page.

8. Liability Waiver

  • Every participant is required to sign Maine Media’s Waiver of Liability before departure for their workshop.   Click here to download.

9. Responsibility & Photography

  • To ensure a safe  experience, you are required to obey local customs and be considerate when photographing people or sensitive locations.  The faculty member for your workshop has the right to expel any person from the workshop for behavior that is in violation of the law; that is disruptive; or that compromises the group’s safety or enjoyment.  No refunds will be made to any person expelled from a workshop. Maine Media shall have no obligation to pay any costs incurred by a person as a result of that person being expelled from a workshop.

Header Image Credit: Elizabeth Greenberg

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Instructor: Meg Weston

Meg Weston earned her MFA degree in Creative Writing at Lesley University in 2008. Her memoir, The Volcano Tourist, follows her geologic journey as she pursues a passion that’s been with her since childhood. As President and core faculty of MMW+C, she mentors students in their creative writing projects, and is trained in the Amherst Writers and Artists method for facilitating writing groups.

Instructor: Elizabeth Greenberg

Elizabeth Greenberg is an artist and educator living on the coast of Maine. She is an explorer of places and memories of that which has never been seen. Elizabeth’s passion for photography is her guide for living a life and career immersed in a daily conversation about looking at and making pictures. She is Provost at MMW + C and teaches in all programs at Maine Media, including a workshop in Hawaii.