Flowers & Falls
The vegetation and waterfalls are right up there with the beaches with you think of quintessential Hawaii. I was lucky enough to be able to photograph waterfalls from both the land and from a helicopter. While the aerial view was different, sticking a 70-200mm lens out of a helicopter with no doors is not as easy as one would think. There is a lot of wind and rotor wash to deal with that causes framing a shot, and holding it steady, quite challenging. So all in all I would recommend hiking to a falls in the future. That approach would allow for a more thought out and thorough approach to creating a photo from a waterfall scene.
My favorite fall was Akaka falls. There is a reason it is the most popular. It is very accessible, via a concrete walking path that is less than a mile long. And it is very tall. This combination makes it very alluring. I also enjoyed rainbow falls and the triple decker falls in the botanical garden, but Akaka falls is something special.
For flowers and plants it is difficult to beat the botanical garden that is near Hilo. It is a great, albeit hilly, walk through the garden; but it is well worth the time and money.
If I had it to do all over again I would devote more time to waterfalls. Being able to hike to some of the more remote sites would be something truly unique and fun. But again, there is always so much to see and so little time.
From a photography perspective, one thing that shouldn't be overlooked is having a tripod for taking photos of flowers. The red ginger in the below slide show is a perfect example. It was a still day so I could have shrunk the aperture, but then my shutter speed would have been too slow for the photo to be hand held (unless I wanted to pump up the ISO). That being said, I should've brought my tripod!
Enjoy the below photos, there are more where that came from so if you have any requests or questions please let me know