Aloha Festival 2018 – Definitely Not As Hot As Last Year

Hello all,

Welcome back to my annual series posts. This time it’s for the Aloha Festival located in Tempe, AZ. For those not versed in Arizona cities, this city is located right next to Phoenix, AZ.

As mentioned, the Aloha Festival is an annual event. This year the event was hosted on March 10th and March 11th.

As advertised on its website, it is a free family event.

I highly encourage you to check out their actual site:

I would like to highlight the fact that they keep this festival free. The organizers mention on their website that they keep it free by, “competing for grants and gifts by writing proposals”.

I am personally glad that they keep this festival free for everyone to enjoy. It just falls in line with the Hawaiian belief that anyone and everyone is always welcome to the culture.

From the organizer’s perspective, I can see why you would need to charge money to keep the festival ongoing. If you aren’t making anything, then it’s difficult to justify keeping yourself open for business.

I manage MediaSmith, so I completely understand that sometimes we just can’t give things away for free.

With that said, from a personal perspective – from the perspective of someone who values their time and money – it’s difficult to find myself wanting to pay to get into festivals such as food truck festivals.

So, I hope the Aloha Festival remains free for the course of its existence.

It has always been my hope that cultural events/festivals like this get bigger for all cultures.

The Equipment

Now, the “real” reason you are here is to read about some photography and look at some pictures.

I brought the same setup I brought to the Matsuri Festival:

·         Canon T3i

·         Canon 6d

·         Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L-lens

·         Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 lens

Well, I hate to say this, but I am still incredibly underwhelmed with my 6D.

I am so underwhelmed by the 6D that I’ve seriously started to consider getting a 5D Mark IV so that the 5D Mark III could be my street photography camera.

Despite that, I need to give the 6D more time. So, I plan to take it with me to some professional gigs that I’ve got going on in April.

I completely understand that the 6D is almost a six-year-old camera body.

But, even with that in mind, I expected it to trounce my T3i.

However, at the moment, I am thoroughly enjoying my T3i much more than I am the 6D.

There were times with the Canon 6D that I felt like I was under exposed when I really should not have been.

Essentially, I would have a shutter speed of 1/250 and an ISO of 200 (f-stop 2.8), but it’d be severely under exposed in brought daylight.

Usually when I run these settings with the T3i or the 5D Mark III, I have to bump the f-stop up because I still run into overexposing problems.

I’m exaggerating those settings a tad, but it still drives home my point – there are times where I have to bump up my ISO when I don’t think I really needed to on either the T3i or 5D Mark III.

This presents a problem for myself because I, like most professionals, pick the f-stop, shutter speed, and ISO from experience and then take a photo.

It’s disappointing to get everything set up so that you know you’re under exposed intentionally, but then when you take a look at the result, the photo is far more under exposed than usual.

So, this could be because of some odd settings that I haven’t tinkered with, but I will let you all know. I think my next run through with my 6D will be very soon – this weekend as a matter of fact.

With that being said, I don’t think I have to put this into words, with what I’ve said so far, but:

The Canon Rebel T3i was my preferred camera body today.

It pains me to say that because I have had such high expectations with the 6D.

Again, not trying to bring the 6D down, it could just be me or the settings that I haven’t checked out yet. I am ready to fall in love with the 6D and I am not writing it off after only using it twice for street photography.

(Unrelated side note: I have taken video with my 6D on a 50mm f/1.8 and it’s absolutely gorgeous. If anything, the 6D will become my vlogging camera. Can’t wait to put a 35mm f/1.4 on it)

The Day

It was way busier this year than any other year that I have gone.

I usually show up to Tempe Beach Park with my friends around 1pm or 2pm.

This year, I went with family and then met up with my friends later.

Unsurprisingly, there weren’t many people at the park at 10am.

Despite that, there were performances going on and the vendors were ready to sell. And I was ready to take pictures.

So, just a reminder, these pictures were either taken on a Canon 6D or a Canon T3i. I will post specs at the bottom of each picture.

Canon 6D | f/2.8 | 1/400 |ISO 100 | 70-200mm @ 190 mm

Canon 6D | f/2.8 | 1/400 |ISO 100 | 70-200mm @ 190 mm

This is the first photo of the day that I took that was I sort of proud of. I can’t say I am a big fan of it because I just can’t help but feel like it’s not crisp.

As I mentioned previously, I felt like these settings would’ve worked perfectly for the photo not to be under exposed on both the T3i and the 5D Mark III.

Even though I’m not entirely happy with the picture (just because it didn’t come out as good as I thought it would), I would say that what makes me happy about it is the composition.

Composition: rule of thirds as well as having something in the foreground to give the subject some depth.  

Composition aside, the photo was severely underexposed until I brightened it up in photoshop.

(It’s worth mentioning that it’s much better to underexpose and then increase brightness in photoshop than it is to over expose and then try to correct it in photoshop.)

Canon 6D | f/2.8 | 1/2500s | ISO 100 | 70-200mm @ 70 mm

Canon 6D | f/2.8 | 1/2500s | ISO 100 | 70-200mm @ 70 mm

Composition: This was one of my favorite photos of the day because of the composition. I was able to capture this airplane flying overhead the Aloha Festival and the buildings gave it fantastic depth.

Photoshop: As mentioned and will continually mention, this was shot under exposed. I was able to bring it into Photoshop and give it some contrast as well as increase the brightness of the shot. I also put more emphasis on the color blue in Photoshop so that I could achieve a cotton candy blue of the sky rather than a “regular blue”.

Critiques: Not a critique at all from me on this one. I got lucky with this shot and was able to see the plane before it got out of frame. The 70-200 allowed me to capture it perfectly.  

Canon 6D | f/2.8 | 1/2500s | ISO 100 | 70-200 @ 110 mm

Canon 6D | f/2.8 | 1/2500s | ISO 100 | 70-200 @ 110 mm

Composition: This is why I like to bring depth into a shot. I explain below why I’m not happy with the composition. I am happy with what the picture shows, but I am not happy with the way I framed the picture.

Photoshop: Shot under exposed and then really struck up the saturation to “exaggerate” the flowers’ colors.

Critiques: Not too happy with the composition. I remember my state of mind when I took this: “Hey this will look colorful in photoshop, let’s take a quick picture”. If it weren’t for the colorfulness of the flowers, I wouldn’t be too excited to look at this picture.  

Canon 6D | f/2.8 | 1/2500s | ISO 100 | 70-200mm @ 70 mm

Canon 6D | f/2.8 | 1/2500s | ISO 100 | 70-200mm @ 70 mm

Composition: Not much to say about the composition here except that I follow my secondary preference of centering my subject. If I am not using the rule of thirds and an interesting foreground, then I am almost always looking to center my subject in an artistic way.

Photoshop: Shot under exposed, increased the contrast slightly, and then added some emphasis on the color red so that I could bring out the lei the dog is wearing.

Critiques: None! Sometimes you just need a good subject – and a good subject is a good boy 😊

Canon T3i | f/2.8 | 1/2500s | ISO 100 | 24 mm prime @ 24 mm

Canon T3i | f/2.8 | 1/2500s | ISO 100 | 24 mm prime @ 24 mm


Composition: As I mentioned, keeping it centrally if I do not have an interesting foreground. It is sort of a rule of thirds shot, but not really just because there is a lot going on in the picture and my main focus was the entire statue.

Photoshop: Shot under exposed and, as mentioned, brought out those nice colors in the sky.

Critiques: No critiques for this photo either. If I could offer one up, it’d be that I didn’t like the way I photoshopped the sky initially. I also didn’t like that there wasn’t a lot – if any – contrast going on in the picture. However, I am happy with the final picture.

Canon T3i | f/18 | 1/20s | ISO 100 | 24 mm prime @ 24 mm

Canon T3i | f/18 | 1/20s | ISO 100 | 24 mm prime @ 24 mm

I included a bonus picture! I will go more in depth about this picture on another post. This effect can be achieved by some photoshop magic or you could just utilize your camera properly to take this picture. This picture isn’t doctored by photoshop touchups, but things were changed such as the exposure and contrast. Other than that, the picture is 100% from the camera.

In order to achieve the look in this photo, you must have your shutter speed low (around 1/10). Keep in mind that this means that any movement from you will make the whole image blurry.

I plan on utilizing this technique at future car shows.

The reason I picked this is to showcase that you don’t need fancy tech to take these pictures.

I took this on a dinky (much love to my T3i though) T3i with a dinky lens. Total cost of this tech (now) is approximately $500.

This picture would, without a doubt, look a lot more professional if taken on a 5D Mark III.   

The Wrap-Up

Personally, I had a fantastic day.

2017 was atrociously hot.

I picked up a pair of fantastic hats from a vendor that escapes my memory.

This was a tough street photography course right after Matsuri because of the reasons listed in The Equipment section.

I am still not all that impressed with the 6D.

I think I just need to stop using it thinking that it’ll match the 5D Mark III.

However, I’ve only owned it for a month now and it took me a while to warm up to both my T3i and my 5D Mark III.

So, I hope to report better results to you all next time. I plan on pushing through with the 6D like it were my primary camera. I have a lot of faith in it and myself to make it perform well.

Please check out MediaSmith’s official Facebook page:

And follow me on Instagram for hobbyist related photos:

My next “street photography” (but not really) event will be at Wondercon in Anaheim, CA. I will be assisting my sisters at Bros N Cons.

Needless to say, I am really looking forward to what I can push out of the 6D at Wondercon.