Moai statues, photo courtesy Robbie Hamper
Moai statues, photo courtesy Robbie Hamper

Easter Island is one of those magnificent destinations brimming with intrigue and fascination. The 887 monolithic sandstone Moai statues that guard the island remain an archaeological mystery. It is estimated that the statues were carved from 400 AD to 1500-1700 AD and remain today. Many more are buried or half buried in the ground.

How do you capture such magnificence in photographs? There are so many in all directions and all of them stand tall like buildings. The secret goes beyond just fitting them in the frame of your shot. I turned to my world-traveling photographer mother, Robbie Hamper, for the answer. She spent time on Easter Island and provides valuable insight on how to capture these iconic statues:

 

Photo courtesy Robbie Hamper
Photo courtesy Robbie Hamper

“The Moai are all around the Island so it depends where your guide takes you. If your tour is flexible, I recommend making arrangements with your guide to make your first stop on the side of the island where the east morning sun will be shinning on the faces of the statues. It will be the area by the ocean where people can go swimming. To avoid tourists in your shots, get to your first site before 9am when tour buses begin arriving.

Tour guides spread out around the island to avoid a bottleneck at any one area at any given time, so if you are a photographer, it is imperative to make a special request about a preferred location and the time of day you would like to be there for the best lighting. The sheer size of the statues can create problematic shadows during most times of the day. I also recommend silhouettes at sunset.”  –Robbie Hamper

Photo courtesy Robbie Hamper
Photo courtesy Robbie Hamper

If you go:
Easter Island is geographically isolated so you will need to take a 5 hour flight from Santiago, Chile ($300-$1200 USD round trip). Reservations at one of the quaint hotels on the island are easy to make along with reserving a local guide.

Unique points of interest:
*There are some great scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities near the inlets of Motu Nui and Motu Iti which are located located south of the island.

*An extensive cave system throughout the island has gained lots of attention over the years. There are official caves that are unique for those who like to explore. And there are hidden caves for those who are more daring. Explorers be warned though, tiny entrances can open up to and endless cave system. The dark and slippery unofficial cave paths can be disorienting and dangerous to explore on your own.

*A small prison on the island is actually a tourist attraction. In fact, there is a gift shop where visitors can buy Easter Island souvenirs made by the prisoners. Prison guards are very accommodating and surprisingly cheerful to visitors.

*The Easter Island people, called Rapa Nui meaning Easter Island, are polite and cordial and love to show off the island. The town boasts many eateries and shops.

*If you visit the Post Office, you can get a great stamp in your passport of 3 Moai statues to add to your world travel stamps.

Easter Island is one destination that is awe-inspiring just by standing there!