“Take only pictures, leave only footprints” is the shorthand most Mauians use to encourage practices that minimize visitor impact on natural places and the island environment in general.  The footprint part is easy;  just follow your hiking guide’s example of walking Maui’s nature trails with aloha.  If you do bring well-worn hiking shoes, boots or water shoes with you for your Hike Maui hiking trip, remember to clean them thoroughly before packing them to reduce the chances of introducing new plant species to Maui’s ecosystem.  If you want to pack light, but enjoy the luxury of good footwear on your excursion, ask your Hike Maui reservation agent about where and how to find appropriate footwear.

The picture part, thanks to digital technology, is now also easier than ever. We met one couple recently on their last day of their Kauai-Maui honeymoon.  They said they had taken more than 1,500 photos.  “What will you do with all those images? I asked.  They shrugged and happily snapped a few more shots of the dripping emerald backdrop of cave falls.

While several Silicon Valley startups have invented technologies that help us load, organize and tag our photos on our computers and online, making the most of your memorabilia is still an old fashioned task that can take some thought and more than a few keystrokes.  But keeping and framing your Maui memories for your home and work surroundings is a great way to feel the magic of the Valley Isle long after you’ve made your re-entry from one of the most remote places in the world. Try some of these pro tips for making them great.

Photo Pro Tip 1: Ask Your Guide to Take the Lens

Your Hike Maui guide isn’t just an expert on Maui’s ecosystem and trails. He or she has taken hundreds of photos of the natural landscape, and the people who enjoy it.  Want a shot of yourself in mid-air after leaping from the rock walls of a waterfall?  Your guide is willing and practiced at capturing the unmistakable look of joy on hiker’s faces as they take the plunge. If you want a photo of you or a loved one that says, “I can’t believe I’m cliff-jumping–in Hawaii!–into a waterfall pool,” just ask your guide to lend a hand.  For those of you who prefer to experience the falls from dry land, your guide can show you where to pose for maximum Maui memory-making.

Photo Pro Tip 2: Commit Your Memories to Canvas, or Transform into Postcards and Greetings

painter Bob Ross

Google’s recent tribute to the late painter and (happy little) American treasure Bob Ross on what would have been his 70th birthday reminds us that it’s never been easier to transform one of your photographs into a work on canvas.  You can either do this the old-fashioned way, by using tools known as “paint,” “brushes,” and “canvas” to capture the picturesque beauty of Maui, or you can have one of your digital photographs printed to canvas using one of many online services, or a printing process known as Giclee.  Skip the trip to the stationery store to buy your season’s greetings cards. Just print up a batch of your fave photos and glue them to blank cards, or use an online service or print shop to have your digital goodies printed onto folded card stock or postcard format. “Wish you were here.  Mele Kalikimaka!”

Photo Pro Tip 3:  Share Your Photos at Social Media Sites

If you believe it’s better to give than to receive, consider the gift of sharing your photos with the world, your family, your friends, or just the people at work you want to make green with envy over your trip to what was recently voted Best Island in the World.   If you decide to share a few of your memories with us, consider posting them to our Facebook page or suggest a pin for our Pinterest page.  We can’t get enough of your thousand word’s worth.

Photo Pro Tip 4: Dedicate a Night to Reliving the Good Times

Looking for an excuse to turn off the television and its constant offerings of The Real Deadliest Catchers of Pawn Stars and endless commercial breaks?  Looking for a way to spend a quiet night with the family that doesn’t involve the festival of competition and sore winning/losing that goes with breaking out the board games–or worse yet: The much-loathed ouija board?  Get out the photo albums–or just the plain old, totally disorganized loose photos that nobody admits to having stashed in a shoebox under the bed–and tell and retell the stories that go along with them.  Children love this exercise, especially if some unflattering photo of mom or dad and his or her unfortunate sunburn happens to make it into the mix.

Until next time, leave only comments and take only whatever advice is good for you.  And give us some of your “take only photos” pro tips. We’re listening. (And re-stashing that shoebox.)