Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kauai Hawaii Fav's

My wife and I took advantage of our 10 year anniversary and headed to Kaua'i Hawaii. What a treat it was and I anticipated a very serious travel photography opportunity. I had been gearing up for a while. My friend / business partner, RickyBobby had been there a year before and we talked a bit about what to expect - it was really helpful.

Day 1 turned out to be Epic. Weather seemed to be perfect, as it should be in Hawaii. We headed for the beach after a 5am morning jog and were able to produce some fun shots.

10.5, 1/160, iso200, f16


The next day it rained. It rained a lot. The day after that it rained and rained a lot. At this point the frustration starts to set in. Although I must say that we did NOT lope around and do nothing. The 2 days were overcast, but the rain was hit and miss and on the miss part we were taking advantage of it. We were able to do some hiking, beach exploring, volleyball, hotel exploring, pool hoping and sight seeing. Looking back I don't feel we missed out on too much. While eating lunch another friend called, that happened to be in Hawaii at the same time. They advised to make sure we visited the Queens Bath. We did and are sure glad we did. The seas were very rough and you didn't want to get too close, because that would be the end. Well, we made the best of the dark and dreary skies.

1/10, f22, 18mm, iso200,

1/125, f11, 18mm, iso200

The Queens Bath


I can't, for the life of me, remember the name of this lighthouse, but it was pretty cool.

Whale watching was a highlight. Our tour had to be rescheduled a couple times, but it was an absolute must in my eyes. We finally were able to find an ok day. The skies were overcast for the most part so I tried desperately to get any kind of background that wasn't blaaa. This is my favorite tail shot.

I showed up with my 18-200 (a must travel lens) on my body. I also came prepared with a 70-200 2.8 and a 2xTC (doubler). I was thinking I would need a little extra reach. Well, as soon as we got into the animals, I took about 10 shots with the 2xTC on and ripped that baby off. Not because I didn't like it, because I didn't need it. These things were right up close to our boat. A couple of times we could have touched these critters. AMAZING. So I shot the whole time with the 70-200 - it was the perfect lens of choice.





I thought this picture gave a nice creepy Jaws effect. I really just like it because of the cutout ridges in the fin and how it lined up with the boat.

Upper end Nikon lenses come with VR (vibration reduction) which is a stabilization tool I swear by. There are 2 settings on the lens - Normal VR or Active VR. I read somewhere to always keep it set to Normal. Unless you are shooting from a boat or something really unstable. I thought I was pretty cool to switch my lens to Active VR. I know, strange. I will say though it definitely helped while trying to photograph spinner dolphins. By far the hardest animal I have photographed. They are SO fast and SUPER aerobatic and interestingly enough, they hang with the whales too. I learned to predict where they were going to jump next and was able to get one perfect tac sharp shot of this guy...

Not so sharp, but an inverted shot...


Another activity I was excited about was a doorless helicopter ride. The last 2 days of the vacation were decent as far as weather went. We saved the ride for the last day. I was very reluctant to go because it was VERY expensive and I didn't want to spend the money to go up and see some clouds... The pilot assured me that if it wasn't going to be good he would turn around and give us a refund. We took his word and it ended up being a Godly experience that I will never forget. There is no other way to explore the coast. I just had do do a doorless helicopter - I know spoiled - but with my dad being a pilot I get a lot of opportunities to be in the air and I've shot too many pictures through the window of an airplane. So when the opportunity of a doorless helicopter presented itself, I was game :) A goal of mine was to get some shot of the Hawaii green lushness against Windex blue ocean. I'm thinking of framing this one...
Napali Pano-1

Believe it or not this shot ^^^ was actually a series of 7 vertical shots that were stitched together in PS5. It was a desperate long shot, shooting out of a chopper and all, but PS5 never ceases to amaze me with it's stitching power. Seriously, when I started working on it, I didn't think it would work, but it did ok.



Water falls are not in short supply in Hawaii.


A sunset shot was a must for me too. Our opportunities were few but we took advantage.


(photo credit - Brownie)

Miss Mo got in on the action and took this shot of me taking a picture of Brownie and Nikki. I love it. It was taken with a Canon, of all things. ;)

Over all an once in a lifetime trip, although I hope to be back soon. I truly feel blessed to be able to experience something like this with the love of my life - no not my camera, my wife ;)

INVITE CODE 1518-782842


Wight's said...

Matt can I get a copy of the queens bath pics. We left my camera in the car and didn't want to go back and get it out because some locals were putting on a show! That place was so awesome, I am glad that you were able to find it!!

Ricky Bangerter said...

Spectacular Bro! The Clouds add something to a landscape that nothin else can. Epic Whale shots, stunning dolphin pics, unearthly seascape shots, and even the perfect people pics. You nailed it man, Loved the video too, makes me want to go on another vacation, and I just got back!

Mom Marilynn said...

Absolutely stunning photos of a place we have long loved and cherished. Wow - that Draper photography is amazing!