The day started as any other Hawaiian day. The sky was cloudy at the northeast end of Kauai just as any other day of the last vacation. My first look out of the window at the clouds, palm trees, the ocean, beach, and mountains in the distance. Hey, there in the mountains something interesting was going on. The sun broke through the clouds and lit up one of the mountains in the ridge.
That was interesting. I setup my tripod in my hotel room, put my camera on, pointed it out of the window at the landscape outside and took a photo.
The fall weather in northeast Kauai is typically very unstable. In just a few minutes the light completely changed. I took another photo. The change itself had become interesting. Thus a day long project was born: the composition was framed and unchanged for the whole day but any time light changed I would take a photo.
Here is the final selection of the images from that day.
When someone mentions Hawaii what do you think about? Sandy beaches? Blue ocean? Palm trees?
I go to Hawaii every year for the past I don’t know how many years. Over time I noticed a pattern: I’m more and more drawn to inland of an island. To the mountains, cold rough peaks, tropical forests.
Most memorable time of my last trip to Kauai was a hike thru a tropical forest in Waimea canyon. It was windy, cold, with a drizzle. And it was mesmerizing. I have not brought any images from the hike but I brought my best emotions from it.
Now that I’m reviewing images from the whole trip I noticed that I have not a single image of palm tree or a sandy beach. I have images of ocean but it is not blue and pleasant. It is rough and grey fighting with a rocky shore.
Next time I go to Kauai, I’ll likely spend even more time hiking inland.
I’ve mentioned this before: the sunset is not over until it is dark. The reverse applies to sunrise: the sunrise is not over until it is day light.
On my recent trip to Hawaii I went for sunrise to this spot that I had scouted ahead of time. I had to scramble thru the bushes in the dark with a flash light but what wouldn’t you do to get to a spot you like.
I started photographing even before sunrise to see if anything interesting comes out from that. Nothing interesting was coming out. Then the color showed up in the sky.
After a few images the light, the color disappeared. It looked like twilight again. I guess the cloud ran over and blocked sun light.
But I knew not to abandon my post. I simply sat and enjoyed the motions of waves back and forth, back and forth. Until the sun broke out in earnest.
Are you like me and take a camera equipment with you on a family vacation? And I don’t mean a small camera for family snapshots. I mean large tripod and backpack full of lenses, filters and big camera. Even if for a moment, even for a little bit I want to enjoy the new place thru a viewfinder.
I’ve just come back from a trip with my son to Hawaii. There is not mucch opportunity for photography with a 10 year old who does not like hiking. Fortunately, our hotel location in Kauai happened to be picturesque. I did not need to wonder far away for a sunrise, just sneak out of the hotel grounds.
Photographer’s hand is a very useful tool. And it is useful not only for pressing a shutter button. It can also be used to create a shade for lenses to avoid lens flare. Or it can be used to block out sun that gets into a corner of a frame.
It can also be used as a gradient neutral density filter. With a long expose you can simply block out part of the frame for some time to reduce amount of light that gets into the frame. That’s exactly what I did when I took the photo below. While composing it I put my hand in front of a lens to cover sky down to horizon and took a note of how “deep” my hand should go to cover the sky. I pressed the shutter and started waving my hand in front of the lens, so my hand is not recorded but it blocked out enough light to produce dark moody sky.
Sure I could actually use gradient neutral density filter but it would not be so much fun. At some point I understood that photographer is a human and can carry only so much weight on his back. I started lightening up my backpack, gradient neutral density filters were one of the things that went away. In some way it actually made photography more interesting to me as I would spend less time unpacking my gadgets and preparing for a shot and spend more time seeing and connecting with a scene.
Kauai. Early Morning. Storm is coming