Photographing Kauai!

Well it now looks like I am going to be able to go on a trip with the family to one of my favourite places to shoot in the near future! The rest of the family was always going but I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it but now I am.

The Hawaiian island of Kauai is one of my favourite places to shoot in the world. The scenery is breathtaking and there are lots of options for photographers to shoot. For the past couple of weeks while it looked like I was pretty sure I was going I have been researching more areas to shoot. I have spent time on Flickr and 500px searching for images of Kauai and some of the specific locations I want to get to. I have been going over Google Maps and looking at different locations to try and get to as well. I have also been reading my guidebook that was suggest to me last year (Kauai Revealed) and have also purchased their Android App to load on my phone and tablet. The app is also available for iPhones and iPads. Although we have visited Kauai many times in the past, I have found all kinds of information from the guide book that I wouldn’t have know! The company also puts out guides for the other Hawaiian Islands, that while I don’t own any currently, I will be sure to pick up before I visit one of those islands next.

Unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of staying almost 3 weeks like I was lucky enough to last summer and this trip will only be for 8 days, so I have to plan my shoots fairly closely and hence all the research I have been doing.

Double Rainbow to Start the Day!Hanalei Pier @ SunriseHanalei Bay, Kauai, Hi. August 2012

As usual my 5D MKIII and various Canon lenses will be coming on the trip as well as my tripod and a couple of interesting bits of kit. I actually spent the beautiful spring afternoon here getting the settings for various lenses with my new Hejnar Photo Nodal Slide! I hope to get a tutorial up in the near future on how to find the no parallax point for each lens, but in a nutshell the slide allows me to position my camera and lens so the no Parallax point is directly over the nodal (pivot point) of my tripod. If you are shooting panoramas (especially with foreground elements) or just want to be able to stitch together a slightly larger resolution file,  this is an important piece of gear!

The slide allows you to pivot the lens at the nodal point and helps improve stitching in modern software for larger shots. It allows the lens to pivot on it’s no Parallax point and prevents lens distortion in wide angle lenses from being apparent in larger images. I combine this with my Acratech Leveling head, to ensure that the pivot point is level, my ball head and my Acratech Universal L bracket for vertical shooting. I am hoping to get some nice panorama images or at the very least some very high resolution HDR images!

Another couple of pieces of gear I plan on bringing is more for experimenting. I was planning on bringing my Canon 8-15 mm F4L Fisheye lens all along, but I will also be bringing along the Nodal Ninja Ultimate R10 panorama head that I use in my Google Business Photos business. I have been playing around with some software lately that allows me to create 360 Panoramas so again I am thinking of doing some HDR 360 degree panos. I would love to be able to show exactly what Queens Bath looks like from my vantage point all the way around at sunset. I can also create very wide angle panoramas (270 degrees) with this set up.

I also want to put together a timelapse movie of some of the scenes we will take in so I will have my GoPro HD Hero 3 as well as my Canon G1X and a Gorilla pod tripod for mounting them.

While I would love to shoot from an open door helicopter again (the folks at Inter Island Helicopters last year were great) the timing may not work. Although I would do it again in an instance!

Jurassic Park WaterfallsAerial ShotKauai, HiAugust 2012


While I did manage to get a sunrise shot of the Kilauea Lighthouse last year, the lighthouse itself was going through asbestos removal so it was covered up by scaffolding and tarps. That work is now done so I am hoping for a beautiful sunrise picture.

I have been making a list of all the shots that I am hoping to get while there. While the list is long and I likely won’t be able to shoot all locations,  I will be able to pick and choose several locations for the different days rather than scrambling!

All of the research I am doing is pretty much standard for any trip I take where I plan on doing some photography. I like being well prepared long before I go, ensure I have the right equipment to get those shots before I get there and have everything ready so that I can get the photos that I want in the short time that I have.

Keep watching here as I will post images of the upcoming trip as they are ready!

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