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Racing Amongst the Rain Clouds

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

Kauai 2: Tamron E Mount 17-28mm – 1/160 Sec, f/16, ISO 100 @ 19mm

Spanning an area of more than 1500 miles the Hawaiian Islands are made up of 8 major islands as well as more than a 100 smaller islands, reefs and sand bars. The Islands are located more than 2,000 miles from the nearest landmass, making them the world’s most remote archipelago. Forming from volcanic activity in the middle of the Pacific Ocean more than 5 million years ago, Kauai is the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain. It is not the largest island in the chain, it’s only approximately 550 square miles with Mount Waialeale being its highest point at 5,148 ft.

Waimea Canyon 1: Tamron SP35mm Di f/1.4 – 1/50 Sec, f/13, ISO 100 @ 35mm

Nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”, Waimea Canyon is approximately 14 miles long, 1 mile wide and nearly 3.600 feet deep. The Canyon area is known as one of the wettest spots in the world, all this rain helps to form the Waimea river which the canyon was cut from. It may not be as old as its distant relative in Arizona, but it is still extremely beautiful and worth the drive-up Waimea Canyon Drive to stop at its many overlooks. You can access this drive from 2 points in the town of Waimea, Waimea Canyon Drive and Kokee Road with merge together to take you to the top.

Hanalei Bay 2: Tamron E Mount 17-28mm – 1/320 Sec, f/16, ISO 100 @ 20mm

After landing on Kauai and doing some research about the island and a quick scouting drive up the Royal Coconut Coast (named for its many coconut trees and plantations that used to line the coast as well as the Hawaiian royality that use to live there), I soon realized I would be spending most of my time racing around the rain clouds and dogging downpours. In the matter of 1 hour, I went from partly clouds skies, to heavy rain back to sunshine no less than 3 times. I fully understood why this Island and the Waimea Canyon was known for being one of the wettest places on earth. I also realized I just had to go with the flow and capture images of whatever weather this island was going to throw my way.

Hanalei Bay 3: Tamron E Mount 17-28mm – 1/125 Sec, f/16, ISO 100 @ 18mm

As the sun continued to play hide and seek with the storm clouds I drove to the northern most and largest bay on Kauai, Hanalei Bay (the word Hanalei means crescent bay in the Hawaiian language). The bay consists of 4 beaches that make up 2 miles of the coastline. From Waikoko on the west end to Block Pot on the east and Wai’oli and Hanalei in the middle, this northern bay makes for some of the most picturesque spots on the island. Originally this area way settled by farmers growing taro in the wetlands. Eventually the farmers started to grow rice which they shipped to Honolulu, becoming one of the largest exported crops of the hawaiin islands.

Kilauea Lighthouse: Tamron E Mount 28-75mm – 1/160 Sec, f/16, ISO 100 @36mm

As the saying goes, “good things come to those who wait”, or maybe, “the luck of the draw” is a better saying for trying to be in the right place at the right time on Kauai. Whatever it was, I happened to drive up to the look-out for Kilauea Lighthouse as storms raced along behind me the sun was shining on the cliffs with puffy clouds in the sky in front of me. The lava peninsula that the light house stands on was originally purchased from a sugar plantation in 1909 for 1 dollar and it took more than 3 years of planning because of rough terrain before they started to build the light. Today the area is part of the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

Beach Sunrise: Tamron E Mount 17-28mm – 1/160 Sec, f/16, ISO 100 @ 28mm

Waking up early and walking out to the beach a few feet from my hotel on my final morning in Kauai I was finally greeted to a colorful sunrise. It allowed me a few moments to capture some simple images of the sun playing in between the palm leaves, as well as time to sit on a small bench and look back at what I was able to see of this beautiful island in such a short time. As a photographer you are given all sorts of weather conditions to contend with, from good to bad. When conditions aren’t “perfect”, take a deep breath, step away from your camera and try to remember that there is always something to capture in your viewfinder, you may just have to look a little deeper into the scene.

Lenses used

28-75mm Di III RXD

17-28mm Di III RXD

SP35mm Di USD

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