Archive for the ‘Kauai’ Category

Hawaii Revisted

It’s crazy that it was over a year ago that I was in Hawaii, and I was thinking about what to post I realized that I still had a ton of unprocessed brackets from that trip that could be fun to run through Photomatix, so that’s what I did! There is really nothing to shoot during the winter up here; snow makes for really gray and dismal looking HDRs, and beyond that it’s really hard to get motivated to go exploring around town when its -3° outside. So, to help make up for my inexcusable lack of posting I’ll post two shots here, both from Hawaii but that’s about where any similarities end. The first shot is from our walk across the interior crater of the volcano Kilauea-Iki. The volcano was active sometime in the ’90’s I think, but when we visited the lava had hardened into a black desert that enabled us to walk across it. It took the better part of a day to make the journey, and the landscape was truly alien. Along the way, and not surprisingly seeing as we were standing inside a volcano, there were many fissures where boiling steam would hiss up out of the ground. This seemed to be a good subject for a picture, and the dramatic clouds, as ever, add to the effect. The craziest part is that the volcano has erupted massively since we visited, meaning that most of the foreground in this shot is totally different now. I’d love to go back and see what changed!

The minerals that were in the lava that hardened give the rocks all sorts of interesting colors.

The next image is again from Hawaii, but in a stark contrast to the barren volcanic landscape, this shot is from the Limahuli botanic garden on Kauai. As you’d expect a botanic garden on a tropical island to be, the scenery was fantastic, with countless plants and animals that were foreign to me. As we got to the top of one of the hills, this fantastic view presented itself and, well, you know the rest!

After we visited the park, we walked along the beach and were able to see the mountains from a totally different angle. I’ll post those shots some other time!

Paradise on a Mountain

The Hawaiian islands themselves were formed by lava, burbling up from underneath the Pacific over millions of years, and even after that lava rises to the surface and hardens into the islands, the “lava tubes” underneath remain active for many years. It is for this reason that the Hawaiian islands are so mountainous and hilly, as they are all (or were at some point) volcanoes. The newer islands (new from a geological standpoint, anyway) still feature live volcanoes, but Kaua’i, at the northern end of the archipelago, is the oldest of the main islands and its volcanic roots have been dormant for millions of years. This particular mountain is part of a long range stretching across Kaua’i but I cannot for the life of me remember the name… ah well. We walked for a few hours on the beach the first day we were there just to get to the base of this mountain, which we could see from where we were staying. The clouds obscure the top of it but I actually like that. This is about as simple as landscapes get, with your sky, mountains, sand, and water, but I really like the shot as it reminds me of the paradise that we were in, and it’s been my desktop background for a while now. It will soon be available in our desktops section, but I wanted to post it on the blog first and making it into a desktop takes a bit of time, with all the cropping you’ve got to do. I’ve shot a bit of HDR in the galleries of the High Museum and also some from Calloway Gardens, at a recent wedding that I shot, but in both cases I need to make sure I’m able to post them here. Rest assured they will make it up if I can wrangle it.

The water looks calm and wonderful but underneath that aquamarine beauty there are incredibly strong rip-currents, waiting to snare the unwitting tourist.

Wandering Limahue Gardens

Mele Kalikimaka! (Happy Christmas!)

On a decidedly un-Christmasy note, here is an HDR from one of the many magical places we’ve been so far. These botanical gardens were truly something else, climbing high up into the mountains known as the Makano range. It was an overcast day but the bright tropical sun was able to pierce the clouds, giving us an awesome light as we hiked through the gardens. Hawaii is home to a staggering number of endemic plant and animal species, many of which we saw there.

Today we plan on going to the black sand beaches after a morning of presents and good food. It’s so fun to be able to go get new material every day, something that can’t be said about Atlanta (although I bet the 3 of us can get creative once we’re all together back in the South).

It was very much like a jungle, yet we were on a mountain, with a view of the ocean, listening to roosters crow. Truly strange and awesome.

First from Hawaii

Here’s one from the very first few hours we spent on Kaua’i. It was rainy and overcast, but by now you know what that means for HDR… great clouds! Everything I’ve shot so far has been handheld as a tripod would be too cumbersome to take on hikes, walk miles on the beach with, etc, and Photomatix handles this like a champ. The tricky bit will be when I encounter a scene that would benefit from having the 5-shot, ±4 stop bracket (a scene with ultra-high contrast, in direct sun) but so far everything has been rather evenly lit. I don’t even need to get into how awesome of a place Hawaii is but in brief, in the past two days we’ve walked on the beach, hiked through a botanical garden in the jungly-mountains, and snorkeled amongst fish that I thought could only exist with David Attenborough talking in my ear. The coming days will bring even better photography, but here’s a simple shot from the beach 5 feet outside the back of where we are staying. The black rocks are, of course, lava rocks. There is some actual name for them but it is escaping me. So for now, lava rocks, beach, and nice clouds.

It is darn near impossible to edit HDRs using only a trackpad... also I have no idea if the color/brightness is right as I am not used to this screen. Oh well.

As an aside, I’m excited to see what we can do with the time-lapse stuff when I get back to Atlanta, however I for one will not be editing thousands of RAW files into HDRs… Giacomo and Andrew can do that if they really want to make a pseudo-HDR video 😀 I just want to experiment with doing a time-lapse normally, perhaps set up on a tripod as we shoot HDRs (either a time-lapse of us, or of a scene off to the side of wherever we happen to be) after all, we will have the 5D, the 7D, and the 50D at our disposal, along with tons of great glass… gotta make use of it somehow!


I am not dead, I promise! I am just in Hawaii without a laptop. I have my little netbook which is good for browsing the internet and checking email, but at the merest mention of “photomatix” or “35MB raw file” it cries and melts into a little pool of plastic. My dad has his Macbook Pro here, so I will hopefully be able to use that in a day or so to at least get one or two shots up on the blog. I’ve been here two days and have already filled up two 16GB cards…. there will be so much work to do when I get home it is almost not worth thinking about. We are currently staying on the island of Kauai, in Hanalei Bay in a house right on the beach, literally 10 steps from it, so when we’re not out seeing the sights we are probably in the water or reading by the water. Such a nice break from the (unnaturally cold) Atlanta winter! We spent the morning at a botanical garden up in the mountains, and have plans to visit volcanoes, black sand beaches, and Pearl Harbor as we island hop over the next week or so. More updates will come as soon as I get my hands on a copy of photomatix. I would post some iPhone-HDR I’ve been taking along the way but it just doesn’t do it justice.