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05-16-2013, 01:55 PM   #1
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Hawaii trip - what to photograph

I will be going to Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii for a week.

What should I photograph? What lenses should I bring?

I need help planning a photography itinerary. On our second day we are going on a guided photo tour of the north and east coasts. The tour company won't divulge the locations in advance, so I don't know what we will see.

I am bringing my K5, K10 IR conversion, tripod, monopod, bean bag, wireless remote, O-GPS1, 15/4 DA, 55-300 DA, 10-17 DA, Tamron 17-50/2.8, and my wife's waterproof Optio W80. I could be persuaded to bring almost anything from my signature list below.

Moderators, I don't know what forum this belongs in. Please feel free to move this.

Thank you,
Lance

05-16-2013, 03:28 PM   #2
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I've never been to that location, but when I was last in Honolulu, my greatest impression was that it was SO bright- I was glad I had my neutral density filters with me- I have a crappy variable one and a good 9 stop one.
I would think that the lenses you mentioned will cover what you need.
05-16-2013, 03:40 PM   #3
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If you can afford and have time, take the Helicopter ride (the one WITHOUT DOORS) and get the lunch at the "private waterfall".
Sounds cheesy, but without the door you have unobstructed view of the mountains on the Na Pali coast line, the fields where the dinosaurs ran in Jurassic Park, and loads of other great scenery.
The area with the waterfall is fantastic. (In fact, I would guess any tour that has a lunch stop will most likely be at a "private waterfall", and is well worth taking advantage of).
I have a photo somewhere of me hanging halfway out of the doorway with my camera, like someone out of a scene in Apocalypse Now. (pilot was not happy :-) )
It was more than we wanted to spend at the time, but WELL worth it in the end.
(Although I should add, if you're with a group of more than two, you may be forced into the back... and the view is not so nice. Almost certainly better than the helicopters with doors, but not as good as the front passenger seat. )


I would skip going out to the Jurassic Park set. The old entry way is a just a stick from the fence. Not worth seeing.
Although I believe that old strange-root tree is out there somewhere. (Visit Jurassic tree at Allerton Garden - Honolulu Hawaiian Islands Travel | Examiner.com)
The waterfall landing pad is viewable from probably any helicopter ride, but not truly impressive out of context.
Other than the helicopter tour, I don't think there is a place on Kauai that you won't find worth photographing.

Obviously a wide angle; 16mm or wider. I think the 17-50 would be adequate. If you have something wider, take it.
I think the selection you have planned covers the range you'll want. But keep in mind, if you're going to do any walking, thats a lot of weight.
I would keep it simple with one or two zooms.

We didn't get a chance to drive or walk the northern area of the island.

We did snorkel off Poipu beach. Great photography opportunity. Much better than any scuba dive we have done.
Digital cameras and simple/affordable waterproof gear were not really available when I went. I would bring a waterproof bag for the DSRL if I got the chance to go again.
05-16-2013, 03:49 PM   #4
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I highly recommend the Wings Over Kauai aerial tour. It's roughly an hour long and takes you all the way around the island while keeping close enough to the shoreline for some great photos.

Wings Over Kauai - affordable airplane tours of Kauai's Na Pali coast and islandwide. A great Kauai helicopter tour alternative!

I got some absolutely fantastic images during my flight. The staff are professional and the price is excellent. They leave from Lihue, naturally.

During the overflight you would probably use the 15/4 only, maybe the 17-50 as well but mostly wide shots. I would even go so far as to say leave the 10-17mm at home unless you typically use it a lot already.

I think if you do an overflight that's when you will get the majority of your good shots.
Also keep a lookout for Sleeping Giant on your tour. Not fantastic, but neat nonetheless.

05-16-2013, 03:53 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lmd91343 Quote
Hawaii trip - what to photograph
Obviously loads of bonnie lassies in grass skirts.
05-16-2013, 04:25 PM   #6
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It's a beautiful island, but it rains a lot. I notice you don't have a WR lens - you're going to want one as well as a bag that has a water cover. Even when it's raining there's still lots to shoot. But sometimes it comes down really hard, so an 18-135 or a 18-55wr would be recommended by me.

Aloha!!!

05-16-2013, 04:44 PM   #7
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Kauai is a small island. You can go around it in not much time. If you are going high roller or super adventure that is something else entirely. I lived in Hawaii a long time... any lens you take you can make use of. I would say 'all of the above'. You won't have much use for a fish eye in my opinion. You will use wide angle lenses a lot.

If they have you hiking up to the blue hole get ready for one heck of a hike. The blue room is another spot that you will go to. Na Pali Coast is awesome. I would say you will use anything 15mm on up...

The original question is really impossible to answer because everyone has different things they like... but like I said, bring something wide. Waimea Canyon is perfect for the 15mm....
05-16-2013, 04:56 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by lmd91343 Quote
I will be going to Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii for a week.

What should I photograph? What lenses should I bring?

I need help planning a photography itinerary. On our second day we are going on a guided photo tour of the north and east coasts. The tour company won't divulge the locations in advance, so I don't know what we will see.

I am bringing my K5, K10 IR conversion, tripod, monopod, bean bag, wireless remote, O-GPS1, 15/4 DA, 55-300 DA, 10-17 DA, Tamron 17-50/2.8, and my wife's waterproof Optio W80. I could be persuaded to bring almost anything from my signature list below.

Moderators, I don't know what forum this belongs in. Please feel free to move this.

Thank you,
Lance
I would second the recommendation to take any WR lens, if you can, it rains a lot in Kauai thus all the jungle. A waterproof bag or cover also is great one to take. Filters like a ND, or cir. pol, will help if you have them.

05-16-2013, 04:57 PM   #9
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he, he, sorry I don't have a photo of myself hanging out to door, but I am taking a photo of my friends in the back row. Also, the rear door is off, so rear view is nice as well.
Notice what you get with other heli's in comparison. :-)
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05-16-2013, 05:07 PM   #10
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What they said :-) We went to Kauai last April and had cloudy days most of our week there. The only camera I took, however, was my little Oly and the dive housing. My photo goals were coral, fish, and honu-related, everything above that was less important. We stayed in Lihue near the airport. You'll be down on hte south side, so you can drive either direction easily. The island is a short drive by Texas standards, but you can still spend all day, especially if (when) you find interesting places to stop. Note that the roads do NOT go all the way 'round, so check the maps for which direction you want to go.

I'd love to go back and take the aerial tour. Or one of the boat tours that goes up to the Na Pali coast (as I recall, most of those are pretty much a full day, as they usually departed from Port Allen on the south side - something to check if you are interested). Do some snorkeling, you have that covered with the Optio

If you don't already have it, go get Kaua?i | Hawaii Revealed - of all the guide books we looked at this one was by far the most useful and honest about places and businesses. It will give you plenty of ideas and help plan things out.

Need someone to carry your bags? <grin>
05-16-2013, 05:19 PM   #11
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RoxnDox, thanks for the link for Hawaii Revealed. I'l be on Oahu for a conference in a month.
Looks like some good info. $8 seems like a lot for an app, but their free info seemed pretty useful as it was so I'm hoping the app will be helpful.
My fingers are nearly bleeding from all the Google searching for what is available and nearby.
05-16-2013, 05:48 PM   #12
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I havent been to Kaua'i in many years but we stayed in Poipu the last time we were there. Definitely bring a range of FL's because you will want the ultrawide for skies and scenes and the tele for the wildlife and some aeriel shots.
I also recommend a helicopter tour to the wet areas, Waimea Canyon, Napali coast and the high overlooks. There are some hikes down to the beaches at Napali for the brave. Heck, if you bring a WR lens, you can do the outrigger tour of the Napali coast which would be great!
bring polarizer! most important piece of gear in hawaii to green up the foliage and darken reflections on wet rocks/waterfalls, etc.

here are some Maui images...


05-16-2013, 08:34 PM   #13
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My wife and I spent a week on Kauai last February. I recommend investigating the Mahaulepu Beach Trail, it starts at Shipwreck beach and goes along the rugged coastline for ~ 2 miles. I was there at sunrise and I promise you won't regret walking even a short distance along this trail. I also took a 'Photo Tour' and enjoyed in very much, I had my wife write down the names of the various remote beaches while I was busy shooting. Also would recommend having a 'Pukadog' in the shopping center in Poipu. Have a great time.
05-16-2013, 09:28 PM   #14
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Be somewhat prepared for a rain shower. It's more likely on the north side and the northeast, less likely from Kekaha to Poipu. There's a rainy season, say November to about now. But it's impossible to rule out a shower and you won't get to do anything if you wait to be absolutely sure it won't rain. The showers are so localized, we would often not bother to stop and put the top up on our Miata, just drive through the shower.

I don't think a long telephoto is that useful. There are some places you can't get too close to but there aren't great places to take the shots from either.

You can get tropical fish photos just standing in the water at Poipu Beach, with a waterproof P&S.

Try to sit on the left side of the plane flying into the airport. Nearly 100% of the time this will give you a brief glimpse (maybe the final 2 minutes of the flight) of Poipu in the distance, Mahaulepu, a ridge of hills, Nawiliwili Harbor, possibly a cruise ship, Lihue and then the airport. I have never landed in the opposite direction.

Don't be fooled by strange looking black birds standing near the roads. These are feral chickens pecking at stuff with their tails in the air.

The Mahaulepu hike is worth doing. Hikes around Kokee can go through redwoods, encounter animals introduced up there for hunting or some super-secret military installation. It is not unusual to see horses munching on old sugar cane, apparently not near anything. Let yourself get lost and you'll probably see something interesting.
05-17-2013, 04:54 AM   #15
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Looking at your sig, I think you made good choices. The only possible swap would be to leave the 55-300 home and bring the 50-135 and 300. But that would be much more cumbersome.

Do take an air tour. We took the plane tour when we went there, I loved it, helicopter is more expensive but apparently a bit nicer. Couldn't say, I loved the plane (wings over Kauai). A boat tour of the Na Pali coast is also very cool.

The beauties of Kauai are mainly its natural sights, I'm not sure how I would enjoy a guided tour. 80% of the island is not accessible by car. There are numerous hiking trails on the horth shore. The beach at Lihue is nice, not too densely used, but well, it's a beach. The river is beaufitul, as is fern grotto. The Canyon is great, I've seen it from the air, look at hiking opportunities there. The Na Pali coast is just plain amazing, especially seen from the air or water.

Not sure the IR camera is at all useful, but to each his own.
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