Exploring The Land Of Dinosaurs

ijm5012

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Back in July, my wife and I went to Hawaii for a summer get-away. In planning our trip, we decided to split our time between the islands of Maui and Kauai. Despite being part of the same state, I was amazed at how different the two islands were. I've created a thread detailing some of our adventures during the time spent on Maui (link here for those interested).

After spending five days in Maui, we headed to the airport to catch our flight to the island of Kauai. Kauai is probably most famous for being the location where a majority of scenes were filmed for the original Jurassic Park film. While my wife and I didn't see any dinosaurs during our time on the island, we did see some of the most spectacular views we've ever seen.

Once our flight landed, we grabbed our rental car and made our way to our AirBnB in the town of Princeville up on the island's north shore. By the time we dumped all of our stuff, it was nearly time for sunset so we made our way down to Queen's Bath. Somewhat similar to the Olivine Pools on Maui, Queen's Bath is an area of the shoreline that is formed of lava rock with areas carved out by the power of the ocean pounding the shoreline over the past 5 million years.

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After the sun set, we made our way back to our rental to get some sleep, as we were up early the next day to drive back down to the airport. Why? We booked an early morning tour of the island via an hour-long, doors-off helicopter ride. I detailed the helicopter tour in its own dedicated thread (which for those interested can read about it here). To put it simply, if you go to Kauai, you MUST do a doors-off helicopter tour. It's the only way to see certain parts of the island that are privately owned, and the perspective from above is breath-taking.

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After the helicopter tour, we continued our way down around the island to the south shore, and made our way in to the Waimea Canyon. Commonly referred to as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, the views are stunning. If you are in to hiking, this is the place to be. We decided to do the Kalepa Ridge Trail, which starts from the Kalalau Lookout. While the view from the lookout is good, the view from the end of the trail is 1,000 times better.

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Given the fairly long drive (~2 hour) drive back to our apartment, we headed down out of the canyon and began to make our way back. However, along the way we made a quick detour in the area of Port Allen. There is a small, interesting beach that used to be an industrial dumping ground. While not good for the environment, it does make for some interesting photography. The reason being that there are a number of rusted, oxidized iron pieces of machinery. In this image, there is a rusted engine that has been embedded in the shore. I've not seen anything like this anywhere before, making it especially unique.

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After experiencing the hiking in the Waimea area, my wife and I knew that we had to come back for more So the next day, we made our way back down to opposite side of the island to do some more hiking. This time, we decided to do the Awaawapuhi Trail. Another long trail with tons of elevation change (you lose 1,500 ft. on the way OUT, which means you get the pleasure of making that 1,500 ft. back on the climb back to your car). Yet again though, the effort expended was well worth the views offered at the end of the trail.

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As much as we loved the hiking down in Waimea, we couldn't keep making the 2+ hour drive each way. So the next day we decided to do some hiking on the interior of the island. While the hiking on the island's interior is different than the hiking on the coast, it's still very beautiful, lush, and green. This is the Kuilau Ridge Trail, which offers some amazing vantage points of the surrounding terrain and mountains.

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That evening, we made our way down to Hanalei Bay to watch the sun set. It is so serene and peaceful to watch the sun slowly dip beneath the horizon, all while enjoying the sound of the waves breaking against the white sand. It was great to spend a few hours just relaxing and taking in the sights and sounds of a Hawaiian sunset.

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The next day was fairly low-key, as we spent the morning at a local farmers market. In the evening, we decided to go back down to Queen's Bath, as the clouds were looking as if they'd make for a good sunset. My intuition was correct, but before we made it down to Queen's Bath, we stumbled across a family of Brown Anoles. I was surprised how close they let me get, although the close focusing of the 12-100 PRO at 100mm was certain an aid as well. The sunset didn't disappoint (do they ever when you're in Hawaii?), and made for yet another amazing evening in paradise.

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On our last day full day in Kauai, we spent the morning getting breakfast at a local cafe and packing up most of our stuff. However, we did have a treat in store that evening, a dinner cruise on a catamaran touring the Napali Coast. While we didn't get golden light I was hoping for, we still had some great weather, and even were treated to a rainbow over the Kalalau Valley. I couldn't think of a better way to spend our final evening in Kauai and Hawaii.

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The next day was unfortunately extremely brief. The downside of traveling to Hawaii is that if you live on the east coast of the US, you end up losing nearly an entire day on way back home. A mid-morning flight meant a fairly early wake-up, after which we threw our stuff in the car and began making our way to the airport. Along the way, we managed to find another little local cafe to grab breakfast at before getting to the airport. Despite the time zone changes and total travel time, it's still well worth the minor inconvenience to experience the beauty that Hawaii has to offer. The islands are beautiful, yet so diverse from one another. Hawaii was so much more than I could've ever imagined, and I can't wait to go back one day.
 

ijm5012

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another great set, Ian. Been waiting for all of these
Thanks Damian, very much appreciated. I'm glad to have finally made the time to sit down and get these images put together in a thread.
 

wjiang

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Now that's the Hawaii that I was expecting!
I love your use of the UWA and telephoto for many these. I can really see how the 8-18 and the 12-100 shine for travel!
 

ijm5012

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Now that's the Hawaii that I was expecting!
I love your use of the UWA and telephoto for many these. I can really see how the 8-18 and the 12-100 shine for travel!
Thank you. Yes, the PL 8-18 was indispensable, and the 12-100's versatility was fantastic. Great lenses to travel with!
 

ArcticaMT6

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Great shots. I need to get back to Hawaii. #13 with the sunset is my favorite.

Just as a heads up: On #3, you have a slight bit of halo on the left side of the log. A bit more clean up of the mask should fix it. The rest are all great, and that was the only thing I saw.
 

mumu

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Tremendous photos! I've been to Hawaii over a half-dozen times so I was starting to feel photographically jaded about going there (I still love it but more for the experience of being there vs. a photo destination). But your photos have really inspired me to try harder to get good photos. In fact, I think I'll re-visit the photos I took several years ago with my GH2. My Lightroom kung fu has improved so I may be able to squeeze out better results from those old raw files. I love the colour depth and tonal range of your photos (composition is great, too). The first Queen's Bath photo is outstanding.

BTW I recently got the 8-18 and have been very, very happy with its performance. A step-up from my 9-18. Too bad it wasn't the same size as the 9-18, though but hey, that's physics for you.

Also, regarding Port Allen, that beach or that area used to be a garbage dump or something like that. The beach is covered in granules of glass which looks pretty but also disturbing when you think about what it must have looked like in the past. Still, it was fascinating to visit the place. Kauai is a wonderful island for hiking. We also did the Kuilau Ridge Trail, along with a few others.

It's funny how each island seems so unique. Kauai seems to specialize in stray chickens vs Maui which has tons of stray cats. Kauai also seems to be big on shrimp restaurants and trucks where Maui is more taco-centric.
 

ijm5012

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Fantastic pics!
Thank you, I appreciate the compliment!

Tremendous photos! I love the colour depth and tonal range of your photos (composition is great, too). The first Queen's Bath photo is outstanding.

BTW I recently got the 8-18 and have been very, very happy with its performance. A step-up from my 9-18. Too bad it wasn't the same size as the 9-18, though but hey, that's physics for you.

Also, regarding Port Allen, that beach is covered in granules of glass which looks pretty but also disturbing when you think about what it must have looked like in the past. Still, it was fascinating to visit the place. Kauai is a wonderful island for hiking. We also did the Kuilau Ridge Trail, along with a few others.

It's funny how each island seems so unique. Kauai seems to specialize in stray chickens vs Maui which has tons of stray cats. Kauai also seems to be big on shrimp restaurants and trucks where Maui is more taco-centric.

Thank you mumu. The 8-18 got a TON of use in Hawaii. The thing with using an UWA is to really focus on your composition, and not to simply use it to "fit everything in".

Unfortunately the beach in Port Allen didn't have much glass when we were there. I've heard that the glass comes and goes with the tide, but the other issue are the tourists who take it home with them. I can't for the life of me imagine why somebody would want to take little bits of glass home with them. What are you going to do, put it up on your mantle and tell visitors "Hey, look at this vial of glass I have!". It's a shame that such a self-focused action is ruining one of the island's unique attractions. Fortunately they can't do that with all of the iron bits embedded in the rocks and shoreline, which is IMO a much more interesting attraction. It was neat to see!

We didn't see any cats while we were in Maui surprisingly. The chickens in Kauai though, oh my God lol. They're EVERYWHERE, and the males will just constantly crow. We also didn't have much shrimp in Kauai, but we sure did eat our fair share of BBQ while we were there!
 
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Great shots @ijm5012. I like the processing on the sunset shots the best (less clarity/microcontrast/tone mapping/whatever your software of choice calls it), but the lead in picture is great, too. Thanks for sharing.
 

mumu

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Unfortunately the beach in Port Allen didn't have much glass when we were there. I've heard that the glass comes and goes with the tide, but the other issue are the tourists who take it home with them. I can't for the life of me imagine why somebody would want to take little bits of glass home with them. What are you going to do, put it up on your mantle and tell visitors "Hey, look at this vial of glass I have!". It's a shame that such a self-focused action is ruining one of the island's unique attractions.
When we were there, there was another family there and a couple of them were filling Zip-Loc bags full of glass. Maybe they figured that they're cleaning up the environment. ;-)
 

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