Over the (Honey)Moon in Hawaii

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Aug 27, 2018
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Phew, it's been a few crazy weeks! I got married about 3 weeks ago, and we left for Kauai and Maui a few days later. We enjoyed 5 days on Kauai and 4 on Maui. This was the first time I really went all out taking photos while traveling (my wife is a saint) after getting back into photography in August.

We landed in Kauai in the evening just after sunset, so we had the pleasure of driving about an hour from the airport in Lihue to our villa in Princeville in complete darkness. The next morning, I ended up waking around 4am. Luckily I was expecting my reliable internal clock to get me out of bed and had planned in our itinerary to make the most of the day by checking out the sunrise at the Kilauea Lighthouse. The beginning of the "winter" months in Hawaii meant the sun was rising further to the south, and I didn't have great fill light coming in from the East. I did luck out and got beautiful refraction in the clouds making for some great color.

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After sunrise, I went back to our villa, had some local coffee, and waited for my wife to wake up before heading to the beach for the day. We had great weather at the beach, and got some snorkeling in. As an aside, I was excited to buy an Olympus TG-5 camera for snorkeling on this trip, but was greatly disappointed in its performance underwater. Probably operator error, but I didn't really get any keepers, at least nothing worth showing here. It's now up on eBay.

Before dinner we decided to venture down to Queen's Bath, a natural lava rock pool carved out of the coastline in Princeville. The trail around dusk ended up being difficult to navigate, but luckily my wife and I were prepared with our hiking shoes. When we finally reached the water, we continued walking along the rocks to find the famous pool, overlooked by a sunset peeking over the distant mountains. Much like sunrise, I quickly learned that the North shore of Kauai is not the best place to be in October for sunrise or sunsets. But as long as there are clouds, you are likely to get a colorful show. The waves were quite powerful, and one guy even jumped in. All of us spectators were expecting the worst but he managed to climb back out unscathed.

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The next morning, we drove back to the airport in Lihue for a helicopter tour. After seeing the great thread from @ijm5012 and talking with him for advice, we booked with Mauna Loa helicopters and opted for a doors-off flight. It was well worth the price of admission. I don't think I stopped smiling the whole time. At the time of our 9:30 flight, there was incredible haze in the sky, and the light was quite harsh by the time we got to Waimea Canyon and the Na Pali Coast. I managed to get a few keepers but I would definitely plan to go earlier in the morning next time. Sky quality aside, this was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Unfortunately my wife got minor motion sickness and wasn't able to enjoy it as much as I did. It sounds like I need to find a new helicopter buddy for our next trip...

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The night after our helicopter trip, we ventured down to Hanalei Pier. I was hoping for a better sunset, but still managed to get some great shots. I love the silhouettes of others enjoying the natural majesty of sunset on Kauai.

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The following day it was time to validate the claims of great hiking on the Garden Island. We got a later start so decided to stay to the closer eastern side of the island, hiking first the Sleeping Giant West Trail, and then Ho'opi'i Falls. I really enjoyed Sleeping Giant. The last stretch to the rocky summit involved some awesome (easy) bouldering.

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Ho'opi'i Falls is where one of the opening scenes of Jurassic Park were filmed. It's the site of the amber mine in the movie, but it now looks much more green and lush. We could only figure that they shot it during a drought because only the small falls in the trees to the right could be seen in the film.

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On the drive back to our villa that day, we stopped in Kapa'a for a bite to eat, and had great BBQ from Porky's food truck. In Kapa'a I found someone setting up a hammock right by the beach and it represented everything perfect about a tropical paradise to me, Kauai chicken included. I think a print of the scene will help me get through the upcoming Boston winter.

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On our last full day in Kauai, we took the 2+ hr drive out to Waimea Canyon to do some hiking. We chose the Waimea Canyon Trail to Waipo'o falls. I had read that you don't have a great view of the main falls, but it was a disappointment when we reached the upper (read: small) falls at the end of the trail. Perhaps we were spoiled from Ho'opi'i Falls the day before, but at least there was a great view of the canyon from further up on the trail. We ended up seeing more of the canyon from the road on our drive back to civilization.

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Kauai was "my" part of the trip, but my wife was looking forward to slowing down and staying at a resort in Maui for a few days. Somehow I convinced Sleeping Beauty (she really didn't have to adjust at all to the time change) to wake up at 2AM for a tour up to Haleakala for sunrise on our first day there.

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From seeing other photos, I don't think we had the absolute best clouds, but I got a couple interesting shots of the sunrise. It was quite cold up there, and that's coming from an East-Coast native. We did a bus tour with Valley Isle Excursions and they were great. They stopped a numerous stops on the way down the windy road from the volcano, and I snapped some of my favorite shots of the trip in that more barren, rugged terrain.

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After that, we spent the rest of the trip relaxing by the pool, sipping on piña coladas, and enjoying the resort amenities. I was looking forward to the sunsets in Westward facing Waimea, but for the first 3 nights we had too much cloud cover to see any color. On our last night of the honeymoon, I kept watching the sun as it went down and telling my wife that I might run down there with my camera if it starts to get good. The clouds didn't look quite right, and I was only seeing a lot of yellow start to form. We decided to head to our room and were enjoying a beer on the lanai when the magic started to happen. My wife wanted to enjoy our last sunset in paradise, so we quickly made our way down to the beach where I was delighted to see lots of color to the south, again with the adjacent clouds putting on a better show than the actual sunset. There were some nice mossy rocks in the foreground where the waves came in, resulting in some of my favorite shots from the trip.

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Overall I can't imagine a better honeymoon, especially when I look back to some of these photos. Thanks again to @ijm5012 for the inspiration for a lot of our itinerary, gear advice, and the recommendation of Porky's. They have the most incredible pineapple-infused sausage topped with pulled pork.

For those who made it to the end, thank you for coming along on this journey!

Most shots taken with Panasonic G85 and PL8-18. Others taken with E-M5.II and PL12-60.
 

ijm5012

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Hey Ryan,

Great write-up, thanks for sharing! It certainly seemed like you two enjoyed yourself. I'm glad you managed to find the Porky's truck as well on Kauai. I told you their Pineapple Sausage was the bomb!
 

Keeth101

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Great pics and story. I do think that the pics are a little over processed though, some colors looking just that bit too, er, bright shall we say.
 

DynaSport

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I took my bride to Kauai, but 34 years after the wedding instead of a few days. I loved it!

I have a TG-4, though I’ve never tried it underwater. I do use it a lot at the beach or pool and really like having a camera I don’t worry about in those places.

Thanks for sharing the pics. It looks like y’all had a great time.
 

ac12

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Tip
The exposure of sunrise/sunset shots are often messed up, because of the meter trying to make the darkening sky a mid gray. Then you loose the rich colors in the sky that your eye saw.

If you want a darker/richer sunset, adjust the camera to underexpose the shot.
You have to experiment to determine how much underexposure you want. I usually bracket (from -1/2 to as far as the EC will go, or with a SLR/dSLR in manual as much as I want to), then choose the one I want at home on the desk monitor.
I've use the EC on a P&S to do this. But I've not figured out how to adjust for EC on my new phone camera :confused:
Or adjust midrange contrast in post processing, like this:
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Nice sunrise on Haleakala. You got lucky, I went up twice. The 2nd time I never broke through the top of the clouds, and I was standing there INSIDE the clouds :(

It isn't that you are not used to cold, it is the shock your body had, going from a comfortable 80-85F at sea level (where it has been for the past 2 weeks) to a freezing 40F at the peak, in about an hour. And you likely did not bring proper COLD weather gear to Hawaii.
Why do you need a snow parka, pants, gloves, boots and hat in Hawaii :confused:

BTW, the astronomical observatories on Mauna Kea are even higher and colder, and they get snow.
 

Holoholo55

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Congratulations on your marriage and a beautiful honeymoon in our state!

Yes, Haleakala, Volcano, and definitely Mauna Kea can get cold. I was eating dinner with my folks at the Kilauea Military Camp (in Volcano park) one night around Christmas when a visiting family came in. They were dressed in shorts and t-shirts and maybe some light windbreakers. The daughter said, "I can't believe it gets this cold in Hawaii." I had to suppress a laugh. I know how cold it can be. In Hawaii, summer is at the beach, winter is in the mountains.
 

ac12

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Volcano is about 4000 ft elevation.
My friend's home in Volcano Village had a working fireplace, to keep them warm.

Standing outside the Volcano Observatory to get the sunrise over the crater was pretty darn COLD . . . brrrrr.
That was a strong COLD wind coming over the crater.
 

Hypilein

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Congratulations. And some great shots as well. I should look into going to Hawaii one day.

Btw, underwater photography (even snorkelling) is a very difficult thing. The Olympus Tough is capable of some decent shots underwater (and is touted as a great beginner camera in the Underwaterphoto scene) but even with that one, you need to know quite a bit and especially bring your own light.
 
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