Perfect Beaches in Kauai

Finding Your Place

It’s no secret that I LOVE Hawaii. It’s not the sun exactly, or the beach, it’s not beautiful people or some island style. It is all of these things, but rolled together and a calm that you rarely see on the mainland. This beach in Kauai is one of my perfect spots. Both times I have come here were early and I had the place all to myself. I don’t think it’s probably every really busy, but I love the way the forest grove shades my pale skin from the strong Hawaiian sun. I can sit here and think, be with myself, be with the ocean. In the world, it is one of my perfect spots just to be.

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On the Beach in Kauai

Crazy Sunset Tones

I have been experimenting again. I almost didn’t share this photo. It seemed too extreme to me when I processes it. I have been playing with some of Trey’s Lightroom Presets. They are surprisingly fun and I love deconstructing them to find new techniques in Lightroom!

Pro Tip…never use any preset on its default values, but rather as a starting point (wedding photographers, feel free to ignore that completely).

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On a Deserted Bali Beach at Sunset

Peaceful Wandering

It was peaceful on the beach in Bali. It was oddly quiet when I visited and I was so exhausted that I decided to spend the days I had sitting on the beach at the resort. That is an exceptionally odd thing for me to do…I don’t think I have ever done it before honestly. The ocean in my little cove was calm and the sun had retreated behind the clouds making for some wonderfully warm light. I was walking alone on a beach, halfway around the world for my home. Sometimes, I am in awe of where I have been.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 17 February, 2015
  • Focal length: 25mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s
  • Title: On a Deserted Bali Beach at Sunset

Sunrise at My Favorite Spot

Favorite Places

Do you have a favorite place?

I usually have a hard time picking a “favorite” anything. Favorite country, favorite animal, I even find my favorite color problematic! There though is an easy answer to my favorite morning…Lanikai. I exist in a world of movement. I am constantly going places, most of which I will never return to, but I keep going back to Hawaii and specifically back to Lanikai Beach. If I have the morning in Oahu, I will always do the same thing. I hike up the Pillbox Trail, then go and swim at Lanikai Beach. One day, I hope Pamela and I will live out my remaining days on Oahu, watching the most perfect sunrise, knowing, there is no place on this Earth we would rather be.

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Party Tent on the Beach in Bali

Warm Quiet Nights

I like to go places in the off season. I generally find solitude the most relaxing of companions, especially when visiting nature. There is something about having around that breaks my moment of zen. There is more vibration, energy, something that prevents connection. I realize cosmically this shouldn’t matter, but I am one easily distracted by all manner of noise. The days on the beach in Bali were some of the most alone I have been on a resort beach (usually I find resorts intolerable). The nights were completely deserted.

Empty Party Tent

This tent was setup at sunset for one lucky couple to dine. It looked terribly romantic, but I didn’t want to disrupt anyone for a photo. Come evening this was lit blue beneath the Moroccan lamps, but nobody seemed to come for the dance party. The music droned for none but the sea. I am sure in the high season its a raucous time, but this night, the party was but me and my friend solitude.

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Beautiful Sunrise Kauai, Hawaii

Beautiful Sunrises

When I go places I end up being torn between sunrise and breakfast. Some of the most beautiful light is at sunrise and sunset. The secret is the hoards come for sunset, but sunrise is almost mine alone. The problem is that I get free breakfast at my hotel, but its time period conflicts with my capture of sunrise. Too often I get out early, but get caught up in photographing sunrise to make it back in time for breakfast! I always attempt to find balance in my trips, sometime the beauty of a place can easily makes me forget to eat, and too often I am so lost in the beauty, I don’t mind.

Photo Technical Info

Coral on Nusa Dua Beach in Bali

Battered Coral

This coral on Nusa Dua Beach in Bali, Indonesia reminded me of my life. It was beaten down, nearly warn smooth, but I found it beautiful. There is beauty in simplicity. There is an elegance that comes with age. I spent my time in Bali sitting on the beach, relaxing and being pampered. It’s something I never do. Never. Something I should do more. This “something” the coral seem to know instinctively and I always seem to forget. Though the sea throws you about, the salt water and sand polish away everything you are, eventually you come up for air…and lay in the sun.

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Fiery Sunset on Waikiki

Worth the Time

I know when I come back from trips, I have a huge number of photos and a good swath of them I label in my head as unusable for publication. Maybe you do too and I want to challenge you to think differently about those photos. Something originally grabbed your attention and caused you to snap the picture. It was worth taking and recently I have begun to believe there is value in working on these less than stellar gems. Experimenting in processing allows for a world of new results.

Today’s Photo

I was originally drawn to this fiery sunset on Waikiki, a subject I have looked at numerous times, but much differently today. I discounted this shot because there were so many people and so much clutter. Instead, I upped the contrast and rendered the bulk of the foreground in silhouette, all the while creating a surreal sunset giving everything an unworldly red/orange hue. The great thing is this was processed entirely in Lightroom 5! Try taking a fresh look at your unusable images. Focus on what drew you to take the shot in the first place, then find the photo!

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The Lanikai Pillbox Hike

Every Time I Visit Oahu

If there is time, and usually there is, I do a morning hike to the Pillboxes overlooking Lanikai. It’s an easy hike, as far as hikes go in Hawaii. I wouldn’t suggest taking any little ones up unless you are confident of their skill. There are points that can be treacherous in muddy conditions and plenty of opportunity to plummet to your death if you don’t take reasonable precaution. Make sure to have reasonable shoes, though I have seen everything from hiking shoes to flip-flops. One trip, I was passed by a man doing sprints up the path, he was wearing trail runners.

The mountain has little opportunity for shade, so it can be exceedingly hot at times. The best part is the beach waiting below. Lanikai beach is my favorite beach in Hawaii. The black sand beach in Maui comes in close, but it’s not quite as comfortable and further away by car from where you will inevitably stay. After a hot hike, there is nothing like the calm waters of Lanikai…it’s what they mean when they call Hawaii, heaven. I can’t think of a more perfect morning.

Photo Technical Info

Lonely Contemplation on an Oahu Hawaii Cliff

Diverse Landscape

One of the main reasons I love Hawaii is the diverse landscape. This location is actually very dangerous and there are many places you could easily fall into the ocean! It an extremely wealthy part of Oahu and I couldn’t help but think the whole time if you wanted an ocean fortress that was not susceptible to normal beach problems…this would be an ideal location. I was struck by this woman sitting all by her self, it seemed someone else thought this a good place to be alone with your thoughts.

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