Red Sands Of Hana

 
 
Back in May 2014 I was on Maui visiting a friend, which in turn would lead to the eventual opening of aFeinberg Gallery Wailea.  As we adventured around the island we had the opportunity to check out red sands beach.  A truly awesome place where the sand is red from the surrounding cliffside.  Amazing.  While this was a scouting mission I did manage to take the camera out and shoot a bit.  Even though this was a test shot I still think it captures the uniqueness of the place though I have some ideas for going back  for sure 🙂  To be continued 😉
 
Thanks!
aF
 
 

Red Sand beach during day near Hana, Maui
“Red Sands”

Waimea Canyon and a Rainbow

 
After living on Kauai for 8 years Waimea Canyon blows me away every time I make the trip up to visit.  I’ll forever remember my first visit, not knowing what to expect, and coming up the path to the great reveal to the canyon below.  Nearly had tears in my eyes.  It’s one of those places that just seems to defy the eyes.  The colors, textures, depth all create this surreal seen that is oh so real.  Now in that last 8 years I still haven’t successfully captured the essence of this spectacle.  Too cloudy, too clear.  Not the right combinations of conditions.  Whatever the reason it just hadnt happened.  After spending the weekend camping with friends in Koke’e (and hiking just before this…but that’s another image for another day….with another rainbow) we decided to hit the main Waimea Canyon overlook on the way down.  Given the conditions we had earlier in the day it was setting up quite well.  Again, coming over the ridge to the view the magnificence overwhelming.  And a blazing bright rainbow off to the right.  Woah!!  Then it was the sit and wait game.  With all the clouds, which are obviously necessary for the photograph, it meant that the light wasnt necessarily in the proper spot (from my perspective).  Over the next 30-45 minutes I probably shot a dozen or more panoramas of the scene as the light changed, the rainbow always there ebbing and coming back again.
 
Getting back home the process of figuring out which series of images hopefully encapsulated the experience of standing there.  Luckily after going through way too many I came to settle on this image below.  A great combination of lighting and hopefully gives you the feeling of being there with me on that picture perfect afternoon. I’ve included an inset image that shows the detail in the scene as the panorama is composed of 10 vertical images.  The waterfall, Waipo’o Falls, is on the far left side of the image.
 
Enjoy!
aF

Waimea Canyon in late afternoon light with rainbow and waterfall
“Waimea Splendor” (unreleased)

 
Detail in "Waimea Splendor"
Detail in “Waimea Splendor”

Po’oWow…an adventure in to Po’omau Canyon

 
Waimea Canyon on Kauai’s west side is still on of the more amazing things I’ve ever seen (even after all the travel I’ve been lucky enough to do).  Not only is it so colorful and different than the rest of Kauai but it is also hides plenty of secrets in its many side canyons.  Having not explored much in the 8 years I’ve been on island (not proud of that), I had the opportunity to go camp up in the mountains in a 4wd access area.  The plan was to get up late afternoon and hike out to an overlook and then back to camp to work on some fire spinning photography.  Of course we were a bit tardy getting up to our hike spot but still managed to get there before the sun had completely set.  However, without any good cloud cover the real show would be the seductive twilight light.   There is something magical in that transition between light and dark.  Where colors shift and the camera becomes a window in to being able to view what nature is offering us.  Getting down to the overlook was an adventure that a goat would be proud of, but standing (securely) photographing this amazing view is why I was here.  As the light dwindled I got the holler from above to start our trek back to the car before all light had faded and off we went.  Back at camp, as the night went on the mist and light rain came in toward the end of dinner I was wondering if we would be able to get to try our fire spinning experiments.  And as luck would have it nature decided to bless us with clear skies for a couple of hours around midnight.  Hiking down these falls in the dark and with all our gear (and after some good solid campfire time) made it all the more interesting.  Once down we were bathed in bright moonlight and a surreal hollywoodesque type landscape.  Then the fun began…. 🙂
 
Enjoy!
aF
 

Twlight looking down Po'omau Canyon deep within Waimea Canyon on Kauai
“Po’oWow I” (unreleased)

 
Twlight looking down Po'omau Canyon deep within Waimea Canyon on Kauai
Po’oWow II” (unreleased)

 
Adrian Nicholas spinning fire in a part of Koke'e State Park
Adrian Nicholas spinning fire in a remote part of Koke’e State Park, Kaua’i

The Great Dunes

 
Back in August 2014 I had the opportunity to meet a friend from college and head down to the Great Sand Dunes National Park.  Arriving late in the afternoon on our first day we quickly decided to change our plans and spend both nights camped at this awesome location.  The tallest dunes in the US (~700′) up against the almost 14k foot Sangre De Cristo Mountains made for a dramatic and beautiful location.  Given the craziness that we witnessed the day before (see High Voltage) I was after more of an overview shot of the dunes as they leap out of the plain below and up against the impressive peaks.   After shooting sunrise up in the dunes that morning under some pretty wonderful light the day quickly went overcast and dreary.  As the afternoon went on I noticed a slight opportunity to the west across the San Luis Valley.  Finding a good spot along the road the waiting game began.  A familiar one with landscape photographers this was no different, except for the proximity to comforts.  The waiting game looked like it was going to pay off as light started to dapple across the grasses below the dunes.  But not quite where it was needed.  Then, as photographer’s tell stories of, the beam of light moved up over the dunes, for a mere 3 minutes.  I rattled off a number of panoramas and then it was gone for the afternoon.  Moments like this are what help keep the photographic ambition alive and chasing those moments. Glad I was there 🙂
 
Enjoy!
aF
 
 

The Great Sand Dunes under late afternoon light and dramatic skies
“The Great Dunes” (unreleased)

King’s Cauldron

 
Back in mid February I had the opportunity to work privately with a client on a workshop this afternoon.  With the surf being up to significant levels, 15’+, I knew that my usual go to spot would be a bit more challenging than usual.  After shooting some waterfalls we made it down to the coast and the waves were POUNDING.  The whole area is a very dangerous spot and normally I would not send people down here on their own in conditions like this.  Having a great understanding of the area and having a plan in case things get dicey is important.  As we watched the surf hit on to King’s Bath there was an area to stand and be safe yet able to scurry away if I thought we needed to retreat.  The amount of spray was incredible and therefore challenging to shoot in for sure.  After I had set up the client I decided I should join the fun.  As we watched, and occasionally ran away, the sun hit this hole right above Mt. Makana and the whole scene became this surreal cauldron of sea, spray and light.  I was able to get off just 2 series of photos before the sun passed behind the mountain for the night.  Quite the experience for both of us.
 
To see a slo-mo video please check out the link HERE
 
Much thanks all and be safe out there!
 
aF
 

Large surf crashes on the north shore of Kauai as the spray is backlit by the setting sun.
“King’s Cauldron” (unreleased)

Haupu & Naupaka

“Haupu & Naupaka”
Epic clouds that briefly were above Haupu Mtn during our 2015 Workshop as seen from Mahaulepu. It was SUPER windy this day which doesnt come across as much unless you see the choppy ocean. The small naupaka was hanging tight along the rocky coastline.
Enjoy!
aF

Haupu Mtn as seen from Mahaulepu near Poipu, Kauai
“Haupu & Naupaka” (unreleased)

Wizard’s Touch…a Workshop adventure

 
Day 1.  Actually not even more than a couple of hours after meeting our Workshop clients we found ourselves at the first stop of the 6 days we were to take exploring and photographing the island.  Given that the waves were up that day, and Ke’e Beach the destination, we made a pit stop over at Lumahai just past Hanalei.  I knew from pictures and reports that the beach and shifted tremendously over the winter.  Massive westerly swells pushed sand 20′ deeper than I’ve seen in places before, ever.  Of course I was the only one to know (or possibly care, ha) but I knew that unique possibilities would be there.
 
Getting down I was blown away.  Rocks that people normally jump off of in to the ocean were filled all the way up to with sand.  Crazy!  Walking up this little pool was hanging out enticing us so we set up and watched the surf.  Occasionally the waves would wash over the rock to the right and cascade in to the pool.  Which I thought was the shot I was after with them.  Getting everyone squared away and set up I was poking around to see what was left.  What you cant see in this photograph are the two tripods to either side of me 🙂
 
As we sat biding our time, watching the clouds move by, waves come and go the sun disappeared.  And all the golden light we had was gone.  Knowing we needed to get to Ke’e for sunset time was starting to run out.  The ehu kai (sea spray) was hanging around as well as winds were fairly light, thus allowing it to collect along the beach and treeline.  Magically, a beam of light opened up and illuminated the mist far down the beach!  Woah!  I was able to get a few exposures off and then it was gone.  60s of light.  That’s all there was for this image.  Amazing! Quickly packing up we were off to our second location of the workshop.  What a way to start the week 🙂
 
Processing this photograph I really wanted to show off the awesome curves which drew me to the scene in the first place.  After editing the color version I had a feeling that the simplicity of a black and white might make more of an impact to the effect I was after.  Converting it I was stoked to see the result but both images have their merits.  So instead of posting one…I present you both!
Note:  For cleanliness some footprints were removed from the scene.
 
Much thanks and enjoy!
aF
 

2015-03-02_029[web]
“Wizard’s Touch” (unreleased)
 
2015-03-02_029bw[web]
“Wizard’s Touch BW” (unreleased)
 

Orchid!

 
While co-leading a 6 day workshop on the Big Island last year with Kory Lidstrom we stopped over at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden just north of Hilo for some different scenery.  While exploring the beautiful gardens I came across these orchids.  Unusual flowers always this particular specimen caught my attention.  I used a long lens with extension tubes to help me focus in closer than I would normally be able to and isolated the crazy looking flower.  Always difficult to get something cohesive with these shots I was pleasantly surprised with this result 🙂  Enjoy!
 
aF
 

Close up of a purple orchid at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden in Hilo.
“Orchid” (unreleased)

Sea Smoke

 
It’s a funny thing having an image in one’s mind and then trying to go after it.  As time has progressed I find my ideas are more and more subject to the ephemerality of nature (yes that’s a word…or should be).   This particular afternoon the conditions were aligning to go after one of these such ideas; heavy ehu kai (sea spray) hugging the cliffs of the Na Pali at sunset.   With the surf pounding the north shore of great than 30′ I knew the possibility was there.  All I needed was a clear (enough) sky to the west and light winds to allow the spray to build.  Getting to the trail I had a bit of extra pep in my step and managed to make the first .5mi in about 10 minutes.  From there I was greeted with a welcome sight.  I had shot from 2 locations in the area before and knew approximately where I should be but allowed some time to scout just in case.
 
As the sun got lower the clouds out on the horizon helped play with the light as it popped through.  This dappling of light along the cliffs was nothing short of magical and a great preamble to the light show that would happen just shortly after this.  But that’s an image that will have to wait until another day 🙂
 
Aloha!
aF

Heavy sea mist hugs the Na Pali coast as the setting sun illuminates it along the cliffs.
“Uahi Kai (Sea Smoke)” (unreleased)