A Trip Down The Na Pali- Lost World

It’s pretty amazing.  In the 6+ years I’ve lived on Kauai I’ve seen the Na Pali coast from the water, twice.  Once I was actually kayaking and focused on self preservation, the other time was a couple of months after I moved out to the island.  So…it’s safe to say this was a long time coming.  So when a friend offered to take a jet ski down the coast for sunset, who was I to argue.
Now, it should be mentioned I am a land mammal by nature.  Once in and around water my comfort level drops by quite a bit.  Now put me on a jet ski, flying/bouncing/jostling across the water and it’s fair to say my tension level raises just a bit.  So…there we go…down the coast, leaving from Hanalei Bay around 430pm.  The coast is truly amazing.  And being that I do not leave it very often to get these perspectives, I am constantly amazed by this island I call home.  The ride is pretty choppy.  It’s been pretty windy over the last few days and the wind swell has kicked up to a solid roll.  Onward we go; past Lumahai, Wainiha, around the reef at Tunnels and past Ha’ena and Ke’e Beach.  And now the epic stretch of coast that is the Na Pali lies ahead.  There are a lot of clouds around and off to the west and north the sun is hiding behind layers of cirrus and a rainy cumulus off in the distance.  I lean forward and say to Joel and say it’s a coin flip…50/50 on getting any light.   As we make our way southwest he shows me the sea caves that I’ve heard and seen photos of but never with my own eyes.  Double Door…with the waterfall falling through a hole in the ceiling; Open Ceiling cave…with a giant opening in the roof that fell in.  It is here we stopped for a while and the thoughts started turning.  Yet another project to chase after.  However, we decided that the chance of the good light was too iffy to wait and went back to Kalalau.
Kalalau is a magical place.  Massive fluted cliffs rise out of the beach, the Valley just to the left (looking at the coast from the ocean).   The only way to reach this mythical destination is hiking a very strenuous 11 miles from Ke’e Beach or by boat.  And it’s worth it.  Just ask someone who’s been.  We sat off the coast and watched the clouds and chances of good light.  Snapping a few photos (yes the camera was in my hand while sitting on a jetski and I was holding it tight).  While shooting we generally have the motor off as to not disturb the water around us and keep still.  I mentioned we should reposition a bit further back and to the left.  **click click click**  motor didnt turn over.  NOT a place one wants to get stuck.  Joel turns the starter again and after sputtering it turns over and the engine is on.  Now it’s decided that we keep it idling, and therefore moving, until we get back as not to risk it.  Yikes.  As we circle back around the sun starts to hit the gap in the clouds we saw across the horizon.  The light is on the beach but the clouds and mountains are still dark.  Clicking away as we circle around.    Then the real show…the sun fills the coast and finally bam!  Because we couldnt shut the engine off I was standing on the jetski, holding on to the back of Joel’s life vest with one hand, and photographing with the other.  Snap snap snap.
Ok…time to get back north!  Pack up the bag, on the back and off.  Even faster than we got down the coast.  The constant shaking is briefly abates every so often as we take air over the waves, only to be smacked right back down to the surf.  Getting back to Hanalei finally we witness an awesome light show.  I take a few more photos but in the back of my mind I already got what I needed from the day.  What a ride!
Aloha!
aF
 
 
 

The incredible Na Pali coast as seen from off the coast of Kauai.
“Lost World”

 
100% view of the detail in the shot:
2013-07-15_293[webSAMPLE]

Tales From The Top…Of The World

 
Ok…maybe not the world.  But it sure feels like it when standing on the top of Mauna Kea, the largest mountain in the world (top to bottom) and rising 13,800 ft above the ocean below.  I could write for a long time about how I’ve been dreaming for 7 years of skiing this unique place and that finally getting to stand and witness snow in Hawai’i was all too brief but this photograph is more about how freaking cold I was!
 
Knowing to prepare for altitude is not problem.  I ski bummed for 3 years in Utah.  For this trip I brought many layers…which did the trick…except for the gloves which remained in my bag in the hotel the day of our 6 Day Big Island Workshop‘s trip up to the summit. Not the brightest of ideas. I will say that by the time we left that night temperatures were around 30F with gusts over 40mph (windchill estimates around 13F).  Trying to work with a metal tripod, camera buttons and facing in to the wind certainly made for challenging conditions.  Which means that I’m was quite excited when I saw the results of this exposure pop up on the back of the LCD screen.  The pillar of light you see is called the Zodiacal Light.  A phenomenon I saw for the first time in Death Valley last year. The quarter moon did the job of illuminating the rest of the scene.
 
An awesome experience for the Workshop and me as well.  Can’t wait until we go back 🙂
 
Much thanks!
aF
 

Zodiacal light over Mauna Kea and observatories.
“Phone Home” – Zodiacal light over Mauna Kea and observatories.

A Sunrise and a Waterfall

 
Another vision photograph that I had the opportunity to chase a couple of weeks ago.  Leaving the house and looking up the clouds were certainly promising.  Mentally I gave it a pretty good chance of a fun sunrise.  Of course leaving a few minutes late for sunrise meant driving like crazy up to the falls as the sky started to explode with color.  Wailua Falls is one of the most popular places to visit as it offers easy viewing to a spectacular waterfall.  The key, of course, is getting something different.  For this particular shot that means a slightly altered perspective and crazy light!  Never a bad combo.  Of course this was just the precursor to the ‘real’ goal for the adventure.  But that’s another story for another time 🙂
 
Thanks!
aF
 
2013-11-28_014[web]

La’a Kea O Pali

 
While spending a (wet) weekend on Oahu for an ultimate frisbee tournament in Waimanalo I of course had my camera in tow.  Heading back over the pali (cliffs) to townside (Honolulu) I noticed that the persistant rain had started to ease a bit.  Knownig there was a pretty cool overlook I decided to make a slight detour and check out the view from above.  Rain jacket on the spritzing wasnt too bad however the pali was still fairly socked in.  Then I noticed a trail down the edge of the cliff…remnants of the old highway.  So off I went.  Over the next hour or so the storm started to break and this beam of light came flying through the gap in the mountains.  First it illuminated the greenery in front of me.  Then later on, as the sky opened, the focus turned to Kaneohe below me.  I set up to capture this awesome view and was super thankful I made that decision to pull over.  Then again…we should make that decision more often 🙂
 
Thanks!
aF
 

"La'a Kea O Pali"
“La’a Kea O Pali”

Adventures at Ke’e Beach

 
Had a chance to shoot at Ke’e one last time in which this VERY temporary beach existed.  In the 6+ years of living on Kauai I have never seen that much sand at the end of the summer at this spot.  But perhaps I just hadn’t looked before.  Either way this captivated me and spent a number of sunsets here.  This being the most recent.  As the sky was clear, again, my mind turns to twilight and that wonderful transition of light.  The last bit of sunset fades away and gives way to the stars.  Our visiting friend Venus (I think) made for quite a show as well!
 
Enjoy!
aF
 

Stars appear over the Na Pali coast at twlight from Ke'e Beach, Kauai.
Untitled Ke’e Twilight

Hā O Ka Mo’o (Dragon’s Breath)!

 
Admittedly I do not get out to shoot as much as I once did.  While my production has slowed a bit the ideas that I have had and still come up with do not cease.  On Monday night I had the opportunity to actually attempt one of these such ideas that could probably date back 1-2 years.  After leaving aFeinberg Gallery Poipu I got in to my car after catching a quick bite, and while tired, the sky had actually cleared up from the rainy weather we had had over the last couple of days.  Seeing as that I had my gear in the car the only thing left was to head out and give it a go.
For those not familiar with the area this is Spouting Horn.  A hugely popular attraction during the day, especially in the summer months when the south swell is more predominant.  The ocean gets forced through an old lava tube and sprays upwards like a geyser. Pretty spectacularly at times.  Of course venturing down is never recommended.  I spend a LOT of my time around the ocean photographing and have a healthy respect for what it can do.   Then add in the night time aspect and all the more creepy.  Especially since that as the horn spouts there is a huge whistling sound.  But this startling noise comes from about 30yards away from the water!  Watching one direction…noise from another.   After watching for a number of minutes I decide we’re good to go and grab the gear.  I carefully make my way to where my approximate shot is and watch the ocean some more.  Getting accustomed to the sound and pattern of the waves.  Then the tricky part.  Composing, focusing and shooting in the dark.
Now one of the things that I had not realized when visualizing this image was that there were street lights all around, thus bathing the area in artificial light.  Rats, was my first thought.  I had wanted it dark so that I could light paint the scene together.  I took a test shot to see if I had my composition down and the result was pretty crazy!  The whole ground was glowing bright red….like a dragon’s lair.  And, as predicted…the milky way BLAZING off the horizon up in to the sky.  Now the next part; figure out a way to capture the splash properly.  Over the next hour or so I spent rattling off 25 second exposures and playing with different lighting…all while waiting for the right wave to send the spray shooting upwards (but not getting blown too much to block the milky way!).
Finally, toward the end, and getting fairly tired, I decided to call it.  Hoping that at least one of the shots I had captured would work out.  After all it took me almost 2 years to even attempt this…and the wait was worth it :0
 
Thanks!
aF

Spouting Horn on Kauai under the Milky Way
“Dragon’s Breath”

Kauai Colors

 
Had the chance to hike down to Hanakapi’ai, with my sister (she’s visiting from Boston), a few days ago and as usual am wowed by this place I call home.  Something from a spot I have shot before but the colors were brilliant with the bright midday sun.  Nature’s palette!  Thought I’d share this quick one and enjoy!
 
Aloha!
aF
 

Na Pali coast at midday with bright tropical colors
The Na Pali Coast’s colors!

Kaboom! – 4 Years Later (code within)

 
It’s hard to know when something happens in one’s life that can alter their current reality.  Could be turning left instead of right, going to that party that you really were too exhausted to go to and meeting your future husband/wife, ordering cream of broccoli soup instead of minestrone and getting food poisoning…whichever it is….life has those events.  Approximately 4 years ago I was able to capture an image that changed my career.  Did I realize it at the time?  No…I was just excited to photograph this wave phenomenon.  And that year I decided to say @^!# it and enter some contests.  Then it started to happen.  Waking up one morning early fall to see an email from Popular Photography Magazine that I had won their “Through The Lens” competition.  A little ways down the line an email from American Photo Magazine come in….Nature Photo Of The Year…and it continued.
 
It’s hard to say what it all meant.  Whether it was the impetus to keep me moving in a direction I wasn’t sure was going to work out or just briefly validated that I got lucky once and was in the right place at the right time.
 
Well, now we are here, 4 years later, 3 aFeinberg Galleries and over 1,000 Collectors from Beijing to Britain.  Who knows what the next 4 years will bring but I know that I have been truly blessed by the island of Kauai to have been able to cultivate my being and abilities out here to be able to share with all of you.
 
As a thank you for being with me on this journey I am offering a special 15% off online orders.
 
Enter KABOOM15 at checkout.
 
May we continue this together….to infinity and beyond 😉
 
Aloha
aF
 

Massive wave explodes along Kauai's Na Pali Coast
“Kaboom!”

Duotone…kinda.

Going back through the archives there all kinds of goodies to discover.  I’m very well aware that I have a large quantity of work that’s never seen the light of day (pun kinda intended).  So it’s a treasure hunt when I start flipping through.  This particular image was taken on a fun day with a random group of people off for a walk.  When we came to this hillside the simplicity of the scene caught me and reminded me more of the rolling hills of the farming regions of the NW.  Midday is notoriously tough to shoot in but here the colors just popped.  The clouds of course happen to just lay themselves out perfectly.  Now if only you could feel the warm wind while viewing the image 😉
 
Thanks!
aF
 

Greens and blues on Kauai.
DuoTone