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 🙂
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!
100% view of the detail in the shot:
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!
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!
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 😉
Untitled Ke’e Beach
Low tide, pre-dawn twilight, earth shadow near the horizon and perfectly ribbed sand. Ke’e Beach, one of the most popular on Kauai if not the state of Hawaii, has a rare empty moment before the day brings sun bathers and hikers to wonder in the amazing Na Pali coast.