Back to Nature in Kauai

Exotic Hibiscus Flower

For such a small Island I can say that five days left us little time with nothing to photograph. Each day we found a new area to see, and new things to photograph.

Up on the North shore Kilauea and Hanalei were an eye catching treat to explore. Weather was cooler, and changeable. Due to some storms last year roads past Hanalei were washed out. On my last visit I had a private docent led tour by my daughter-in-law of the Limahuli Garden  Perhaps, next time.

Approaching the Kilauea Lighthouse



My friend with her long lens finally got to capture images of the birds of Kauai. I tried, but quickly found other things of interest. Without long lenses, and strong arms to hold said lens, I look for things that are possible with the tools I can carry.

Meet the yellow garden spider. Aside from the wind, this spider stays still for a photo opportunity.

Yellow Garden Spider

The Nene is the official bird of Hawaii. I even caught a photo of it young.

Nene, official Hawaiian bird

Nene young

The views from this spot are spectacular. I so enjoyed visiting the north shore.

Rain started up, and we continued on to Hanalei, our selected lunch spot. But oh so fabulous a landscape.

View of Hanalei Bay


Waioli Huiia Church

Capturing some of the flowers here on Kauai. For some of these we stopped at a nursery where we could get close to our subject.

When I’m in Hawaii I like to take in a luau. The garden setting is lovely. A tram ride tour started us off.

Plenty of roosters
Smith Family Garden Luau is a family business. Now four generations continue the tradition started 50 years ago

Kalua pig roasted in an imu oven starts the ceremonial tradition. Followed by song and dance show. Not to easy to capture. I used my Fuji with a 35mm f1.4 lens and we had good seats!

I’m leaving the last bit of this photo tour for another day! Hope you enjoy the images as an arm chair traveler!



Street Photography in Kauai

Along with the lush scenery I tried to capture the flavor of the Island with some street photography. Laura brought an up-to date guide book. The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. Mine was 19 years old, and prices and recommendations have changed. My son, who lived in Kapa’a in 2000 provided me with points of interest also.

My Fuji x100f is suited for street photography, and came in handy at the airport and when we explored towns. Along with my xt2 I brought along lenses for landscapes, and distance, lowlight, and all around general shooting. The dilemma my friends and I faced each day was what lens should we take with us. We joked around thinking there should be an app for that purpose. And who knows, maybe there will be an app for this someday?

Sacramento International Airport (SMF) is a delightfully easy to navigate, and a great point for departure.

There is no direct flight to Kauai. My flight landed in Honolulu in over 5 hours. Traversing this airport is quite a task. I took note of this and planned to use an airport cart for my carry-ons next time.

Off to Lihue. The bright Hawaiian shirts and big “Aloha Greeting” puts me in a holiday mood.
Baggage claim in Lihue is open-air. Right away you know you have arrived in the tropics.
Keeping my friend caffeinated with the “perfect” cappuccino!
And I know what my friend likes!

Old town Koloa is a quaint town with a sugar plantation past. Had a lot of fun exploring here.

Festive Hawaiian greeting.

Monkey Tree brought us here, but the charm caught my photographic eye.
Can you tell I missed my dog?
Always on the lookout for funny signs
This is part of a beautiful sculpture depicting their history.
Chickens and Roosters everywhere. Just like my town of Fair Oaks, Ca.

Koloa has this great ice cream shop, Koloa Mill Ice Cream and Coffee. Be sure to stop by, you won’t regret it! Another treat on this Island is Shave Ice. Not only is it fun to eat, it is fun to watch it being made. It does take a bit of technique to eat it without looking like an amateur.

Guide book recommended Jo Jo’s. First tried Shave Ice in the town of Waimea. Our second stop was in the town of Hanalei.
All kinds of flavor combinations.
Developing her technique!
Caution. Head freeze ahead!

Hanalei is another fun town to check out. Had to pull out our rain gear to protect our gear. The rain comes and goes quickly.

Wandered in and out of shops. This owner was learning a new song.

Croc Cuteness

I end here today with the hope of getting time tomorrow to continue with some more of my photo images.

Kauai – Looking for Water on the Coconut Coast

The last time I visited the Garden Isle I spent much time at the beach visiting my son and daughter-in-law. This time photography pushed us to explore, explore, explore. There are 4 distinct areas to visit. West Side: Waimea Canyon and Hanapepe, North Shore: Kiluea, Hanalei and Princeville, East Side: Coconut Coast – Lihu’e, Wailua and Kapa’a, and South Shore: Koloa, and sunny Po’ipu.

Surrounded by ocean, with waterfalls and rivers interspersed there is no shortage of water. Landscapes full of green provide much appreciated photo opportunities. Especially when you travel from California after a summer of drought.

Opaika’a Falls enhanced by cloud cover
Looking for a closer view, a longer and heavier lens might do!

Our trusty Nissan rental provided our only means of transportation. Maybe if I return I may plan a trip down the river by boat. Not being able to get close to the waterfall kind of took away some of the excitement for me.

Wailua River found on the other side of Opaika’a Falls.

On to our next waterfall of the morning.

Beginning of a muddy trail to find the Secret Waterfalls
Meeting a much younger and experience hikers returning, I decide the Secret Waterfalls will remain as such. My friends and I enjoy the jungle atmosphere.
Looking out from the jungle path is a clearing with goats and bird friends.
Muddy, broken flip flops abandoned by a more adventurous hiker.

Lunch in Kapa’a at Bubba’s Burgers and a quick stop at Kapa’a Beach. Ocean

Plenty of wait time. Amusing signs always capture my attention.
Wild ocean waves on Kapa’a Beach

Last stop of the day is the Wailua Waterfalls. Picturesque, but did not get my heart thumping like Niagara Falls. What can I say.

Wailua Waterfalls
Amused to watch selfies be taken.
I guess this sign does not apply to the lizard attached!

This ends the exploration of the Coconut Coast. Didn’t photograph any coconuts. I understand that this side of the Island has groves of coconuts. Something to see, next time?

Exploring Kauai – Waimea Canyon

Our first day on the Island of Kauai we head toward the Waimea Canyon. This proved to be our most adventurous day. Anxious to see as much as three photographers in our mature condition we started early with a stop at our local Starbucks. With a perfect cappuccino, cameras, lenses, batteries, and hats we are off.

Heading up western part of Kauai

First glimpse of the canyon

The colorful restaurant begged to be photographed!
Driving along we stop at every lookout point and admire the lush, green landscape


With camera in tow we explore the trail. Our traditional shadow selfie.

I am feeling pretty good about my choice in camera equipment. For this portion of the trip I am switching between my 18-55mm zoom lens and my 10-24mm wide angle lens. I am able to clip the lens case to my jeans, and travel light.

Continuing up Waimea Canyon we arrive at Waimea Canyon Lookout. I have not yet witnessed the Grand Canyon so I marvel at this wonderful landscape.

We started early and we were ready for a break. All along the canyon there are no commercial fast food places. We came across the Koke’e Lodge, and stopped for lunch. Located in Koke’e State Park the view is a stark contrast to the canyon views I have seen all morning. Enjoyed lunch, and then headed back to Hanapepe.

Kekaha Beach our next destination will always be filled with good and bad memories. Happy to see the ocean, after all Kauai is an Island. But as a reminder just as I am leaving the beach, I fall. My lava rock is hard and not forgiving. Luckily my jeans protected my skin, but my right leg, ugh. No one wanted to take that photograph!

Kekaha Beach waves crashing!

Getting into some people photography. Looks like an enjoyable stroll along the shoreline.
Sandpipers going in the other direction!


When I was last in Kauai I remember going over a Swinging Bridge. Too tired, and not quite in condition to go across I viewed it from afar.

Hanapepe Swinging Bridge over the river.



This first day ends with a sunset view from the Waimea Canyon.

Goodnight Waimea Canyon!

So ends my first day on my photographic journey in Kauai. More days of exploring, photographing, relaxing and enjoying time with good friends.