Posted by: kerryl29 | December 23, 2019

Hawaii Day 7: Finding Something New

In each of the past two chronological entries (Day 5 and Day 6) I mentioned that I’d fallen into a bit of a malaise.  I kind of felt as though I’d explored what I could and didn’t have much new to photograph on Kauai.  On this day, I would realize how wrong I was.  But first, it was time for another sunrise at Waipouli Beach.  Maybe this was where the day’s exploration really began as I decided not to simply rely on the same spot on the beach I’d utilized in my earlier sessions.  This time, I headed about 1/8 of a mile north on the beach, to check out a spot I’d scouted earlier.  The sunrise itself was kind of disappointing, but the new location was a bit more stimulating.

Sunrise, Waipouli Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Given the different elements, I gave some thought to returning to this area of the beach the next morning, which would be my last on Kauai.  (I had a flight to Maui very early in the afternoon the next day.)  These plans would not come off, but for a very good reason, which I’ll get to in a moment.

Sunrise, Waipouli Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Given the relative paucity of clouds at this time of the morning and at this location, the scene became more or less unshootable quickly but before I left I turned my gaze in the opposite direction.

Palm Moonset, Waipouli Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

I had to decide what to do next and I decided to take a peek at a location just down the road–literally a few miles to the north, just beyond downtown Kapa’a.  I’d passed this area several times during my travels while on Kauai without ever having the opportunity to explore.  Now, I felt, I had nothing better to do, so I thought I’d take a look.

There’s a paved pedestrian/biking path on the eastern shore of Kauai called the Ke Ala Hele Makalae Path.  It begins at Lydegate Park, south of Kapa’a, and runs for about eight miles along the coast all the way to Kuna Bay.  I was particularly intrigued by a section that is visible from the the Kuhio Highway that begins south of the bridge over Kapa’a Stream and Kealia Beach.  There are numerous picnic areas along this stretch of the path, as well as public restroom and shower facilities and ample roadside parking.  I pulled into one of the parking lots and, without my gear, started walking the path to examine the coastal views.  After about 15 minutes I returned to the car to get my things; I had already seen plenty to photograph.  I’d arrived with low expectations but had inadvertently discovered a treasure trove.

This stretch of the Ke Ala Hele Makalae Path runs right along the coast, on a bluff 40 or so feet above water level.  There are a number of spots where, with a modest amount of effort, one can go all the way down to the beach.  The path runs north to the formal sandy part of Kealia Beach, but the area I found most compelling is south of the designated beach park.  I still labeled the images from this location as “Kealia Beach” because it’s the nearest named feature to my photographic locations.

Kealia Beach, Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

The options here were nearly endless.  I could shoot from the bluff or I could go down to the rocky beach.  I had all sorts of foreground options at my disposal, from rocks to naupaka to mangrove trees to driftwood.

Kealia Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Kealia Beach Black & White, Kauai, Hawaii

There were a series of coves, offshore rocks, crashing surf and, just to help things along, all kinds of interesting clouds had drifted across the ocean waters to the east to be part of the scene before me.

Kealia Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Kealia Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

This wasn’t golden hour light but it was still pretty nice.  The clouds were filtering the sunlight, which helped keep it from getting truly harsh for quite some time.  When it did start to get a bit harsh, I started shooting with the intention of converting to black & white.

Kealia Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Kealia Beach Black & White, Kauai, Hawaii

Kealia Beach Black & White, Kauai, Hawaii

The spot that really captivated me during this extended scout/shoot was a tiny cove, with a small, rock-strewn beach and a single mangrove tree.  I spotted this location fairly early on in the process from up on the bluff and found a way to access it directly that didn’t require a tremendous amount of effort.  I was just steps away from the water when I produced the series of images you see below.

Kealia Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Kealia Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Kealia Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

These images were made at the beginning of the shoot–it was this scene that encouraged me to retreat to the car for my gear–when the light was at its best.  But before I left the location altogether I returned to the cove to produce an image destined to be converted to monochrome.

Kealia Beach Black & White, Kauai, Hawaii

I was so captivated by this location that I determined, as I was gathering up my things, to return to this spot for sunrise the next morning.  I really wanted to photograph here, at least a bit, when there was a chance for the light to be at its best.

The unexpected experience at Kealia but a bounce back in my step, metaphorically speaking, that I hadn’t felt in a couple of days.  It reminded me that there are always places to explore, especially at a place as beautiful as Kauai.  One simply has to put forth the effort.  With renewed vigor, I set off to the north to check out a few locations on the northeast part of the island that hadn’t been particularly high priorities for me.  Once again, I was glad I decided to check some other locations.

I drove all the way up north to Hanalei; it was early in the afternoon by the time I got there.  My destination was a park/beach on the edge of Hanalei Bay.  It wasn’t a spot that came particularly highly recommended, but when I got there and poked around just a bit, I was quite pleased that I’d made the trip.

Hanalei Bay Black & Whitey, Kauai, Hawaii

There were some boats moored in the bay, and palm trees in the park.  There was also the Hanalei Pier, which isn’t the most photogenic such structure I’ve ever seen, but has a certain charm, if you look closely enough.  The image above, with the boats in the foreground, was made from the covered end of the pier.

Hanalei Bay, Black Pot Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

A series of palm trees, right along the shoreline of the bay, became a frequent component of my compositions while shooting from Black Pot Beach.

Hanalei Bay Black & Whitey, Black Pot Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Hanalei Bay, Black Pot Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Finally, there was an opportunity to utilize the pier itself as part of the image.

Hanalei Pier Black & White, Hanalei Bay, Black Pot Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

When I was done here, I made the short drive to the town of Princeville.  I wanted to take a look at a spot called Queen’s Bath, a kind of natural lava shelf swimming pool that is refreshed by the ocean tides and surf.  There’s a trail down to this feature, that emanates from a wealthy neighborhood in the town.  There’s a small parking area, but it was completely filled when I went down there.  The surrounding neighborhood was filled with “no parking, under penalty of death” signs.  Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but there were signs all over the places threatening three figure fines and towing vehicles to Honolulu or somewhere if you parked anywhere other than the six or eight–a totally inadequate number irrespective of the specifics–designated spots.  Rather than push the issue, I decided to move on.

I settled on a public park in Princeville because, when I’d driven past it on the way to the Queen’s Bath parking area, I’d noticed a flock of nene–the native Hawaiian goose–in the park.  I parked my car in the lot–there was space to do so here–grabbed my camera with the telephoto lens and went off to photograph the geese, without spooking them.  I had seen nene during my 13-mile hike in Koke’e State Park, but I didn’t have the opportunity to photograph them.

Nene, Prince Edward Park, Kauai, Hawaii

The geese were pretty cooperative.  Given that they were in this park, they were clearly quite acclimated to the presence of people.

Nene, Prince Edward Park, Kauai, Hawaii

Nene, Prince Edward Park, Kauai, Hawaii

In addition to the geese, there were some cattle egrets in the park and I snapped a few images of them as well, as long as I was there.

Cattle Egret, Prince Edward Park, Kauai, Hawaii

Cattle Egret, Prince Edward Park, Kauai, Hawaii

On my way back to the car I spotted a pair of cook pines off to my left.  These are some of the most intriguing trees I’ve ever seen and I hastened to produce an image.

Cook Pines, Prince Edward Park, Kauai, Hawaii

It was pushing 4 PM by the time I finished at Prince Edward Park and I began to make my way back south, in the direction of Kapa’a, but I decided to check out some beaches along the shore on the way.  I did a lot more looking than photographing, but I finally pulled the gear back out when I got to a spot at Anini Beach that caught my attention.

Anini Beach Balck & White, Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

Anini Beach, Beach, Kauai, Hawaii

I ended the day back near Secret Beach, which had been my end of day destination on Day 5, but clouds billowed up to the west and completely snuffed out any semblance of a sunset, so that was the end of the day’s photography.  But I had become seriously inspired and I had a firm plan to return to Kealia Beach for sunrise the next day.  I could only hope that the sunrise, on my final morning on Kauai, would be a good one.


  1. Thanks, dear. I really love natural beauty. You capture some awesome nature. I think you continue that.

    • Thanks very much!

  2. […] flight to Maui so I did have time to photograph early in the morning.  Based on my experience on Day 7, I had decided to photograph sunrise from the stretch of the Ke Ala Hele Makalae Path just south of […]

  3. These places are amazing. I always love to read your blog.

Please feel free to comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: