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Day Eleven: Kauaʻi

Posted on Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Dave!Decisions, decisions.

I shouldn't have to be making decisions while I'm on vacation.

From the town of Kapaʻa where my rented condo is, you can really only travel north or south. There are lots of little roads that wander off into the countryside of Kauaʻi, but there's only one main road on the island, and it goes north or south. After flipping a coin, I decided that it would be north today, south tomorrow.

Google Map of Kauai

Though I have to tell you, the weather at the beach outside my room was pretty sweet, and it was all I could do to tear myself away...

My Condo's Beach on Kauai

First stop was the lighthouse at Kilauea, the north-most point of Kauaʻi. It's located in a wildlife refuge where all kinds of birds come to nest, and has the largest "clamshell" light lens in the world. It is kind of beat up, needs a paint-job, and doesn't work anymore (they have a light beacon outside instead), but it's still a beautiful place to visit...

Kilauea Lighthouse

Kilauea Lighthouse

From there on out, it's pretty much just one incredibly beautiful beach after another until you run out of road. As you get further north, the waters are a little rougher, but it's an amazing sight to watch those waves come rolling in...

Kauai North Beach

Kauai North Beach

Once the road ends at Na Pali, I could have parked and hiked out 20 miles along the beautiful coastal area there, but that's way more effort than I wanted to put into my afternoon.

So I drove back to my condo and goofed off.

I received a couple emails and comments from people asking about the photos I've been taking... wanting to know how much Photoshop work I've been doing to get them to look so nice.

The answer is "none." I'm on vacation, and don't want to mess around with Photoshop. About the only thing I do is crop and re-size... no other manipulations are going on.

I seem to get the best results here when set my camera to "Vivid Color," put the exposure compensation to "-0.3," bracket the shot with "+/-0.7," turn on "Active D-Lighting," and add either a polarizing filter or a neutral density filter to my lens so I can cut some of the glare and brightness (polarizers look best but they don't work well for wide-angle shots, so I use a 4x neutral density filter for those).

For my Blogography entries, I always choose the overexposed bracketed shot. This is a bad thing, because all my bright whites are blown out. But going this route means the photos require no work on my part. I just crop them and slap them up on my blog. When it comes time to assemble my photo album, I'll choose an underexposed shot so I can brighten up the darker shadow areas by manipulating the levels without blowing out the bright spots.


Times sure have changed since I first got into photography.

Categories: Photography 2008, Travel 2008Click To It: Permalink


  1. Sarah says:

    I love your pictures.

    I might steal them, although what I’d do with I have no idea.

    But they make me really want to go to a beach instead of class or work.

  2. whall says:

    I tried setting my wife to those same specifications, but she slapped me twice.

    Then she said “yes” to marrying me.

  3. kilax says:

    Those beautiful blue skies… so jealous.

    Somehow, I had a feeling the photos weren’t photoshopped. I just believed it was truly that amazing there!

  4. Sue says:

    Why not compose all three in HDR projects? I use Dynamic Photo HDR software. Basically, it layers the three bracketed shots as one, and the result is awesome.

  5. sizzle says:

    I really, really, really need to get to Hawaii. SOON. I have never been! Your pictures are making me want to hop a plane right now.

  6. Lewis says:

    I am always amazed at THAT color of water….whatever it’s name is. I’m so glad you’re taking us all along on your journey. Can we do wine, cheese, bread, and chocolate at the lighthouse??? Please.

  7. Oooh…these make me miss Kauai even MORE! *sad face* Just gorgeous shots though. 🙂

  8. kapgar says:

    Katie and I love the Kilauea lighthouse! We have pictures from there during our honeymoon. Beautiful location and structure.

  9. Hilly says:

    I think a few of these are the most breathtaking of them all. I love seeing the color of the water there compared to here…man I need to go back.

  10. SJ says:

    LOVE the lighthouse distance shot! All your photos are so beautiful, I’m glad you’re not spoiling them with post-processing. They’re so natural and REAL.

  11. Maman says:

    The Waimea Canyon? You have to go to the Grand Canyon of the Pacific!

  12. Cool photos!

    I’ll be checking out how those photo settings work on my camera (that’s with your Canon SLR, right?).

  13. Oh my gosh… those BLUES!!! Wow.

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