Tag Archives: island

The Best Beach on Maui: Hamoa Beach

Family on Hamoa Beach, near Hana, Maui

To me, the beauty of a beach lies in its circumstance. It’s not the fineness of the sand, or the amenities, or the people-watching. It’s whether the beach has a wild side to it — that’s where the appeal lies for me. Clinging to the edge of a landmass — the lone barrier from the inhospitable ocean — a great beach for me is more akin with a wilderness lake in the mountains than a local neighborhoods pool. I want to sit there, alone with my thoughts, the concussive waves and the whispering wind — and feel the majesty of nature.

On Maui, Hamoa Beach is that beach for me. Continue reading

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To the Island: Isola San Giulio, Italy

Boat and Isola San Giulio seen from Orta San Giulio, Italy

I have been a firm believer that a landscape is at its most aesthetically pleasing when its left untouched. But the Italians have truly challenged this notion for me. Throughout the country beautiful hills, idyllic lakes, rugged coastlines and verdant plains are rendered even more photogenic by old buildings, artful decay and pastel colors. Continue reading

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Playa Grande, Dominican Republic

Playa Grande, Dominican Republic

Playa Grande. Big Beach. Not the most imaginative name, but its a name I won’t forget. That’s because this is the beach you dream about on a winter’s day as you are stowed away in a cubicle in some northern city. Sugary golden sand, ever-changing surf and palm trees that burst open like fireworks. It’s as though it were designed for a Corona commercial. Continue reading

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Pictures of Capri, Italy

A man surveys the island of Capri, Campagna, Italy

Who cares about Capri? That’s what I was thinking when we were planning our 3-week trip to Italy back in 2008. What I knew of it was that it was a Mediterranean hoity-toity haunt for the rich. Maseratis, casinos and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, right?

“Mariah Carey has a house there,” my wife added. Thanks … all the more reason to keep my distance. We had other priorities: Positano, Sorrento, Matera, Puglia, Rome, Umbria, Tuscany…it was already a long list.

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The Road to Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park

Red dirt cascade descending from the Waimea Canyon area, Kauai.

On the Friday morning before Thanksgiving, I had a feeling my brother was trying to talk us out of going to Waimea Canyon. It was a long drive, he noted. Time on Kauai was precious, and Varenna — our 8-month-old daughter — would be facing backwards for the whole ride. Poipu had a baby beach.

But I acted like the typical younger brother: the more he discouraged it, the more determined I was to go. This was a verdant miniature Grand Canyon, and at the end of the road was a window to the Na Pali Coast. Yes, time on Kauai is precious. But for me, that meant not letting a week slip by without seeing this magnificent sight.

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Kauai Through a Tilt-Shift Lens

Hanalei Valley Lookout, Kauai, Hawaii (tilt-shift)Hanalei Valley Lookout; Canon 45mm TS-E, ISO 400, 1/3200 sec, f2.8

I’d hesitate to say I’m “into gear.” I’d rather read a personal finance blog than the Digital Photography Magazine Buyer’s Guide. In writing, gear is just not interesting.

Where things get interesting for me is when gear enables new techniques. Last year, I used BorrowLenses.com to rent a 200mm prime lens and a 24mm tilt-shift for Holy Week in Mexico. To have two new weapons in my bag made the week’s imagery 100% better. The 200mm allowed for more intimate candid shots during the processions, while the tilt-shift opened up hundreds of doors of creativity for my cityscape and architecture. It was like shooting in a third and fourth dimension.

For Kauai, I once again rented two lenses: this time, a 24mm–105mm zoom lens (a must for the helicopter tour) and a 45mm tilt-shift lens. Once again, the tilt-shift rocked.

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6 Photography Tips for a Kauai Helicopter Tour

Aerial photos of the Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii.(Click on images for a larger view)

While on Kauai, Hailey and I took a 90-minute helicopter tour of the island with Jack Harter Helicopters. The tour was billed as a photographer’s tour because it went slower and took its time with each section of the trip. Because of this alone, I highly recommend it. Kauai’s interior and much of its coastline is inaccessible (to most of us) and seeing it by air is really the only way to truly get a sense for the island as a whole.

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Guess What … ?

A rooster at Wishing Well Shave Ice, Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaii.

… Chicken butt.

We leave Kauai tomorrow night. Fantastic trip so far.

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The Moment: Hanalei Valley, Kauai – 8am

We are in Kauai right now, and it … is … awesome. So far, I’ve photographed sunrise from ‘Anini Beach, lunch at Hanalei Juice & Taro Company, Haena Beach Park, the Kilauea Farmer’s Market (where I ran into a college friend who is now a farmer on this island), and this morning, sunrise on Kalihiwai Bay and morning over the magnificent taro fields of Hanalei.

I’ve always touted that I am not a beach person (as if its something that distinguishes me), and so far, that is only holding up true in one sense, and that’s my favorite two places on this island (at least in the first 48 hours). One, is a bend in the highway between Princeville and Kilauea, where massive, ornate, flat-branched trees rise up over a curve in the highway, and transport the driver to a whole different place, like Japan, China, Taiwan, or the end of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. It is startling and devastatingly beautiful.

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