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Archive 2012 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

Hey guys,
I'm looking for some advice on an up coming trip to Maui and Kauai. Unfortunately I don't have that much time and my Fiance probably isn't going to want to spend a whole load of time cursing the islands looking for photo opportunities. Can anyone suggest any really good locations?

I'm also slightly stuck on which gear to bring. Currently I plan on taking a tripod and my Canon D60 with 28-135 lens, however I am pretty new to the photography world and would be willing to rent a lens or two and pick up polarizer/filter (if necessary). Again any feedback would be greatly appreciated.



Jul 27, 2012 at 01:20 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

Get a Circular Polarizer (CPL) and a rectangular 3 Stop gradual N-D filter. For the N-D filter, do not buy a Cokin, even though they are cheap. They will turn the skies grey and shift colors. The grad filter will help you make better sunrise and sunset photos at the beach. The CPL will not only enrich the skies but also help you take long exposures at the waterfalls.

As for Maui, there are photographic opportunities almost everywhere. You will need a wider lens also, but I don't know too much about Canon gear, so you need to look around. Remember to take a "Road to Hana" trip. There are numerous waterfalls on the way, and you will enjoy yourself there. Also, a trip up to the Haleakela (sp?) crater is rewarding. A star photography over there maybe a lot of fun, if you enjoy that.

I have not been Kauai, and hence can't tell you too much. I know there is a helicopter tour that lands and lets you take pictures of the Jurassic Falls there.

Good luck and enjoy your trip.

Jul 27, 2012 at 02:27 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

Road to Hana and the Seven Sacred Pools is a must, but it is a slow, long and really winding road....

Jul 27, 2012 at 04:51 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

I just visited Kauai in the Spring and here are my must see places

Waimea Canyon - Drive the road to the Canyon, especially the last 2/3 stops.
The last one is at Kalalau Valley

This nice in the morning but Sunsets would be a better choice if your fiance doesn't mind defering dinner

Here are a few shots from an AM visit

Helicopter tour, DOORS OFF, of Waimea Canyon, coast, etc.
This was by far the best bang-for-the-buck as far as photography goes.
It was about $300 for a 70 minute, doors off tour
Here are some images from that tour

If you take the tour, you are only allowed a camera if it has a neckstrap/wriststrap.
No camera bags, lens changes, card or battery changes!
Its all about safety & they don't want stuff falling out of the chopper.
I brought a 5DMkII w/24-105 lens.
This was an optimal set up as many wide angle shots as you are close to canyon walls.
Shooting tips:

Tv (shutter priority), set at 1/800 - 1/1000, at ISO 400, with a stabiized lens which you seem to have.
Multi-shot for short (2-3 shots) burst help get steady images.
Don't brace yourself against the helo cabin as vibration will hurt your shots.
They tell you to shoot from the hip to avoid motion-sickness, BUT all they are trying to prevent is you
staring through the viewfinder the whole time. Just frame/shoot, then look out w/o camera to keep yourself OK. I also used the accu-pressure wrist straps, just in case. I had NO problems.
I went through about 400-500 shots (because of multi-shot) and had a ton of keepers.
Freshly charged battery was OK for the duration

Here is Aaron Feinbergs website for more pictures, ideas

Have fun


Jul 27, 2012 at 05:20 PM

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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

Definately take the road to Hana, I prefer very early mornings for this drive. One of my top 5 drives in the world.

Yes, take a polarizer and a tripod so you guys can get great shots of each other in great locations.

regarding ND's... this is a proof point for you get what you pay for. Often, the cheaper ones can cause color shift.

I just did a bunch of waterfalls mid day with a ND and they turned out pretty good... see thread "Banff with a Toy Camera".

Jul 27, 2012 at 07:23 PM
gordon l
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

I was just in Maui in January for 9 days. It was SO Awesome! Not only was it a photographer's dream, it was super fun for my wife and I.

I second the "road to Hana" as a must. I don't like the cold and I live in a desert, so the sunrise over the volcanic crater wasn't that enticing to me. I'd rather see the waterfalls and visit the beach. The road to Hana is really not something to just drive. Plan several 2-3 hours trips to explore here or there. Staying in Hana can make this so much easier and is highly recommended even if just if for one night.

Please see my Maui Photo Gallery for what images I felt were best from my trip and where I went.

My blog also contains several details about the locations I particularly enjoyed, including this one about the Road to Hana Waterfalls.


Kauai is also awesome. It's got world-class locations as well, the top being the Kalalau trail. Kokee state park and Waimea canyons are full of great adventures. Polihale beach is sweet. I went there in 2011 and 2006. My Kauai Photo Galllery shows what I thought was best here.



Jul 27, 2012 at 10:08 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

For Maui, on your first or second morning take one of the tours to the top of Haleakela and photograph the incredible sunrise through the clouds. Then walk down the sliding sands trail as far as you can. Please remember sunscreen. You will not believe you are on planet earth while up there. When I did the hike, I used an 11-18mm on a DX body. It worked well. Donít change lenses while up there as the volcanic ash gets everywhere. The next time I was on Heleakela I used my 80-400 so that I could do isolation shots. As you are going to Kawaii, the road to Hana could be skipped as it is not as good and will fill a day. Do get to the beach at sunrise and sunset as it is special. If you stay on mainland time, you will have the best photo opportunities on the islands.

For Kawaii, Waimea Canyon is a must and donít just drive to the limited viewing spots. There are numerous hiking trails that lead down into the canyon and the views are wonderful and you will get to enjoy the vegetation as well. Take a boat ride or helicopter tour of the Napaili coast as you will see more than if you hike.

If you are going during the summer itís the dry season which will be nice though the falls will have less water going over them. The islands have a wet and dry side. On the wet side expect showers any time and enjoy them as there warm and cool you down.

Have a great trip,


Jul 27, 2012 at 10:32 PM

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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

When are you going? If it's from late November to early April, then it's Humpback whale watching season. It's also the big wave season if you like photographing surfers. On Maui, there will be Ho'okipa beach & Pe'ahi (aka Jaws).

Jul 28, 2012 at 01:46 AM
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

Suddenly I remembered, don't forget to eat at the Paia Fish Market. I am from the New Orleans area and we have good to great seafood often. Paia Fish Market is a great seafood place, very crowded, cafeteria style but just fabulous. Their fish burger is worth the wait.

Good luck.

Jul 28, 2012 at 01:51 AM
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

Also, everyone talks about the sunsets on Haleakala which are very beautiful.


However, the sunsets can be just as beautiful.


If you are going up for the sunset, I would recommend going up there as early as possible. This is because the parking lots up there get very crowded. If you need something hot to drink, there is a 24 hour supermarket in Pukalani called Foodland. I don't normally recommend non-photography related stores on a photography website, but it's on the way up and it's a great place to get hot drinks and snacks. I do not know of any other places that are on the way up where you can get some last minute snacks or hot drinks. The hot drink part is important since Haleakala is COLD. Most people I tell this to do no believe me at first, but I have seen people fresh from the beach in Kihei get out of their cars still wearing their wet swimwear and immediately scream because of the cold. This is during the day, and it goes double so at night or before sunrise. Even in the tropics, an altitude of 10,000 ft (3000m) is damn cold, and you should be prepared for it. The wind that blows up there can make it even worse.

Good luck and have a great vacation!

Jul 28, 2012 at 04:00 AM

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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

Hey guys,
Thanks for all the advice. The trip was awesome and I got lots of great pictures. Again, I appreciate the responses.


Sep 09, 2012 at 01:28 AM

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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

Opening this back up fellow photogs Need some help/advice

Im heading to Maui next month with my 5Diii, 35 1.4, 85 1.2 and 135L and tripod. Im thinking about selling my 135L to fund a wide angle 17-40 and filters. I know little about filters, but read i should get a polarizer and ND? Any help/advice greatly appreciated . I would love some landscape shots, sunset shots, waterfall and a few self shots of the wife and I for our 7th anniversary



Jun 18, 2013 at 12:54 PM
gordon l
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

Hi Adam.

Very excited to hear you are going to Maui. You should be excited too. There is lots of civilized parts for comfort and lots of uncivilized parts for discovery. I like that mix.

Lens questions are hard. You have some good prime lenses. What you shoot determines what lenses you should own or have. As a hardcore landscape photographer, a wide angle lens is used more than any other. By wide I mean 17-40 or 16-35 etc. 35mm prime just isn't wide enough for the wide views in landscapes.

A polarizer is very important to have where there are reflections (rivers, streams, waterfalls, wet rocks, wet leaves,etc.) and will help in Maui if you are shooting those things. The ND filters are good for sunset but I would not consider them that vital. You can combine bracketed exposures to achieve the same result.

What to sell, if you must, will have to be you're personal decision.


Jun 20, 2013 at 05:59 PM

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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Advice for Maui/Kauai Trip

Yeah im going for a 17-40L and polarizer for both it and my Sigma 35.
Not getting a ND filter though...thanks for reply buddy

Jun 21, 2013 at 02:55 AM

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