Kauai

By ashimagery

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First time to Hawaii. First time traveling this long of a distance. First time being in a time zone great than 3hrs from Philly. First time in first class (which is amazing).

I've been looking forward to this trip for quite some time now. Part business, part personal. I booked this wedding on Kauai because I photographed the bride's sister's wedding last year (2012) in San Francisco. Lately, this is how I've been booking nearly all my weddings ... word of mouth. Its a good feeling to know that my work is being spread around like that. People are loving final product and passing along my name.

While I was excited to get to Kauai, I was not excited about the amount of time spent traveling. After all said and done it was about 21hrs of travel. Needless to say, when I arrived on the island Thursday night, I was super stoked.

Nothing really to report on this day. Traveling.

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6hrs difference in time from home. It doesn't sound like much at all. That is, until you experience it. It hit me harder than I thought it would.

I arrived to my place on Kauai at 9:30pm - basically 3:30am at home. After chatting with the house owners (got the room on AirBNB, I crashed around 11pm and was looking forward to a nice, long sleep.

Wrong. 4am the roosters started. 5am were more. I was up by 6am and witnessed the sun rise. The roosters certainly didn't help but the bigger reason was my body was just used to being up by then. I never sleep past 9:30 at home and according to my internal clock it was 12:30. So I kinda felt like crap.

None-the-less, I was in Hawaii. I shrugged it off with a killer outdoor shower and arrived promptly at breakfast at 7am with a view of the mountains.

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This was the first place I checked out. It was recommended to me by a friend and a picture I saw taken there was incredible.

The guide books and most online reviews tell you NOT to hike down to the bottom but I did anywhere. However, a few reviews say you'll regret it if you don't.

I made a go of it. It probably wasn't the smartest thing to do after it rained the night before but I made the trek. It was very steep and pretty scary at some parts. Bringing along camera gear didn't help the situation. But I made it. And while I was a little bummed the water level was extremely high and I didn't get to access good areas for pics, it was still an awesome sight to see and I highly recommend checking it out.

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The couple I'm staying with told me about a little secluded beach to hit up within walking distance of the house. So I decided to check it out.

Its about a 15 minute walk from the place and isn't the easiest beach to access. In a matter of 3hrs of was doing the second not-so-smart-thing-to-do-before-a-wedding. But again, it was worth it. As it usually is when there is something challenging to overcome to witness something amazing.

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At the end of the main road in Kauai ... driving north ... you arrive at a state park/beach. This is Haena. It's pretty much the start of the Na Pali coastline in the NW portion of the island. Its gorgeous. Its about a 20 minute drive from Hanalei bay and if you time it right you can hit the sunset - which is what I did. Once the sun was just about to go below the mountains in Hanalei, I drove right to the park. I made it there with about 30 minutes to spare and had some time to do a short hike over some lava rocks to a point where I witnessed the sunset sitting on a rock.

Perfect.

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Got up. Still exhausted. Ate breakfast.

This is my final day here and while there are a couple places I won't get to see, I definitely wanted to visit Waimea Canyon. This part of Kauai is directly opposite of where I'm staying and while its only 50 miles away, it takes over 90 minutes due to the slow driving on the one main road.

Before going I checked the weather because its completely different around the island. The forecast was sunny and a 20% chance of rain. 1 hour into the trip I get a notification from the Weather app - Flash Flood warning in the area I'm in. I keep driving stopping along the way to take in the sights.

I arrive to the lookout point. I walk up. Downpour.

I waited for about 30 minutes before it slowed down and cleared up a bit. While I wasn't able to see the distances you normally can, I still got a stellar view. And the misty rain kind of added to the feeling of the images. None-the-less, I still got to see it and for that I'm thankful.

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