DLWS Kauai – Lost in Paradise

Well… we literally got lost. 

Shooting location for day 1’s afternoon was Waimea canyon;  about one and half hour drive from our hotel.  As usual, we carpooled and followed the caravan.  Unfortunately, we hit commute traffic half way there and we lost our leader.  Then Isamu pulled out his trusty Garmin GPS and set Waimea Canyon as our destination.  What could go wrong, right?  Next thing you know, we were stopping by every lookout point searching for the rest of the class – no luck.  While we kept driving up the mountain, we were treated with breathtaking canyon views but we had no time to stop.  After about an hour of searching, we realized we were not going to reconnect with the others and the sun was setting fast.  So we decided to make the best of the trip and turned back to the nearest lookout point for some pictures.  As we were busy bracketing, framing, and polarizing, an old lady came up to us and suggested that we keep going up north for an overlook with was “well worth the excursion”.  We quickly packed up and kept driving until we reached the end of the road.  As far as I remember, it was probably called Koke’e State Park.  Unfortunately, a thick mist moved in just as we got out of the car.  I was discouraged since visibility was less than 50 feet or so.

Fortunately, Isamu was brave enough to step up to the edge of the cliff and got a glimpse of what was down at the cliff.  So we waited, and waited, and waited…

After about 15 minutes or so, we got a glimpse of what was below the cliff.  It was absolutely spectacular!  The scenery looked like something from Jurassic Park.

We had about 5 minutes window where the mist was clear enough for a peek.  As we were leaving, we noticed a sign that says “one of the wettest spots on earth”.   Yes, wet indeed.

One the way down, we decided to make a quick stop before the sun goes down completely to take a few snap shots of the canyon.  So here is the parting shot.

A note on post-processing.  All these pictures have an overlay of HDR.  I am not a big fan of 100% HDR images.  What I did was I layer the HDR processed image on top of an under exposed picture.  Then I mask-in areas where I could use better dynamic range.

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