I am one of the blessed, select number of people who have the intense pleasure of calling Kauai home. I am also part of a population that, despite living in absolute paradise, get caught up in my life of making rent, running errands, and getting a bit used to seeing waterfalls and rainbows every day. A sin, I know, but it happens.
I recently began working with Photo Safari Hawaii. Without over simplifying what they strive to do, Photo Safari Hawaii takes small, private groups out on tours to have an experience with nature while practicing fine art photography exercises. As part of my training to be a guide, I went on a mock tour with owner and CEO, Brian Ross. We began our day on the north shore, first stopping at the overlook into the Hanalei valley.Taro fields in Hanalei
Brian began by teaching me about the different elements of light; indirect, direct, and reflected. We drove down to the Hanalei taro fields to play around with these different elements more. Despite my experience with photography, I was having a little creative jitters at first. However, once I got into it, with some encouragement from Brian, I was enjoying myself immensely and remembering an art form that I used to have a fervent passion for.
We went through several other exercises, each one bringing new photos, and at different locations, most of which were on the beautiful North Shore. I cannot stress this enough- IF YOU COME TO KAUAI GO TO THE NORTH SHORE! The entire north shore, all the way to the end of the road. Not just to Princeville or Hanalei. Otherwise you’ll miss out on these beaches below.
From there we went to the National Tropical Botanical Garden. I’d never been here before, and I’ve been really missing out. This place is more magical than a Harry Potter book. I had a brief visit, but what I saw had me spouting curse words in front of bossman. Oops?
Photo Safari Hawaii has exclusive access to this place, unless you go through the botanical garden themselves. In which case you’ll be carted around in a tram with a bunch of other sunscreen-scented tourist. Which is great and all, but I’d much rather drive around in the air conditioned 4WD monster truck PSH uses. Also –bonus– PSH gets exclusive access to the above waterfall. Even the tours through the botanical garden does don’t go to this tranquil, almost forgotten little spot.
We finished the day with a spectacular sunset at salt pond beach on the south side, pictured above. This day was only one of two days I spent with Brian (another post to come soon!) but it left me more excited than a kid on Christmas Eve when the ceiling creaks at 2am. Kauai is easily the most visually stunning place I’ve ever been, which was a big factor in my decision to move here. But after two years here, I’ve forgotten to keep my eye out for its gifts. Like the sun making the clouds appear to be rolling across the fluted cliffs. The way the palms gently wave at you. Hard to spots birds like the Nene or the fabled Moorhen (all I ever see -and hear- are the damned chickens!). And the waterfalls, so, so many waterfalls. Kauai is the best decision I’ve ever made, hands down.
*All photos were taken with my cell phone…..unfortunately.