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45 Seconds at Hanalei, Kauai | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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45 Seconds at Hanalei, Kauai

Compare this to the last upload. Which do you like better? I got up in the dark to get there early in order to show how the trade winds sweep the clouds past the rainiest mountains in the world. No HDR.


See the super-big 1920 pixel version!



Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 24-105L @ 35

45-second exposure @ F11

ISO 160

Lee Big Stopper 10-stop square very dark glass filter for long exposures

(It is hard to get due to limited production so order and wait!)

2-0.9 (3-stop) Lee soft edge neutral density graduated filters

(grads oriented vertically to get light onto the falls)

Lee foundation kit filter holder (3-slots) All full!

Lee adapter ring to fit my 77mm lens to the holder

No polarizer

Small Slik Sprint mini II tripod with Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol grip ball head

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop

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First light at Hanalei is one of the most spaecacular events to witness anywhere. I feel it rivals Yosemite or practically anywhere I've seen personally or in photographs. It is a warm Yosemite with an ocean! These mountains are as high as El-Capitan and almost as steep. The trade winds more the clouds quickly creating changing light conditions on the 4,000 ft. (1300+m) rain sculpted mountains which are the rainiest on the planet. You must see this place for yourself. I used a very dark Lee Big Stopper filter to allow a 45-second exposure to show the dynamic nature of the light here.


Sometimes the clouds open up a bit and during this time of year, the sculpted cliffs are etched perfectly in relief by the low sun angle. The long exposure also reduces distractions so that the pier and mountains stand out better.


Another nice thing the long exposure does is to eliminate people from the scene. There were paddleboarders, surfers and some boats moving through this scene but as long as they keep moving, all is well! And it was.






Google Earth


Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.


Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)


Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)


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Taken on July 28, 2011