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Kauai Adventure Photography Workshops
Kauai Adventure Photography Workshops
I’ve left my heart in many places, but nothing compares to the perfection of beautiful, magical Kauai, as shown to me by KAPOW (Kauai Adventure Photography Workshops). I’m not talking about just the surface of Kauai that most tourists see. I’m talking about the hidden heart and soul of the garden isle. I had been here five times prior to this trip and always thought it was a pretty place, but had no idea that I’d been only biting at the peel of the orange and was missing the fruit. That is, the off-the-beaten-path interior of Kauai. This was like exploring a completely different island that, unfortunately, many tourists will never experience. I am rather annoyed at myself for having traveled here so many times before and not straying too far from the general guide book areas.
My days spent with Kauai Adventure Photography Workshops (KAPOW) were so much more than just photography lessons. The experience was one-of-a-kind, and far surpassed my expectations. When I was first planning this trip to Kauai as a solo traveler, I knew I wanted to find a guide to show me where to take awesome photographs in places that wouldn’t be packed with people. I’m no professional photographer, but I am slightly obsessed with photography as well as all of the creative things you can do with the right camera. When I did a Google search for photography tours in Kauai, the KAPOW website popped up. I was immediately hooked. The name of the company had my two most favorite things in the world. Adventure and photography. I booked the full day photography workshop and a custom private overnight workshop. Best decision I ever made.
The full day workshop started before sunrise. We had a small group of 4, which consisted of myself, two doctors who worked for the CDC, and our awesome instructor, Mallory. I love the fact that KAPOW (Kauai Adventure Photography Workshops) limits their workshops to 6 people so that they can keep it authentic and intimate, and give each participant the proper instruction. We started our journey hiking in thick red mud, in the dark, and in the rain. The smell of adventure was everywhere and I was ready to get down and dirty. Although I ended up getting a bit dirtier then expected when I slipped and fell in the slick wet dirt, lacerated my knee, and become covered from head to toe in red Kauai mud. Lucky for me the two other people in my workshop were doctors, who promptly fixed me right up. From there on out, it was adventure after adventure. We were hiking, climbing, caving, swimming, jumping off cliffs into waterfalls, and capturing it all on camera with the instruction of photographer Mallory Roe. I finally learned how to use my Canon 5D Mark III camera on manual mode and adjust all of the settings to capture fantastic images. By the end of this 15 hour adventure I think I must’ve burned more than 2,000 additional calories and taken an equal amount of photos.
My next workshop with KAPOW was a custom private full moon workshop, and I was lucky enough to have both Patrick Kelley (the founder of KAPOW) and Mallory Roe instructing me. It started with a hike down Kalepa Ridge in Kokee National Park. The idea was for us to catch the sunset over the Kalalau Valley, but instead we encountered a very eerie thick mist, which did not allow us to see past a few feet. The mist turned out to be one of my favorite scenes from my days spent on Kauai. It was so dramatic and different, and when the sunset gleamed through the mist it was otherworldly. As the sun went down we prepared a Taco Tuesday feast (my favorite) and I was able to get to know Patrick and Mallory a little more. They are both the most kind and genuine people you will ever meet, and both are very knowledgeable and talented photographers; who after dinner gave me a great photo editing tutorial. Then it was off to sleep to rest up for our 4am wake up call. The next morning brought an exciting off-roading adventure in the pitch dark (because the sun had not come up yet) followed by a long dark hike through the jungle. Hiking in the dark was a first for me and it was so peaceful and quiet. There was nothing to fear. No snakes and no scary animals! Usually I hike in places that have snakes, bears, and cougars, which always get me feeling a bit uptight, but not in Kauai. We eventually arrived at a massive waterfall overlooking what’s known as the Grand Canyon of Hawaii, or Waimea Canyon. As the sun rose I could soon tell that this was my favorite spot on the whole island.
The few days I spent learning, adventuring, and photographing with KAPOW were some of the best days I have ever had. I will, without a doubt, be doing this again.