Sometimes you need to visit and revisit a location in order to archive the results that you are looking for. For Shelley and I’s trip to Kauai, Kilauea Point was one such location for me.
National Wildlife Refuge
Kilauea Point is not only the home to the Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse but the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is established in 1985 to provide for the protection of nesting seabirds, the nene, monk seals, as well as coastal plants.
Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse From a Distance
One of the compositions that I saw on Shelley and I’s first day on the Kauai while driving the Island and scouting locations was the lighthouse from a distance. I knew from our scouting afternoon that this was to be a morning shoot. And I wanted the sun rising. It had to the pre-sunrise light to light any mid to high-level clouds that might be in the sky.
The morning that I arrived at Kilauea Point to photograph, my composition needed clouds, but not too many of them. They had to be in over the lighthouse and off to the west/northwest. If any clouds were off to the east, it could kill the light for my composition. So it was that I awoke at O-dark-thirty that morning. To hit the road and drive the 30 minutes to arrive on location before the Sun.
I arrived at Kilauea Point as the morning blue-hour was ending. There were only three people there at this time of day. I grabbed my camera bag and headed to the fence line. After searching for the spot that I had found during our scouting day, I setup. First, I pulled my tripod off of the bag. I then extended the legs high enough to position my camera over the fence. Next, I removed my camera from the bag. I then verified the composition by using my camera freehand. After finding the exact position along the fence line, I took the shot.
Something was lacking from this previsualize to composition. After looking around a little longer, I found a composition that I liked better. I set my tripod and camera, focusing on the lighthouse on the point. This composition allowed me to include more of the shoreline below the lighthouse. I felt that this composition gave me the ability to balance the sky with the sea, hitting the base of the point.
I made this photograph with my Nikon D600 at ISO100, 70mm, f/9.0, and 1/30 of a second.
Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse – Close Up
I knew that I also wanted a “close up” photograph of the lighthouse. For this composition, I need to be at the location during the lighthouse’s hours of operation. This meant that Shelley and I need to be there between 10 am and 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday. While this is not the ideal time to photograph a location, I can still work with it.
For my “close up” composition of the lighthouse, I knew that I wanted drama in the sky. In order to archive this, I also knew that I would need to use my 10-stop neutral density filter. By using this filter, I would be able to blur any clouds in the sky. As it happened on the Wednesday that Shelley and I went to the lighthouse, there was plenty of cloud action in the sky.
I made this photograph with my Nikon D600 at ISO100, 16mm, f/4.0, and a shutter speed of 30 seconds.
Daniel K. Inouye Kilauea Point Lighthouse
For my final composition of the lighthouse, I was able to photograph the second-order Fresnel lens. When Shelley and I went to Kauai back in 2019, they were giving tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:30, and 11:30 am and 12:30, 1:30 and 2:20 pm. For current information please check out the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge site by clicking here.
I made this photograph with my Nikon D600 at ISO100, 14mm, f/4.0, and a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second.
To read more about Shelley and I’s Photographing Kauai 2019 trip click here.
To view the video series on our YouTube Channel click here.