The north shore of Kauai is one of those powerful places that I can't stay away from. It is so lush, wild and full of it's own special energy. From the exposed trails of Na Pali to the island's amazing beaches and reefs, Kauai is the perfect place to have an adventure then relax and recharge all in one location; I keep coming back to find it fresh and exciting time after time.
Last fall I visited again on the final family trip with my ailing grandmother (Nana). She had lived in Hanalei when she was young and the place was very much a part of her.
As I drove into the Hanalei valley I noticed a freshly harvested taro pond and wondered if it might reflect Mt. Waialeale and the surrounding hills at dawn. I've seen many photographs of this view, but none reflected from this angle. My mother is an early riser, so she accompanied me on my dawn mission.
As the sun rose, high clouds turned color and created lots of drama in the sky, but a low cloud bank to the east blocked the first dawn rays from lighting the landscape below. I created some images emphasizing the cloudscape while enjoying the antics of the shorebirds with my mom.
As the color left the clouds we started thinking about breakfast and coffee. Then the sun partially broke through the clouds to light the landscape just as a rainbow formed over the taro pond.
I quickly set up my Nikon D800 on a Really Right Stuff panoramic adaptor and shot a 32-image, multiple-row, panoramic merger of the scene (see the top of this post). I've just gotten around to assembling and editing this 300 megapixel composite image and I couldn't be happier with the result. It looks great printed huge and reminds me of why this amazing place evokes such passion.
My family will be returning here this year with Nana's ashes to leave her in this special place. I can't imagine a better spot to rest.