2018—`Opaeka`a Falls — Two Views

On our last morning in Kauai, we had some time before we had to be at the airport for our flights home so we visited `Opaeka`a Falls, a stopping point along the Wailua Heritage Trail.  According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, `Opaeka`a means “rolling shrimp” which refers to the once abundant fresh water shrimp (`Opaekala`ole) in the mountain streams throughout Kauai and which must have tumbled with the fresh waters over the falls and into the Wailua River below.

On this trip, which was focused on bird photography, I neglected to bring my Nikon D500 which is my “birds in flight” camera of choice but I did bring my Nikon D850 which I use primarily for landscape.  However, on this last morning, when we stopped at the falls, I picked up my Nikon D5 which so far on this trip I’d been using for all wildlife, including birds in flight.  I attached my 24-70mm lens, my favorite wide angle lens.  I did, at least, have a landscape lens with me.

waterfall 2

The photograph above shows the lush, verdant growth covering the hillsides and surrounding the falls.  I used the  Vivid setting in the camera to bring out the colors saturated from the diffused, overcast light.  Because the sky was gray and uninteresting, I didn’t want any sky to show in the photograph so I set the focal length to 70mm and placed the falls in the upper right so that no sky would show.  When Moose noticed I was using the D5 for landscape and asked why since I had the D850 in my camera bag, I switched cameras and so that I could better isolate the falls; I switched lenses as well.


I set the D850 to the Vivid Picture Control and using the 300mm lens, I was able to isolate the falls and showcase some of the interesting vegetation surrounding it.  Recently, I have discovered that  I really like taking landscape photographs that are more closeup and detailed.  Using the 300mm lens is rather limiting, however and I couldn’t back further away to give me more area around the falls because the road was directly behind the viewing area.  If I’d had the 70-200mm lens, I would have had more focal length options but, of course, since this trip was really not a landscape trip I left that lens at home.

In the end, I came home with some lovely landscape photographs and lots of wonderful bird photographs, including successful photographs of birds in flight even without my preferred camera for that purpose.  The takeaway for me from this trip is that while I must  make more appropriate choices of which lenses and cameras to bring with me, I usually have enough gear with me to cover the bases and make it work for me.  However, since I have certain gear for specific purposes, I really need to make sure that, based on the primary goal of any given trip, I must at the very least, make sure I take with me those cameras and lenses so I can achieve that goal.





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