Along the northern most edge of the Hawaiian island chain is the beautifully rugged island of Kauai. Kauai, is known as the Garden Island because of its vast amount of green vegetation. It is the oldest of the main islands, making for an incredibly dramatic landscape that consists of sandy beaches, rugged coastline, and lush mountains. Micro climates dot the island creating weather that tends to build and shape spectacular light throughout the day translating into beautiful photographs.
We’ll spend seven days and six nights photographing the entire island of Kauai. There will be a sunrise and sunset shoot for every full day of the workshop as long as weather cooperates. Each day we will take a break in the middle of the day so you can enjoy the island and get some rest when the light is not very conducive to photography. Waimea Canyon is notorious for its rainbows and we’ll do our best to photograph a few of those if the weather is looking good. This is a small group workshop with no more than six participants.
One of the best views of Kauai is from the air, so we’ll be photographing the Na’ Pali coast from a helicopter! The ride will be doors off, so you won’t have to fight with the glare that windows can cause. Since it will be a doors-off ride, no lens swapping is allowed. You can bring a spare camera and lens if you want various focal lengths. The flight is weather dependent but will be scheduled for the first full day of the workshop to increase our odds of getting in the air. You will be issued a refund of $340 if the flight does not happen.
The weather on Hawaii can vary drastically from day to day and location to location. Some parts of the island receive only a modest amount of rain, while other parts are among the wettest on earth. It is because of this fact that Kauai often has incredible light. It is important to be prepared for just about every type of weather when we’re on the island. You’ll want a rain jacket for yourself as well as your camera.
Rain pants are a must to keep your legs dry and somewhat clean from the mud. Although it may sound odd, you’ll want to bring a hat and warm jacket as well. The rim of Waimea Canyon can be rather cold in the morning and evening time. With that being said, don’t forget your shorts, sun lotion, and swim suit. The beach can be quite pleasant even in the winter.
While most of Kauai is very accessible, we will be doing two very short but somewhat difficult hikes on the workshop. Kauai is infamous for its slippery, muddy and uneven paths. You are more than welcome to sit out any portion of the workshop that you do not feel comfortable doing. All participants should be capable of hiking on uneven surfaces that can sometimes be slippery. Bring waterproof hiking boots with good tread and trekking poles.
There is one low river crossing that we may do if the weather conditions are in our favor. For this hike, I suggest bringing water shoes & swim trunks so you can dry off quickly. Please reach out to me if you have any questions regarding hiking or physical requirements. I want all participants to be safe and happy during the workshop.
Below is a sample itinerary for our time in Kauai. Please keep in mind that weather can drastically alter our schedule.
Feb 4th: Poipu
3PM Orientation at the Sheraton Kauai Resort
Feb 5th: Poipu
Doors off helicopter ride
Feb 6th Waimea Canyon
We’ll shoot sunrise and sunset in the Waimea region with some potential daytime shooting if the weather looks good.
Feb 7th – 9th: Princeville
Sunrise and Sunset shoots along the north coast.
Feb 10th: Princeville
We’ll go out for one last sunrise shoot in the north coast region before concluding the workshop.
• Professional Photographer & Guide : You will be guided by a professional photographer who has a good understanding of how light and weather interact with one another. I’ll be at your disposal for any and all questions regarding camera settings, composition, and more.
• Daily transportation: Daily transportation will be provided to and from shooting locations. If you would like to sit out one of the shoots requiring hiking you are more than welcome to drive yourself to another location on that day.
• Helicopter flight: A photographic helicopter flight is included in the cost of the workshop assuming that the weather allows for it. There is a chance that the flight could get cut short or not go at all if the weather turns sour.
• Post Processing Session: Some time will be set aside for post processing during the duration of the workshop.
• Accommodations: In order to provide greater flexibility for participants, accommodations are not provided for this workshop. You will be given a list of recommended places to stay during our time on the island however. Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to share accommodations with another workshop participant and I will do my best to to pair you up.
• Transportation between lodging: Each participant will be responsible for their own transportation between lodges. If you would like to ride-share, please contact me and I’ll do my best to pair you up.
• Meals: Meals are not included with this workshop.
• Pilot gratuities: Tipping your helicopter pilot is not required, but is greatly appreciated for their service.
• Airfare: You will be responsible for your own airfare to and from Kauai. Lihue is the only major airport on Kauai (LIH)
The cost of this workshop includes only that which is covered in the the “What’s included” section of this page. A down payment of $600 dollars is required to reserve your spot on the workshop. Full payment is required no later than ninety days before the workshop starts. Trip insurance is strongly encouraged in case you have to cancel. Insurance will also protect you in the unlikely event that the workshop gets cancelled due to weather or any other unforeseen circumstances.
Sometimes life can get in the way of a good a thing. Hopefully that doesn’t happen during this workshop, but if it does the following cancelation policy applies.
• 90 days or more – Full refund minus a $200 cancelation fee
• 60 days or more – 50% refund
• 60 days or less – no refund
Should have to cancel and I find a replacement for your space, I’ll refund your full payment minus the $200 cancelation fee.
This workshop is open to photographers of all skill levels.
Feb 4th – 6th: Poipu – Sheraton Kauai Resort
This beautiful property overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is conveniently located in the town of Poi Pu.
There are street parking options near the Sheraton for those who opt to stay at an Airbnb or other location.
Feb 7th – 9th: Princeville – The Cliffs
Note: there is no additional parking for visitors at the Cliffs resort. If you choose to stay somewhere else in Princeville, we will coordinate a separate meetup location or pickup schedule.
• Camera: To get the most out of this workshop you’ll want to bring a camera with interchangeable lenses.
• Lenses: Ultra Wide (16-35mm on full frame or 10-24mm on crop sensor) Mid Range (24-70mm or 18-55mm on crop sensor) Telephoto (70 -200mm or 100-400mm on full frame 18-140mm on crop sensor)
• Tripod: You’ll want a sturdy tripod for your camera. There may be times when it is in moving water so the stronger the better. Feel free to reach out to me for tripod recommendations.
• Filters: It is highly recommended that you have a polarizer for every lens that you own. These will help darken the blue in the sky and get rid of any unwanted glare.
Solid ND filters are a must for any landscape photographer looking to create dramatic images on the coast. I recommend a six stop as well as a ten stop. Breakthrough makes my favorite ND filters.
Graduated ND filters can be a nice addition to your kit as well. Generally I prefer three stop grads in both soft and hard graduations. Breakthrough is my preferred brand.
• Intervalometer: This device can be used to program exposures longer than 30 seconds when in Bulb mode. I recommend buying a third party brand such as Neewer.
• Rain Cover: As mentioned above, rain can be expected at some point throughout the workshop. It is a good idea to have a rain cover for your camera as well as your camera bag.
• Headlamp: Be prepared to be hiking in the dark on the edges of day. I suggest getting in the habit of leaving a headlamp in your camera bag at all times.
Trekking Poles: Some of the hikes will be wet, uneven, and in very slippery clay. I highly recommend bringing a trekking pole to help guide you dune slippery slopes.
By attending this workshop, you agree to hold Mike Wardynski of Wardynski Photography and its employees and owners harmless for all personal injury or loss that may occur during or in connection with this trip. You are responsible for your own safety and well being throughout the course of the workshop. It is important not to push yourself beyond your physical abilities. You are in charge of deciding if a location is safe for you to travel to. Mike Wardynski of Wardynski Photography makes no effort to vet the other attendees of the trip and you need to make sure you are safe in their companionship.
Travel insurance as well as insurance for your photo gear are both highly recommended. Shooting next to the ocean is always risky to camera gear. It is in your best interests to fully insure your equipment for full replacement value.
In the event of extraordinary events, governmental instability, extreme weather, or other condition, Mike Wardynski of Wardynski Photography reserves the right to cancel this trip and return all workshop fees to participants.
There is a helicopter flight included in this workshop. Mike Wardynski of Wardynski Photo is responsible for paying for the flight. Mike Wardynski cannot be held responsible for any personal loss or injury should it occur at this time. The flight is scheduled early in the workshop to increase the odds workshop participants getting to fly. Due to weather and other unforeseeable circumstances, no guarantee can be made that the helicopter flight will happen.
I highly recommend doing workshops with Mike. I’ve done half a dozen with him over the past few years and it’s always a highlight of my year. Mike’s a funny, easy going, nature loving guy who is a joy to be around because he truly cares for and enjoys people. He will have you experiencing wonderfully beautiful locations while growing your skills as a photographer, and having fun while doing it. I walk away from each workshop feeling refreshed to go back into work, and with a killer shot I can’t wait to share.
The small group sizes are great because it enables Mike to pay close attention to everyone, being attentive when you need it and also knowing when to give you space for learning and creativity. I think one of the biggest selling points of Mike’s workshops is the deep research and trip planning he does before starting a new workshop. I’ve seen the benefits of this in the unique locations Mike takes us to, the interesting knowledge he shares that leaves me feeling more connected to an experience, and the on-the-fly flexibility Mike pulls from as mother nature disagrees with our itinerary. I’ve seen weather make him need to pivot our plans from A to B to C, and we’ve still come out having a good shoot. A few days on a photo trip planned by Mike leaves me with more high quality shoots than the sum of all my personally planned trips in a year. Mike makes it so you can simply show up and focus 100% on photography. Don’t hesitate to book a workshop with him, you won’t regret it!"
"Mike is an exceptional teacher and a great guide! As a total beginner, I learned more from him in just 20 minutes than I had on a prior 2 week long photo trip. His passion for photography and nature is contagious and makes every shoot exciting and fun. He's super attentive, patient and a great hands-on instructor; helping set up the composition, talking you through and explaining what settings to use and why in every situation. His scheduling and shoots are well thought out and he's great at finding the best spots to help you get a great shot. No matter your level, I'd 100% recommend traveling with Mike--he's just the best!"
"I’ve been on numerous photo tours and workshops and have found Mike to be one of the best guides! He has fantastic teaching skills and patience for beginner through advanced photographers. This workshop showcased his careful scouting and planning for our awesome week in Kauai; including hiking and site access tips, specific location and timing of each shoot along with access knowledge. His upbeat attitude and sense of humor always makes the workshops enjoyable and productive!"
"Mike is a brilliant photographer and the best teacher I’ve ever worked with. He’s extremely knowledgeable, patient, and has a unique ability to meet his student’s needs at their individual experience levels. He’s fun to work with because he’s alway enthusiastic, positive, and he truly loves what he’s doing. He comes prepared with contingencies and alternative locations in mind to respond to unpredictable weather conditions and light. I especially appreciate his resourcefulness."
"Mike is an exceptionally talented artist and photographer, yet he remains humble. It’s a pleasure exploring locations and creative interpretations of the subject at hand with him. He has zero ego and the focus is always on helping the workshop participants express their own vision with his extensive technical expertise and generous guidance. I have worked with him many times and I always learn something new. He’s a natural leader and teacher as well as being an accomplished artist. This combination is rare in my experience. I feel lucky to have found him to help me improve my own photographic vision."