Kauai FAQ's - Don Smith Photography

What’s the closest airport? Lihue Airport (LIH) is the only airport to service the Island of Kauai. Our hotel is located 5 miles north of the airport. There are direct flights to Lihue, depending on where you are beginning your trip, but virtually all flights will connect through Honolulu.

How much time will be spent in the field? We will have you on location prior to sunrise and after sunset. We will try for secondary shoots after sunrise and before sunset if weather/lighting conditions permit.

Do you provide transportation? Each participant will be responsible for transportation to and from workshop. The Kauai Beach Resort does offer complimentary shuttle service. We will carpool during workshop and I will ask for two daily volunteers. l like to keep the total number of cars to no more than three while on location. The resort charges $13.95 per day parking that is not covered in the workshop fee.

Do I have to pay Park entrance fees? No, they are covered in the cost of the workshop.

Will you be discussing composition? Yes, and more. With each location, Don will offer suggestions and go over technical (craft) questions. We will be there to assist you in finding and fine-tuning your compositions.

What are the times for the class sessions? We will start with an orientation and some classroom training on the first day at 2 pm., followed by a sunset shoot. Class times for the remaining three days are: 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm.

What topics will you cover? We will utilize class time to discuss the following topics: Lightroom 2015 CC, Photoshop 2015 CC, global corrections, localized corrections, Levels, Curves, color enhancement, color management, proper sharpening techniques, layers and masking techniques, HDR techniques with 32-bit processing in Lightroom for natural results.

Will there be an Image Review Session? Yes, in fact, we have two scheduled!

Will the latest software be discussed? Yes, I will demonstrate the new features and basic workflow in Lightroom CC,  Photoshop CC and ON1 plugin filters.

When do we eat? Let's face it, landscape photo times and eating schedules often clash. Having said that, we will have you back in at a reasonable hour for your breakfast buffet, and we will either eat dinner before or after late afternoon/sunset shoots. We can eat together as a group or you can chose to dine alone. I do recommend you bringing a snack to tide you over should you get hungry while on location. If you have special dietary needs, please let me know and we will do our best to accommodate.

Will there be night training sessions? There will be an informal night session for those who want to try, but I no longer schedule a formal session due to the length of days. We have a very dark beach located right behind the hotel pool area.

What’s the weather like? Average highs and lows in Kauai for July are: High - 84 degrees F and Low - 74 degrees F. We do the bulk of our photography at the fringes of the day, and most beach locations will require nothing more than shorts, light top and sandals! We do have planned one sunset location shoot at 4,000 feet elevation, so plan to dress warm - we recommend layering. Also, wind-chill factors can lower your body's sensitivity to the cold and we do get the constant trade winds.

What camera should I bring? Most participants will have a digital SLR or mirrorless camera, but bring the camera or cameras with which you’re most comfortable shooting.

Do I have to shoot digitally? Much of the training will assume you’re shooting digitally, but digital isn’t required. I shot film (color transparency) for 20 years.

What lenses do you recommend? Lens choice is a very personal thing. You could probably find a use for every lens in your bag. So bring as much as your luggage will hold, even if you won’t take it in the field for every shoot. We suggest at the minimum you have the range from 24mm to 200mm (full frame) covered.

What filters should I bring? Polarizers are the number one recommendation. Beyond that, GND filters are useful but not necessary. We will show you alternate ways of solving expanded dynamic range without filters. A variable neutral density filter can be useful for motion blur with water, but is nor required.

Is a tripod required? While not required, a tripod will greatly enhance your opportunities and your images. I highly recommend bringing one.

Will I need a laptop? No, but many participants do bring one as a means of off-loading and reviewing images.

I’m a beginner—is there a minimum skill level required? All skill levels are welcome. Some of the material may be beyond your current level, but much will benefit photographers of all abilities.

Can my wife/husband/friend join me? You’re welcome to share your room and and non-workshop activities with a friend or loved one at no charge. Only paying participants will be able to join the workshop activities due to permit and insurance requirements. With all there is to see and do in the area, there will be plenty to occupy any non-participating guest during workshop hours. All rooms are double-occupancy.

How much hiking will there be? Our photography activities will require virtually no hiking. There will be some walking to and from our shooting locations, but nothing more than an easy 1/4 mile. There are also locations where some hiking is possible for those who are interested.

Will there be time for sightseeing? Each day will be pretty full, but there will be a little down time too (generally after breakfast and before the afternoon sessions). And no workshop activity is required - everything is optional. We realize you are in paradise and we plan to give you some time to enjoy yourselves!

Can I carpool with another workshop participant? Any carpooling needs to be arranged by the carpoolers themselves.

Can I share a room with another participant? You’re welcome to share a room with another workshop participant, but we’re not able to arrange that for you.

Will accommodations be made for people with mobility limitations? The host hotel offers full handicapped access in accordance with Hawaii State law. Many of the locations we’ll photograph are close enough to parking that very little mobility will be necessary. A few places involve short trails and beaches that may limit your access. We’ll do our best to offer alternatives

Liability Disclaimer: Due to the inherent nature of outdoor photography, participants agree to join the workshop at their own risk. We will never lead you to an area that is dangerous, and certainly, we need to know if you don't feel comfortable at any time.

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